Rep. Waxman: Karl Rove violated non-disclosure agreement

Sunday, July 17, 2005

House representative Henry Waxman (D-Cal) released on Friday a fact sheet from a "briefing booklet" that Karl Rove received when he signed the classified information nondisclosure agreement (SF-312). Executive Order 12958 requires that a person sign this standard form before being granted security clearance. The briefing booklet states that:

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.

The nondisclosure agreement and the executive order require sanctions against security clearance holders who "knowingly, willfully, or negligently" disclose classified information. The sanctions for such a breach include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions.

The agreement requires that violators be subject to appropriate sanctions, regardless of whether or not they knew they were leaking classified information:

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.

This information was provided to YubaNet by Representative Waxman, and discussed in detail here.

The case, however, is being tried under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The strictest interpretation of the act limits breaking it to


reveal the identity of an undercover agent. There is only one publicly known conviction for the law. CIA employee Sharon Scranage, who pleaded guilty in 1985. She served 8 months out of a 5 year conviction for revealing to her boyfriend the names of other agents while stationed in Ghana.

Was Plame a covert agent?

The case is clouded by reckoning on the covert status of Valerie Plame when the leak occurred. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for an FBI probe 10 days after the July 13, 2003 column by Robert Novak identified her as an agent. A Chicago native and appointed special prosecutor, Patrik Fitzgerald took over the case 19 months ago. That the case continues today says something in itself.

Critics of the investigation believe the case is overblown because it was widely known in Washington social power circles that Plame worked for the CIA.

A MediaMatters report on the widely publicized quote by Joseph Wilson, who said, "My wife was not a clandestine officer... ", was misconstrued by the press.

BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife [in the January 2004 Vanity Fair magazine], who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you've tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you?

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

BLITZER: But she hadn't been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That's not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I'll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that's why they referred it to the Justice Department.

In the full context of the above CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports televised broadcast, Wilson was responding to mean that after Robert Novak's column ran, his wife was no longer a clandestine officer. The Vanity Fair coverage given Wilson with wife Plame was a result of the publicity that ensued from the column written by Novack. The photo shoots did not occur before the disclosure, they came in January 2004.

The Associated Press reported the Wilson-Blitzer interview as follows:

...CNN Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying [White House senior adviser Karl] Rove's conduct was an "outrageous abuse of power ... certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House."

But at the same time, Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak's column first identified her. "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity," he said.

Federal law prohobits goverment [sic] officials from divulging the identity...

Media outlets followed the AP lead with their own reporting that mirrored AP report.