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Waxman: Bush Statement on Rove Conflicts with Executive Order
By Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Monday 18 July 2005
Dear Mr. President:
In June 2004, you said that you would fire anyone found to be involved in the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's identity as a covert CIA agent.  Today, you significantly changed your position, stating that you would remove Karl Rove or other White House officials involved in the security breach only "if someone committed a crime." 
Your new standard is not consistent with your obligations to enforce Executive Order 12958, which governs the protection of national security secrets. The executive order states: "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."  Under the executive order, the available sanctions include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions." 
Under the executive order, you may not wait until criminal intent and liability are proved by a prosecutor. Instead, you have an affirmative obligation to take "appropriate and prompt corrective action."  And the standards of proof are much different. A criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald is investigating, requires a finding that Mr. Rove "intentionally disclose[d]" the identity of a covert agent.  In contrast, the administrative sanctions under Executive Order 12958 can be imposed without a finding of intent. Under the express terms of the executive order, you are required to impose administrative sanctions - such as removal of office or termination of security clearance - if Mr. Rove or other officials acted "negligently" in disclosing or confirming information about Ms. Wilson's identity. 
I have enclosed a fact sheet on Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement and its legal implications, which provides additional detail about the President's national security obligations. I urge you to act in compliance with Executive Order 12958 and your responsibility to safeguard national security secrets.
Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member
 Press Conference: President Discusses Job Creation With Business Leaders (Sept. 30, 2003).
 Bush: CIA Leaker Would Be Fired if Crime Committed, Reuters (July 18, 2005); Bush: Any Criminals in Leak to Be Fired, Associated Press (July 18, 2005).
 Executive Order 12958, sec. 5.5(b)
 Id. at sec. 5.5(c).
 Id. at sec. 5.5(e).
 50 USC sec. 421(a).
 Executive Order 12958, sec. 5.5(b).