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Congressman Yarmuth Questions Valerie Plame Wilson in Hearing on Classified Information in White House

(Washington, DC) Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) was the first Representative to question former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in today's Oversight and Government Reform Yarmuth questions Valerie Plamehearing on "White House Procedures for Safeguarding Classified Information."

After confirming that Mrs. Wilson's role was indeed classified information, Congressman Yarmuth went on to inquire about the disclosures effect on her and our nation's intelligence capabilities.  Mrs. Wilson told him that the breech had destroyed "my career which I loved" and had a "very negative effect" on future CIA employees and sources.

The hearing broke a long period of public silence following the illegal disclosure of her identity as a CIA operative, and comes on the heels of the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, for perjury and making false statements regarding the leak.  Despite his conviction, neither Libby nor any one else has been held accountable for the leak.

Audio excerpts from the hearing are attached and Congressman Yarmuth's statement before the hearing is below.

      For nearly four years now, the betrayal of the Wilsons has been bandied about like tabloid gossip.  And although the breech in question may have stemmed from personal retribution within the Bush Administration, it is important to remember that this illegal disclosure struck deep discord with core American values, seriously damaging our diplomacy and intelligence capabilities, to say nothing of our credibility and integrity.  While not necessarily treason by design, the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity was certainly treasonous in effect.

      We cannot quantify the work squandered by her outing, but we are beginning to see the effects of the dangerous precedent it set, the precedent that says to friends, enemies, and would be informants: Be careful what you tell us, at any moment the federal government could betray you.  This is not speculation, these are facts now confirmed by members of the intelligence community, and they are effects from which we will not easily recover.

      We'll likely never know for sure just how far past Scooter Libby this conspiracy stretched, but we do know that this government will not function properly as long as crucial and confidential documents, such as the memo that revealed the classified identity of Valeria Plame Wilson, may be made public due to the conspiratorial actions of a few individual who evade the proper channels.  For six years, this body has enabled the Executive Branch to act on a whim, but those days are over.  Today, we intend to return safeguards to classified information in the executive branch and fulfill our Constitutional obligation to prevent the accumulation of too much power in too few hands.

      I am proud to be here today with like-minded colleagues who believe that by shedding light on these offenses and turning transgression transparent, we will restore that credibility and integrity to the United States of America.  I am hopeful that we will do that today, and I yield back the rest of my time.