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REP. SLAUGHTER & CONYERS CALLS ON SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE GANNON'S ROLE IN PLAME
Louise Slaughter.gov ^ | 2/15/05

Posted on 02/15/2005 9:54:29 AM PST by areafiftyone

Reps. Slaughter & Conyers Call on Special Prosecutor and Secret Service to Investigate Growing Gannon Scandal

Washington, DC - Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules, and Rep. John Conyers (MI-14), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, called on Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the leaking of a classified Central Intelligence Agency memo containing the identity of undercover agent Valerie Plame to a man at the center of the White House Press Briefing Room scandal, "Jeff Gannon."

Rep. Slaughter, a long-time advocate for media reform and accountability, brought this story into the national spotlight days ago when she wrote President Bush asking for an investigation into the issue.

"This matter is growing more serious by the day.  We now know that 'Jeff Gannon' had access to classified CIA documents that contained the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame.  This is more than an issue of media manipulation by the White House... this is now an issue of national security," said Rep. Slaughter. "What is the White House hiding?  This man, Mr. Gannon, should never have been admitted into the White House briefing room in the first place. Someone let him in day after day. Someone gave him access to classified CIA documents. Someone must answer for this. It is critical that we uncover the exact nature of the relationship between Gannon and this White House," added Slaughter."

In addition, Reps. Slaughter and Conyers wrote W. Ralph Basham, Director of the Secret Service, calling on his office to provide details on the security clearance of day pass holders in the White House briefing room as well as any and all information they can provide on Mr. Gannon.

"White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was unable to answer these important questions in yesterday's briefing so we hope the Secret Service will be able to fill in the blanks," said Slaughter. "Since the White House has denied any role or responsibility in this matter I hope the Secret Service can shed some light on their procedures for clearing day pass holders to the White House briefing room," continued Slaughter.

The letters follow:

February 10, 2005
Mr. Patrick J. Fitzgerald
United States Attorney
US Attorney's Office
219 S. Dearborn Street, Suite 5000
Chicago, IL 60656

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald:

We write to ask that you investigate the leak of a classified Central Intelligence Agency memo containing the identity of undercover agent Valerie Plame to James D. Guckert, a member of the White House press corps. It appears that the White House was so focused on smearing the reputation of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, that it knowingly leaked his wife's identity to a Republican activist posing as a journalist.

James D. Guckert, who operated under the false name "Jeff Gannon," and may have engaged in criminal activity, had been attending press events at the White House for up to three years. Mr. Guckert reportedly received an internal and classified CIA memo that revealed the identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife. Because of the extremely sensitive nature of this leak, and its relation to the investigation you are conducting, we believe that you as special counsel are the most appropriate person to conduct the inquiry.

Under Department of Justice regulations, a special counsel should investigate when (1) a "criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted," (2) the investigation "by a United States Attorney Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department," and (3) "it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter."1 In the present case all three factors have been met.

As has been long discussed, revealing the identity of an undercover agent violates myriad laws. Whoever in the Administration gave Mr. Guckert the memo risked Ms. Plame's very life and must be punished to the full extent of the law.

There is a clear conflict of interest in the Administration investigating Mr. Guckert's role in this crime. Mr. Guckert and the White House press operation work together closely to forward the President's policies.

First, Mr. Guckert would not be considered a bona fide journalist by his peers in the press corps, as most of his claims to legitimacy have already been discredited. Access to the President and his press corps is highly competitive, and many seasoned journalists have not had the honor of attending the events or enjoying the access Mr. Guckert has. That a person of these dubious qualifications was given such close contact to the President, perhaps in violation of standard security procedures, demonstrates the Administration's affinity for and bias towards Mr. Guckert.

Second, Mr. Guckert's questions clearly reiterated the White House's policy, and simply asked for concurrence. Finally, Mr. Guckert's "articles," published by a news front for GOPUSA, track White House talking points word for word.

Clearly, Mr. Guckert returned the White House's favor by advancing the President's policies with gusto. With such a close relationship between Mr. Guckert and the White House, the conflict of an administration-led investigation is all too apparent.

