Congressional Record: July 14, 2004 (Senate)
Page S8059-S8060]                        


  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, today we observe a sad milestone in the 
scandal and tragedy that some have labeled ``leakgate.'' It has been 
exactly 1 year, July 14, since two senior White House officials leaked 
Valerie Plame's identity as a covert operative at the Central 
Intelligence Agency.
  Last July 14, 2003, 8 days after Ms. Plame's husband published an op-
ed in the New York Times which questioned information in the 
President's 2003 State of the Union message regarding a supposed effort 
by Iraq to purchase uranium from Africa, her identity was revealed in 
print by columnist Robert Novak. This illegal act should have outraged 
everyone at the White House. It should have moved President Bush 
immediately to demand the identity of the perpetrators.
  Instead, in his only public statement about this act of betrayal, Mr. 
Bush smiled--yes, he smiled--and said:

       This is a town that likes to leak. I don't know if we are 
     going to find out the senior administration official. Now, 
     this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior 
     officials. I don't have any idea.

  Again, he said it with kind of a smirk and a wry smile on his face.
  I consider that statement to be disingenuous. The number of senior 
White House officials with the appropriate clearances and access to 
knowledge about Ms. Plame's identity can probably be counted on one 
hand, two at the most. If Mr. Bush was serious about identifying the 
perpetrators, those officials could have been summoned to the Oval 
Office and this matter would have been resolved in 24 hours.
  Now, we are not talking about some little thing happening. This is an 
illegal action under the law.
  Mr. Bush did not question his staff in the Oval Office. There was no 
outrage at the White House. There were no internal investigations. 
There was no angry President Bush demanding answers from his senior 
aides. There was only a cavalier dismissal, followed by a year of 
virtual silence.
  Three decades ago, a previous occupant of the Oval Office, President 
Nixon, was recorded on audiotape saying to a senior White House 

       I don't give an [expletive] what happens. I want you to 
     stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or 
     anything else, if it'll save it, save this plan. That's the 
     whole point. We're going to protect our people if we can.

  That was Richard Nixon almost 30 years ago. This White House has now 
delayed any accountability for this damaging and illegal leak for a 
full year. White House officials who committed this act of treachery 
presumably are still exercising decisionmaking power.
  Who is the White House protecting? Why? Do we now have a modern day 
Richard Nixon back in the White House?
  And what was the cost of exposing Ms. Plame? Not only her job. As 
Vincent Cannistraro, former Chief of Operations and Analysis at the CIA 
Counterterrorism Center, told us:

       The consequences are much greater than Valerie Plame's job 
     as a clandestine CIA employee. They include damage to the 
     lives and livelihoods of many foreign nationals with whom she 
     was connected, and it has destroyed a clandestine cover 
     mechanism that may have been used to protect other CIA 
     nonofficial cover officers.

  Valerie Plame's cover was blown to discredit and retaliate against 
her husband Joseph Wilson. The recent report by the Senate Intelligence 
Committee provides some insight. It states that back in 2002 when the 
CIA was searching for someone with connections to Niger to find out 
about a possible purchase or attempt to purchase uranium by Iraq, she 
suggested that her husband, former Ambassador Wilson, go as a 
factfinder. Mr. Wilson was sent there. He reported the claim's lack of 
credibility to the CIA.
  Later that year, the President was to give a speech in Cincinnati 
mentioning the claim. On October 6, CIA Director Tenet personally 
called Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to outline the 
CIA's concerns that this claim was not real. And it was then deleted 
from the President's Cincinnati speech.
  Between October 2002 and January 2003, concerns about the claim 
increased. In January, the State Department sent an e-mail to the CIA 
outlining ``the reasoning why the uranium purchase agreement is 
probably a hoax.''
  Here is the troubling aspect: The same official, Stephen Hadley, who 
spoke with George Tenet and took the claim out of the October speech in 
Cincinnati, was also in charge of vetting the State of the Union 
Address. Amazing. If he knew it was a problem and took it out in 
October, why was it put in for the State of the Union message?
  A lot of questions need to be answered. Mr. Bush seemingly does not 
want to know the identity of the leakers. The White House occupies a 
small area. The number of employees who are suspect in this matter is 
small. This should not be like trying to find nonexistent weapons of 
mass destruction in Iraq.

