Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing
an Intelligence Operative”
DASCHLE: This meeting of the Democratic Policy Committee will
begin. Earlier this year, someone publicly and willfully disclosed one
of this nation's most protected and valuable national security
secrets: the identity of an intelligence operative.
With this act, the person or persons responsible not only placed
at risk the personal safety of an individual, but they also placed at
risk the security of every American.
The importance of intelligence agents to our national security at this point in
our history simply cannot be
engaged in a war in
Regarding the critical role human intelligence plays in our
larger effort against terror, President Bush recently said, ``The last
several months have shown there is no substitute for good intelligence
officers, people on the ground. These are the people who find the
targets, follow our enemies and help us disrupt their evil plans.''
Just as there is unanimity in the importance of human
intelligence, Democrats and Republicans agree publicly disclosing
the identities of these assets cause great harm.
According to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, quote, ``Leaks put
people's lives at risk.'' And I think that the people in any branch
of government have an obligation to manage their mouths in a way that
does not put people's lives at risk. Folks that leak and put people's lives at risk ought to
be in jail. Former President George H.W. Bush put it even more succinctly:
``I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust
by exposing the names of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.''
We are fortunate to have with us today people who have
collectively served their country in the intelligence community for
several decades. We are joined today by Jim Marcinkowski, a former
CIA case officer; Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst; and Vince
Cannistraro, a former senior CIA officer.
These three men are here today because they believe that having
the opportunity to serve our nations as intelligence officers was a
great honor. Through their testimony today we will have a better
understanding of the importance of human intelligence assets and the
damage that results when their identities are disclosed.
As we work to work to examine the full ramifications of this leak
on individual intelligence agents, our intelligence community and our
national security, their expertise will help us to come up with ways
to prevent future threats of this nature.
These men come here not as Democrats or Republicans but as
Americans. Their presence demonstrates that their commitment to serve
this great nation did not end when they left public service.
Given the open nature of this discussion -- this is not a
classified meeting or hearing -- we will respect, obviously, the
importance of maintaining our respect for the intelligence data
with which we all work.
I'm grateful for their appearance today and before I call on
each of them for their comments, let me call first on the ranking member
of the Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller.
ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Leader.
And I'm also very pleased to re-welcome Mr. Marcinkowski, Larry
Johnson and Vince Cannistraro. We were fortunate enough yesterday to
have James Marcinkowski with us in a closed meeting.
And he gave us very, very excellent and important testimony.
I'm particularly glad that you two other gentlemen join him here.
These are all men who have enormous experience. In the case of
Mr. Marcinkowski, he has served not only in the military and the FBI,
but the CIA. So he's got a full range -- a prosecutor, a lawyer. He
knows the full gamut of all that's involved here.
It may seem odd that we're doing this in, kind of, an open
session and yet discussing matters which border on intelligence.
Yet the fact -- as the leader said -- is that intelligence is now simply
integral to the lives of every American.
Policy and intelligence go back and forth. War-fighting and
intelligence go back and forth. They're joined at the hip. There
isn't a separation between collection and analysis and then policies;
all the same. And it's even so stated in the resolution which created
our Intelligence Committee in the Senate.
So it plays an enormous role in our lives and that's why this
outing and comments which these gentlemen will have to make on that
and the effect of that become so incredibly important.
You get something of this sort when somebody is simply exposed.
Then it becomes a public matter in a very, very different way.
I have to tell you, when I first learned of the leak, I found
that -- I think I used the word ``vile''; today I'll use the word
``revolting'' or both. We immediately requested that the CIA take
action to determine the source of the leak. We have nothing from that
yet. The CIA has since asked, as you know, the Justice Department to
undertake a criminal investigation and that is ongoing.
On the other hand, I have to tell you that I'm very, very
concerned -- and it is quite possible that Mr. Marcinkowski will say
the same thing -- that this is being carried out by the Department of
Justice headed by John Ashcroft. I think most of us have called for a special
counsel. We do not do so for political reasons, we do so for
intelligence and national security reasons, that we get an independent
understanding of how this came about.
I think that's terribly important. I do not think it is possible
for the attorney general to be impartial in this matter.
And it was clearly, you know, from the White House that these
leaks came, and from high administration officials, however you want
to interpret that. So we do have an investigation going, and I do not believe that
the Intelligence Committee can therefore, sort of, double-cross or
double-do that investigation. But believe me, while it's going on,
and depending what happens afterwards, we'll be following it very
closely, and then we'll decide what to do after that.
I also want to say that Senators Biden, Levin, Senator Daschle
and myself requested a damage assessment from the national
counterintelligence executive. That's the crux of what these three
gentlemen are going to be talking about.
Since this case appears to involve the publication of classified
information, we believe that damage assessment should be immediately
taken so that swift action can be taken so that this does not happen again.
Finally, as you three men sit here before us, I must tell you
that I'm extremely disappointed by the reaction from the White House.
I'm especially concerned that this apparent leak is attributed to one
of the president's to aides, or a top official, and that it may have
been done for political gain or for retribution. I personally, just
from a personal point of view, believe it was meant to send a message.
That has the most disastrous effects on the ability of the CIA to
recruit, but more importantly, it has unbelievable effects, which will
be explained, on the ability for people to be secure and to carry out
their lives, in fact to keep their lives.
The president should be committed to finding out who did this.
He should be a part of it. He's been rather tepid; sort of detached
from the process. He should call people in and on his own make very
clear to the American people that this is a matter of extreme
importance to him, intelligence being the root of what it is that alerts the country to danger.
And danger is amongst us and danger is all around us.
So in my judgment it's way past time for the president to send
this strong message and I hope that he will do and I hope that he will
be hearing about this hearing this morning.
The Valerie Plame case seems to be in part, I will have to say,
in conclusion of an unfortunate trend. And that is, intelligence is,
kind of, an interesting thing to leak, to out people, to play with
when, in fact, it's, sort of, the fundamental underpinning of the
national security of the American people and now one can talk, with
the war on terrorism, way beyond that.
So I want to thank the individuals for coming, I want to thank
Senator Daschle, the Democratic leader, for having a chance to have
all of this -- be able to listen to what these gentlemen have to say. I thank you.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Senator Rockefeller. Senator Harkin?
HARKIN: Leader, thank you very much. And again I join in
thanking you for calling this very important hearing today on this
matter of vital national interest.
I was reading the resumes of each of these men sitting here
before us. I don't know either -- any one of you personally, but I
have certainly read your backgrounds and I just want to thank you --
each one of you -- for the service you've given to our country.
