Skip to comments.House takes up leak review - Leaks about CIA prisons overseas spark fury (Which Senator did it?)
Posted on 11/13/2005 7:44:14 AM PST by Libloather
House takes up leak review
Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:01 PM PST
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House Intelligence Committee will look into a possible leak of classified information about secret CIA prisons but will not reopen its 2003 inquiry into prewar intelligence on Iraq.
As calls for intelligence-related reviews grow on Capitol Hill, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said Thursday his committee will study several specific leaks of classified information, including a Nov. 2 Washington Post story that discussed the existence of secret CIA prisons overseas.
The story said the black sites'' were in eight countries, including democracies in Eastern Europe. Hoekstra would not confirm the story's accuracy or whether the prisons exist.
The depth of the leaks that we have seen in the intelligence community over the last 12 to 18 months have done irreparable harm to our ability to effectively conduct the war on terror,'' Hoekstra said.
When classified activities overseas are disclosed, he said, foreign intelligence agencies see their involvement leaked to the American press, hurting crucial relationships.
California Rep. Jane Harman, the committee's top Democrat, said the committee should return to its work on the prewar intelligence on Iraq. She was echoing efforts of Senate Democrats to draw attention to the administration's mistakes on the war.
The House committee, then led by current CIA Director Porter Goss, produced an interim report on Iraq in September 2003 that found the U.S. went to war in Iraq on the basis of outdated and vague intelligence.
The point of it is to understand fully how we collected, analyzed and presented intelligence ... and what responsibility the intelligence community had to correct misinformation by policy-makers,'' Harman said in an interview.
Hoekstra said work on the flawed prewar estimates will stay with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is in the second phase of its own investigation.
We do not see it as being necessary for us to do a redundant effort,'' he said.
The Senate committee produced a 511-page report in July and is now studying five remaining lines of inquiry, including divisive questions about whether policy-makers misstated the intelligence to make the case for war.
President Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, took issue with the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq.''
Some of the critics today believed themselves in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, they stated that belief and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people,'' Hadley said.
For those critics to ignore their own past statements exposes the hollowness of their current attacks,'' he said.
Hadley said the intelligence on Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, which were never found, was based on the aggregation of intelligence from a number of sources and represented the collective view of the intelligence community.''
The House committee's leaks investigation comes at the request of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
Hoekstra said he had yet to determine the scope of the inquiry, but would devise a plan with Harman. He said he has not yet decided whether the Post reporter, Dana Priest, would be asked to disclose her confidential sources. Messages left Thursday with a spokesman for the paper were not immediately returned.
In a two-year federal investigation, New York Times reporter Judith Miller went to jail for 85 days to protect a source, I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff. Both were caught up in a probe over who leaked the identity of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame.
Libby was charged with five-counts of perjury and other charges.
Hoekstra said he is interested in reviewing that case and the disclosure of the total U.S. intelligence budget, which may have been a mistake. At a conference in San Antonio last week, the top U.S. official for intelligence collection, Mary Margaret Graham, said the figure is $44 billion.
Congress has engaged in rigorous debate about whether the number can be made public and decided against it.
When asked if there is ever a good leak, Hoekstra said maybe'' that could be argued in some cases. But it is not appropriate for a person who is entrusted with a security clearance to make that decision on their own.''
WASHINGTON - Allegations of a veiled network of CIA prisons overseas have added another chapter to the story of US detention policies in the post-9/11 age - and resulted in furious reactions from Eastern Europe to Washington's Capitol Hill.
Romania and other ex-Soviet bloc nations have hurriedly denied they know anything about such secret jails, while in the US the CIA and top congressional Republicans want to find out who leaked the story in the first place.
If nothing else, this flurry of activity serves to keep the words "detention" and "America" linked in news reports around the world. In the US, the government faces the prospect of an internal investigation only weeks after vice presidential staffer I. Lewis Libby was indicted in another leak case. "When you get into investigations around here, where does it end?" asked Sen. Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi on Tuesday.