  One year has passed. Perhaps the President and others have already 
told Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald who is responsible. Perhaps that has 
happened. If not, I believe it is clear that the President and the Vice 
President should be put under oath. They need to tell the special 
prosecutor and the American public who committed these acts. They 
should be put under oath, questioned, and filmed. Remember, this 
happened just a few years ago when another President, President 
Clinton, was put under oath and questioned by the special prosecutor, 
on film, which we witnessed right here on the Senate floor.
  Also, by putting the President and the Vice President under oath and 
questioning them as they should be questioned, it sends another 
powerful message to the people of this country: No President, no Vice 
President, is above the law. President Clinton was not above the law. 
This President should not be above the law.
  I call upon the special prosecutor: Put the President under oath. Put 
the Vice President under oath. Question them about their knowledge of 
this incident and let's get this matter cleared up. Find those 
responsible and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.

[[Page S8060]]

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I want to follow up on what my colleague 
from Iowa has had to say. I thank him for his strength and leadership 
on this issue.
  As was mentioned, it is a year ago that Robert Novak published a 
column outing a covert CIA agent. The next day I called for an 
  For about a month not much happened. Then, and I think the record 
should underscore this, George Tenet, head of the CIA, publicly and 
privately asked for an investigation, and one began.
  I don't have any complaints with the investigation. I think both Mr. 
Comey and Prosecutor Fitzgerald have done a fine job. I have faith in 
what they are doing, at least from everything I have heard. But the 
bottom line is very simple. First, this was a dastardly crime. This is 
a crime of a serious nature committed by someone in the White House. We 
know that much. Unfortunately, the attitude of the White House has not 
been what it should be. There ought to be an attitude there that says 
this was a terrible crime. To reveal the name of an agent jeopardizes 
that agent's life and the lives of many others with whom they came in 
contact. There ought to be every effort to turn over every stone to 
find out who did this.
  There is a lot of speculation it was done for vengeance, to get at 
Ambassador Wilson. It doesn't matter what the reason is, the bottom 
line is there is a rule of law in America, and this crime is a lot 
worse than a lot of crimes that we get prosecutions for. The bottom 
line is simple. I believe if the President wanted it to come out, and 
said, It doesn't matter where the chips fall, we are going to find out 
who did it and bring them to justice, it would have come out already as 
to who did it.
  Instead, we first had stonewalling--no investigation. Now we have an 
investigation, but everyone is hiding behind the shield laws and other 
types of things that say this gets in the way of the sanctity of 
freedom of the press.
  That is not true. If the President insisted that every person in the 
White House sign a statement--not just asked them to do it, insisted--
under oath, that they did or did not, and then released the journalists 
they might have talked to, we would know who did it.
  Ultimately, as Harry Truman always reminded us, the buck stops with 
the President. This is lawbreaking. This is not just political 
intrigue, this is not just payback, this is lawbreaking of a serious 
crime. Right now, as we speak, we are trying to build up human 
intelligence, which fell too far in the CIA. Right now, as we speak, 
there are American men and women risking their lives in these 
undercover activities. They know that somebody who did the same has 
been put at risk, and there is no strong rush to find out who did it 
and punish them.
  That hurts our intelligence gathering. It hurts our soldiers. It 
hurts the rule of law. On this first anniversary we make a plea to the 
President: It is not too late. Make every person who worked in the 
White House during the time of the leak sign a statement under oath 
either that they did or did not talk to them. If they will not sign it, 
they should not be in the White House anymore. This is too serious to 
treat as everyday politics.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I have spoken with the manager of the bill, 
the Senator from Texas. He has agreed to allow Senator Kennedy to speak 
for 5 minutes, and Senator Reed to go next.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.