I think that many times those of us who've served in the
military, we tend to think that those who defend our country always
have on a uniform. There are a lot of non-uniform people who give
their lives for this country and who are in the most dangerous of
situations time and time again, in order that we have the information
and the intelligence that we need to defend our country. And so, I
thank you all for your great public service that you've given in the
past and continue to give today. I have a lot of concerns about what had happened here with this
exposure, but perhaps my biggest concern that I keep talking about on
the floor of the Senate is the chilling effect -- the possible
chilling effect that this might have on those who are out there in the
front lines in the intelligence-gathering service getting this information we need.
Now, people might dispute this, but I've often said that the most
important thing we have in our battle against international terrorism
is not smart bombs and missiles and B-1 bombers and F-22s and Joint Strike Fighters.
I mean, they're important for other things. But the most important thing is to get the
information first, so we can nip it in the bud, get to these people before they can cause damage. And that means adequate, accurate information and intelligence.
And I'm concerned about this chilling effect, and if any of you
might address that in your remarks, of what this might mean to agents
in the field and their contacts that they have; and what happens if
one of our agents in a very dangerous place is gathering information
and has contacts, but maybe they'll be outed at some time.
I mean, what does that do to a person's kind of psyche, in terms of how they
operate and how they work?
And so, I worry about that, not only Ms. Plame herself, whom I
don't know -- I've never met -- but just all of the other agents that
are out there, and what that might means in terms of that chilling effect.
Lastly, I must state publicly that there almost appears to be a
double standard here emanating at least from the White House. Since
September 11th, the White House has stressed -- rightfully so, I
believe -- the critical importance of human intelligence in tracking
down these terrorist groups and their leaders.
Until this leak of the CIA covert agent's identity, the
administration quickly cracked down
on anyone -- including
senators, I might add -- who leaked classified information to the press.
But if the purpose of a leak is to discredit or intimidate an
administration critic, well, that seems to be another story. And in
that case, national security takes a back seat.
And so, I'm concerned about this, kind of, double standard --
both the chilling effect and this double standard and what this means
to the intelligence services of our country.
So again, Mr. Chairman, it's a very important hearing. I thank
you for your leadership on this and I especially also want to thank
Senator Rockefeller for his leadership on the Intelligence Committee.
DASCHLE: Thank you very much, Senator Harkin, for your comments.
And let me ask now for the former chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham for his comments.
GRAHAM: Thank you, Senator Daschle. I will try to make my
comments brief, so that we can get on to the testimony of our three witnesses.
I'd like to ask two questions: Why is this issue of leaks of the
identity of a covert agent important and what has been done since we
became aware of those leaks? I think it's important, particularly in this period of
the war on terror, because one of the deficiencies that's been counted
as a reason that we do so little about the events that were coming on
September 11th was that we did not have persons within these terrorist
cells who could report as to the capabilities of intentions. That is
an extremely dangerous undertaking. This disclosure of a covert agent
makes it even more dangerous.
Second, we understand that we are not going to win the war on
terror without strong foreign relationships with those countries that
have the greatest ability to assist in effective pursuit of the war on
terror. Those relationships are damaged by this type of disclosure,
since frequently covert agents are also working with foreign
governments and they have a very high interest in not having that
This undercuts the morale of agents and the
confidence of foreign governments
in the activities of the
It also discloses or further underscores a pattern of selective
intelligence. There are provisions within, for instance, the report
which the Senate and House Intelligence Committees completed almost a
year ago which relates to events leading up to 9/11 which have yet to
be made available to the public. I can state that those currently
censored sections have much less national security importance than the
leak of the name of this covert agent. So it appears as if there is
a, as Senator Harkin said, double standard being used as to what's
made public and what is withheld. Second, what are some of the
questions that we ought to be pursuing?
These would include who in the White House was aware of
Ambassador Wilson's wife CIA role and why were they made available,
why were they made knowledgeable of that covert relationship? What is
the White House procedures as to how to deal with leaks of
confidential information? When did the White House first become aware
of this leak of information? What actions were instituted by the
White House and what was the result of such inquiries within the White House itself?
And when was a damage assessment ordered, by whom, the CIA, the
White House or others? What has been learned from that damage
assessment? And what actions have been taken, based upon it?
Mr. Leader, those are some of the questions that I hope we could
at least begin the process of unraveling this morning. Thank you.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Senator Graham. They're certainly important questions.
Before I call upon Senator Lautenberg and Senator Levin, Senator
Rockefeller had a postscript to add to his initial comments.
ROCKEFELLER: It just occurs to me, so clearly, so compellingly
that there's such a parallel between what we are about to hear this
morning and what we are discussing this morning and the work which is
going on in the Senate Intelligence Committee, where it appears, at
least to me -- Senator Levin can speak for himself -- but it appears
to me that there is a very, very clear effort being made to blame
everything on the Intelligence community and steer, by all means, away
from anything that has anything to do with anybody in the administration at higher-up levels or elsewhere.
This is most unfortunate. I think it's very clear and I'll be glad to talk to about it later.
DASCHLE: Senator Lautenberg?
LAUTENBERG: Very briefly, Mr. Chairman, thank you for doing
this, because perhaps we can clear up some of the history that surrounds this.
The public has certainly, in addition to ourselves, purportedly
in a position to know what's happening, are dumbfounded by the mystery
that, A, this kind of disregard for life and well-being might be
approved by people in the administration, people at the highest level;
and the intimidation that accompanies this. What are we functioning as
here, that in matters as sensitive as this, at as critical a time as this, to be willing to
threaten someone in the intelligence service with exposure to life and
limb is shocking beyond comprehension.
So, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to be here, and
I'm very anxious to hear from our witnesses.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Senator Lautenberg. Senator Levin?
LEVIN: Thank you very much, Leader.
It's very important that Americans hear the testimony of today's
witnesses. The outing of a CIA undercover agent is a vicious and a
premeditated act. It not only endangers the individual's life and
career, it damages our nation's efforts to protect Americans as a whole.
And among the many questions which I know our witnesses will
address will be the very broad underlying question of to what extent
does the outing of an agent hinder the ability of the CIA to recruit
foreign assets to address threats to this nation in the future.
Will people being asked abroad to give us information be less
likely to give us that information secretly if they think that the
person to whom they're giving that information may be publicly
identified at a later time?
That is a significant security threat to this nation, as well as,
obviously, a personal threat to the individual involved. Thank you.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Senator Levin.
With those opening comments, let me first call on Mr. Cannistraro
for his public remarks. Thank you, Senators, for inviting me here today.
I'll make my comments as brief as possible.
I think it's very important to understand the context in which
this leak occurred. We had a pattern of pressure directed at CIA
analysts for a long period of time beginning almost immediately after
September 11th in those disastrous events. The pressure was directed
at providing supporting information data for the belief that Saddam
Hussein was, one, linked to global terrorism and, two, was a clear
danger not only to his neighbors
but to the
And in support of that argument assertions were made that he was
about to renew a nuclear program and was attempting to acquire uranium
Toward December of 2001, intelligence report was received in
acquire yellow cake uranium ore in
countries. The vice president of
officials in the administration seized on this information as a proof
that Saddam was that clear and present danger and needed to be
addressed immediately in order to eliminate that danger.
