[House Report 109-225]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    109-225


                             VALERIE PLAME


 September 16, 2005.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 


Mr. Hyde, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted the 

                             ADVERSE REPORT

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                       [To accompany H. Res. 419]

    The Committee on International Relations, to whom was 
referred the resolution (H. Res. 419) directing the Secretary 
of State to transmit to the House of Representatives not later 
than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution 
documents in the possession of the Secretary of State relating 
to the disclosure of the identity and employment of Ms. Valerie 
Plame, having considered the same, reports unfavorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the resolution not be 
agreed to.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Vote of the Committee............................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     4
New Advisory Committees..........................................     4
Congressional Accountability Act.................................     4
Federal Mandates.................................................     4
Dissenting Views.................................................     5

                          Purpose and Summary

    House Resolution 419 directs the Secretary of State to 
transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days 
after the date of the adoption of this resolution documents in 
the possession of the Secretary of State relating to the 
disclosure of the identity and employment of Ms. Valerie Plame.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    House Resolution 419 is a resolution of inquiry, which 
pursuant to Rule XIII, clause 7 of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, directs the Committee to act on the resolution 
within 14 legislative days, or a privileged motion to discharge 
the Committee is in order. H. Res. 419 was introduced and 
referred to the Committee on International Relations on July 
29, 2005, and was ordered reported adversely by the Committee 
on September 14, 2005.
    Under the rules and precedents of the House, a resolution 
of inquiry is one of the methods used by the House to obtain 
information from the executive branch. According to Deschler's 
Procedure it is a ``simple resolution making a direct request 
or demand of the President or the head of an executive 
department to furnish the House of Representatives with 
specific factual information in the possession of the executive 
    \1\Deschler's Precedents, H. Doc. No. 94-661, 94th Cong., 2d Sess., 
vol. 7, ch. 24, section 8.
    On July 29, 2005, Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey introduced 
H. Res. 419. The resolution sought all documents, including 
telephone and electronic mail records, logs and calendars, 
personnel records, and records of internal discussions in the 
possession of the Secretary of State relating to the disclosure 
of the identity of Ms. Plame as an employee of the Central 
Intelligence Agency during the period beginning on May 6, 2003, 
and ending on July 31, 2003.
    In February 2004, the House Committees on Intelligence, 
Armed Services, the Judiciary, and International Relations each 
reported adversely to the House a similar resolution, H. Res. 
499.\2\ Like H. Res. 499, H. Res. 419 would direct executive 
branch officials to transmit documents to the House of 
Representatives that are the subject of an ongoing criminal 
investigation. In light of this, the Committee voted to report 
the resolution of inquiry adversely.
    \2\H. Res. 499, 108th Cong. (Jan. 21, 2004).
    The Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation 
in September 2003 into whether government officials who 
allegedly identified Valerie Plame to the press violated 
Federal law that prohibits identifying covert agents. Press 
reports indicate that the FBI investigation includes the White 
House, the Departments of State and Defense, and the Central 
Intelligence Agency and that ``boxloads'' of documents have 
been forwarded to the FBI investigation team-including White 
House phone logs and e-mails.\3\ Law enforcement officials have 
been quoted indicating that the dozen agents assigned to the 
case have not encountered any stalling tactics.\4\
    \3\Charlie Savage, Ashcroft Steps Aside in Probe into CIA Leak, The 
Boston Globe, P. A12 (Dec. 31, 2003).
    \4\Tom Brune, Probe of Spy's Outing Nearly Done, Newsday p. A23 
(April 6, 2005).
    In December 2003, the then-Attorney General, John Ashcroft, 
recused himself from the investigation and the then-Deputy 
Attorney General appointed United States Attorney Patrick 
Fitzgerald to lead the investigation as special prosecutor.\5\ 
Mr. Fitzgerald is a veteran prosecutor with experience in 
national security matters and enjoys a stellar reputation. Mr. 
Fitzgerald, according to press reports, has been granted more 
independence than the norm under Department of Justice 
Regulations.\6\ For instance, Mr. Fitzgerald, unlike other U.S. 
Attorneys, reportedly does not have to seek approval from 
Department of Justice officials in Washington, DC before 
issuing subpoenas or granting immunity.
    \5\See Savage, supra note 4.
    \6\Cam Simpson, Ashcroft Removes Self from Leak Probe; Fitzgerald 
to Lead the Investigation, Chicago Tribune, p. C1 (Dec. 31, 2003).
    The press further reports that, in January 2004, a grand 
jury convened in Washington, DC to hear testimony on the 
Valerie Plame matter.\7\ The grand jury has broad authority 
that allows investigators to subpoena witnesses and documents, 
including the same documents requested in H. Res. 419.
    \7\See Brune supra n. 5.
    By all reports, Mr. Fitzgerald is pursuing the 
investigation into the Valerie Plame matter aggressively and 
responsibly. The Committee concluded that it would be unwise to 
allow H. Res. 419 to jeopardize an ongoing criminal 
investigation by the Department of Justice.
    Under current circumstances, the International Relations 
Committee believes that congressional oversight of the 
protection of the identities of our intelligence agents under 
the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 is best left 
to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence 
(HPSCI), the Committee of primary jurisdiction.
    Because H. Res. 499 could impede an ongoing criminal 
investigation and the HPSCI is conducting oversight of this 
matter in its capacity as Committee of primary jurisdiction, 
the Committee ordered it reported adversely.


