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Bush Lied: White House Never Investigated Leak

Bush Lied: White House Never Investigated Leak

LIVE BLOGGING Waxman Hearing Part 2
By David Swanson

The media left the room on Thursday when Valerie Plame did. The first part of the hearing in which she testified was indeed interesting:

But of more importance to our nation, I believe, was the testimony that followed. It came from these two witnesses: Dr. James Knodell, Director, Office of Security, The White House; Mr. Bill Leonard, Director, Information Security Oversight Office, National Archives and Records Administration.

Find video and testimony and other information here:

The testimony was given under oath.

As the second panel of the hearing began, one Republican and six Democrats were present as members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

12:20 p.m.: Chairman Henry Waxman: Knodell, you are in charge at the White House of protecting classified info under executive order 12958?

K: Yes.

HW: Any WH employee who has knowledge of the loss or compromise of classified info must report it to you?

K: Yes.

HW: And to you, Leonard?

L: Yes.

HW: And that's whether it happens intentionally or unintentionally?

L: Yes.

HW: Ari Fleischer talked to reporters. Did he tell you?

K: I thought we agreed not to discuss specific investigations. [Note that he suggests there are investigations at this point in the hearing.]

HW: No, we said we would not discuss the Libby case.

K: It's before my time, I began in August 2004.

HW: Are you aware?

K: No.

HW: Are you aware if there was any investigation?

K: I am not aware. [Note that now he does not know whether there have been investigations.]

HW: Did Rove come forward re talking to Novak and Cooper?

K: I have no knowledge.

HW: Are you aware there has been a lot of concern about this for the past 2.5 years?

K: Yes.

HW: Did you learn that in the WH?

K: From the press.

HW: If someone notifies your office of a compromise of classified info, is a report filed?

K: Yes.

HW: Is there any report on file related to this?

K: No, there is not any report on file.

HW: Mr. Leonard, does the law require that a report be filed in these cases?

L: Yes.

HW; Knodell, any disiplinary action taken against Rove?

K: No, none taken.

Republican Rep. Davis: We have to be informed of witenesses three days ahead, and we learned of these witnesses yesterday. We understand there was talk of a subpoena.

K: Yes.

Davis: The minority on the committee was not part of that.

HW: The minority staff was made aware of these witnesses for weeks. Yesterday the White House said K would not testify. I suggested a subpoena. He agreed to testify.

David goes on with trying – as he did in the first section of the hearing – to blame the CIA for not telling Novak not to publish (which Valerie Plame Wilson told him the CIA did do).

Democratic Rep. Cummings: There's no report?

K: None.

EC: So, there has been no investigation?

K: Not by my office. [Note that he now knows whether there has been an investigation and says there has not. All of this is under oath.]

EC: No sanctions?

K: No.

EC: Your main purpose is to keep these things from happening?

K: Yes. This was before my time.

EC: You look into it?

K: No.

[Why do the Dems never subpoena the predecessor so that excuse can't end it?]

HW: President Bush said he was investigating this. There was no investigation?

K: Not by my office.

HW: Isn't there an obligation to investigate?

K: Yes.

EC: If Rove involved he had a duty to report?

K: Yes, at time of occurrence. [As if he no longer does.]

HW: The Fitzgerald investigation [speaking of people who should be subpoenaed] did not start for months. There was an obligation by the WH for an immediate investigation, perhaps to revoke security clearances, to take disciplinary action, and to find out what happened. Correct?

Leonard: Yes.

HW: Right after the Novak column the CIA was so angered that they wrote a letter to the Justice Dept. But the WH still did not investigate?

L: Right.

At this point Somebody shouts Impeach Cheney First! And leaves the room.

Democratic Rep. Diane Watson: Libby was informed by the State Dept., the CIA, the VP, and another aide to the VP. But how did Rove learn? Mr. Knodell, the WH should have conducted an investigation – would that be you?

K: Yes, my office.

DW: How did Rove learn?

K: I don't know.

DW: You've been on the job how long?

K: Since August 2004.

DW: and you can't tell us?

K: There's been no investigation.

DW: That's a dereliction of duty. Mr. Chairman, we ought to investigate why his office has not done an investigation.

12:46 Rep. Chris Van Hollen: Is it WH policy that you can't do an investigation while a criminal investigation is underway?

K: No. The investigation should be done.

CVH: Why no investigation now?

K: [silence….] I'll take this back and review this with senior management, if the criminal investigation is completed.