Finally, the public interest has been thwarted far too long over the leak of Ms. Plame's identity. It has been over a year and a half since Robert Novak published Plame's identity and we are no closer to finding who in the Administration illegally leaked her status as an undercover agent. Having a special counsel immediately follow up this lead is necessary to ensure that those who risk their lives for our country to gather intelligence are fully protected.

We look forward to hearing whether you will be following up on this new information, or if you have, what progress you have made.

Sincerely,

Louise Slaughter                      John Conyers, Jr.


Ranking Member,                     Ranking Member,
Committee on Rules                 Committee on Judiciary

 

February 10, 2005

W. Ralph Basham, Director
United States Secret Service
950 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20223

Dear Director Basham:

We write to inquire about the process you employ to clear individuals for attendance at events within a close proximity of the President. We have recently become aware that a Republican activist, with a potential criminal past, gained access to the White House press briefing room and Presidential press conferences and was allowed to work under an assumed name. This appears to contradict the strict standards you have set for protecting the President in the past and have applied to others seeking access to the White House or the President.

It has recently been revealed that James D. Guckert has been repeatedly cleared by your office to attend White House press briefings over the last several years. He was, however, allowed to operate under an assumed name, which we understand to be contrary to your usual policies. That he may be engaged in illegal activity only heightens our concern.

We are concerned that such an individual was allowed within a few feet of the President when the public is routinely disallowed any possible contact with either the President or the White House. We understand that your security policies are developed in conjunction with the White House and want to ascertain your respective roles in this decision as it appears to deviate significantly from heightened security measures you have employed recently.

While we appreciate the extremely difficult task you are assigned to, we are concerned about these discrepancies. For this reason, we ask the following questions:

* What standards do you impose on those who are granted access to the President and the White House Briefing Room? Do you routinely allow guests to use false names?

* Were those standards applied to Mr. Guckert? If not, why, and at whose request?

* This afternoon, the White House Press Secretary denied any responsibility for determining who is granted clearance into the White House Briefing Room. What individual or agency is responsible for requesting that the Secret Service conduct a security clearance for individuals or members of the media who wish to enter the White House Briefing Room?

* What are the security qualifications for granting "permanent" White House press corps credentials and how do they differ from those of a simple day pass?

* When someone is cleared for a daily pass, are they required to be cleared each time they return on subsequent visits to the White House Briefing Room, as in the case of Mr. Guckert, who returned frequently for up to two years?

* How many daily passes are issued for White House briefings and Presidential press conferences at one time? Is there a limit in place for security or other reasons?

* Who has the authority, if at all, to exempt an individual or member of the media from security clearance by the Secret Service in order to gain access to the White House Briefing Room?

* How many times and on what days was Mr. Guckert cleared by the Secret Service into the White House, and at whose request?

Thank you in advance your prompt attention and response to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

Louise Slaughter                      John Conyers, Jr.


Ranking Member,                     Ranking Member,
Committee on Rules                 Committee on Judiciary

 

 

 


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 16words; basham; cialeak; conyers; guckert; jamesdguckert; jamesguckert; jeffgannon; jimdguckert; jimguckert; joewilson; johnconyers; josephwilson; kooks; lefties; louisemslaughter; louiseslaughter; mcclellan; nigerflap; patfitzgerald; patrickfitzgerald; plame; rats; scottmcclellan; secretservice; slaughter; talonnews; valerieplame; wbasham; wilson; wralphbasham

1 posted on 02/15/2005 9:54:29 AM PST by areafiftyone
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To: areafiftyone

The rats are going down in plames.


2 posted on 02/15/2005 9:57:43 AM PST by doug from upland (Ray Charles --- a great musician and safer driver than Ted Kennedy)
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To: areafiftyone

Two "traitor" Democrat retards flocking together, and going nowhere with a nowhere issue. Sad, isn't it?


3 posted on 02/15/2005 9:59:33 AM PST by JLAGRAYFOX
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To: doug from upland

So we pay the congressmen and women to waste their time on stupid stuff like this.