    The Committee did not hold hearings on H. Res. 419.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 14, 2005, the Full Committee marked up H. Res. 
419, pursuant to notice, in open session. The Committee agreed 
to a motion to report the resolution adversely to the House by 
a record vote of 26 ayes to 21 nays.

                         Vote of the Committee

    Clause (3)(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires that the results of each record vote 
on an amendment or motion to report, together with the names of 
those voting for or against, be printed in the Committee 
report. The following record vote occurred during consideration 
of H. Res. 419:
    Vote to report to the House adversely:
    Voting yes: Hyde, Leach, Smith (NJ), Burton, Gallegly, Ros-
Lehtinen, Rohrabacher, King, Chabot, Tancredo, Paul, Issa, 
Flake, Davis, Green, Weller, Pence, McCotter, Harris, Wilson, 
Boozman, Barrett, Mack, Fortenberry, McCaul, and Poe.
    Voting no: Lantos, Berman, Ackerman, Menendez, Brown, 
Sherman, Wexler, Engel, Delahunt, Meeks, Lee, Crowley, 
Blumenauer, Berkley, Napolitano, Schiff, Watson, Smith (WA), 
McCollum, Chandler and Cardoza.
    H. Res. 419 was ordered reported adversely to the House by 
a vote of 26 ayes to 21 noes.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    The Committee held no oversight activities under clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII is inapplicable because 
H. Res. 419 does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The rule requiring a statement of performance goals and 
objectives is inapplicable.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this resolution in article I, section 1 of the Constitution.

