"An unprecedented and shameful event in American history"

Decorated CIA veterans demand that Congress hold the Bush White House accountable for exposing undercover agent Valerie Plame.

Published January 24, 2004 12:18AM (EST)

The Honorable Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Capitol

Dear Mr. Speaker:

We, the undersigned former intelligence officials in the U.S. intelligence community, request that you launch an immediate, bipartisan congressional investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media that exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame's name was an unprecedented and shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, has damaged U.S. national security, specifically the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.

While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the Congress must send an unambiguous message that the intelligence officers tasked with collecting or analyzing intelligence must never be turned into political punching bags. We believe it is important that Congress speak with one voice on this issue. Moreover, the investigation must focus on more than simply identifying who leaked this information. We believe it is important for Congress to help the American people understand how this happened and take a clear stand that such behavior will not be tolerated under any administration, Republican or Democrat. A thorough and successful congressional investigation of this crime is necessary to send a clear signal that the elected representatives of this government will not accept nor ignore the political exploitation of the men and women in our intelligence community. A professional, thorough investigation will also help boost the weakened morale of our intelligence personnel and renew their confidence and trust in the elected leadership of the country.

Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government's protection.

For the good of our 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.

Sincerely yours,
Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst

Joined by:
James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer
Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst
Brent Cavan, former Analyst
Dr. Marc Sageman, MD, Ph.D., former Case Officer
James A. Smith, former Case Officer
John McCavitt, former Case Officer
Ray McGovern, former Analyst
Ray Close, former Analyst
William Wagner, former Case Officer

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
U.S. Rep. Porter Goss, Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, Ranking Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

By Salon Staff

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