4 posted on 02/15/2005 10:00:13 AM PST by areafiftyone (The Democrat's Mind: The Hamster's dead but the wheel's still spinning!)
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To: doug from upland
Yeah, I was worried about "Jeff" vis-a-vis Plame-Gate,
until Conyers got involved.
Luckily, NOTHING Conyers gets involved with ever pans out.
5 posted on 02/15/2005 10:00:27 AM PST by MamaLucci (Libs, want answers on 911? Ask Clinton why he met with Monica more than with his CIA director.)
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To: areafiftyone

Hot air. I really wasn't familiar with Gannon's work, but this one is going nowhere, except to embarrass the MSM and further break down the artificial barriers between the Sacred Priesthood of the Holy Mainstream Media and everybody else.

Hey, it's more and more obvious every day. Your average Freeper knows more than Maureen Dowd, let alone all those Freepers working together and pooling their knowledge.

Segretating Gannon from the rest of the press ain't gonna work. There is no intelligible basis for doing it.


6 posted on 02/15/2005 10:00:57 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: areafiftyone

Well then, let's investigate all the journalists, shall we? I'll provide the drinks table. Maybe someone else can provide the popcorn.


7 posted on 02/15/2005 10:02:48 AM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: areafiftyone
I am sure Mara Liason's panties are wet by now - but I say let them look. I cannot imagine a scenario that gets me worked up.

Let the investigation begin! These Democratic activists need something to keep them busy --- better this than something that could cause some trouble.

8 posted on 02/15/2005 10:03:25 AM PST by rface ("...the most schizoid freeper I've ever seen")
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To: areafiftyone
GANNON =


9 posted on 02/15/2005 10:09:52 AM PST by Samurai_Jack (ride out and confront the evil!)
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To: areafiftyone

I'll ask again, but the identity of an under cover CIA agent would be contained in a classified memo?  I thought that would be in a secret memo.  Was she really even undercover?

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

10 posted on 02/15/2005 10:14:59 AM PST by South Hawthorne (I FEEL LIKE I'M IN CRAZYTOWN!!!)
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To: rface

Isn't there a journalist in NYC that knows who it is? I guarantee if it was Jeff she would have already supplied the coup de grace. Are they going question her? Conyer and Slaughter couldn't shot fish in a barrel. They are the buffoons of the Comedic opera of Congress.


11 posted on 02/15/2005 10:16:29 AM PST by MKM1960
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To: areafiftyone

Sure, right after the Hillary Election Fraud scandal and the Sandy Berger Socks fiasco.


12 posted on 02/15/2005 10:23:33 AM PST by BushisTheMan
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To: doug from upland

Illinois Fed AG Fitzgerald is already on the case. The guy has a deserved reputation as a non-partisan and honest prosecutor. IF there is a culprit to be found (e.g., Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame), he's the best one for the job.

The rest is just the usual BS.


13 posted on 02/15/2005 10:24:03 AM PST by neocon1984 (end the idiocy of post-modernism)
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To: areafiftyone

SMOKESCREEN

It seems to me the whole Plame/leak business points back to Joe Wilson and the pre-Goss lefties at Langley. It smells of a scheme by the Bush-haters to tarnish Bush and OpIraqiFreedom. Conyers and Slaughter are trying to deflect suspicion using Guckert as a shield.
14 posted on 02/15/2005 10:25:13 AM PST by advance_copy
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To: areafiftyone

Sen. McCarthy, please pick up the white courtesy phone.


15 posted on 02/15/2005 10:51:14 AM PST by commandante_zero (Nice kitty, kitty...ZOT!)
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To: areafiftyone

These two ought to be very careful what they wish for.


16 posted on 02/15/2005 11:13:37 AM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: Owl_Eagle
FYI: It wasn't a CIA memo, it was a State Dept. memo whose credibility was questioned by the CIA...

Sources said the CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets suggesting Plame had a role in arranging her husband's trip to Africa for the CIA. The document, written by a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), describes a meeting at the CIA where the Niger trip by Wilson was discussed, said a senior administration official who has seen it.

CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the INR document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting.

