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Waxman Hearing Panel I — Part III


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Here's Waxman's committee hearing page.  Here are the witnesses:

  • Ms. Valerie Plame Wilson, former employee, Central Intelligence Agency
  • Dr. James Knodell, Director, Office of Security, The White House
  • Mr. Bill Leonard, Director, Information Security Oversight Office, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Mr. Mark Zaid, Attorney
  • Ms. Victoria Toensing, diGenova & Toensing, LLP

Feed the comments with updates, gang, and we'll try to send in some hearing room color for the main page post on fifteen minute intervals.


1:15 pm ET: 

Norton asks:  Can you explain why Mr. Rove still has a security clearance today or does he?  Yes, he does.  It is Mr. Knodell's understanding that the criminal investigation found no criminal wrongdoing.  (CHS asks:  do these people even READ the SF-312? or the executive order covering this?)

Does the security of the United States depend upon the outcome of a criminal proceeding, or do you not have an affirmative duty to proceed on these issues regardless of the criminal proceedings?  Shouldn't you plug the leak while the US attorney and investigators are trying to find out "who done it?"

Second round of questioning begins with Rep. Elijah Cummings.  The requirements are that the disclosure is prohibited for both willful AND negligent disclosures.  Has Mr. Rove or anyone else been briefed since this disclosure happened with regard to any of these regulations?  Knodell says people with clearance get a copy of the regs when they are given clearance, and then they are given briefings on their anniversary date every year.  And they got some special briefings after this disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity for all the EOP employees with clearance — but this particular disclosure was not highlighted as a problematic reason for the briefings.

1:20 pm ET:

Rep. Waxman goes into the Woodward discussion of having extensive access to classified information when covering the WH in his books.  Points out that when a critic discloses anything critical of the Administration, there is an immediate outcry from the WH.  But when they disclose information, it is well within their purview to do so, according to the WH.  This approach is inconsistent — and appears to be political in their approach to enforcement. 

On to Rep. Davis, who is complaining about the selective leaking of the NIE, the facilities in Eastern Europe (so-called balck sites), and so on.  Neither witness has any first-hand knowledge as to whether anyone in the WH did or did not have first hand knowledge of Ms. Wilson's covert status.

On to Rep. Van Hollen — looks like we know why the WH had no information on the leak — because no investigation was ever done.  If the criminal investigation hadn't been started at that point, and it had not, there was no competing problem for starting an investigation.  Mr. Leonard says that yes, an internal investigation should have immdeiately been begun — it is an affirmative obligation under security regs.

1:30 pm ET

Van Hollen asks Knodell whether he has had any conversations with anyone at the WH about these disclosures relating to Ms. Plame Wilson?  No.

On to Rep. Hodes.  Rove's security clearance review would have been done in 2006.  A re-investigation by the FBI would have had to be done for Rove in 2006.  Knodell doesn't have first-hand knowledge about Rove's security clearance, but he can go back and check.  Hodes points out that there ought tobe documentation as to whether Rove or anyone else should have a clearance.

And would you agree that candor is one of the factors considered?  Knodell says yes, it is a factor in the adjudication.  Knodell says that he didn't know the content of the conversation between Rove and McClellan (CHS notes:  perhaps because there has been no investigation, huh?) — but Knodell says that he supposes he can go back to the WH and talk with senior management about looking into this sort of thing.  Lbby's clearance was removed the day he resigned from the WH/VP position.

On to Rep. Holmes Norton:  showing Mr. Knodell the WH chart.  Do any of those officials inside the WH other than the President — do any of these officials have a "need to know" the name of a covert agent?  Knodell says he doesn't know.  

Panel I has been completed.  New thread will be begun for Panel II.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com