Laura Rozen, in her biographical afterword to Valerie Plame Wilson’s memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, throws some light on the role our own esteemed Senator, Kit Bond, played in that sorry affair. In an excerpt from the afterword, printed in Mother Jones under the title “Defending Valerie Plame: Who Is This Punk?,” she describes a briefing given by a heretofore staunch Republican deputy city attorney for Royal Oak, Michigan, James Marcinkowski, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was then chaired by Kansan Pat Roberts and where Kit Bond was a long-time member.
Marcinkowski was one of a group of ex-CIA agents who wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times testifying to the fact that they had trained with and knew Plame Wilson and had known that she was indeed covert–a fact then in public dispute–for eighteen years. He, along with other CIA agents, including one covert agent with face and voice obscured, subsequently appeared on ABC’s Nightline to speak up for Plame Wilson. Marcinkowski also contacted the Senate Select Committee to offer them this information in aid of the Committee’s on-going investigation of pre-war intelligence.
Although the Intelligence Committee did not at first respond, Marcinkowski was contacted by the office of Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate Minority Leader at that time, and asked to testify before a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing. Just before he did so, however, he was contacted by Intelligence Committee Chair Pat Robert’s office and asked to attend a closed meeting with the Intelligence Committee–the day before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing.
At that meeting Marcinkowski gave testimony in accordance with the published letter. He was asked if he thought that the White House was capable of investigating itself when:
As Marcinkowski responded that if the attorney general was trying to intimidate federal judges, why would you think they would not be prepared to intimidate a special counsel, a ranking Republican close to the White House, Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri, walked in.
“He went off,” Marcinkowski said. “‘I am not going to sit here and listen to this guy attack my good friend, the attorney general Ashcroft, of this country.’ “A total “food fight” ensued, Marcinkowski said, with committee member Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein accusing Bond of trying to intimidate a witness.
Marcinkowski subsequently testified at the Democratic Policy Committee hearing, although Roberts, after hearng him in a closed session, attempted to suppress his information by declaring it classified–a dramatic story worth reading in its entirety in the Mother Jone’s article or in the Plame-Wilson book. The kicker, for Missourians though, is the heavy-handed, bullying response of our own Senator Bond, who is revealed as low enough to use his powerful position to serve the interests of Bush’s White House by trying to intimidate an honest citizen attempting to tell the truth about a friend and colleague. Of course we all suspect that this is the way corrupt politicians do business, but it is invaluable to have it confirmed in this fashion.
There’s more too. After the 2006 elections, when Democrats took the Senate, Kit Bond became the Intelligence Committee’s ranking republican. According to Rozen, Bond continued to try to discredit the Wilsons. With the spring 2007 release of “Prewar Intelligence Assessments about Postwar Iraq”-one section of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s long-awaited “Phase II” investigation of prewar intelligence which Roberts had refused to release during his tenure:
Committee Republicans complained the report was “partisan” and Vice Chairman Bond, joined by senators Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr, set about in the “additional views” to turn their attention once again to the Wilsons. “While not directly related to the subject of the report released today,” they wrote, “it is appropriate here to discuss some additional information that has come to light about an earlier prewar inquiry report . . . that deals with Iraq-Niger uranium intelligence. . . . Additional information . . . supports the Committee’s finding that Mrs. Wilson is the one who originally suggested Ambassador Wilson to look into the Iraq-Niger uranium matter….”
The trio offered few thoughts on the report’s evidence that the administration apparently ignored the prewar assessments about the difficulties the U.S. would encounter trying to establish a democracy in Iraq.
I guess this gives us a good idea about what to expect from Kit Bond’s contributions to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence which is today dealing with such vital issues as FISA legislation, spying oversight, you name it.