View Full Version : Senator: Don't Grant Immunity To Witnesses Over CIA Leak

08-03-2005, 05:20 PM
Senator: Don't grant immunity to witnesses over CIA leak

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Senator_Dont_grant_immunity_to_witnesses_over__080 3.html

The following letter was issued by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to the Republican chairmen of the respective intelligence committees in the House and Senate regarding hearings they plan to hold on the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, acquired by RAW STORY.


Dear Chairman Roberts and Chairman Hoekstra:

It is my understanding that both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees intend to conduct hearings on our nation’s intelligence agencies and the use of covert agents. While I applaud your Committee’s efforts to investigate the Plame affair, I urge you to not provide an opportunity for any wrongdoers to escape culpability for criminal actions that may have put our national security at risk.

As you know, Congress has the power to grant immunity to witnesses who appear before its committees. However we must be mindful of the warning delivered by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh at the end of his seven-year investigation into the Iran-Contra affair. His investigation was hampered, and the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter overturned on appeal, due to immunity granted by Congress in exchange for testimony before Iran-contra committees. Walsh advised that Congress should think carefully before granting immunity, and be cognizant that “if it wants to compel testimony by granting immunity, it has to realize that the odds are very strong that it’s going to kill any resulting criminal prosecution.”

The leaked identity of a covert officer of the United States is a serious matter and should be fully investigated. Those responsible for the leak should be prosecuted for their involvement. Although Congress can and should independently investigate this leak and any efforts to cover-up the leak in the White House, such an investigation should not serve to relieve any White House official of culpability for criminal wrongdoing.