The vice president and his chief of staff went out to CIA
headquarters on a number of occasions -- at least on two occasions --
specifically to address the questions of weapons of mass destruction
and the attempt to acquire a nuclear capability. These meetings, I'm
told secondhand, were contentious, but the vice president insisted
that there must be some support for this reporting of the yellow cake
acquisition attempt. CIA analysts, I'm told, didn't have any
independent data to verify that, but as a result of the insistent
pressure being applied to the analysts and particularly to the
nonproliferation center, the CIA did send, as they've said publicly,
Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson on a
fact-finding mission to
choice to go on fact-finding mission, particularly to a place which
was not a critical area for
have high-level intelligence representation.
As we know, Ambassador Wilson's report found no support for the
allegations of a uranium
acquisition attempt in
obviously, not persuasive to the administration officials, both in the
Pentagon, at the National Security Council and in the Vice President's
Office, because public assertions about the renewed nuclear program
were made insistently after CIA reporting.
The CIA's memoranda went, as you know, to the White House, the
Vice President's Office, to the Pentagon, was distributed widely
within the National Security Council.
Despite the lack of evidence, the assertions were made
repeatedly. It was obvious that they weren't persuasive. And after
Ambassador Wilson went public, after a series of leaks in the press,
that there was no support for that uranium claim, the leak against
her status as a clandestine officer of the CIA was exposed.
There were, in my view, two purposes in that. One was to trash
Ambassador Wilson and to undermine the findings that he had
which were that there was no evidence that the uranium attempt was true.
And secondly, to demonstrate an underlying contempt for the
professional intelligence community -- CIA in particular.
Many of the people in the administration who were
publicly identified as ideologues and members of the group that
advocated war in
with DIA -- the Pentagon's own intelligence service -- because it
didn't consistently provide the supporting data for the public
So it seems to me that they were trying to not only undermine and
trash Ambassador Wilson, but to demonstrate their contempt for CIA by
bringing Valerie's name into it. Wasn't germane to their argument,
but they brought it in there deliberately, vindictively in, in my
judgment, a dirty trick. I pass my comments on to my colleagues.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Mr. Cannistraro for your comments.
And we'll now turn to Mr. Johnson.
JOHNSON: Thank you, Senator. I have submitted a statement in writing. It's not just my
statement but it is reflective of two other colleagues, Brent Calvin
(ph) and Mike Grimaldi (ph), who were also with me and with Ambassador
Intelligence Agency in September of 1985.
And we come at this as colleagues of hers. You know, in
motive for doing these things. And when you look at the case of
Ambassador Wilson, I've heard some ludicrous claims that what he's
really trying to do is position himself for a new job in a Democratic administration.
I've spoken with Ambassador Wilson and told him, I said. ``If you
want to go back in government you've got to be out of your mind.
You get to take a pay cut. You get to work seven days a week and you
get to be blamed when sometimes things go right.'' So I really don't see the up side.
We are angry -- as we don't even like to use Ambassador Wilson
wife's in public -- we're angry. It's not like she's a close personal
friend and we've been corresponding over the years. The fact of the
matter was, I didn't realize Ambassador Wilson was married to her
until two days after the story appeared, because when we went to
training we knew each other by last names.
Bob Gates, when he was at CIA -- I know there are things you can
criticize about former Director Gates, but the one thing that he did
that was really good, he brought the members of the directorate of
operations, intelligence, science and technology, put us together in a career trainee course.
And what that course did was, it has forged bonds which
endure 18 years since. Some of us haven't seen each other in 10
years, but that bond of trust is strong.
We didn't have to hold hearings after the attacks on 9/11 to
prove to people that we had been damaged by terrorists. And the
reason is the American people and the world watched as the planes hit
the towers, as the towers fell, as bodies were carried out of the
Pentagon. It was visible; we saw it.
How do we show the damage done here? We can't. In fact, if we
could reveal the nature of this damage and all of its ramifications,
we would end up compromising the very sources and methods that we are obligated to protect.
Now, one other interesting thing about the three of us that
submitted this written comment: We're all Republicans. We all voted
for Bush. And we all contributed funds to him.
Now, that may immediately call into question my judgment in front
of you, but I just wanted to use that as a disclosure, because what
sickens me about this process is the partisan nature that the White
House has allowed it to take on.
I would not be as angry if I had heard Scott McClellan, the
president's spokesman, on the day that this happened said, ``This is an
outrage and we're going to find out what did it.''
Instead, what we saw was a partisan assault on Joe Wilson and his
wife. They contributed money to Democratic candidates.
Well, nobody said anything when Joe Wilson voted for George Bush
Sr. twice and voted for Bob Dole. He wasn't a partisan then. They
didn't send his money back when he sent it to the Republicans.
And instead of the White House delivering a clear, strong message
that this is as an egregious attack on this country as what happened
on 9/11, they persist in these rumor mills being sent out.
You see it today in the Washington Times, some FBI agent saying,
``We need to be out finding terrorists instead of investigating this
leak.'' If an FBI agent believes that, that man or woman needs to be
put on suspension, because they don't understand -- they don't
understand the threat that this represents to this country.
Because the message that's sent is, I think, as the senators have
correctly note, one of intimidation. This is not the first case or
the first time this happened. If you recall late last year, when Undersecretary
views on the bio-weapons threat in
so by the intelligence community. And the person who wound up in the
bull's eye was the national
intelligence officer for
whose name was brought up in the press and there were efforts to have him removed from his position.
Why? Well, he had worked at the Clinton National Security
Council. And what people don't know about that individual is actually
he started out in
But what this man did was he tried to prevent an inaccurate view
of intelligence being presented to the Congress and instead received
the intimidation of pressure to try to have him outed.
To Director Tenet's credit, Director Tenet protected him.
But there are some bullies in this administration, and the
essence of being a bully is being a coward. And I expect President
Bush -- having voted for him, I expected something different from him.
I expected him to call him out immediately and not tolerate it.
We have -- in terms of career-enhancing moves, this is not one of
the smarter things I've probably done. And when people go back
through and try to find out, ``What can we find that's sordid and
unwise and things that Larry has said in the past, where he's opened
his mouth and probably shouldn't have?'' you'll find that.
But at the end of the day, we're here because we're Americans. I
think that the level of partisan -- I call it poisonous partisan
politics in this town has sunk to a level that it has got to stop.
And unfortunately, it's a curb on both sides.
