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Hinchey, Waxman, & Conyers Request Cheney To Testify Before Congress On CIA Leak Case


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Hinchey, Waxman, & Conyers Request Cheney To Testify Before Congress On CIA Leak Case
From the Office of Rep Hinchey
November 3 , 2005

Daniel J. Ahouse
District Director
Congressman Maurice Hinchey
291 Wall Street
Kingston, NY 12401
845-331-4466

For Immediate Release: Contacts: Jeff Lieberson (Hinchey) 202-225-1265

November 3, 2005 Dena Graziano (Conyers) 202-225-6906

Hinchey, Waxman, & Conyers Request Cheney
To Testify Before Congress On CIA Leak Case

Say Many Doubts & Questions Remain Unanswered About Vice President's Involvement
With Disclosure Of CIA Agent's Identity; Call On Vice President To Follow The Example Of His Former Boss, President Ford, Who Testified On Capitol Hill While In Office On Nixon Pardon

Washington, DC -- With many questions left unanswered regarding Vice President Dick Cheney's involvement in the CIA leak case, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Government Reform, and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee today called on the vice president to appear before Congress to discuss his involvement in the disclosure of CIA operative Valerie Wilson's identity. The congressmen appealed to Cheney to follow the precedent of his former boss, President Gerald R. Ford, who came to Capitol Hill while in office to testify on the reasons for his pardon of President Richard M. Nixon. At the time of Ford's testimony before Congress, Cheney was Ford's Deputy Chief of Staff and later became his Chief of Staff.

"It is extremely important with regard to the maintenance of the integrity of our democratic republic that the full and complete truth of this matter be made available to the American people," the congressmen wrote in a letter to Cheney. "Unfortunately, doubts and questions will continue to grow until the nation learns the complete story behind the leak of Valerie Wilson's identity. There are many wide-ranging questions about your involvement with the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity to which the American people deserve answers."

Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted last week on two counts of perjury, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice for his involvement with the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity. Libby pleaded not guilty to those charges today. According to the indictment, Cheney and members of his office were involved in discussions about Wilson and her work at the CIA. The indictment alleges that Cheney himself informed Libby of Wilson's specific role within the CIA.

In their letter, the congressmen raise some of the specific outstanding questions they would like Cheney to answer in testimony before Congress. Specifically, the congressmen want to know why Cheney and his office were investigating Valerie Wilson and whether the vice president directed Libby to speak to the media about Wilson or whether he was at the very least aware that his chief of staff was doing so. Seeking answers to the larger issue at hand, the congressmen asked Cheney about whether he had long been aware that the Administration's claims that Iraq was seeking large amounts of uranium from Niger for nuclear weapons were false even as officials, including President Bush, continued to tout those assertions as justification for invading Iraq. The congressmen also asked if the motive behind the leaking of Valerie Wilson's identity was to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson, who had been publicly speaking out to dispute the Administration's uranium claims.

"We therefore encourage you to follow the example of your former boss, President Ford, by testifying before Congress," the congressmen wrote to Cheney. "Openness and sunshine are the best way to restore public trust that the White House is operating ethically, efficiently, and in compliance with rules protecting national security."

With questions swirling as to whether Ford and Nixon had worked out a deal on a pardon before Nixon left office, Ford testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice on October 17, 1974 to explain his reasoning for the pardon. At the time of Ford's testimony, current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was Ford' Chief of Staff and Cheney was Deputy Chief of Staff. Cheney became Ford's Chief of Staff in November 1975 when Rumsfeld left to become Ford's Defense Secretary.

###

The full text of the letter follows:

November 3, 2005
Vice President Richard B. Cheney
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20501
Dear Mr. Vice President:

In response to significant public scrutiny, President Gerald R. Ford came to Capitol Hill on October 17, 1974 to testify before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice on why he pardoned President Richard M. Nixon. At the time of President Ford's appearance before Congress, you served as his Deputy Chief of Staff and later became his Chief of Staff. With that precedent in mind, we respectfully request that you make yourself available to appear before Congress to explain the details and reasons for your office's involvement -- and your personal involvement - in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative.

Last week, your former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted for committing perjury and obstructing the investigation of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity. According to the indictment, you and members of your office were involved in discussions about Valerie Wilson and her work for the CIA. In fact, the indictment alleges that you personally informed Mr. Libby that Valerie Wilson worked in the CIA's Counterproliferation Division and that you had learned this information from the CIA.

It is extremely important with regard to the maintenance of the integrity of our democratic republic that the full and complete truth of this matter be made available to the American people. Unfortunately, doubts and questions will continue to grow until the nation learns the complete story behind the leak of Valerie Wilson's identity. There are many wide-ranging questions about your involvement with the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity to which the American people deserve answers, including:

· Why were you and other officials in your office investigating Valerie Wilson's employment with the CIA?

· Did you authorize Mr. Libby to disclose Valerie Wilson's identity to the news media? Were you aware that he was doing so?

· At the time of the leak, Valerie Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had been publicly questioning the Administration's claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, which had been used as a primary justification for war. At the time of the leak, did you believe the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger was true? When did you first learn that the uranium claims were untrue? Was the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity an attempt to discredit her husband and what he had been saying about the uranium caims being false?

· When you learned that the leak had occurred, did you investigate whether any members of your staff were responsible for this act? If so, when did you do so and what were your findings? Do you think that those involved with the leak should be allowed to maintain their security clearances?

We therefore encourage you to follow the example of your former boss, President Ford, by testifying before Congress. Openness and sunshine are the best way to restore public trust that the White House is operating ethically, efficiently, and in compliance with rules protecting national security.

Sincerely,

Maurice Hinchey
Henry Waxman
John Conyers, Jr.

LINK TO ORIGINAL

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