Poor Security Enforcement at the White House

Just found a couple things over at the Daily KOS. First, a reference to an article where, contrary to what’s being claimed by the right-wing blowhards like Hannity and Limbaugh, Robert Novak claims to Newsday in 2003 that sources came to him with the information about Valerie Plame. “I didn’t dig it out, it was given to me,” he said. “They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.”

Ouch. So do you believe Rove’s people or do you believe Novak?

Not only that, but it would appear as if Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Bush and Cheney have all violated their security oaths. Check out this piece on the Daily KOS that references this article regarding government official security clearances (pdf), which was released by Henry Waxman’s office. According to the KOS, “this paper covers the Executive Order and agreement that everyone who works in the Administration is required to sign in order to obtain a security clearance.”

Please pay particular attention to the following phrases:

…an official who has signed a nondisclosure agreement cannot confirm classified information obtained by a reporter…

Before … confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, … confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.

And the rules in the document actually become more stringent from there, requiring any executive to jump through hoops to make absolutely, positively sure there is no breach of confidentiality when even CONFIRMING a reporter’s question or statement. Clearly, the right-wing chalking this up to “no big deal, he was just confirming some information” is no excuse, even if it was true, which, according to Novak’s statement, it is not. I can only imagine the hell that Hannity, Limbaugh, etc. would raise if this had been a Democratic administration caught in such a compromising position.

But it doesn’t stop there. Waxman’s release also clarifies that the President and the administration as a whole have certain duties under Executive Order 12958:

Under the executive order, the White House has an affirmative obligation to investigate and take remedial action separate and apart from any ongoing criminal investigation. The executive order specifically provides that when a breach occurs, each agency must “take appropriate and prompt corrective action.” This includes a determination of whether individual employees improperly disseminated or obtained access to classified information. [emphasis mine]

The executive order further provides that sanctions for violations are not optional. The executive order expressly provides: “Officers and employees of the United States Government … shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently … disclose to unauthorized persons informatio properly classified.” [emphasis mine, again]

So what is the White House waiting for? Even if, as Rove’s lawyer claims, Rove only “confirmed” the information to Novak, that was enough to breach the terms of the nondisclosure agreement that he signed, and based upon this admission by Rove’s lawyer, this is enough to cause Rove’s security clearances to immediately be revoked. The question is, how will Bush get away with keeping Rove in the administration? We know he will, right? This should be good.

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