Washington Post


17 posted on 02/15/2005 11:31:25 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: ravingnutter

Aside from the entire breakup of Yugo, this is the most confusing story I've ever come across.  Was she an undercover agent?  I've never heard that confirmed, but why have the investigation?  Was the memo real?  Who released it?  Who gave it to Novak?  Why are all these NYT type reporters going to jail rather than talk about it?

Somehow, I think when the facts come to light, I won't be able to understand them either...

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

18 posted on 02/15/2005 11:39:12 AM PST by South Hawthorne (I FEEL LIKE I'M IN CRAZYTOWN!!!)
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To: areafiftyone

NO! No more special prosecutors.


19 posted on 02/15/2005 11:43:27 AM PST by Zeroisanumber
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To: Owl_Eagle
CIA officer named prior to column

Excerpt:

The identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame was compromised twice before her name appeared in a news column that triggered a federal illegal-disclosure investigation, U.S. officials say.

Mrs. Plame's identity as an undercover CIA officer was first disclosed to Russia in the mid-1990s by a Moscow spy, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In a second compromise, officials said a more recent inadvertent disclosure resulted in references to Mrs. Plame in confidential documents sent by the CIA to the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Havana.

20 posted on 02/15/2005 11:56:59 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: MamaLucci
Luckily, NOTHING Conyers gets involved with ever pans out.

Good thing. If Conyers is for it... that's all I need to know, I'm against it.

What does he really want? I can imagine a new party -- call it the Third World Party -- with a ticket selected from the likes of Conyers, Alcee Hastings, Barbara Jackson Lee, and Nancy Pelosi. Could you imagine what its governing policies would be?

21 posted on 02/15/2005 12:53:28 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: ravingnutter

very very interesting ravingnutter, true to form, of the MSM, this is the first time I've heard of this.....

I also remember quite clearly that Novak, backed up by a few other Washington columnists said at the time the scandal first hit (which was ignored by most then Wilson brought back to life to promote his book a few months later, good thing the report proving him a liar didn't come out until several months after his book and his Vanity Fair photo shoot) that the fact that Plame was a CIA operative was the worst kept "secret" in Washington which is why Novak didn't think he was doing anything wrong and given the way the Wilsons behaved after the fact, again, book deal and Vanity Fair photo shoot with wife in the photos)

query, was it not possible Gannon/Guckert if not lying about even getting this so called memo got it from another member of the press rather than the administration

I do wonder though why are Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of NY Times facing contempt and not Novak?

Did Novak divulge his source or is there some reason he's not on the hot seat?


22 posted on 02/15/2005 2:14:44 PM PST by littlelilac
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To: littlelilac

raving nutter seems to have the pulse on the story but I'll give it a go

I believe that Plame was an undercover operative, but she was no longer an active operative at the time of the scandal
and there was some question as to whether it was her intent to return to that line of work by some of the articles I recall reading, of course, it is now out of the question I imagine, I believe she was doing a desk job as an analyst on the subject of WMD at the time of the scandal

the concern of course is that even if she wasn't active then, you could compromise the safety of the operatives she was working with out in the field and who were still out in the field

however as ravingnutter noted and Bob Novak noted, it was not the best kept secret in Washington


23 posted on 02/15/2005 2:19:53 PM PST by littlelilac
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To: cyncooper; Fedora; okie01

Remember Novak said the first "administration" official who told him about Plame's job was "not a partisan gunslinger" and with whom he had a long conversation when this came up? I thought it could be Ari Fleischer but it didn't jump out at me that a spokesman for a president would be described as other than "partisan."

During this Gannon Affair Fleischer spoke up and perhaps he does see himself in a way that would fit Novak's description.

"I found out that he worked for a GOP site, and I didn't think it was my place to call on him because he worked for something that was related to the party," Fleischer said in a phone interview. "He had the editor call me and made the case that they were not related to the Republican Party. He said they used the GOP name for marketing purposes only."

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ep/20050217/en_bpiep/arifleischertellsephespoketogannonguckertsboss


24 posted on 02/25/2005 5:21:04 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy

Fleischer would have no idea about Wilson or why he was sent to Niger.