On Nov. 3, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had set up a covert network of prisons overseas to hold high-value terrorism suspects. At times the web contained as many as eight sites, said the Post - some of them in now- democratic East European countries.
The news story did not name the countries in question. The nongovernment organization Human Rights Watch, however, issued a statement last week saying that it had information that CIA airplanes traveling from Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004 made direct flights to remote airfields in Romania and Poland.
For instance, a Boeing 737 that the CIA had previously used for prisoner transport - registration number N313P - flew from Kabul to Poland's Szczytno-Szymany airport on Sept. 22, 2003, Human Rights Watch said. Polish intelligence maintains a large installation near that location.
The N313P plane landed at Mihail Kogalniceanu military airfield in Romania the next day, said Human Rights Watch. The plane then went on to Morocco, and ultimately Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
From the US point of view, the most important legal aspect of the network itself may not be the existence of the prison, but the conduct of the jailers inside them.
Its legality "depends on what happens in the prison camps," says Alfred Rubin, a professor of international law at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Any nation hosting the prison, however, may at least risk domestic political problems. Romanian President Traian Basescu said Tuesday that his country had received no request from the US to site a secret CIA prison on its territory. Slovakia has also denied involvement.
The Council of Europe, whose membership includes all nations of the continent except Belarus, has said it will investigate the alleged prisons, with an eye to debating the issue at its next meeting, scheduled for Bucharest, Romania, on Nov. 25.
On the question of who leaked the story, the US Justice Department will undertake a preliminary inquiry, per an official request from the CIA. It's at least possible that this inquiry could grow into a full-scale investigation, similar to that which has ensnared Mr. Libby.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calibrating how far to push leak investigations - and how much damage the White House has already sustained because of them.
In a joint letter to the House and Senate intelligence committees, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate majority leader Bill Frist called the leak an "egregious disclosure" that will imperil efforts to protect the American people.
They asked the committees to conduct a probe.
This call for a rare bicameral investigation came as a surprise to the GOP chairmen of the intelligence panels, as well as to the Democratic leadership.
"This is only a play to the press; that's all this is.... They're trying to change the direction of what's going on here a little bit," said Democratic leader Harry Reid, after meeting with the Democratic Caucus on Tuesday.
Have this investigation and clear this up !
Email your Rep and tell them to get off their butts !!
These folks have no heart for a fight to clean up the beltway.
We found wmd including nerve and mustard agents, undeclared bio, proscribed missles and uavs and a start up nuke program, including 1.7 tons of enriched uranium and 500 tons of yellowcake and the confessed intent to resume full production once sanctions were lifted.
What we didn't find were large stockpiles that he admitted he had in 1996. We were supposed to believe him when he said that he inilaterally desroyed them in the desert and can't remember where.
Amazing how on one hand the MSM plays up Wilson-Plame as the guardians of freedom and the American way while on the other hand, the MSM willingly, almost gleefully, exposes and destroys the true purposes of the Agency with leaks of their own.
I hope heads roll.
Republicans would do well to ignore them and investigate that which they feel is important to the country.
Prediction: A report will be filed and guilty parties identified in the year 2525.
This investigation is a bad idea because it confirms the secret prisons.. it won't be long before the media will be making comparisons with nasty regimes that we don't want mentioned in the same sentence with the U.S.A.
I wonder if Red Cross already knew about the prisons... I hope we have had some kind of Red Cross oversight - they are pretty good at keeping quiet and that will go a long way to allow us to claim the prisons were acceptably humanitarian.
One thing is for sure if Dana got it from a Conservative we would have known that in the first sentence of her article.
So looks like everyone with clearance need be put under oath in public, kinda of like that 9/11 soviet style Commission!!!!
The Demo/Reds want to leave Poland holding the bag on behalf of Russian interests to remain the totem pole in the region.
The self interested un-American citizens are our worst enemy and many of them are inside the beltway.
It's time to get "with it." It's time to deal with today's problems, rather than yesterday's problems.
It could be a Republican this time. Doesn't matter to me.
Who told of CIA's hidden prisons?
GOP leaders want investigation in wake of Washington Post story.
By Rebecca Carr
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
WASHINGTON -- House and Senate Republican leaders demanded an investigation Tuesday into who leaked classified material to The Washington Post about the CIA's secret use of prisons abroad to interrogate terrorism suspects.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., sent a letter to the chairmen of the congressional intelligence committees asking them to immediately start a joint investigation of who gave Washington Post reporter Dana Priest information about the covert prison system operating in eight countries, including several democracies in Eastern Europe.
The Nov. 2 article detailed how the prisons were used by the CIA and renewed questions about treatment of detainees.
The GOP letter states that the disclosure "could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks."
The CIA also wants to know who leaked information to Priest. The agency has filed a report to the Justice Department stating that classified information might have been released through the article in an unauthorized way.
Such referrals often prompt leak investigations by the Justice Department, but few lead to criminal charges. The recent indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was a rare exception. And even in that instance, Libby was charged with perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice, not the release of classified information in the leak of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's name.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a senior Republican aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who requested anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue, said he could not recall an instance in which the panel investigated an alleged leak of classified information, except in cases where there was suspicion that someone on the panel's staff had been involved.
"If the Justice Department gets engaged, it becomes very problematic to cross paths with them," the aide said.
The investigation is expected to be wide-ranging, and Priest's story appears to rely on current and former intelligence sources.
But the story took an odd twist just a few hours after Frist and Hastert announced their intentions.
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., told CNN that the leak probably came from Republican senators themselves.
Lott said that much of the information contained in Priest's story was discussed at a meeting of Republican senators and Cheney on Nov. 1, the day before the Post story was published.
In their letter, Frist and Hastert requested that the intelligence committees move "expeditiously" to complete their investigation. Such an inquiry is rare and reserved for major investigations, such as the examination of the intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Any information about possible wrongdoing should be sent to the Justice Department, they wrote.
"The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen," the letter states.
Eric Gant, a spokesman for The Washington Post, said the paper had no comment.
Responding to reports of the request for an inquiry, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the matter "ought to be taken seriously. . . . This is a congressional prerogative, and it was a decision that was made by those leaders, and that's the way I would describe it."
Democrats responded by calling for Republicans to begin a congressional investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq.
"I hope their newfound zeal for investigations will mean they are now willing to join with us to give our troops and the American people the answers they deserve on how this administration used and misused intelligence as it made its case for war in Iraq," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a written statement.
The specter of yet another reporter possibly being forced to divulge sources worries advocates of open government. Recently, Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine were compelled to testify about their confidential sources in a grand jury inquiry regarding the Plame case.
"These are scary times," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "Today's action makes it seem like there is a concerted effort to keep the public from learning the truth."
One of the (many) things that worries me is the dependancy our elected officials have on junior staff and interns. I believe that not enough is made to secure those working in and around classified material.
Anyone who has access to and can pass along info will do it if he/she believes they are 'doing the right thing' and the left have so twisted what the right thing is, that I could see a younger, more naive staffer doing their part and not batting an eye.
Ia it possible that Lott's public speculation is in fact a ruse to generate press interest in this leak? Could our side actually deploy a tactic such as this?
Excellent! You will do well in politics.
Lord knows there aren't enough delusional straw graspers left.
Doc Wheeler suspects the leaker is McCain.
My vote is for the one whose last name starts with "Mc" and ends with "n".
"These things aren't happening at Guantanamo because it's gotten too hot for them," she said, referring to U.S. authorities responsible for interrogating recalcitrant al Qaeda terrorism suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
This quote is from Ellen Tauscher on 6/28/05. It is on her website which also sites the SF Chron article. Can't remember how to post a link but you can cut and paste http://www.ellentauscher.com/what/index.asp?ID=156