CVH: But you just said…

K: No, we can't do an investigation while a criminal investigation is underway.

L: There's no clear cut rule on that.

CVH: The GAO says that many federal employees have lost their security clearances pending criminal investigations, including a Seargent who leaked Abu Ghraib crimes.

12:53: Rep. Davis: Blah, blah, blah.

H Waxman: Bush said he was doing an investigation, said the guilty would be fired, heads would role. But he did no investigation.

12:55: Democratic Rep. Hodes: Who was your predecessor [Finally, there it is.]?

K: Jeffrey Thompson.

H: Where is he now.

K: Last I heard he'd moved down to Georgia. [Gotta think he's moving a little farther about now.]

H: Did he brief you?

K: No.

H: What discussions if any have you had with the President regarding whether to do any investigation?

K: None.
H: With Cheney?

K: None.

H: With Rove?

K: None.

With anyone at all?

K: None. [This is under oath for godsake!]

H: So when you say you're going to take it back to senior management, you mean you're going to go back and talk to yourself?

K: At this point Knodell says he reports to Tom Dreier the Deputy Chief Operations Officer for the Office of Administration, who reports to Sandra Evans (same title without the "Deputy"), who reports to the Director of the Office of Administration, who reports to Bush.

NOTE: Now Hodes gets to the heart of it!

Hodes: Is leaking classified information, such as a classified NIE, a crime?

K: Yes.

H: If more than one person involved, a criminal conspiracy?

K: Yes.

H: Libby told to tell Judith Miller by Cheney who said Bush approved. Have you ever seen such selective declassification before?

Leonard: No.

Hodes: How, if Libby had authority from Cheney and Bush to leak, could the administration still claim the NIE was classified for 10 days and then declassify it?

Leonard: Prez has absolute authority.

Hodes: Could he choose to leak selections to selected reporters and keep it otherwise classified?

L: Yes.

1:01 p.m.

Eleanor Holmes Norton: Knodell, do you have any authority to begin any investigations or actions?

At this point Knodell says effectively No, and then changes it to Yes.

EHN: Can others stop you?

K: That's never happened.

EHN then shows a video of Scott McClellan claiming that Rove et al said they had nothing to do with it.

EHN: Why does Rove still have security clearance?

K: A criminal investigation found no criminal wrongdoing?

EHN: So, even if security of nation at stake, you wait for a slow process with a much higher standard of proof?


Cummings: The law prohibits negligent as well as knowing disclosures of classified info?

Knodell: Yes.

Diane Watson at this point asks Knodell if he thinks he has carried out his duties.

Waxman says not to ask harsh questions.

Watson says she wants to know what responsibility his position has.

Knodell again says there is a criminal proceeding underway.

DW: It's over.

K: I have not been notified that it's over.

H Waxman: Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" claims to use lots of classified info. There seems to be a pattern of discolures that are not investigated.

K: I know nothink.

HW: But critics of the administration get a different treatment, e.g. Secretary O'Neill, the NSA spying story, etc… Investigations are immediately announced.

Davis: Blah, blah, blahde blah.

1:20 p.m. There are four Dems (Waxman, Van Hollen, Hodes, Norton), and one Repub. (Davis) left.

CVH: Two months after the leak Scott McClellan said over 30 times that he had no knowledge of leaks. I guess we know why.

Hodes: Aren't security clearances reviewed every 5 years?

Knodell: Yes.

H: Rove's in 2006?

K: I know nothink.

H: It would be documented?

K: Yes.

H: If someone leaked classified info and lied about it, would that be considered important in a review?

K: Yes.

H: Are any questions raised in your mind about this: might you go back and ask questions?

K: We could do that, talk to senior management…

H: WILL YOU do it and tell us what you and senior management discuss and decide?

K: Yes.

H: When was Libby's security clearance revoked?

K: The day he resigned.

1:29 p.m. Eleanor Holmes Norton: Did any of the officials on the chart have a need to know?

K: I dunno.

EHN: based on their positions?

K: I dunno.

EHN: So, you can think of a circumstance when one of those officials would need to know the identity of a covert agent?

K: I dunno.

EHN: You're the fall guy here. Maybe someone more independent should do an investigation?

At this point Waxman says Norton's time has expired unless Knodell wants to answer the question, which of course he says he does not. I'll answer it: YES!!!!!!!!! CONGRESS!!!!!!!!!!!


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