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Uber Commandante
07-19-2005, 09:10 AM
Waxman: Bush Statement on Rove Conflicts with Executive Order

Executive Order 12958:

By Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Monday 18 July 2005

Dear Mr. President:

In June 2004, you said that you would fire anyone found to be involved in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a covert CIA agent. [1] Today, you significantly changed your position, stating that you would remove Karl Rove or other White House officials involved in the security breach only "if someone committed a crime." [2]

Your new standard is not consistent with your obligations to enforce Executive Order 12958, which governs the protection of national security secrets. The executive order states: "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." [3] Under the executive order, the available sanctions include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions." [4]

Under the executive order, you may not wait until criminal intent and liability are proved by a prosecutor. Instead, you have an affirmative obligation to take "appropriate and prompt corrective action." [5] And the standards of proof are much different. A criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald is investigating, requires a finding that Mr. Rove "intentionally disclose[d]" the identity of a covert agent. [6] In contrast, the administrative sanctions under Executive Order 12958 can be imposed without a finding of intent. Under the express terms of the executive order, you are required to impose administrative sanctions - such as removal of office or termination of security clearance - if Mr. Rove or other officials acted "negligently" in disclosing or confirming information about Ms. Wilson's identity. [7]

I have enclosed a fact sheet on Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement and its legal implications, which provides additional detail about the President's national security obligations. I urge you to act in compliance with Executive Order 12958 and your responsibility to safeguard national security secrets.


Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member

[1] Press Conference: President Discusses Job Creation With Business Leaders (Sept. 30, 2003).
[2] Bush: CIA Leaker Would Be Fired if Crime Committed, Reuters (July 18, 2005); Bush: Any Criminals in Leak to Be Fired, Associated Press (July 18, 2005).
[3] Executive Order 12958, sec. 5.5(b)
[4] Id. at sec. 5.5(c).
[5] Id. at sec. 5.5(e).
[6] 50 USC sec. 421(a).
[7] Executive Order 12958, sec. 5.5(b).