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Waxman Hearing, Panel II — Part II


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

Panel number two is upcoming:  Mark Zaid and Victoria Toensing will be giving testimony.  Wondering who Mark Zaid is?  Well lookee here.   And Victoria Toensing?  Try reading here for starters.

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. 


2:00 pm ET:

Toensing says she has represented a covert officer, and is pleased that a journalist printed the name of her client, a former covert CIA officer, despite being asked by the CIA not to do so.  (CHS says:  wow, she's swell, isn't she?)

Zaid talks about the jeopardy involved in the exposure of a CIA agent.  Look both at the criminality, but also at the administrative disciplines that ought to have been meted out to those who violated clearance requirements.

Rep. Waxman goes into how Toensing reached her conclusions.  She says that Valerie is "not a covert agent under the Act."  Toensing now arguing whether Hayden understands what "covert" means.  Doesn't know whether she can talk about what was or was not leaked — because Toensing wants to argue about what the meaning of "leak" is?  Do you have first hand information that people at the White House have knowledge that she was a covert agent?  No.  Says she has information only through testimony at the trial. 

Toensing now going on and on about testimony at trial not including information on covert status again, despite knowing that Judge Walton had a limiting instruction on any testimony regarding covert status information before the trial ever started.

2:10 pm ET: 

Zaid says that he is stunned that further investigation and Administrative action has not been taken care of here.

Toensing says that some agencies do and some do not suspend clearance pending an investigation.  Goes into questions that may arise of trying to interfere with a criminal investigation.

Toensing:  "I have no problem with Ms. Plame, and I appreciate the service that she gave to her country."  [CHS says:  I don't even know what to say here.]  And she's now going into her prosecutorial misconduct litany.

Rep. Cummings going into the Toensing Op-Ed issue — "foreign assignment" parsing of language and statutory authority.  [CHS says: Toensing is filibustering her answers with the Dems.]

Ex. Order 12958 — Hayden's approval of Waxman's statement that Ms. Wilson's status was classified, that she was a covert agent protected under the aforementioned Executive Order.

Rep. Watson going into the Toensing assertions in her WaPo Op-Ed now.  "It seems to me that your remarks are contrary to Ms. Wilson's statement here.  Do you still maintain that she was not a covert agent?"  Toensing says "not under the law."   Rep. Watson is very carefully guarding her time.  Toensing says that she did not talk to either the CIA or Valerie Wilson about Valerie's employment status.  Toensing says that under "her" statute, Valerie isn't what she would qualify as "covert" in her legal interpretation.  Rep. Watson says she isn't asking about IIPA — in contrast, she's asking about Administrative rules under the Executive order.

Prohibits both reckless and negligent disclosures of classified information — and violates the executive order even though it does not violate the IIPA?  Toensings stalls and tap dances and then asks for the question to be repeated.  Yes, that is correct.

2:21 pm ET:

Toensing says she has no idea why the WH gave out this information.  It makes sense to Toensing that the Veep's office would say they didn't send them — his wife did, based on Toensing's interpretation of the INR.

Rep. Van Hollen saying that they are looking into how the WH safeguards classified information.  Did not know that the WH had not looked into anything with regard to the security breach.  Toensing says that had she been WH counsel, she would have told them not to do anything at all whatsoever once the criminal investigation was started.

Van Hollen says — what about the two month period where no investigation was taking place?  That sort of investigation is routine for these sorts of disclosures, right?  Toensing now blames David Corn for Valerie's disclosure — says David published Valerie's covert status before Novak.   Van Holen says he understands her focus is on the criminal aspect, but that he finds it stunning that the WH has never done any investigation into the disclosure.

Toensing says "shame on the CIA."  Toensing now blaming Grenier for not telling the Vice President and/or Libby that Valerie's status was classified or covert — says this came from corss-examination testimony.

Toensing says that she has no problem with the WH press secretary telling the public the truth.  That they should be forthright with the public.  Van Hollen asks whether the WH had some obligation to discover whether the disclosure of sensitive information might have caused problems for the CIA and for a NOC and her networks. 

Van Hollen says that government officials do not often use covert or classified information used against them for political purposes.

Rep. Waxman asks Zaid whether Rove, Libby and others had been treated with much better — Zaid says yes.

Waxman says that he is going to hold the record open, and check Toensing's statements on the record.  Waxman says he will be checking with Fitzgerald on his interpretation of the law.  [CHS asks:  Is it me, or is that a "correct the record, or there may be a perjury question in the offing if we find errors in your testimony?"]

Toensing now doing a dance with her files all by her lonesome at the table in front of the C-Span cameras.  And that is a wrap for the hearing today.

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Waxman Hearing, Panel II -- Part I

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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