the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

July 25, 2005

A Small Sign of Spine


Today John Kerry and 25 other Democrats in the Senate formally requested a congressional investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity (read the letter). Now you may remember that there are 44 Democratic senators, so let’s see who signed and who didn’t:

Signed Didn’t Sign
Bayh (IN)
Boxer (CA)
Carper (DE)
Clinton (NY)
Corzine (NJ)
Dorgan (ND)
Durbin (IL)
Feinstein (CA)
Harkin (IA)
Inouye (HI)
Johnson (SD)
Kerry (MA)
Kohl (WI)
Landrieu (LA)
Lautenberg (NJ)
Levin (MI)
Mikulski (MD)
Murray (WA)
Obama (IL)
Reed (RI)
Rockefeller (WV)
Salazar (CO)
Sarbanes (MD)
Schumer (NY)
Stabenow (MI)
Wyden (OR)
Akaka (HI)
Baucus (MT)
Biden (DE)
Bingaman (NM)
Byrd (WV)
Cantwell (WA)
Conrad (ND)
Dayton (MN)
Dodd (CT)
Feingold (WI)
Kennedy (MA)
Leahy (VT)
Lieberman (CT)
Lincoln (AR)
Nelson (FL)
Nelson (NE)
Pryor (AR)
Reid (NV)

Surprising signers include Mary Landrieu and Ken Salazar, who were two of the six Democrats who voted for Alberto Gonzales as attorney general (the other four are in the “Didn’t Sign” column above). Surprising nonsigners include Kennedy and Reid — perhaps they missed a memo? Joe Biden failed to redeem himself from Friday’s embarrassing performance, and Joe Lieberman is where we all expect him to be.

Along with the request, Democrats revealed a leak clock and a Harper’s Index–style listing of facts about the Plame leak.

Meanwhile, Republicans had their own response to the Plame scandal. We’ve been waiting for the attack on the prosecutor. Well, it looks like it’s started, led by one of the White House’s congressional henchmen, Rep. Pat Roberts of Kansas:

[Roberts] intends to preside over hearings on the intelligence community’s use of covert protections for CIA agents and others involved in secret activities.

The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence could hold hearings on the use of espionage cover soon after the U.S. Congress returns from its August recess, said Roberts spokeswoman Sarah Little.

Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

Josh Marshall has more — and more (update: and still more).


  1. I’m glad the Dems are beginning to get it, but they won’t be able to force a Congressional investigation without Republican cooperation. But what Democrats rarely discuss is why the Republicans have to right to ignore this.

    I went to the Joint Oversight Committee hearing Friday hosted by Rep. Henry Waxman. Waxman gets it, and maybe that’s why the other Dems are beginning to wake up:

    1. Executive Order 12958 is an executive branch directive governing the protection of national security information. The Executive Order expressly states:

    Officers and employees of the United States Government… shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, OR NEGLIGENTLY… disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified.

    The White House appears to be ignoring this Executive Order.

    2. Sanctions under 12958 include “reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions.”

    3. As part of Executive Order 12958, White House employees are required to sign a “Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement” known as the SF 312, promising to “never divulge classified information to anyone” not authorized to receive it.

    4. The Briefing Booklet provided to new security clearance recipients states:

    Before … confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, … confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.

    We already know that Rove and Libby confirmed the accuracy of classified information for Bob Novak and Matthew Cooper.


    • “Fact Sheet: Karl Rove’s Nondisclosure Agreement”, available from the office of Rep. Henry Waxman
    • Executive Order 12958
    • SF 312 (”Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, Standard Form 312″)
    • Briefing Booklet (”Briefing Booklet: Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement (Standard Form 312)”)

    —Jesse • 5:14 pm, July 26

  2. Thanks, Jesse. I fixed the links in your references (hope I got the right ones for those that seem to have moved). It’s useful to go through the various laws, executive orders, and rules that Rove and the other leakers have violated. There’s far too many people going along with the Republican talking point that the Intelligence Identity Protection Act is the only thing relevant and that it’s almost impossible to be convicted under.

    It’s true that the request for an investigation can’t go anywhere without Republican help, and I don’t see that happening. The number of ethical Republicans, willing to put the law or the country above political gain, is so tiny at this point that they might as well not exist.

    Keith6:17 pm, July 26

  3. Thanks for cleaning it up. Looks a lot more legit now. BTW, I
    meant to write “no”, not “to” (”the Republicans have NO right
    to ignore this”). I don’t really expect any cooperation from
    the Republicans, of course, but I’d like to get the Dems talking
    enough about E.O. 12958 to get the press talking about it in
    their daily Rovegate segments. If GOP leaders don’t want to
    hold hearings, then let’s bang them over the head for it every
    day, just like they’d be sure to do in our place.

    —Jesse • 9:43 pm, July 26

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