rawstory.comSenior Democrats seek assurances, final leak investigation rThu Oct 13, 2005 04:3222.214.171.124
Senior Democrats seek assurances, final leak investigation report
The ranking member on the House Permanent Committee on Select Intelligence along with other senior Democrats issued a letter today requesting that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald submit a final and public report on his two-year investigation into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.
The letter, released to RAW STORY, requests “assurance that, upon completion” of the investigation “[Fitzgerald] will submit a final public report to Congress of all indictments, convictions, and any decisions not to prosecute.” Normally, special prosecutors are required to submit a report to the U.S. Attorney General. Fitzgerald's Grand Jury expires Oct. 28.
Signed by Jane Harman (D-CA), John Conyers (D-Michigan), Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), the letter expresses concern about any possible appearance of political influence and for possible acquiescence of legal authorities given the high level status of those under investigation.
“Such a report would ensure Congress and the American people that the investigation of this serious matter has been undertaken with the utmost diligence and has been free of partisan, political influence,” the letter states.
U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the outing of CIA officer Valerie Wilson, who worked under deep cover as on weapons of mass destruction, has ensnared two high level White House officials, landed a journalist in jail and may possibly result in charges against senior White House officials.
Mrs. Wilson’s cover was blown in 2003 after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, penned an op-ed for the New York Times debunking a story asserting Iraq sought weapons-grade uranium from Niger. At the time, the claim was being used as the primary evidence for allegations that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Documents surrounding the assertions turned out to be forgeries.
Allegations in recent months have surrounded I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - Chief of Staff to the Vice President and co-writer of the Administration's policy on preemptive war, and Karl Rove, senior advisor to President Bush. Both discussed and may have leaked Mrs. Wilson’s cover to reporters.
Other alleged conspirators include members of the White House Iraq Group (also known as WHIG), such as Karen Hughes - Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, as well as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.
Given the high level status of those allegedly involved, the House ranking members who issued the letter also want assurance that Fitzgerald’s case will not be in any way impeded by other appointed officials.
“Should your inquiry reveal that existing legal authorities are insufficient to ensure successful prosecution of these kinds of breaches, Congress should be made aware of that fact immediately,” the members state.
Harman serves as ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Holt as ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy. Conyers is the ranking member on the House Committee on the Judiciary; Lantos sits as ranking member on the House Committee on International Relations.
The letter follows.
October 11, 2005
Dear Mr. Fitzgerald:
We write to seek your assurance that, upon completion of your long-running investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name, you will submit a final and public report to Congress of all indictments, convictions, and any decisions not to prosecute. Such a report would ensure Congress and the American people that the investigation of this serious matter has been undertaken with the utmost diligence and has been free of partisan, political influence.
When then-Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey announced your appointment on December 30, 2003, he stated that you would be a special counsel outside the Department's normal chain of command. In fact, the letter indicating your appointment stated you would "exercise [the authority of Special Counsel] independent of the supervision or control of any officer of the Department." Comey later clarified that not only did you have jurisdiction over the leak and any related offenses, such as conspiracy and perjury and obstruction of justice, but also that "[his] conferral on you of the title of 'Special Counsel' in this matter should not be misunderstood to suggest that your position and authorities are defined and limited by [the Department's special counsel regulations]." As a result, you have plenary authority to direct the investigation and notify the American public of your progress.
Such a report would be essential for Congress to ensure the effectiveness of our oversight responsibilities as we seek to do all we can to protect the men and women who go in harm's way by serving America as undercover intelligence officers. Should your inquiry reveal that existing legal authorities are insufficient to ensure successful prosecution of these kinds of breaches, Congress should be made aware of that fact immediately. Congress and the administration have a responsibility to ensure that our judicial system has the tools necessary to ensure that those who violate oaths to protect classified information and the identities of federal undercover intelligence officers are brought to justice.
We trust you will inform Congress of your results upon the completion of your important investigation.
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