KARL ROVE -- (House of Representatives - July 12, 2005)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of January 4, 2005, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) is recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes.
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, it is time President Bush's Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove level with the American people and explain exactly what his role was in the leak of a covert CIA agent.
Mr. Speaker, this is serious business. But from the way the White House has been handling it, you would think it is no big deal. Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent stationed in many hot spots around the world. When someone in the White House decided to leak her name to reporters they were jeopardizing any undercover operations that Plame had worked with in the past.
You would think that President Bush would take this issue very seriously, since it was his father who said in a presidential address at the CIA headquarters back in 1999, and I am going to quote that, ``that I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view the most insidious of traitors.''
Now those are some tough words from the first President Bush who knew the CIA well from his days as director of that agency. But when Valerie Plame's name was first leaked, this president, the current President Bush, also had some tough comments for whoever was responsible. In September 2003 he said in response to a question regarding the leak of Plame's name, and again I am quoting, ``if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is, and if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.''
Well now, Mr. Speaker, it appears that we know who one of those people is. And now the question is, will President Bush hold Karl Rove accountable for his actions?
Karl Rove has also repeatedly denied any involvement. When he was first asked if he had any knowledge or involvement in the identification of the CIA agent, Rove simply said no. Then earlier this month, when interviewed by CNN, Rove amended that statement slightly and said, and again I am quoting, ``I will repeat what I said to ABC News when this whole thing broke some number of months ago. I do not know her name and I did not leak her name.''
Well, we now know that he may not have necessarily given the reporter Valerie Plame's name. But he certainly told the reporter that Joseph Wilson's wife was a covert CIA agent.
Now how difficult would it be for a reporter to find out the name of Wilson's wife? Not that difficult, obviously.
Mr. Speaker, it is troubling that neither Karl Rove nor the Bush administration have leveled with the American people about Rove's real involvement. Shortly after the leak became news, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan went before White House reporters and told the world he talked with Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams and Lewis Libby, and that each of three had assured him that they were not involved.
And so now the question is, was Karl Rove withholding information from his colleagues at the White House about his involvement in the Valerie Plame scandal? Or did the White House know, and did they send out erroneous and false statements to the media?
It would be nice if the White House would answer these questions, but now the White House refuses to comment on any issue regarding the ongoing investigation. Yesterday reporters tried to ask Scott McClellan whether or not he would stand by the statement he made back in 2003 in which he stated that Karl Rove had told him he was not involved. And McClellan said he could no longer comment on the investigation. How convenient, Mr. Speaker, that McClellan was able to vouch for Rove back in 2003 but is silent today.
So today we are left are two possibilities really. 1, the White House has been bending the truth on this very serious issue since the beginning, or 2, Karl Rove has misrepresented his involvement to the White House. Either way, Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do. And I believe, Mr. Speaker, that President Bush should stand behind his past statement and ask Karl Rove to either defend his actions or resign.