Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has signed a letter calling for an investigation into who leaked information about secret CIA prisons to the Washington Post, after earlier denying that he has signed it, CNN reported Tuesday evening.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert has also signed the letter. Any investigation is now up to the respective chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The Republican leaders have called only for an investigation into who leaked the information, not into why the United States has set up secret prisons overseas.
The Democrats' leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi issued a statement to RAW STORY, saying: "If Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Frist are finally ready to join Democrats' demands for an investigation of possible abuses of classified information, they must direct the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to investigate all aspects of that issue. That includes the possible manipulation of pre-war intelligence on Iraq, and the disclosure for political purposes of classified information involving the identity of the CIA officer. There is plenty to investigate about the Bush Administrations' use and misuse of intelligence; the American people deserve the truth."
A call placed to Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who wrote the CIA jail story, was not returned.
Frist and Hastert's letter calling for an inquiry follows.
November 8, 2005
Honorable Peter Hoekstra
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Pat Roberts
Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Hoekstra and Chairman Roberts:
We request that you immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media alleging that the United States government may be detaining and interrogating terrorists at undisclosed locations abroad. As you know, if accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the
American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks.
The purpose of your investigation will be to determine the following: was the information provided to the media classified and accurate?; who leaked this information and under what authority?; and, what is the
actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the Global War on Terror? We will consider other changes to this mandate based on your recommendations.
Any information that you obtain on this matter that may implicate possible violations of law should be referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.
We expect that you will move expeditiously to complete this inquiry and that you will provide us with periodic updates. We are hopeful that you will be able to accomplish this task in a bipartisan manner given
general agreement that intelligence matters should not be politicized. Either way, however, your inquiry shall proceed.
The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will
worsen. The unauthorized release of classified information is serious and threatens our nation's security. It also puts the lives of many Americans and the security of our nation at risk.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
William H. Frist, M.D.
J. Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives