Saturday, July 16, 2005

Rove violated EO12958 & his Nondisclosure Agreement

The Republican party conveniently ignores WH obligations under Executive Order 12958 and their nondisclosure agreements:
The Procedures for Safeguarding Classified Information

There are a host of administrative rules that govern how federal agencies, including the White House, are supposed to safeguard the nation’s most crucial secrets. These administrative rules, many of which are included in Executive Order 12958, set forth specific requirements to be followed to prevent leaks from occurring and for investigating and responding to leaks after they occur. These rules apply to the White House.

E.O. 12958 requires agencies to establish an effective system to restrict access to classified information to only those employees with an official “need to know.” The executive order defines a “need to know” as “a determination made by an authorized holder of classified information that a prospective recipient requires access to specific classified information in order to perform or assist in a lawful and authorized governmental function.”

E.O. 12958 also requires that persons with access to classified information receive appropriate training on their obligations to protect the information. This security training includes instruction on how to store classified information, as well as instruction on what constitutes an impermissible disclosure. The executive order makes clear that confirming the accuracy of classified information, or calling attention to classified information that has appeared publicly, is considered just as much a violation as an unauthorized leak. Persons with access to classified information need to be informed of this obligation.

Additional administrative requirements direct agencies to establish procedures to restrict access to classified information to employees who have undergone background checks and signed Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreements, which are contracts in which employees agree not to divulge classified information.

After a leak occurs, another set of procedures requires agencies to investigate the security breach, take administrative actions against employees who violate these rules, and adjust procedures in order to prevent similar security breaches in the future. E.O. 12958 specifically provides that when a violation or infraction of the administrative rules occurs, each agency must “take appropriate and prompt corrective action.” This may include a determination of whether individual employees improperly disseminated or obtained access to classified information. If employees violated their nondisclosure agreements, sanctions may be warranted. The executive order requires that “at a minimum,” the agency must “promptly remove the classification authority of any individual who demonstrates reckless disregard or a pattern of error in applying the classification standards.”

Remedial action also may include an analysis of the effectiveness of the processes in place to prevent security breaches. The executive order requires agencies to monitor adherence to standards, assess compliance with access controls, and assess whether these controls are effective.
Karl Rove would have been required to sign a "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement" (SF-312) , section 3 of which states:

I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information by me could cause damage or irreparable injury to the United States or could be used to advantage by a foreign nation. I hereby agree that I will never divulge classified information to anyone unless: (a) I have officially verified that the recipient has been properly authorized by the United States Government to receive it; or (b) I have been given prior written notice of authorization from the United States Government Department or Agency (hereinafter Department or Agency) responsible for the classification of the information or last granting me a security clearance that such disclosure is permitted. I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information, I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it, except to a person as provided in (a) or (b), above. I further understand that I am obligated to comply with laws and regulations that prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
The only escape hatch for Rove would be section 8
Unless and until I am released in writing by an authorized representative of the United States Government, I understand that all conditions and obligations imposed upon me by this Agreement apply during the time I am granted access to classified information, and at all times thereafter.
Even if Rove's source was one of the 6 journalists contacted by that other senior member of the administration (judith miller), Rove was legally bound to confirm Plame's status from an authorized individual and determine if the information could be disclosed/confirmed as accurate. Instead, Rove's defense is that he just said "I heard that too" to Bob Novak and then, in a conversation with Matt Cooper, brought up the fact that "Joe Wilson's wife" worked for the CIA including that she did so in a capacity that would have allowed her to authorize his mission to Niger as he claims, to "discourage Time magazine" from reporting "inaccurate information" as to who authorized the trip.

To make matters worse, it sounds as though the WH may have been aware of Rove's involvement for some time but abrogated its responsibilities under EO 12958 to take appropriate and corrective action which, at a minimum would have been to revoke Rove's security clearance (the Republican's are still balking at this because of the "ongoing investigation" despite the fact that Rove has confirmed breaches that warrant action under the law).

MORE via Marie. It looks like John Dean (yes, that John Dean) has more legal bad news for Rove in the form of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641 which prohibits theft (or conversion for one's own use) of government records and information for non-governmental purposes (though I can imagine Rove will argue dissuading a journalist from reporting information that contradicts administration statements is a government purpose) and the federal conspiracy statute could be applicable if a reporter such as Judith Miller was his source.

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