The shame, I guess, we should feel when we live in a society
where someone like former Senator McGovern is vilified as an appeaser
and sellout when he was in the
belly of a bomber flying over
and he's the appeaser and yet we have President Nixon who's upheld as
this combat veteran who wasn't in combat. We find a book out now by
Ann Coulter calling -- you know, if you're a Democrat, you're almost a
traitor. What happened to Ambassador Wilson's wife is symptomatic of that
partisan poison and it has got to stop. And that is my bottom-line plea to you
and to everyone that's listening in this town.
DASCHLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson. Mr. Marcinkowski?
MARCINKOWSKI: Senators, good morning. It's truly an honor to
appear and for you to take the time to delve into this, I think,
unprecedented and most important event.
The times we live in, according to Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, he states we have entered what may very well prove to be the
most dangerous security environment the world has ever known. It's
because of the danger of that environment that the discussion
involving the exposure of this clandestine intelligence officer is
vitally important to the national security.
I'd like to speak about two separate issues: first, the act of
the exposure itself and the damage that that has caused; and perhaps a
little more disturbing is the myths that have been reported in the
media that tend to downplay the dangerousness of this situation.
To my knowledge, the
released the name of a clandestine officer. Until recently, there was
never even a debate on whether it was wrong and whether it was
harmful. Yet, we sit in this room today and there's questions that
people are asking about, ``Is this OK?'' It is not OK.
Many of us who have spoken in outrage over this incident were
Ambassador Wilson's wife's classmates in training at the Central
Intelligence Agency. And the vitally important message that I bring
to you this morning is simple, yet devastating.
My classmates and I have been betrayed. Together, we have kept
the secrets of each other's identities a secret for 18 years. Each
and every one of us have kept that secret, whether we were in the CIA,
in other government service or in the private sector.
But this issue is not just about a blown cover. It is about the
destruction of the very essence, the core of human intelligence
collection activities: plausible deniability, apparently, for
partisan domestic political reasons. There are only two entities that can definitively
identify a clandestine officer: either that officer him or herself or
the government for which they work.
When operating overseas or even working in the
cover of a majority of case officers may be a mere fig leaf.
Someone may suspect or even presume that a particular person is a CIA officer,
but that officer still has the ability to deny that connection.
That plausible deniability, combined with the personal skills of
the individual officer, provides the security for the officer in all of his or her contacts.
Blown cover probably happens more than anyone would like. The
deliberate exposure and identification of Ambassador Wilson's wife by
her own government was unprecedented, unnecessary, harmful and dangerous.
While there may be a damage assessment conducted in this specific
case, there is a host of incalculable damage that flows from the
exposure itself: damage to our ability to assuage the security
concerns and personal safety of our current and potential agents
overseas, damage to our reputation to maintain confidentiality with
foreign friendly governments who share intelligence with the United
States, damage to our image in attracting our own talented people to
come work for the CIA, damage to the credibility of this country's
efforts to safety the well-being of its own citizens.
And perhaps striking at the heart of the matter, regardless
whether this incident falls within the purview of the criminal law,
what moral message has now been sent as to how this government will
respond to the misdeeds of the keepers of that public trust?
The arguments made in the media, in an apparent attempt to
downplay the effects of this incident, demonstrate a complete lack of
understanding of undercover operations. It defies logic to pretend
that anyone involved in this exposure did not know they were dealing
with someone who was an employee of the CIA, which is by definition a spy agency.
To have any effectiveness, the agency relies upon
secrecy. Not even the janitor at the agency probably should report
that he or she works for the agency, since that would or could make
that person a target of a hostile intelligence service – unnecessarily.
It's been reported that Ambassador Wilson's wife status as a CIA
employee was not important to the initial story. If the identity wasn't important, then why was that information in the story? The disclosure of identity was evidently newsworthy, since it was included and it was reported by the national media.
The agent known to the senior official is -- the fact that a
senior official is implicated in the story makes it important and
therefore he must have been a knowledgeable person. The agent's
identity was obviously included to give the entire report more
credibility and to maximize the effect of the other information included within the story.
It's been said in some of the media that the act itself wasn't
deliberate. How can anyone pretend that the disclosure of a CIA
employee's identity to a reporter could be done by accident?
The fact is that the release of this information by a senior
official was deliberate and done for a purpose.
It is equally clear that the purpose of the senior official was
certainly not to advance the national security interests of the United
States. Reasonable minds cannot differ as to the deliberate nature of
this action by the senior official.
Anyone who would care to portray this action as mere negligent,
as opposed to deliberate, should also be prepared to explain how
anyone so completely inept as to divulge the information by accident
ever became a senior official in any organization, let alone an
organization who has charge of
It must be assumed that a senior official would have at least a
rudimentary working knowledge of the media, an understanding of what
is on or off the record, what information is on background and so forth.
The fact that such basic ground rules, if you will, were not used to protect the identity of Ambassador Wilson's wife exceeds any reasonable definition of gross negligence.
Disclosure was not an accident. It was a cynical effort to
advance an interest deemed so important by this senior official as to
potentially place lives at risk. The interest being advanced by this
disclosure was certainly not national security.
Somehow the issue of disclosing the names of intelligence workers
must be dealt with. It is my hope that the Congress can work together
in a nonpartisan -- never mind bipartisan, but a nonpartisan manner to
get at the heart of what before was common standards that this was
bad. We're beyond that now. We're questioning whether this release
was harmful, whether it should have been done. What harm is flowing
from it? Those questions weren't asked before so this is the issue of a first impression.
And I'm hoping that the members of the Congress, as well as
members of the presidency, can resolve this issue so it never happens again.
DASCHLE: Thank you very much, Mr. Marcinkowski, for your comments.
And I thank each of the members of our very distinguished panel
for your eloquence and the passion with which you've expressed yourself this morning.
We have about a half-hour before we have to exit this room. In the interest of a accommodating all of our senators, I'm going to suggest that each of us ask a question. And if there is need for a
follow-up, perhaps a follow-up that that will accommodate all of our
members as we consider the time constraints under which we're working.
Let me begin by asking the panel -- each of you can reply if you
wish. The motivation, as described by each of you, appears to have
been two-fold: first, perhaps to punish by outing a CIA agent, for
whatever reason to punish that person; and the second perhaps was to
influence the actual assessment of the intelligence community itself
with regard to a specific instance. Both of those are egregious
demonstrations of intervention at the worst possible level.
I'm still trying to gather a better judgment as to the impact,
the assessment that you'd have with regard to each of those
motivations. What happens to the intelligence community?
I saw in the paper today where now it appears that the
intelligence community will probably have 100 percent of the blame if
the report from the community goes forward. And I'm wondering whether
they were influenced at all by political pressures to make some of the
judgments they were and whether we're still seeing the ramifications
of that as we consider
But of those two motivations, could you elaborate a little bit
more on the repercussions of political intervention to change
assessments made by the community and the impact of punishing one
individual for whatever actions she may have taken?
