June 15, 2006
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
Office of Special Counsel
Bond Federal Building
1400 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Special Counsel Fitzgerald:
In light of the news from White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's attorney that you do not anticipate seeking charges against Mr. Rove, we know you will be shifting some of the focus of your investigation and are asking that you reconsider your response to the September 15, 2005 letter we sent you.
In our letter, we requested that you expand your current investigation concerning the leak of the identity of a CIA agent, Valerie Wilson, to include a probe of the reasons behind that leak. Based upon the information now available, it seems that the principle reason for the attack on Mrs. Wilson was to reduce the credibility of her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who at the request of the CIA had investigated assertions that Iraq had imported yellowcake uranium from Niger. When Ambassador Wilson reported back that the uranium claims were untrue, members of the administration became deeply interested in discrediting him, especially after he went public with details of his Niger trip in an op-ed piece published in The New York Times.
The Bush administration wanted to discredit Ambassador Wilson because he was coming forth with information that revealed members of the administration violated at least two criminal statutes, 18 U.S.C., Sec. 1001 and 18 U.S.C., Sec. 371, which prohibit making false and fraudulent statements to Congress and obstructing the functions of Congress. We pointed to five such uranium claims in our original letter to you. Your March 7, 2006 letter in response stated that your authority or mandate from the Justice Department does not "include the authority to expand the investigation as you and your colleagues request." Your letter further states that you "do not plan to seek an expansion of my mandate in order to conduct the inquiry you have requested."
We sincerely appreciate your response, however, we respectfully disagree with its conclusions. We believe that your power is broader and that you have the full authority to conduct an investigation of the matters that we raised. Acting Attorney General James Comey indicated in letters to you that you have "all the authority of the Attorney General" regarding the CIA leak investigation and that your authority is "...plenary and includes the authority to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal criminal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure..." Since plenary means full and covering all matters, we believe that the letter from Acting Attorney General Comey gave you complete control to also investigate the motive of the leak, which was to cover up the fact that the president and others knowingly made false statements to Congress about uranium from Niger.
In the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, you noted that Valerie Wilson's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had publicly charged that President Bush's claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq sought uranium from Africa was false. Joseph Wilson also wrote in his July 6, 2003 op-ed article in The New York Times that in "the months leading up to the war" against Iraq, the Bush administration "twisted" intelligence about Iraq's nuclear programs "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." Joseph Wilson provided information that backed up his claim, which eventually led to further revelations showing that the administration's claims that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa for a nuclear weapon were false and fraudulent.
In your court filing of April 5, 2006, you essentially stated that the motive for the leaking of Valerie Wilson's identity as a CIA agent was to retaliate against her husband for his criticism of President Bush. In that pleading you stated that Joseph Wilson's criticism of President Bush's uranium claim "was viewed in the Office of Vice President as a direct attack on the credibility of the Vice President (and the President) on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq. Defendant [Libby] undertook vigorous efforts to rebut this attack during the week following July 7, 2003."
Joseph Wilson's charges that the administration's uranium claims were false is directly related to the intentional leak that his wife was a CIA agent. Therefore, Joseph Wilson's original charges that the administration made false statements about uranium are related to that leak, and as a related matter, you have authority granted by Acting Attorney General Comey's letter to investigate those charges. We believe the administration's false and fraudulent uranium claims need to be probed because they were made to and or directed at the Congress, and it is a crime for members of any administration to lie to and obstruct the work of the Congress. For the reasons stated above in this letter, we respectfully ask that you reconsider your response to our letter and broaden your investigation to also include the administrations false statements that Iraq was seeking uranium.
In your press conference after the Libby indictment, you stated that the case was, "a very serious matter and compromising national security information is a very serious matter . [T]he need to get to the bottom of what happened and whether national security was compromised by inadvertence, by recklessness, by maliciousness is extremely important. We need to know the truth. And anyone who would go into a grand jury and lie, obstruct and impede the investigation has committed a serious crime." You also stated, "...that all citizens are bound by the law. But what we need to also show the world is that we can also apply the same safeguards to all our citizens, including high officials. Much as they must be bound by the law, they must follow the same rules."
We sincerely appreciate your understanding of the complex and comprehensive nature of the investigative authority placed in your hands, as well as the conscientious and professional way in which you have engaged that authority. That is why we request again today that your investigation focus on the motivation behind the illegal release of Mrs. Wilson's identity. The work you are doing is critically important to the preservation of the principles and values that are the bedrock of our great nation. Thank you for your reconsideration of this matter. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
and 19 House Colleagues:
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), Congressman James Moran (D-VA), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressman Bernard Sanders (I-VT), and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY).