Sunday, September 25, 2005

Republican Talks Tough On Leaks, Then Helps Vote Down Resolution Asking Bush To Turn Over Documents Relating to Plame Probe

A House committee has begun hearings on unauthorized disclosures of classified information, which may lead to legislation providing more effective ways to prosecute leakers.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI). told the Washington Post that he wants to find ways "to protect the public's right to know and at the same time protect the intelligence community that needs to be more secure."

It seems Hoekstra's intentions are good -- he has spoken on this subject at length -- but given a chance to back up those intentions with an appropriate action regarding the ongoing investigation into the leak of CIA Operative Valerie Plame's identity, Hoekstra and his fellow committee Republicans failed to deliver.

***

The House committee's first leak hearing took place behind closed doors on Sept. 14 with testimony from an unnamed "representative of the intelligence community," who discussed "repercussions and consequences" of unauthorized disclosures, a committee statement said. Hoekstra said the panel moved from hearing about the damaging impact of leaks to "why we are not prosecuting and why we are not finding the leakers."

But just one day later, Hoekstra and fellow committee Republicans voted down a resolution by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), calling on President Bush to turn over to the House documents relating to a federal investigation into the public disclosure of Plame's identity.

Why the flip-flop? Hoekstra cited a letter from Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella that said special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald had advised that production of documents on the Plame case "would interfere with his investigation."

Democrats challenged this spin, pointing out that Republicans, during the Clinton administration, carried out several investigations of alleged espionage at nuclear weapons laboratories at the same time that a criminal investigation was under way.

***

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the panel, said the panel's hearings will look into whether the government is overzealous in classifying information, leading government employees to disregard secrecy rules.

Hoekstra told the Post that "too much information is classified and more should be declassified." Asked why he, along with other members, refused to identify the panel's first witness, Hoekstra said, "We probably have some overclassification situations of our own."

5 Comments:

Blogger Frank said...

Are you really surprised to see yet another glaring example of contemporary Republican hypocrisy? Find one example of a genuine non self-serving action from ANY contemporary Republican and THAT will be news. They are the very definition of hypocrisy.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous ToolTex said...

Hearings are a way meant to undermine Fitzgerald.

Either by putting secret knowledge into public awareness or by grants of immunity. Hearings now are a very bad thing. Fitzgerald needs to hurry.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Toots said...

Maybe and maybe not.

If you have absolute faith in Fitzgerald then maybe they would be a hindrance. They sure screwed things up in Iran contra investigations. By granting witnesses such as Ollie North immunity the main culprits escaped to be a part of this current Administration. However if Fitzgerald decides that there has been no crime committed it may be to late for an investigation and they will get away scott free. As long as immunity is not granted to the culprits I believe the more investigating of this Administration and it's dealings the better.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

Republicans are all het up about leaks. Until it's Republicans doing the leaking. If they thought they could get away with it, they'd retroactively classify information and prosecute folks who embarrass the corrupt Bush administration.

Oh wait, they have done that, haven't they?

4:21 PM  
Anonymous GayCanuck said...

I still don't understand why Rove hasn't been indicted; afterall he leaked and uncovered that CIA agent down there, didn't he?

4:21 PM  

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