CANNISTRARO: I think that the jury is still out, in terms of how
good the CIA intelligence was on
the subject of
capabilities. And I'll leave that the intelligence community to look at in detail.
What I do know, however, is there was a pattern of pressure
placed on the analysts to provide supporting data for objectives which
were already articulated. It's the inverse of the intelligence ethic.
Intelligence is supposed to describe the world as it is and as
best you can find it, and then policymakers are supposed to use that
to formulate their own policies. In this case, we had policies that
were already adopted and people were looking for the selective pieces
of intelligence that would support those policy objectives.
The outing of Valerie's name and her position has a chilling
effect within the agency itself, Senator. And I think Jim and Larry
have spoken eloquently of that chilling effect.
What it means, however, is that it is going to be very difficult
to get young men and women to dedicate their lives to this particular
kind of intelligence work, which is an unofficial cover, living abroad
in a capacity in which you are not
identified as a member of the
Better to provide the access you need. Senator Graham talked
about our inability to penetrate Al Qaida before 9/11, and that was a
well-spoken comment, because that was one of the egregious deficiencies at CIA: its lack of a non-official cover program that was robust and its ability to target very difficult things like close-
knit terrorist groups and penetrate them.
You obviously can't do that with people inside embassies
affiliated with the
That means living in some pretty dangerous parts of the world,
living without the protection of
What we've done with the outing of Valerie is raise the doubts in
young people's minds: ``Is this the kind of life that I want to do?''
There are a lot of dedicated people out there and a lot of people
rallied to the flag after 9/11. They wanted to help the country.
Enlistments went up in the military, for example. Applications to CIA went up significantly.
But what this raises is the questions: ``Can we protect the
identity of people living dangerous covert lives?'' To me, it doesn't even make any difference what Valerie was doing at the time of the outing. It's what she had done before. It was her chosen
career path was an unofficial cover clandestine operative abroad.
Whether she ever was going back to that was irrelevant to the
question; she was outted -- as everyone has acknowledged -- as a vindictive act.
But again, a vindictive act because the agency -- CIA and DIA and
some of the other portions of the intelligence community -- were not
providing support for policy statements that Saddam Hussein was renewing his nuclear program.
DASCHLE: Thank you, Mr. Cannistraro.
JOHNSON: On the political side of that, when I started training
as an analyst I was trained by a man named George Allen; not the football coach.
George's role had been -- he was in the Westmoreland trial. He
was in charge of the analysis at
CIA when the
issues came up. And he talked to us about how to fend off political pressure.
It is true that there is inevitably going to be a struggle. It
doesn't matter whether it's a Democratic administration or Republican
administration, the intelligence community is always going to be
bringing some bad news downtown. And it's important to understand
that I think that's one of the dynamics at work here.
I was right in the middle of the Central American war. I was an
analyst in the Central American area. Even though I strongly
supported that policy I found myself at times being accused of being a Communist sympathizer.
I'll just give you an example to illustrate it: We were at
what's called a warning meeting and I made reference to the Contras
and was stopped by the fellow running the meeting, he said, ``No, no,
you can't call them Contras, you have to call them the democratic
resistance.'' And you know my mouth always gets me into trouble, I
said, ``But President Reagan calls them the Contras.'' And they said,
``But yes, he's the president.'' The person I'm talking to is in my chain of command.
They write your evaluation, your fitness report. How willing are you to step out
and speak your mind when someone writes the fitness report and says,
``Well, you know, you don't appear to be cooperative.'' Well, the
reason you're not cooperative is you keep poking the fingers in the
eye sometimes, because I think the role of the intelligence community
is to try to be an honest broker for the president.
And I took my job very seriously then that to tell the president --
it didn't matter whether they're Republican or Democrat -- to tell them the truth.
They may not like the truth, they may not be able to handle the
truth, but at least I felt, ``I do my part; they can never say, 'I didn't know.'''
And, unfortunately, part of what has happened in this process --
and it's not just unique to
When you're looking for the connection, as Vince noted, that
Saddam and Osama were working together and it's not there, you find
that, in fact, there's the unusual connection of a stronger link
to see the link with Saddam and it wasn't there. I mean, Saddam was
sponsoring terrorism, but the terrorist attacks were going against
So, that effort to intimidate is sometimes subtle, but it exists.
MARCINKOSWKI: Just briefly, the fact that there is intimidation
out there and the result of a political act is the exposure, trust me,
if you're a case officer on the street, there are people around the
world that are looking at the
actions of the
especially in these times of electronic mass media. These people are
very bright. They pay attention to what happens in this country.
And when you're on the street trying to guarantee someone's security and they see an incident in the United States that we don't care or we're thinking that it's a nonchalant act, and, ``Well, there wasn't really a lot of damage done,'' they're going, ``Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I've been meeting with you for years and years and years. Are you going to be exposed? Because everybody knows I'm meeting with you.'' That's definitely a concern. You can't politicize the act of the exposure. And I think that's what's happened here. And that's what makes it so egregious.
DASCHLE: Thank you, gentlemen. Senator Rockefeller?
ROCKEFELLER: I'd ask all three of you gentlemen: The word goes
about that there were 100 analysts that have been interviewed for the
work that the Senate Intelligence Committee is doing, and that none of
them, at any point, ever expressed any pressure being put upon them or
talked about or hinted or anything of that sort. Are the three of you -- in your
experience, would it be your judgment that those analysts would be by themselves or that
they might, perhaps, be accompanied by somebody, a congressional
affairs person or somebody who works for the CIA who would be
listening very carefully to what they had to say which, obviously, they would know?
CANNISTRARO: Yes. I've had some experience in that, Senator.
And it's clear that when the analysts are being interviewed, there is
always some senior person there with us, congressional affairs person,
someone from the General Counsel's Office. And that could be
construed by the person who's doing the testifying as subtle pressure
not to be too candid, not to be too frank.
I've read the newspaper reports, but I've also talked to former
colleagues of mine who are still active and who lived through some of
this period of what I would call intimidation and pressure. Yes, they
say it's intimidation, they say it's pressure.
The fact that it's manifested by a very senior official, vice
president of the
intelligence, the first time I have ever heard of a vice president of
analysts. President and vice president coming out, making a speech,
cutting a ribbon? Absolutely. A commemoration ceremony.
But sitting down and debating with junior-level analysts, and
pushing them to find support for something he personally believes,
that Saddam was trying to acquire uranium, that, to me, is pressure and that's intimidation.
Analysts are generally a feisty lot. They don't often just roll
over and play dead. But they are also political animals and they're
also career minded. And they're not going to say, ``Well, Mr. Vice
President, you're full of it.'' And they say, ``Well, you know, we
haven't found anything.'' ``So, well, you're not looking hard enough.''
``Well, you know, we'll go out and try again and find something.''
