Yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a winner of BuzzFlash’s “Wings of Justice” award issued this statement on the White House leak & Karl Rove.
BuzzFlash “Wings of Justice Award Winner” Barbara Boxer Tells Bush to Stop Passing the Buck on Treason
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Senator Barbara Boxer
I am here today to discuss the White House’s involvement in the leak of a CIA operative’s identity, and the ripple effect this disclosure has had on the intelligence community and the women who nobly serve in our intelligence agencies. America is a country that stands for justice and expects that their leaders reflect that value. In 1973, when President Richard Nixon was defending his record in the Watergate case, he said, “people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.” That explanation wasn’t good enough for the American people.
Neither is President Bush’s most recent statement that “if someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my Administration.” That standard is far too low and backtracks from the President’s original statement, which was “I don’t know of anybody in my Administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take appropriate action.” The White House press secretary, Scott McClellan also said, “If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.”
The American people want and deserve to know that the top officials in the White House are held to the highest ethical standards, not the lowest. The American people expect that their President meant what he said originally and that he will deal with his top staff who clearly put a CIA operative in jeopardy. Karl Rove’s acknowledged involvement in the exposure of Valerie Plame’s identity was clearly wrong. He described the CIA agent as “Wilson’s wife,” and that is enough to be able to identify her. And the bottom line is that the intelligence community was betrayed and that was a huge disservice not just to them, but to our national security. Let’s look at what White House Advisor Karen Hughes said about the CIA leak in October of 2003: ” Karl has said that he was not involved.” ” Whoever did this leak obviously was not serving President Bush very well.” That’s what Karen Hughes said and I agree with her. There has never been a more important time for U.S. intelligence agents to be able to do their work unimpeded; the threats posed by terrorists are simply too great. But Karl Rove and maybe others in this Administration leaked the identity of a CIA agent. And to what end? To discredit her husband. And here is the real irony– her husband was right in the advice he gave to the Administration. He said Iraq did not buy uranium from Niger. Instead of being thanked for his work, Karl Rove set out to destroy his wife’s career.
Is this the way we treat women who risk their lives for their country? We need diversity in our intelligence community, and what message do we send to women who are considering jobs at the CIA or NSC when a woman like Valerie Plame is used a political weapon? Karl Rove thought nothing about her career, her family, her safety, and the integrity of the CIA. Now, I want to go to something else Karen Hughes said in October 2003. At that time, when she believed Karl Rove had no involvement in this matter, she told Time Magazine, “I don’t believe it’s right to hide behind journalists.” Again, I agree with Karen Hughes. It’s not right for White House officials to hide behind journalists, and it’s not right for the White House to hide behind this investigation.
This President has spoken in the past about people being held accountable from the top down. Well, I think President Bush needs to heed President Truman’s advice about the Presidency, namely, “the buck stops here.” This President needs to take responsibility for his White House, and send a message to the entire nation that actions such as those taken by Mr. Rove will not be tolerated. It’s the President’s White House, and the buck stops there. A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Note: From a statement read by Senator Boxer at a news conference held on July 20, 2005.