07/16/2005: Roving Among the Legalisms...
Just a few last “legalisms” about the GOP spinning and twisting in the wind “talking points” about Karl “Turd Traitor Blossom” Rove and the notion that he’s Ollie-Ollie-Oxen-Free from all culpability in discussing Valerie Plame Wilson and/or Joe Wilson’s Wife’s ”…double super secret background for about two mins….”
[See: Matt Cooper's Source: What Karl Rove told Time magazine's reporter by Michael Isikoff:
(Newsweek) with an e-mail to his bureau chief (Michael Duffy) that states: "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..."]
As Mickey Kaus (Slate) tries to “explain away” Did Reporters Leak to Rove? A possibility the press fears - about how - IF Judith Miller may have leaked to Rove instead - this would show “Turd Blossom” was not legally culpable in his actions. The explanation falls slightly short.
It presumes only a single legal theory and I can’t see legally and or logically how this reverse scenario exculpates Rove and or Libby from discussing this issues of any CIA agent’s ”…double super secret background for about two mins….” with every Tom, Dick or Matt Cooper (Bob Novak or Judith Miller) who comes along – conveniently - when they are just trying to politically smear the woman’s husband over WMD's.
But there are other legalisms and theories in play in a time of WAR and at the White House: As this piece by John W. Dean (Findlaw Op-Ed and former counsel to the President)explores It Appears That Karl Rove Is In Serious Trouble:
“…It was just such a risk that convinced Judge Story that "for any person with the agency to take it upon himself to leak information poses a tremendous risk; and that's what, to me, makes this a particularly serious offense." Cannot the same be said that Rove's leak? It dealt with matters related to national security; if the risk Randel was taking was a "tremendous" risk, surely Rove's leak was monumental.
While there are other potential violations of the law that may be involved with the Valerie Plame Wilson case, it would be speculation to consider them. But Karl Rove's leak to Matt Cooper is now an established fact. First, there is Matt Cooper's email record. And Cooper has now confirmed that he has told the grand jury he spoke with Rove. If Rove's leak fails to fall under the statute that was used to prosecute Randel, I do not understand why.
There are stories circulating that Rove may have been told of Valerie Plame's CIA activity by a journalist, such as Judith Miller, as recently suggested in Editor & Publisher. If so, that doesn't exonerate Rove. Rather, it could make for some interesting pairing under the federal conspiracy statute (which was the statute most commonly employed during Watergate)….”
And BuzzFlash links to this piece from Rep. Henry Waxman about the White House Policy Agreements and Executive Orders: Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement:
”…Rep. Waxman released a fact sheet today that explains that the nondisclosure agreement signed by Karl Rove prohibited Mr. Rove from confirming the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Wilson to reporters. Under the nondisclosure agreement and the applicable executive order, even "negligent" disclosures to reporters are grounds for revocation of a security clearance or dismissal.
….[personnel also] sign a "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement," also known as a SF-312, promising not to reveal classified information. The nondisclosure agreement signed by White House officials such as Mr. Rove states: "I will never divulge classified information to anyone" who is not authorized to receive it.
The Prohibition Against "Confirming" Classified Information
Mr. Rove, through his attorney, has raised the implication that there is a distinction between releasing classified information to someone not authorized to receive it and confirming classified information from someone not authorized to have it. In fact, there is no such distinction under the nondisclosure agreement Mr. Rove signed.
One of the most basic rules of safeguarding classified information is that 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:
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.
The Independent Duty to Verify the Classified Status of Information
Mr. Rove's attorney has implied that if Mr. Rove learned Ms. Wilson's identity and occupation from a reporter, this somehow makes a difference in what he can say about the information. This is inaccurate. The executive order states: "Classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information."
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."
"Negligent" Disclosure of Classified Information
Mr. Rove's attorney has also implied that Mr. Rove's conduct should be at issue only if he intentionally or knowingly disclosed Ms. Wilson's covert status. In fact, the nondisclosure agreement and the executive order require sanctions against security clearance holders who "knowingly, willfully, or negligently" disclose classified information. The sanctions for such a breach include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions."
The White House Obligations Under Executive Order 12958
Under the executive order, 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."
There is no evidence that the White House complied with these requirements.”
So- Lots more "legalisms" yet in play before the "Fat Lady" sings a "Get Out Of Jail Free" Ditty for Ole' Traitor Karl.
Karen on 07.16.05 @ 08:16 AM CST