But that pressure is unrelenting. And even when
you don't find something, and you report back and the vice president
says, ``It's true, he's renewing his program,'' and says it on the eve
of the invasion of the war; or when other people -- officials in the
government demand that those 16 infamous words are in the State of the
Union address about the nuclear program; and the director of Central
Intelligence has sent memoranda on that subject to the deputy chief
of the National Security Council; when the head of the Nonproliferation
Center has gone out to the National Security Council and debated the
relevant officials who have responsibility for WMD and are unable to
convince them and those words still appear, that's pressure. That
means they're not going to take no for an answer. It means that,
``We know what we believe. And if you don't find it, you're just doing an
incompetent job.'' I'm not making a judgment about how CIA's job was done, how
professional it was, but it was at least an honest attempt. It may
not have been adequate; I don't know. But at least they said what
they thought was true, rather than try and just give them what exactly
they wanted. And I think this is at the heart of this outing of a CIA
JOHNSON: Very briefly, I think what -- we're not trying to
present the image that CIA are a bunch of very sensitive violets that
have to be protected from these nasty politicians, and that Vice
President Cheney or President Bush don't have a right to ask hard
questions. They absolutely have a right to ask hard questions.
But I know in the past when we were faced with, ``OK, we've got an
intelligence development that I as an analyst think is relevant and it
should be brought up,'' you take it to your branch meeting. And then
it starts moving up the food chain. And unlike a newspaper or
magazine, where you may have to go through two or three editorial
reviews before getting a thumbs up or thumbs down, in some cases out
at the agency you're looking at five levels.
And I know in those levels, ultimately the agency is trying to
serve the policymaker. And like any good editor who's putting out a
magazine, if your readers don't like what you're giving them, you
change it because every morning you come back and say, ``What did the
president think about article X, Y or Z? And what did they say?''
And that's part of the reason this
launched. Vice President Cheney said, you know, ``What about this?''
CIA, like an unruly dog looking to go out for a walk, will go
loping off after the mission. But when you're faced with this --
they're not interested downtown.
I mean, I know of one particular instance in the field of
terrorism that several years ago -- without mentioning the particular
area or the particular group, but let's put it this way: It's clearly
relevant to the war on terrorism today -- an analyst tried to get the
story out about this terrorist group which has been responsible for
the deaths of several hundred people. And the managers shut them down
because they didn't want to hear that downtown.
Now, that was under President Clinton. And as I said,
this happens under both. And my goal here is not to try to beat up
one administration or the other. It's happened under both. It's a
pressure that's there. But it shouldn't be allowed to stand.
MARCINKOWSKI: Just quickly, if you interrupt the information
flow or try to influence in any way, you do so, to your detriment.
Perhaps, that's why we're sitting here today.
As a lawyer, I prepare a case to go to trial, I want to know all
the facts. And I want to know the ugly facts because -- guess what?
-- when I get into that trial, I'm going to either -- I know them
now or I'm going to find out then. So this is, in many regards, self- created.
DASCHLE: Senator Harkin?
HARKIN: I have a lot of questions, but our time is so limited.
I guess listening to you all, it just -- and I'm not on the
Intelligence Committee, I've not served on the Intelligence Committee.
But listening to you, it just seems that we need some other kind of a process here.
Another committee on which I do serve, that covers the National
NIH was being politicized. And so, we enacted into law what we call a
bypass budget. In other words, the -- it (inaudible) to certain
agencies at the NIH. Rather than going through Health and Human
Services and the White House, they have a bypass budget, comes
directly to us, without all the politicization, so we can look at what
the people in the field are actually saying about what research ought to be done.
That's been enacted into law. I'm wondering if maybe such a
thing -- I don't know how the Intelligence Committee works. But it
seems to me there ought to be some way for unvarnished data and the
kinds of information that you in the field collect,to somehow get to
the relevant people up here on these committees without going through
that politicization process you've talked about, Mr. Johnson, which I
can only believe happens in every administration, as you've said.
Somehow, we need to get this information. And I don't know if
that kind of thing would ever work or not. And perhaps, it does and I
don't know about it and we can't talk about it. But I throw it out
there for your consideration and Senator Rockefeller's consideration
and others who are on the Intelligence Committee.
The last point I wanted to make was, again, Mr. Cannistraro, I
want to be perfectly clear on this as much as I can. I read your
testimony and I heard you say it again that the vice president and his
chief of staff, Lewis Libby, visited the CIA headquarters to engage
the CIA analysts directly on this
issue of uranium acquisition in
You call it, ``an unprecedented act for the vice president to
engage desk-level analysts resulted in a contentious give-and-take.
Vice president insisted that CIA analysts were not looking hard enough
for the evidence.'' Again, in all of your years you've never seen a vice
president or his chief of staff come down and engage in that kind of activity?
CANNISTRARO: No, I haven't, Senator.
The vice president gets the president's daily brief every morning
and he's briefed by a senior-level CIA official who goes out to the
White House and does the briefing. So he has no need in going out and
debating with desk-level analysts.
HARKIN: To the best of your knowledge, do you know that the vice
president has some other sources of information from defense intelligence...
CANNISTRARO: Well, I think that underlies the purpose of the
visits is that the vice president, as well as other senior officials
in the administration, were convinced of this because they were
getting separate information. They were getting information from an
intelligence operation that has been described in various ways.
There are euphemisms being used to describe it, but there was an
intelligence collection operation at the Department of Defense in the
undersecretary of policy's office and they were getting intelligence
information from other people outside the intelligence community;
information which was not vetted with the community, which was not
coordinated with the intelligence community, not even with DIA.
And much of this information we now know, in retrospect, was
fraudulent. Some of it was fabricated, some of it was just so
speculative it should not have ever risen to the level of being
reported. But a lot of this information made its way into
policymakers' public statements.
Yes I think look there was an underground war going on within the
administration, certainly between the Pentagon and the CIA. I'm a
private citizen now and so I think I can comment on it as an observer
outside government, but it was very clear to me that was going on.
Part of it was the underlying contempt for the CIA by
professional ideologues who believed that the agency was a squishy
place that came up with soft judgments and didn't look hard enough for
the information. Their mantra was: ``You're not going to find
anything unless you know what you're looking for.'' Well, if you know
what you're looking for, you are going to find it because you're
predisposed to find it. And that's against the intelligence effort.
But I think that's the fundamental problem here is that
policymakers at the NSC, at the Defense Department and the White
House itself already believed in something and they were looking for the
supporting intelligence data. Sometimes they got it. Many times they did not get
it. And when they didn't get it it was again subjected to criticism and contempt.
There's no question that, you know, intelligence agencies and
policy-makers should have a dynamic relationship; it's not that their
assumptions should not be queried or second-guessed. That's fine.
Policy-makers should be keeping the intelligence community on its toes.