                        New Advisory Committees

    H. Res. 419 does not establish or authorize any new 
advisory committees.

                    Congressional Accountability Act

    H. Res. 419 does not apply to the legislative branch.

                            Federal Mandates

    H. Res. 419 provides no Federal mandates.
                            Dissenting Views

    The intentional disclosure of the identity of a U.S. covert 
intelligence agent, for whatever purpose, increases the risk to 
the lives of the brave men and women who risk their lives in 
the clandestine service to protect this nation from foreign 
threats. It also poses a grave threat to the national security 
of the nation because it will create doubt in the mind of 
foreign sources who could provide vital intelligence to our 
undercover operatives that their identity will be protected; if 
the identity of the U.S. agent can be disclosed for crude 
political purposes, then any meetings they may have had, and 
been observed to have, with that agent exposes those sources to 
retaliation by the foreign government. What if that foreign 
source has inside information about a pending terrorist attack 
on the United States, but decides against sharing that 
information with an undercover U.S. operative for fear that the 
terrorist group could kill him or his family? This is the true 
cost of the Administration's actions; we may not learn about 
another 9/11 in time to prevent it.
    In the consideration of H. Res. 419, the International 
Relations Committee had a choice on how to address this 
despicable act and national security threat. We could have 
assumed the responsibility of oversight of the Executive Branch 
in areas of intelligence that affect U.S. foreign policy, as 
the rules of the House charge us. We could have demonstrated to 
the country and to the rest of the world that we would not 
countenance this blatantly political act by this or any White 
House. We could have demonstrated our resolve to investigate 
this fully and expose those responsible for it, and perhaps 
provided some reassurance to our brave intelligence agents and 
their sources that we will protect them. We could have at least 
asserted oversight over the State Department papers that may 
have inadvertently provided the source for subsequent White 
House officials' disclosures, something that is clearly within 
this Committee's jurisdiction. Instead, the Committee Majority 
chose to simply step aside and acquiesce to the evident wishes 
of the Administration. The Majority simply decided to trust the 
Administration to investigate itself, to wait out an 
investigation that shows no sign of ending or bringing any 
culpable person to justice.
    The Majority of the Committee has again let down our 
intelligence community and all Americans that are still 
astonished by the perfidy of the exposure of our undercover 
agent for political purposes.
    It has been over two years since the American people 
learned that a White House official exposed the identity of a 
CIA undercover operative to the media, perhaps calling six 
separate journalists with the information. One of these 
journalists--a conservative commentator who alone among the six 
chose to put personal publicity above national security--
published the agent's identity in a column ostensibly about the 
charges leveled by her husband, former Ambassador Joseph 
Wilson, that the Administration's claim that Iraq had sought to 
buy uranium from Niger was false and misleading. This 
journalist wrote in his column that he was told by the White 
House officials that the Ambassador's wife was ``an operative'' 
of the CIA, presumably intending to cast doubt about the 
Ambassador's motivations; other journalists were apparently 
told this was the ``real story'' and that Wilson's wife was 
``fair game.''
    As events have borne out, Ambassador Wilson was correct. 
The claims made by the President and others in his 
Administration that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger were 
indeed false. Indeed, clearly and evidently false, based on 
badly-forged documents that even a cursory investigation would 
ascertain. According to press reports, our own intelligence 
agencies had grave doubts about their authenticity as early as 
the summer of 2002. Nevertheless, the President and his 
Administration used it as a vital piece of evidence that Iraq 
was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Even after 
senior intelligence officials insisted the claim be deleted 
from the President's speeches, the claim continued to surface 
in statements by senior Administration officials. The Secretary 
of State, in his presentation before the United Nations 
Security Council in February 2003, wisely refused to repeat the 
claim, recognizing its dubious character.
    Administration officials have since admitted that the Iraq-
Niger uranium claims were unsupportable--admitting this fact 
only reluctantly and in a raft of finger-pointing. And yet, 
someone in the White House could apparently not resist the 
temptation to tarnish the reputation of the one man who had 
actually, personally investigated the claim and who quietly 
told the Administration that the charges were false. When he 
was not heeded, he rightfully stated his opinions and 
information, openly and for the public record, in The New York 
Times in June 2003.
    We find it extremely hard to believe that the disclosure of 
the CIA agent's identity by White House officials was 
inadvertent. One crucial fact has recently come to light; in 
June 2003, Secretary of State Powell had a top-secret State 
memorandum (prepared by the Department's Bureau of Intelligence 
and Research) with him regarding the Wilson mission during the 
President's trip to Africa. This memorandum reportedly had a 
