Saturday, March 17, 2007

Plamely Speaking

On Friday, March 16, 2007, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform examined the exposure of covert CIA agent's (Valerie Plame) identity:
The Oversight Committee held a hearing on whether White House officials followed appropriate procedures for safeguarding the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. At the hearing, the Committee received testimony from Ms. Wilson and other experts regarding the disclosure and internal White House security procedures for protecting her identity from disclosure and responding to the leak after it occurred.

Valerie Plame Wilson's appearance before the Committee:

Part 1 - Committee Chair Henry Waxman's opening statement

Highlights: "Today we'll be asking three questions:

1.) How did such a serious violation of our national security occur?

2.) Did the White House take the appropriate investigative and disciplinary steps after the breach occurred?

3.) What changes in White House procedures are necessary to prevent future violations of our national security from occurring?

For more than three years a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald has been investing the leak for its criminal implications. By definition, Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation had an extremely narrow criminal focus. it did not answer the broader policy questions raised by the release of Ms. Wilson's identity, nor did it seek to ascribe responsibility outside of the narrow confines of the criminal law. As the chief investigative committee of the House of Representatives, our role is fundamentally different than Mr. Fitzgerald's. It's not our job to determine criminal culpability, but it is our job to understand what went wrong and to insist on accountability and to make recommendations to avoid future abuses, and we begin that process today."

Part 2 - Ranking Member Tom Davis' opening statement

Highlights: "It's all the CIA's fault."

Part 3 - Valerie Plame Wilson's opening statement

Part 4 - Congressman John Yarmuth [D-KY] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: For future CIA employees and future sources, the leak had a very negative effect, "If our government can't even protect my identity, future foreign agents who might consider working with the CIA in providing needed intelligence would think twice, 'They can't even protect one of their own; how can they protect me?'"

Part 5 - Congressman Paul Hodes [D-NH] questions Valerie Plame Wilson


Part 6 - Congressman Tom Davis' [R-VA] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: The latest Republican talking point: "It's all Bill Clinton's the CIA's fault!"

Part 7 - Congressman Elijah Cummings [D-MD] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: Wilson clarifies whether she worked covert, undercover, "I was a covert officer in the CIA. Just like a general is general, whether he is in the field (in Iraq or Afghanistan), when he comes back to the Pentagon, he's still a general. In the same way, covert operations officers who are serving in the field, when they rotate back for a temporary assignment in D.C., they, too, are still covert."

Part 8 - Congressman Lynn Westmoreland [R-GA] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "The Bush administration blew my cover."

Part 9 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich [D-OH] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "I'm not aware of any leaks of a covert agent's identity by their own government."

Part 10 - Congresswoman Diane Watson [D-CA] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "The CIA has confirmed your status was covert and classified."

Part 11 - Representative Stephen Lynch [D-MA] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "Once or twice might be a careless disclosure, five or six times might be reckless, but 20 times is a deliberate attempt to destroy your status as a covert agent."

Part 12 - Representative Chris Van Hollen [D-MD] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "Are there any leakers still in the Bush administration?"

Part 13 - Representative John Sarbannes [D-MD] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "It paints a picture of an administration of bullies."

Part 14 - Representatives Lynn Westmoreland [R-GA] and Tom Davis [R-VA] question Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlights: "Is your husband (Ambassador Joe Wilson) a Democrat or a Republican, and would you say whether you are a Democrat or a Republican?"

Part 15 - Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton [D-District of Columbia] questions Valerie Plame Wilson

Highlight: Executive Order #121958, and "Why did Karl Rove, with a 'need-to-know'-clearance, need to know your identity?"

Part 16 - Representative Tom Davis [R-VA] clarifies earlier testimony ("He did it!") with Valerie Plame

Highlights: "Outing a CIA agent is a very very serious business."

Part 17 - Chairman Henry Waxman wraps up the Valerie Plame Wilson portion of the hearing with comments by Representatives Watson, Davis and Hodes

Highlights: "Mrs. Wilson, facts are not 'Republican' or 'Democrat'."

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