``Are you looking for this? Are you looking for that?'' You know,
``Put more resources here. Put more resources there. Reexamine your
assumptions.'' That's fine. I've seen it that happen. I saw it happen
in the Reagan administration. Saw it happen with Bill Casey, who was
originally accused of distorting intelligence for policy-makers.
Never, never did Casey ever drop to the level that we've seen
today. He fought with analysts
about the subject of whether the
DASCHLE: Senator Graham?
GRAHAM: I'd like to pick up on the comments that you just made.
Earlier this week there was published reports of a memo prepared
by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld for some of his inner circle, raising
questions, among other things, about the state of the war on terror.
He questioned whether we has a plan for victory and whether we had
what he called benchmarks or yardsticks to evaluate how we would proceed.
What would you, from your experience, see the role of the
intelligence agencies in trying to answer those questions? What
should be our plan for victory against terrorism? And how well are we
pursuing that plan? And where do we currently stand?
And then what would be the effect of this kind of intimidation on
the ability of the intelligence community to enhance the judgment-
making of officials, for instance, at the Department of Defense, in
answering those questions that are so central to the security of the American people?
CANNISTRARO: Well, I think, from reading the memo, I think
Secretary Rumsfeld was asking the right questions. I don't see anything wrong with that.
But he does have a motivation: He believes there ought to be a
new agency under the purview of Secretary Rumsfeld himself that's
dedicated to foreign anti-terrorism. And that should include CIA,
paramilitaries and special forces, et cetera.
It's not the question of whether that's a good idea or not a good idea.
I mean, you can always refine the structures for
dealing with terrorism, and lots of improvement can be made. The
question is how you do it and is that sufficient.
I mean, to me, as a, kind of, an anti-terrorism expert, it's a
mechanistic approach. It's like moving boxes around on a chart and
say, ``We can do this better and that better.'' You might be able to
make things more efficient, but that doesn't get at the heart of the problem.
He asked the question, ``Are the madrasas putting out more
terrorists, recruiting more terrorists than we're eliminating?''
The answer is yes. And part of it is our own fault.
I mean, you know, when you have headlines all across the Islamic
world about General Boykin at the Defense Department making what they
believe are anti-Islamic comments, and that plays into the widespread
public opinion in the Islamic
world, as well as in
war on terrorism really is a war on Islam, what are you doing?
You're providing more motivation to recruits. You're giving the madrasas
more incentive to recruit more people to go out and commit suicide bombings.
I mean, you know, you can't kill all the potential terrorists in
the world. And that's the problem with the mechanistic approach.
Yes, you have to go after it. You have to try an eliminate it.
But you have to understand that there are other motivations that we
ourselves sometimes contribute to that make the problem worse.
It's been well said that, you know, Saddam was not linked to
global terrorism before the war in
global terrorism now. But it's something we made. We made that happen.
And I think we have to understand those factors before we can
really address the problem. Larry may have a different view, but...
JOHNSON: Not necessarily different, but on the one hand, what's
stunning is for Secretary Rumsfeld to say that they don't have any
idea of the metrics of measuring terrorism and where we stand in the
process. That's what the counterterrorism center should be doing, for
starters. If they're not doing it, the Senate and the House need to
ask why, because that should be done.
Because at the end of the day, I think part of what Secretary
Rumsfeld is frustrated by is that the Department of Defense is
designed to defeat entrenched, organized armies that have
infrastructure, that have significant bases. And what we're facing
when we look at the terrorist threat, despite the hype -- and I know
I've been frequently criticized for what some would describe as a
boneheaded op-ed that appeared in
the New York Times before
But the rhetoric we use -- and our government officials
are using about terrorism -- if it's true, I ask ``Why aren't we having
attacks every day, every week or, heavens, every month?''
I'm not saying terrorism is not a threat. I think terrorism is a
threat. I think we need to take it seriously.
But I got to tell you, when I listen to General Myers, chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describe the war on terrorism, this
terrorism threat, as the greatest
threat to the
the Civil War, I wondered why members of the Senate and House didn't
stand up and say, ``What are you talking about?''
You know, we went through 40 years with nuclear missiles being
aimed at us from the
World War II. These are not Larry Johnson's statistics; these are
statistics prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency, published in
``Patterns of Global Terrorism.'' Since 1968, deaths from international
terrorism worldwide are fewer than 16,000.
Now we need to put it into context. It's a threat, but these
terrorists are not the
try to get nuclear weapons. They may try to get chemical weapons and
biological weapons. But I think somewhere in here we need to find the
balance. And if the analysts are not being asked to provide those
metrics -- you know, they shouldn't recommend the policy. That's not
the role of the analysts.
The analysts are sitting there and saying, ``Let us present the
situation to you. Let us show you what you should consider looking
at. And let us show you what factors will make it worse or could make
it better. And then you, the policy-maker, you make the decision
depending upon what you want because you were elected to do so.''
That's the way -- I guess I'm naive. I think that's the way the process should work.
DASCHLE: Senator Lautenberg?
LAUTENBERG: Yes. Your comments, I assume, are not publicly
introduced for the first time, your views.
LAUTENBERG: I want to just clarify something. I mean, the
accusations are stark, and I respect what you're saying, because we've
had a chance to look at what's been taking place here and try to
understand, as impossible as it is, what is taking place and what you
see on the surface, the intimidation, the risk to the individual.
Is that risk, by the way, being exaggerated at all?
Was she potentially a target for -- could she be? Has it ever
happened in the history of the CIA?
MARCINKOWSKI: Senator, I think you have to start from a standard
level of dealing with foreign countries.
For example, Americans in certain countries, because they're
American, are targets of insurgents perhaps for kidnapping purposes
and otherwise. And when you look all around the world, some space --
And then you slowly move up there. How about an American that's
overseas that's known as the Central Intelligence Agency person, now
we kidnap that person? OK, we're not talking ransom now. What's the
This isn't a tourist from, you know,
at least in the mind of the
So you keep rising to the level of an undercover officer who's
actually in contact with other people in a clandestine relationship.
All those people they come into contact with are certainly in danger.
Certainly, Ambassador Wilson's wife now will have a harder time
picking her vacations spots, at a bare minimum, because of the
exposure itself. And it's going to have that ripple effect on all the
people that she came in contact with.
LAUTENBERG: Mr. Chairman, if I -- just for a one-word answer,
has anybody from the administration or the professional intelligence
community here been in touch with you to suggest that maybe your views
are so radical as not to be believable?
MARCINKOWSKI: No one has been in contact with me from the intelligence community.
LAUTENBERG: From the intelligence community or the administration?
MARCINKOWSKI: No. The only comments I get are private ones
among friends who are still in the intelligence community who support what I've said.
DASCHLE: Senator Levin? I'm sorry (OFF-MIKE) just exactly what had been said.