In addition, Fleischer was in Africa when the NY Times Wilson hit piece was published and all during the next week when the so-called leak occurred.

It is most assuredly NOT Ari Fleischer for a few reasons. Plus, as WH press secretary, he'd never ever be classified as a non-partisan gun slinger. Another operative or Tenet himself would be categorized such. It has to be someone that KNEW about the trip.

(BTW, another freeper noted to me the other day that last Sunday's NY Times "secret tapes" story that fizzled but was clearly hoped to be a Bush hit was another instance where they timed the piece for once Bush was out of the country...)


25 posted on 02/25/2005 5:50:21 PM PST by cyncooper
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To: littlelilac
I do wonder though why are Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of NY Times facing contempt and not Novak?

One is held in contempt when they aren't cooperating.

26 posted on 02/25/2005 5:50:52 PM PST by cyncooper
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To: cyncooper

What do you think abou this Time article? It's dated thursday July 17, says Fleischer was talking about it "last week" as was Tenet. I believe Novak's article was dated July 14.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0%2C8599%2C465270%2C00.html

P.S. The author is Marc Cooper.


27 posted on 02/25/2005 6:12:27 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy

Matt Cooper (currently in contempt!)

Magazine articles appear on the scene far in advance of the date that appears on them.

The Cooper article is about the so-called "leak" which took place on or after July 6 (the day Wilson's op-ed appeared) and July 13 (the day before Novak's column informing us Wilson had been recommended by Plame), and Fleischer did comment on it---from Africa and in a very uncharacteristically ham-handed way, IMO---which I attribute to the weirdness of Wilson's charge, the WH entourage being out of the country and not aware of the facts or details, and Fleischer's impending and announced much in advance departure.


28 posted on 02/25/2005 6:25:57 PM PST by cyncooper
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Have you ever just sat and pondered HOW these people--Conyers, Jackson-Lee, Hastings, Waters, et al EVER got into govt.? OMG, it is appalling and really scarey, the fact that people who don't know any better than to vote for these losers actually have the power to elect govt. officials.

And "they" think the far rightt is scarey1

vaudine


29 posted on 02/25/2005 6:34:54 PM PST by vaudine
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To: cyncooper

Could the conversation been by telephone?

Here's another point. I looked, my memory was correct. Cooper refused to testify but in August last year there were stories that "Libby" released him from any confidentiality. So...what's the current dispute about? Not about Libby apparently.


30 posted on 02/25/2005 8:19:21 PM PST by Shermy
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To: cyncooper

From cooper's Time article:

"And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched Niger to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore, sometimes referred to as yellow cake, which is used to build nuclear devices."

Who are these people...and are they real, or just made-up for a plausible story making the reporter seem important...


31 posted on 02/25/2005 8:28:03 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Could the conversation been by telephone?

I really don't think there's any chance whatsoever Ari Fleischer was leaking about the Wilson/Plame business. I don't think he knew anything about it except what his official statements in his capacity as Press Secretary reflected.

Here's another point. I looked, my memory was correct. Cooper refused to testify but in August last year there were stories that "Libby" released him from any confidentiality. So...what's the current dispute about? Not about Libby apparently.

Cooper did get held in contempt last summer even though Libby had released him from confidentiality. He then did end up cutting a deal and giving limited testimony admitting Libby had never mentioned Plame (I was not surprised as I knew Libby and Cheney, like Fleischer, knew nothing about it, hence could not have leaked). Soooooo, Cooper has already testified on that narrow issue. Now the grand jury wants to know about any source(s) <---that's how the Appeals Court ruling quotes the subpoena---that talked about Plame AND/OR Wilson and Wilson's trip to Niger.

32 posted on 02/25/2005 9:16:19 PM PST by cyncooper
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To: areafiftyone
"Rep. Slaughter, a long-time advocate for media reform and accountability"

Yes, I'm sure we all recall her outrage at the breathless CBS promotion of forged military documents to bring down a sitting President. [/sarcasm]

33 posted on 02/25/2005 10:03:49 PM PST by montag813
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