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WASHINGTON DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement regarding revelations that a man who went by the name of “Jeff Gannon,” and who was given White House media credentials despite his lack of qualifications, was given access to classified documents which disclosed the identity of Undercover CIA Operative Valerie Plame:
“Valid questions are being raised regarding the Bush White House’s relationship with James Guckert, also known as “Jeff Gannon,” and his access to documents that revealed the identity of Undercover CIA Operative Valerie Plame.
“This issue is important from an ethical as well as from a national security standpoint. It is hard to understand why a man with little real journalism experience was given a White House press corps credential let alone access to sensitive security documents. In fact, it only raises questions as to the nature of the relationship between “Jeff Gannon” and the White House, and whether there was an alliance of interests that did not conform to ethical and security standards. President Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, called the disclosure of an undercover operative’s identity treason.
“This most recent revelation is only the latest in the growing list of ways that Republicans in Washington are attempting to manipulate the American people through the media and avoid accountability. When the Bush Administration had trouble selling its domestic policies, it unethically paid journalists to promote its policies under the guise of journalism. When the Ethics Committee held Majority Leader Tom DeLay accountable for improper actions last year, the Republican leadership simply removed Chairman Joel Hefley (R-CO) and other Republicans from the Committee.
“I encourage the Special Counsel looking into the Plame matter to include “Jeff Gannon’s” ties to the issue in his investigation.”