Index
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2003
Office of Sen. Charles E. Schumer

SCHUMER ASKS MUELLER TO OPEN AN FBI INVESTIGATION INTO ILLEGAL LEAK OF CIA AGENT'S IDENTITY

US Senator Charles Schumer today asked FBI Director Robert Mueller to open an investigation into reports that two senior members of the Bush Administration illegally disclosed the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative. According to Section 421a of the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act, the unauthorized identification of a CIA operative is a criminal act punishable by up to ten years in federal prison.

On July 14, 2003, an article by a syndicated columnist appeared in newspapers across the country identifying Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative specializing in Weapons of Mass Destruction. The columnist quoted ďsenior administration officialsĒ as his sources. Plame is the spouse of long-time State Department veteran Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson recently wrote an op-ed disputing the White House's claims about potential uranium exports from Niger to Iraq, sparking the current debate about whether the White House knowingly manipulated information about Iraq's nuclear program. The disclosure of Plame's identity was part of an apparent attempt to impugn Wilson's credibility and to intimidate others from speaking out against the Administration.

"This is one of the most reckless and nasty things Iíve seen in all my years of government," Schumer said. "Leaking the name of a CIA agent is tantamount to putting a gun to that agentís head. It compromises her safety and the safety of her loved ones, not to mention those in her network and other operatives she may have dealt with. On top of that, the officials who have done it may have also seriously jeopardized the national security of this nation."

The unauthorized disclosure of information relating to the identity of American intelligence officials is a crime punishable by fines and up to 10 years in prison under the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act. The FBI has investigated leaks before, as recently as June 2002 when leaks of classified testimony given to the Committee by National Security Director LT. General Michael V. Hayden. The FBI questioned nearly 100 people, including all 37 members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and some 60 staff members. Vice President Cheney was one of the prime movers behind that investigation, as were the leaders of the Joint Select Committee at the time, Democratic Senator Bob Graham and Republican Representative Porter Goss.

"This current scandal is just as serious as the one from June 2002. Weíre talking about the lives of potentially hundreds of people being put at risk. The FBI needs to find out who made the name of this agent public and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. There can be zero tolerance for this kind of action," Schumer said.

By "burning" Ms. Plame, Schumer said these senior administration officials may have made it impossible for her to do her job. This comes at a time when intelligence in her specialty - Weapons of Mass Destruction - is sorely needed as the threats posed by Iran and North Korea are escalating.

In a letter being sent to Mueller today, Schumer wrote that "By disclosing the identity of a reportedly senior undercover operative who is active in our nationís fight against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Administration officials have possibly endangered Ms. Plame and her entire network of intelligence contacts in order to avoid political embarrassment. In the process, they may also have undermined our national security just as the specter of WMD threats from North Korea and Iran loom on the horizon."

"If that facts that have been reported publicly are true, it is clear that a crime was committed. The only questions remaining to be answered are who committed the crime and why," Schumer's letter continued.

For a copy of Schumer's letter click here.

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Source: http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/pressroom/press_releases/PR01889.html


July 24, 2003

The Honorable Robert Mueller
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20429

Dear Director Mueller:

I am writing to request that you launch an immediate criminal investigation into reports that two senior members of the Bush Administration made the identity of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative public.

According to several recent news accounts, two senior Administration officials last week distributed unsolicited information indicating that Valerie Plame, the spouse of long-time State Department veteran Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a CIA operative. This disclosure was part of an apparent attempt to discredit Ambassador Wilsonís findings about potential uranium exports from Niger to Iraq and intimidate other officials from speaking their minds.

As you are aware, the unauthorized disclosure of information relating to the identity of an American intelligence official is a crime punishable by fines and up to 10 years in prison under the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act. On Tuesday of this week, the White House denied that it had given any authorization to release such information on Ms. Plame. It is essential, therefore, that you discover source of this information because it would appear that a significant intelligence asset has been illegally compromised.

By disclosing the identity of a reportedly senior undercover operative who is active in our nationís fight against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Administration officials have possibly endangered Ms. Plame and her entire network of intelligence contacts in order to avoid political embarrassment. In the process, they may also have undermined our national security just as the specter of WMD threats from North Korea and Iran loom on the horizon.

If the facts that have been reported publicly are true, it is clear that a crime was committed. The only questions remaining to be answered are who committed the crime and why? I request that you immediately launch an investigation to determine the source of this information and assess whether there is enough evidence to refer the matter for criminal prosecution.

Sincerely,

Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator

Source: http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/pressroom/press_releases/PR01888.html