Nadler: White House Must Turn Over Documents Relating to Valerie Plame Leak

Feb 24, 2004

Washington, DC -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, today encouraged fellow members of the House Judiciary Committee to approve a Resolution of Inquiry introduced by Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) that would direct the Bush Administration to turn over all documents to the House of Representatives relating to the leak of Valerie Plame's identity.

Congressman Nadler's statement on the matter follows:

Mr. Chairman, this is a cover up. Plain and simple. Someone in the Bush Administration deliberately disclosed the identity of a CIA operative. If the President really wanted to find out who did this, he would call a meeting and demand to know who did it. The person would be fired immediately (I hope), justice could take its course, and the issue would be resolved.

Revealing the identity of a covert agent is a serious criminal matter. It endangers lives. It is indefenseable for this committee to turn a blind eye. We need to know who committed this national security crime. I don’t know why any member would oppose this resolution. I don’t know why any member would not want to get the facts in this case. If we reject this resolution, we risk sending the message that Members of Congress are complicit in working with the Administration on a cover up. I don’t want to send that signal. And I can’t imagine any member of this committee would want to send that message either.

That is why we must support this resolution and do our job to perform oversight of the Department of Justice on matters of serious national concern.

We know from Robert Novak himself, who wrote the published article, that "two senior administration officials" gave him the information. It appears that the Bush Administration is hiding the identity of these criminals in their midst. We don’t know why. We can only speculate. It may be difficult to conceive of who would be willing to perform such a serious criminal act. But if those people are "senior officials," it is even more important that they, who presumably have considerable power and influence, be brought to justice. During the war on terror, we cannot afford to have criminals who reveal our sources or put lives in jeopardy working at the highest levels of power.

Now, it is the job of this Committee to oversee the Department of Justice. We need to know what they are doing and we need to find out if they are doing their job well or not. That is why we are asking for these documents. We are not trying to interfere with their investigation, but we are interested in knowing how it is progressing.

Do we have the right to ask such questions? Well, just a few years ago the Government Reform Committee held hearing after hearing on ongoing investigations, and the Clinton Administration handed over 1.2 million pages of documents to the Committee. There have been hearings on campaign finance, Waco, pardons, Enron, and even Martha Stewart. So I don’t want to hear anyone argue that we don’t have the authority or the responsibility to investigate whether or not two senior administration officials broke the law and jeopardized our intelligence efforts during the current war on terror.

Again, I urge my colleagues to support independence and justice over party allegiance and to support this really very mild resolution of inquiry. Thank you.