World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Conyers Letter To Bush & Cheney Re Libby

Conyers Letter To Bush & Cheney Re Libby

February 10, 2006


The President
The Vice President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President and Mr. Vice President:

Yesterday, the National Journal and AP reported that the Vice President's former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, had testified to a federal grand jury that as part of an effort to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and defend your Administration's use of prewar intelligence, he had been authorized by the Vice President and other White House superiors to leak classified information to journalists.1 Moreover, correspondence filed by Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald also reveals that Mr. Libby has asserted that he had been authorized to disclose to the media a still-classified portion of a National Intelligence Estimate about alleged efforts to develop nuclear weapons to the media.2

If this is true, I am concerned that it constitutes an abuse of power at best, and may be outright unlawful at worst. As I understand the applicable declassification regulations, they provide that "[i]nformation shall be declassified as soon as it no longer meets the standard for classification under this order."3 Under these standards, it would appear that neither classified nuclear information nor Valerie Plame's status as a covert agent or the name of her employer warranted declassification. This is why Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has stated that these leaks were "a serious breach of public trust"4


As a result of these reports, I would like to ask you the following questions:

1. Is the report in the National Journal accurate? Have you or your staffs authorized Mr. Libby or other personnel within the Administration to declassify and leak information to the media relating to the Iraq war and the use of pre-war intelligence on any occasions? If so, please describe.

2. What is the legal basis for authorizing such declassifications and disclosures?

3. On September 30, 2003, the President declared, "[l]isten, I know of nobody - I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information ... If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."5 Do you still stand by the President's pledge and, if so, what action are you planning to take against any individuals who may have authorized the leaks described in the National Journal article?

To the extent you believe any of the information needed to respond to the above questions may be classified or sensitive, I am happy to meet with you or your staffs directly on these matters. I may be reached through my Judiciary Committee office at 202-225-6504, 2142 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Thank you.


Sincerely,


John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member


1 Murray Waas, Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information, National Journal, Feb. 9, 2006 available at http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2006/0209nj1.htm#.

2 Id.

3 Executive Order No. 12958, 68 Fed. Reg. 15,315 (Mar. 28, 2003).

4 Peter Slevin and Carol D. Leonnig, Inquiry as Exacting As Special Counsel Is, Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2005, at A3.

5President George W. Bush, President Discusses Job Creation with Business Leaders, Remarks at University of Chicago (Sept. 30, 2003) (transcript available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030930-9.html).

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Binoy Kampmark: Europe Dries Up
Scenes and pictures have been circulating of broken earth, lacking moisture, cracked and yearning. But these are not from traditional drought-stricken parts of the planet, where the animal carcass assumes near totemic power... More>>



UN: Bachelet Alarmed By Number Of Palestinian Children Killed In Latest Escalation

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet today expressed alarm at the high number of Palestinians, including children, killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory this year, including in intense hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza last weekend... More>>

Save The Children: One Year Under Taliban Rule, Girls Are More Isolated, Hungry, Sad: New Report
One year since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, an economic crisis, crippling drought and new restrictions have shattered girls’ lives, excluding them from society and leaving them hungry...
More>>

Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>



Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>