Friday, October 14, 2005

More Scoop on Scooter, or, Libby Leaks Again

As promised, I read through part of the senate hearings on Lewis "Scooter" Libby. In one of them, Libby is called on the carpet over a leak to the Washington Post and the New York Times, of a Department of Defense Document that Congress had requested but been denied. As you can see, tempers flared a little. Keep in mind that this testimony was given in 1992, so, although many of the names are the same, it is the first President Bush in office, not W.

These are lengthy excerpts but I didn't want to take anything way out of context. If anything on a page is left out there a dotted line to signify it. I encourage those interested to find the full hearing and read through it. There is a lot of good stuff there.

Defense Planning, Guidance and Security Issues (Hearings before the committee on Armed Services United States Senate, 102nd Congress, 2nd session, June 3, 10, 16, and 18, 1992). (Y 4 AR5/3:SHRG 102-834)

[begin p. 15]

Chairman Nunn: The Defense Planning Guidance is a classified document is that right?
Mr. Libby: That is correct sir.
Chairman Nunn: How highly classified is it? What is the highest classification?
Mr. Libby: I believe the highest classification in it is at the secret level, sir.
Chairman Nunn: At the secret level. Does the committee have a copy of the Defense Planning Guidance?
Mr. Libby: The Committee does not have one, sir.
Chairman Nunn: Do you not furnish that to Congress?
Mr. Libby: It has not ever been furnished to Congress, nor has its predecessor, the Defense Guidance, been furnished to Congress.
Chairman Nunn: So the only place we can read it is in the New York Times. Is that right?
Senator Cohen: The Washington Post
Mr. Libby: Well, sir, actually you cannot read it there either. It is a quite lengthy document. It has a lot more to it than what appeared in a few excerpts from early drafts. So far the final guidance has not appeared, fortunately, in the press.
Chairman Nunn: Do you believe the entire document has been leaked?
Mr. Libby: It is the claim of the reporters who reported it that the entire document of the two different drafts have been leaked.
Chairman Nunn: Has there been any investigation started as to who leaked the document, how it was leaked?
Mr. Libby: As I responded to the committee, and you noted earlier, I know of no investigation being done. I have consulted the appropriate officials and been advised that none is underway.
Chairman Nunn: None is underway
Mr. Libby: Correct, sir.
Chairman Nunn: Can you tell us why not?
Mr. Libby: By its nature, the Defense Planning Guidance is circulated widely throughout the building; that is the purpose of it. The professionals in the field of investigating these matters have concluded that it is not a productive use of resources, given the wide number of people who have had access to it, to try and track down which particular office or person it came from, given the current lack of any specific indication of where it might have come from.
Naturally, if we get, at a future time, some indication, of where it came from, I am told by these professionals that they would then reassess whether it would be a productive use of resources.
Chairman Nunn: How are you going to know whether you have a productive use of resources if you are not going to investigate to being with? I mean the way you find out whether you have any evidence or whether you can pursue something to its ultimate, is to begin at least a preliminary investigation and then you make a decision about whether it would be fruitful to go forward with a full investigation.
To make a decision you are not going to investigate at all seems to me is just encouraging this kind of conduct. And it makes you wonder if this is not something that the Department of Defense does encourage.

[begin p. 16]

Mr. Libby: Well, let me begin by saying it is certainly not something the Department of Defense encourages.
Chairman Nunn: Well, no, this is too much of a coincidence for me to believe, that if the first document leaked, perhaps without DOD’s approval, perhaps with out high-level official approval, then we requested a copy of that. We went though a series of exchanges back and forth and reached some kind of, I guess, accommodation, although we never got a copy in our possession.
And then the second document is prepared and it leaks out too. And Mr. Libby, that strains credibility. Did you have anything to do with either leak yourself?
Mr. Libby: No, sir, I did not.
Chairman Nunn: Do you know who leaked it, yourself?
Mr. Libby: No, sir, I have no idea.
Chairman Nunn: Do you have any evidence of who leaked it yourself?
Mr. Libby: No, sir, I do not.

[begin p. 22]

Senator Levin: All right. Is the guidance – does your testimony tend to exactly reflect the new guidance?
Mr. Libby: My testimony very closely reflects the strategy and thinking of the Department, as it is also reflected in the new guidance.
Senator Levin: Some of your testimony, as you presented it, your written testimony, is precisely word for word the guidance this I printed in the papers. Is that intentional?
Mr. Libby: That is correct, sir.
Senator Levin: So that chunks of the guidance, literally big chunks of the new guidance, which is supposed to be a classified document, appear verbatim in your testimony here today.
Mr. Libby: I would put it slightly differently. The guidance is a classified document, but within it, under the system used in the Department, many individual paragraphs are classified or unclassified. Great portions of the guidance were designed to reflect the Secretary’s testimony. And we did not intend to seek to artificially classify thoughts and strategies (a) that the Secretary had already presented to the Congress, and (b) that we very much would like to have before you in debate.
Senator Levin: Do you submit to the Congress the unclassified portions of that guidance? Have you submitted that?
Mr. Libby: No, sir, we have not.
Senator Levin: Well, there is a real inconsistency here then. I think we have a right to the entire guidance. Now we are told that big chunks of the testimony here today are verbatim portions of the guidance, which they are, because I have checked the newspaper articles against the testimony.
And the then the answer is, you have a classified internal document form which today’s testimony is stating verbatim. How then can you argue it is an internal document? The answer is that parts of it are unclassified and parts of it are classified. And then when you ask the question, well, do we get the unclassified parts, the answer is no, except in the New York Times, Washington Post and in testimony today.

Chairman Nunn: You have convinced me, Senator Levin. Mr. Libby, we have a real problem here. It was a problem on the first leak. The second leak, which I have to say seemed to me to be very convenient on behalf of those who would like to correct the first leak, makes the problem even harder.

[p. 29]

Senator Levin: Has the document now been approved – the guidance?
Mr. Libby: yes, sir.
Senator Levin: So it is final. Cheney and Powell have signed off on it?
Mr. Libby: The Secretary signs it, sir.
Senator Levin: And so he signed off on it?
Mr. Libby: yes, sir.
Senator Levin: And how many pages is it?
Mr. Libby: I would say, roughly 60.
Senator Levin: Sixty?
Mr. Libby: Sixty.
Senator Levin: It is all an internal document?
Mr. Libby: Correct, sir.
Senator Levin: How much of it is unclassified?
Mr. Libby: I have not done a calculation.
Senator Levin: A significant portion?
Mr. Libby: I would say that in the portion that relates to the overall strategy – as opposed to the scenario portion where I doubt almost anything is unclassified – in the portion that relates to the overall strategy, which might be in the first tenth of the document or so, there is a substantial amount of unclassified material. And it tracks the general line of thought with the presentation that the Secretary made to this committee on January 31.
Senator Levin: To say it is unclassified does not mean that the public can read it, then. Is that it?
Mr. Libby: That is correct.
Senator Levin: That does not mean that the public can read those unclassified sections?
Mr. Libby: That is correct, sir. That is my understanding, because the lawyers have a term for it.
Senator Levin: I think it s a whole new definition of unclassified. I have never heard that definition, where something is unclassified, but it is not open to the public.


Anonymous said...

What a retard.

Anonymous said...

This is a really stupid website. I'm surprised I even came to this one when I was searching for RELIABLE information. I've heard about this website. Everything's garbage. If you are reading this, I hope you take my advice, and get information from another, more reliable source that you can count on at all times.

AboveAvgJane said...

The information in this posting is taken from a congressional document. Any complaints you have on the content should be addressed to your elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me why, if the information was unclassified, would it be called a 'leak'?