Washington, DC, May 24, 1990.
Hon. Richard Cheney,
Secretary, Department of Defense,
The Pentagon, Washington, DC.
Dear Dick: On March 23, I sent a letter to you requesting copies of reports identified on page 23 of your POW-MIA Fact Book published last July. I requested these reports in installments, the first by April 2.
On April 16 I received a letter from Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Henry Rowen. Mr. Rowen denied me my request, citing the following reason: `The reports are classified, often using sensitive sources and collection methods, making security for handling and storage of the mass of material a serious concern.'
As you are well aware, I as a Member of the United States Senate have the requisite clearance to review such information. Furthermore, the United States Senate has appropriate facilities, namely the Office of Senate Security located in Room S. 407 of the United States Capitol, for handling and storing classified information. The concerns raised by Mr. Rowen in his April 16 letter, therefore, have no bearing on my request.
I do not appreciate the manner in which my request was handled. I am sure you will agree with me. Please take whatever steps are necessary to correct this situation.
I have enclosed a copy of my letter to you dated March 23. I have also enclosed Mr. Rowen's April 16 letter. Tomorrow, the Senate begins a 10-day recess, until June 5. I expect that the first installment of the documents I requested will be in Room S. 407 of the Capitol when I return to Washington on June 5. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Charles E. Grassley,
Mr. GRASSLEY. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Kerry ). Will the Senator withhold?
Mr. GRASSLEY. I withhold; yes.
April 27, 1992
Memorandum for: Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Prisoners of War and Missing in Action
From: John F. McCreary
Subject: Legal Misconduct and Possible Malpractice in the Select Committee
1. As a member of the Virginia State Bar, I am obliged by Disciplinary Rule DR-1-103(a) to report knowledge of misconduct by an attorney "to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violations." Under Rule IV, Paragraph 13, of the Rules for the integration of the Virginia State Bar, this obligation follows me as a member of the Bar, regardless of the location of my employment, for as long as I remain a member of the Virginia State Bar. Therefore, I am obliged, as a matter of law and under pain of discipline by the Virginia State Bar, to report to you my knowledge of misconduct and possible prima facie malpractice by attorneys on the Select Committee in ordering the destruction of Staff documents containing Staff intelligence findings on 9 April 1992 and in statements in meetings on 15 and 16 April to justify the destruction.
2. The attached Memoranda For the Record, one by myself and another by Mr. Jon D. Holstine, describe the relevant facts, which I summarize herein:
a. On 9 April 1992, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, in response to a protest by other members of the Select Committee, told the Select Committee members that "all copies" would be destroyed. This statement was made in the presence of the undersigned and of the Staff Chief Counsel who offered no protest.
b. Later on 9 April 1992, the Staff Director, Frances Zwenig, an attorney, repeated and insured the execution of Senator Kerry's order for the destruction of the Staff intelligence briefing text. I personally delivered to Mr. Barry Valentine, the Security Manager for SRB-78, the original printed version of the intelligence briefing text. I also verified that the original was destroyed by shredding in the Office of Senate Security on 10 April 1992, along with 14 copies.
c. On 15 April 1992, the Staff Chief Counsel, J. William Codinha of Massachusetts, when advised by members if the Staff about their concerns over the possible criminal consequences of destroying documents, minimized the significance of the act of destruction; ridiculed the Staff members for expressing their concerns; and replied, in response to questions about the potential consequences, "Who's the injured party," and "How are they going to find out because its classified." Mr. Codinha repeatedly defended the destruction of the documents and gave no assurances or indications that any copies of the intelligence briefing text existed.
d. On 16 April, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, Senator John Kerry, stated that he gave the order to destroy "extraneous copies of the documents" and that no one objected. Moreover, he stated that the issue was "moot" because the original remained in the Office of Senate Security "all along."
e. I subsequently learned that the Staff Director had deposited a copy of the intelligence briefing text in the Office of Senate Security at 1307 on 16 April.
3. The foregoing facts establish potentially a prima facie violation of criminal law and a pattern of violations of legal ethics by attorneys in acts of commission and omission.
a. It is hornbook law that an attorney may not direct the commission of a crime. In this incident two attorneys, one by his own admission, ordered the destruction of documents, which could be violation of criminal law.
b. Neither the Staff Chief Counsel nor any member of the Select Committee made a protest or uttered words of caution against the destruction of documents, by admission of the Chairman, Senator Kerry. The Chief Counsel has an affirmative duty to advise the Staff about the legality of its actions, and, in fact, had earlier issued the general prohibition to the Staff against document destruction.
c. The Chief Counsel's statements during the 15 April meeting to discuss the document destruction showed no regard for the legality of the action and displayed to the Staff only a concern about getting caught. By his words and actions, he presented to the Staff investigators an interpretation of the confidentiality and security rules that the rules of the Select Committee may be used to cover-up potentially unethical or illegal activity.
d. The Staff Director's action in placing an unaccounted for copy of the intelligence briefing text in the Office of Senate Security on 16 April constitutes an act to cover-up the destruction. Throughout the 16 April meeting, all three attorneys persisted in stating that the document had been on file since 9 April. This is simply not true.
4. I believe that the foregoing facts establish a pattern of grave legal misconduct - possibly including orders to commit a crime, followed by acts to justify and then to cover-up that crime. Even absent criminal liability, the behavioral pattern of the attorneys involved plays fast and loose with the Canons of Legal Ethics and establishes that one or more of the attorneys on the Select Committee are unfit to practice law. I am obliged to recommend that this report be filed with the appropriate disciplinary authorities of the State Bars in which these attorneys are members.
John F. McCreary, Esquire