LEVIN: There is a lot of troubling evidence that the
intelligence that was given to the policy-makers was exaggerated, was
shaped probably to meet their goals and their policy goals.
There's also in the case of the -- and by the way, that's why it
is so important, it seems to me, that we not only look at the
intelligence that was given to them and whether it was exaggerated,
but also as to how that intelligence was used by the policy-maker.
Did they exaggerate or embellish or shape further, beyond what was
given to them? That's the missing half in the Intelligence Committee investigation.
So far as Senator Rockefeller has pointed out, the Intelligence
Committee chairman has refused to permit a review of how intelligence
was used by the policy-makers. The investigation or review, so far,
is limited to how was the intelligence produced and created.
That's just a statement on my part and I see by your nodding your
heads, that I think you would probably agree with that, if I can use your nods for an answer.
My question is this, however. It's ironic that in the
case of the uranium, with all of the pressure that was put on those
analysts, that apparently they did not cave, because the 16 words
don't say that, ``We have learned.'' The 16 words were highly deceptive
in that State of the Union message, because it says that the British
have learned that
knew, that we didn't believe it ourselves.
So the formulation in the State of the Union message had to
create the impression that we believed it by quoting a British belief
that we didn't believe ourselves.
So that that pressure, in that case at least, did not succeed,
and the policy-makers found a way to create the impression without
having as its basis the material
from the intelligence community in the
It's an irony in this case, and it reinforces why it's so
important that we look at the policy-makers' use or misuse of the
intelligence that was given to them, as exaggerated or as shaped as
that was, because of pressure put on them or a desire to please the policy-makers.
Now my question: You've indicated that you know people upon whom
pressure was placed to reach certain conclusions. Have those people
been contacted by the Intelligence Committee? And, if not, because
the chairman of the Intelligence Committee the other day said, ``We
haven't found any evidence of pressure.''
I don't think it was appropriate for him to reach any such
conclusion or statement, given the fact that the investigation's not
complete, there's no draft report that's been shared with the
committee and so forth, but that's a different issue.
If you know people who felt that pressure, have those folks been
contacted? And, if not, would you be willing to give those names to
the Intelligence Committee so that they can contact those people?
I think I will start with you, Mr. Cannistraro.
CANNISTRARO: No, I think your comments are well taken, Senator.
I do know people. I would consult with them first whether or not
they'd want their names passed to the committee for independent
contact. I'd get their permission first. But, yes, I will -- I'll be happy to ask, yes.
LEVIN: Thank you.
CANNISTRARO: I think in one case you may have already had access
to one person, but we can discuss that later.
LEVIN: Thank you. Mr. Johnson?
JOHNSON: Same answer. I would, though, encourage the
Intelligence Committee, you make sure you're talking to folks at the
Defense Intelligence Agency.
LEVIN: Well, the names of people specifically, I would hope
would be shared with the Intelligence Committee staff so that they can
do that. We need to have those specific names.
JOHNSON: Right. I'll get the specific names, if they'll be willing to divulge them.
LEVIN: Mr. Marcinkowski, do you still have those contacts?
MARCINKOWSKI: Not on the analytical side. Most of my contacts
that remain are on the operational side, so I have to say no to that.
LEVIN: Thank you.
DASCHLE: Thank you.
We are virtually out of time, but Senator Rockefeller, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, asked if he could have the opportunity to pose one more question. And so, we will accommodate that request. Senator Rockefeller?
ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Mr. Leader.
In my opening remarks, I said something which I feel very, very
strongly about. And that is that it is improper for the attorney
general of the
of Justice, an investigation of what this press conference -- which
is, sort of, like a hearing -- is all about, and that's Valerie Plame.
And that's being investigated by John Ashcroft who was appointed by
the president of the
presumably, who work for John Ashcroft.
Nevertheless, the question remains: Is that the proper way to
find out who it was who outed and put at risk Valerie Plame and
potentially so many of her former friends and contacts? In your judgment, is that proper?
MARCINKOWSKI: Senator, I would answer that question from the
view of perception of how that is going to be viewed in the small
legal community that I'm involved with. There's some problems with
the Executive Branch investigating itself.
And it's not so much because of this incident but I think it has
to be taken into context of other events that have occurred. And I'll
give you an example. Sometime early this spring, Chief Justice Rehnquist made some
comments that the federal sentencing guidelines may appear to be
intimidating to certain judges. That was reported in the media; his
remarks at a convention of some sort. Later in the summer, I believe,
Attorney General Ashcroft sent out a letter to all the
across the country asking them to report on judges that may not be
following those particular guidelines. And again, it was reported
perception-wise as Mr. Ashcroft reaching out to the federal judiciary;
again perceived intimidation. Now as you look at that fact of the attorney
general being perceived as reaching out to the judiciary where he has
no control over judges that are appointed for life, the question
becomes, ``Is the Justice Department capable, being run by John
Ashcroft, to investigate?'' He's not prepared to influence them.
Whether he does a fair job, an honest job, and he comes to the
right conclusion I think will be irrelevant. There will always be the
questions if he does it himself, political or otherwise: Was a fair job done?
The perception is always going to be there that there's going to
be a remaining question because somebody put something under the table
or somebody's playing cat-and-mouse with the truth. It's going to be there.
We've seen it in so many cases. You can expect that to happen again.
So I just point that out. For reasons of perception, I don't
think you're ever going to get away from that.
ROCKEFELLER: Do you agree?
JOHNSON: Yes. I agree with what Jim said. I believed in the
special prosecutor when Bill Clinton was on the chopping block. I
think what's good for the goose is good for the gander. It was a
necessary reflection that I didn't trust Janet Reno.
but, you know, I think at the end of the day, unless they come up with
a guilty party, then it's going to leave this lingering suspicion that
this administration was playing politics.
I think the problem here is some. It's not all. There are some
who are overcome with their zealotry that have been cutting corners.
And I think it's important for President Bush to get them under control.
CANNISTRARO: I would think that the attorney general should, at
a minimum, recuse himself from the investigation. There are career
people at Justice Department who can handle it well, but they really
need to have a wall placed between themselves and the attorney general.
And then you need the leadership at the White House to encourage
people to come forth. That hasn't been there. Clearly, there's been
a disposition to exculpate people in advance, as we've seen with three
people who are named and claims made that they had nothing to do with
it. So the investigation hadn't even started at that point.
So clearly you need some change in the structure.
DASCHLE: Thank you.
This has been an enlightening and therefore a very productive
hearing. I want to thank each of our witnesses. It is not easy to
come forward as you have and to speak as forcefully and clearly as you
have. But I think we can say, on behalf of the Senate and the
country, we're very grateful to each of you for your presentations and
for the commitment you continue to make. I thank my colleagues as well.
This hearing of the Democratic Policy Committee is adjourned.