Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rove's Wiggin'

On Friday Rep Waxman published a Fact Sheet titled Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement. This paper covers the Executive Order and agreement that everyone who works in the Administration is required to sign in order to obtain a security clearance.

Executive Order 12958, [which] governs how federal employees are awarded security clearances, applies to any entity within the executive branch that comes into possession of classified information, including the White House.

Notice the term "entity." This would definitely cover the Presidents senior advisor, which was Rove's position in 2003, and anyone else in the White House who could possibly come into contact with classified material (just about everyone there).

An official who has signed a nondisclosure agreement cannot confirm classified information obtained by a reporter. In fact, this obligation is highlighted in the "briefing booklet" that new security clearance recipients receive when they sign their nondisclosure agreements:

Everyone who gets a security clearance signs an SF-312 agreement and receives training in handling classified material. When Rove stated "I heard that, too" in his conversation with Bob Novak he was admitting that he was aware that Mrs. Wilson may have worked for the CIA. When Rove told Novak "Oh, you know about it" he was confirming that Mrs. Wilson worked for the CIA.

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.

Since Rove was aware of the reports that Wilson was a CIA operative it was his responsibility to determine if her status was covert before confirming what Novak told him. Counter the "I heard that, too" quote with the fact, from the same source, that Rove said "Oh, you know about it" and add that since he had heard about that he became responsible for determining the classification of the information before saying "Oh, you know about it."

Mr. Rove was not at liberty to repeat classified information he may have learned from a reporter. Instead, he had an affirmative obligation to determine whether the information had been declassified before repeating it. The briefing booklet is explicit on this point: "before disseminating the information elsewhere ... the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified."

Now what should happen. Since currently Karl Rove's only superiors are Andrew Card and George W. Bush they become responsible for taking action in response to Rove's action.

The White House has an affirmative obligation to investigate and take remedial action separate and apart from any ongoing criminal investigation. The executive order specifically provides that when a breach occurs, each agency must "take appropriate and prompt corrective action." This includes a determination of whether individual employees improperly disseminated or obtained access to classified information.

The executive order further provides that sanctions for violations are not optional. The executive order expressly provides: "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."

At the very least the White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, should revoke Rove's security clearance and suspend him since he cannot fulfill his duties as Deputy Chief of Staff without a security clearance. Once the independent council has finished his investigation the White House should have an internal investigation. Actually the White House should have started that investigation the day Novak's column appeared and suspended Rove as soon as the fact that he talked to Novak, Cooper, Miller, Scarborough, or any other reporter was uncovered as long as the prior to the time when the CIA officially lifted Mrs. Plame's covert status after Novak's column appeared.

Rove's lawyer admitted that Rove was aware that the press had information concerning Mrs. Plame's employment with the CIA.

Since Mrs. Plame was not an overt CIA employee Karl Rove was responsible for determining her covert status since he now had knowledge of her employment.

When Karl Rove stated "oh, you know about it." he confirmed that if was a fact.

When Karl Rove told Matt Cooper that "Wilson's wife" is a CIA employee working on WMD issues he blatantly disclosed classified information that he was responsible for knowing the classification of.

The White House was responsible for commencing an internal investigation as soon as the CIA informed them that Mrs. Wilson had been covert and "senior administration officials were cited as Novak's source.

The White House failed to determine the source of a leak of classified information and therefore placed national security at risk.

Now that Rove and Libby's involvement has been disclosed the White House is continuing to place national security at risk by not suspending them untill an investigation is complete.

The President has no control of his administration. It should not have taken two years and press leaks to determine who leaked this.

Possible national security risks must be minimized in a time of war. National security cannot take play second fiddle to politics.

Now that Scooter Libby has been implicated all these points apply to him also.

President Bush has violated his oath of office in that "for the purpose of evasion" he has failed to place the interest of national security over political cronyism by his failure to remove Karl Rove and Scooter Libby from their positions which continue to allow them access to classified data.

--Daily Kos, July 19


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