Pelosi Urges Congressional Investigation into National Security Implications of Cunningham's Criminal Conduct
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter to Speaker Hastert today urging him to support the creation of a bipartisan House committee to investigate Congressman Duke Cunningham's criminal activities as they pertain to his handling of highly classified information related to our national security.
Below is the text of the letter:
November 30, 2005
The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
United States House of Representatives
Washington, District of Columbia
Dear Mr. Speaker:
The admissions of criminal conduct by former Congressman Duke Cunningham raise serious questions abouthis handling of highly classified information related to the national security of our country. The extent of Mr. Cunningham's misconduct has not been examined by the Congress to date, and we do not yet have a full disclosure of the breadth of his criminal activities by federal prosecutors.
Mr. Cunningham's ability to enrich himself dishonestly was directly related to his positions on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Defense of the Committee on Appropriations. In these positions, Mr. Cunningham had access to the most sensitive classified information in the possession of the United States. He has admitted engaging in criminal conduct with private companies seeking contracts from the United States government for national security-related matters. We do not know the extent of the information which he provided to these companies, or how it may have compromised national security.
The possible national security implications of Mr. Cunningham's egregious misuse of the legislative process raise troubling questions. For example, were those who bribed Mr. Cunningham improperly afforded access to classified information? Did defense contractors or others not referred to in the court documents provide gifts to Mr. Cunningham because of classified information he offered or provided? Precisely how did Mr. Cunningham use his access to classified information, programs and intelligence personnel to obtain the names of those executive officials who could be persuaded to award contracts to his co-conspirators? Additionally, do adequate congressional safeguards exist to ensure that others do not traffic in confidential national security information for their personal gain?
These and many more questions that pertain to the unique and sensitive relationship between a corrupt Member of Congress with daily access to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information and the intelligence and defense agencies within his oversight and funding purview must be addressed immediately. Many of these issues go beyond criminal activity that is the responsibility of law enforcement officials. The proper forum for reviewing these matters is the House of Representatives, working in cooperation with the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I ask that you join me in co-sponsoring and securing House passage of a resolution to (1) name a bipartisan committee of House members with expertise in national security and intelligence issues to investigate Mr. Cunningham's criminal activities as they pertain to the business of the House of Representatives and particularly the possibility of his misuse of his official position in a manner which may have compromised national security, and (2) request the Inspectors General in the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to fully cooperate with this review.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.