section identifying Wilson's wife as a CIA operative, and 
several White House senior aides may have reviewed that memo, 
which could have been the source of their knowledge of Ms. 
Plame's identity. If so, they knew that information was 
classified. How could anyone in the White House therefore 
believe that this public revelation was not criminal or 
dangerous? Rather, we believe that the leaking of Ms. Plame's 
identity as a covert operative was clearly an intentional 
effort to discredit her husband's public charges of the 
Administration's misuse of intelligence, conducted to exact 
political vengeance and perform damage control. If we are 
correct, this was the ultimate ``dirty trick'' by an 
Administration to silence its critics.
    It is true that this matter is already being investigated 
by a special prosecutor, whom we do not intend to demean. We 
note, however, that the only person to have suffered 
imprisonment in this matter is a journalist who refused to 
reveal her sources, even though she never even wrote a story.
    It is imperative that Congress fulfill its own oversight 
function in the investigation of this serious matter. U.S. 
Attorney Fitzgerald and the grand jury that is investigating 
this issue may find that while there has been wrongdoing, the 
legal elements of the federal criminal statutes involved here 
have not been met, and no indictment may be handed down. In 
that eventuality, he has no duty to report to Congress on his 
findings. And the fact that there may not be, in the course of 
this investigation, enough evidence to charge a federal crime 
does not mean that our national security is unaffected. Indeed, 
we need to ferret out how such an act, even if unintentional, 
could happen and establish safeguards to ensure that it never 
happens again.
    This resolution of inquiry does not ask for Mr. 
Fitzgerald's or the Justice Department's internal investigatory 
documents or in any way impair grand jury secrecy; it demands 
instead the primary materials that would allow Congress and 
this Committee to conduct its own investigation. Indeed, as we 
prepare for any investigation that is deemed necessary, these 
documents can be kept in complete security and confidentiality 
and need not undermine Mr. Fitzgerald's efforts. We would 
remind our colleagues that even in this Administration there 
have been congressional inquiries conducted while the U.S. 
Government had a criminal investigation open. Just to cite one 
case, in the last Congress both the House and the Senate 
conducted an investigation of the Enron scandal with multiple 
hearings and the subpoena of Justice Department targets, 
including calling all the major corporate officers who have 
been subject to plea agreements and indictments or remain 
targets of the investigation. Allegations of insider trading 
involving Martha Stewart were also investigated by 
Congressional committees during the course of a criminal 
investigation. Of course, in the last Administration there were 
numerous congressional investigations of matters under criminal 
investigation (including some where grand juries were active). 
These investigations include those of the Waco Incident, the 
U.S. technology transfers to China, allegations of campaign 
finance violations, the White House Travel office and many 
others. And at this very moment, the Committee on International 
Relations is investigating the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal at the 
same time that criminal investigations are taking place on the 
very same issue.
    Moreover, it is a fact that the Executive Branch is 
investigating itself on what may turn out to be, at least in 
part, a political act. Congress must conduct oversight as it 
has repeatedly in the last ten years, and may need to charter 
an independent investigation. We regret that the House Majority 
has, time and time again, refused to conduct real oversight if 
the results may be discomfiting to this White House. This is 
not what the American people expect from their Congress, 
regardless who is in charge.
    We regret that some choose to see this effort at seeking 
the truth as merely a political gambit; that has always been 
their defense when faced with effective and legitimate 
criticism. Last year, ten former CIA case officers and 
analysts, some of whom are known to us and are generally 
sympathetic to this Administration, wrote to the Speaker of the 
House and stated ``[f]or the good of the country, we ask you to 
please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. 
intelligence community by immediately launching a congressional 
investigation.'' We endorse this plea wholeheartedly, and 
regret that the majority of this Committee chose not to hear 

                                   Tom Lantos.
                                   Howard L. Berman.
                                   Gary L. Ackerman.
                                   Donald M. Payne.
                                   Robert Menendez.
                                   Sherrod Brown.
                                   Brad Sherman.
                                   Robert Wexler.
                                   Eliot L. Engel.
                                   William D. Delahunt.
                                   Gregory W. Meeks.
                                   Barbara Lee.
                                   Joseph Crowley.
                                   Earl Blumenauer.
                                   Shelley Berkley.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Adam B. Schiff.
                                   Diane E. Watson.
                                   Adam Smith.
                                   Betty McCollum.
                                   Ben Chandler.
                                   Dennis A. Cardoza.