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From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Arther Miller) Newsgroups: alt.politics.org.cia,alt.politics.org.fbi,alt.politics.usa.congress,alt.politics.usa Subject: Daschle Letter to Ashcroft: Classified Leaks Continue Date: 23 Dec 2003 17:55:19 -0800 Organization: http://groups.google.com Message-ID: <email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: 184.108.40.206 NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 01:55:19 +0000 (UTC) Daschle Letter to Ashcroft: Classified Leaks Continue Monday 22 December 2003 The Honorable John Ashcroft Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20530 Dear Mr. Attorney General: On September 29, 2003, we wrote to you and to the President requesting the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the unauthorized disclosure of the identity of an undercover CIA officer. You rejected this request, stating that the Department of Justice would initiate a criminal investigation of this matter instead. However, based on what we have seen to date, it is far from clear that the Administration and your department are truly committed to taking the steps necessary to apprehend the person or persons responsible for this grave national security breach. More than five months have passed since the first press report disclosed the name of the CIA officer and more than two months since your investigation was initiated. The press reports that you are receiving detailed briefings on the status of this case from the Justice Department employees conducting the investigation. Given your refusal to name a special prosecutor and the fact that you are a political appointee of the President, receiving briefings on an investigation of officials of this Administration creates, at a minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest. We believe it is essential that you give our intelligence community personnel, the Congress, and the American people confidence that the Justice Department is thoroughly and aggressively pursuing all leads in this case without concern for its political ramifications. Recognizing that this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we request that you provide us with an overall status of the investigation, including the number of people the Justice Department has interviewed, the number of briefings you have received, the general types of information you are briefed on, what conditions you have placed on the scope of these briefings to ensure the independence of this investigation, and whether you have discussed this case with senior Administration officials outside the Justice Department. As we wrote in September, we believe it is critical that this matter be investigated as quickly, thoroughly, and as impartially as possible. If, as has been reported, senior Administration officials disclosed this confidential information, they should be prosecuted and, if found guilty, dismissed from their positions of public trust. An aggressive response in this case is also important in order to deter those who may be tempted in the future to use classified information for their own partisan purposes. Unfortunately, since our September letter, we have seen a continuing pattern of leaks of classified information from the Executive branch. These disclosures include information related to sensitive counter-terrorism intelligence sources and activities related to the war in Iraq. There have been reports that these leaks also have been referred to the Department of Justice for a possible criminal investigation. The continuing unauthorized leaking of classified information to support particular policies is inexcusable. It is endangering the lives of the men and women serving our country and jeopardizing our national security. Your continuing refusal to name a special counsel, despite the possible involvement of senior Administration officials, and the appearance of a conflict of interest, make it even more imperative that the Congress and the American people be assured that this case is being thoroughly pursued free of partisan influence and you are personally committed to achieving a prompt, successful conclusion. Therefore, we request that you provide us an update on your Department=s efforts in this investigation, the steps you have taken to ensure its independence, and any measures you have implemented to stem the tide of leaks of classified information. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Tom Daschle U.S. Senate Carl Levin U.S. Senate
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