WASHINGTON – Two former CIA officers are asking the Senate Intelligence Committee (search) to open its own investigation into who leaked the identity of an undercover officer.
Jim Marcinkowski, a case officer from 1986 to 1989, said a congressional investigation will be needed to demonstrate the credibility of an investigation now under way by the Justice Department.
"I have every confidence they (Justice officials) will come up with the right conclusion," he said in an interview Wednesday. "But obviously there are going to be people that are going to question that conclusion, so you might as well put it all on the table right now."
Marcinkowski, now deputy city attorney in Royal Oak, Mich., is to appear before the Senate panel Thursday. He and another former CIA officer, Larry Johnson, had requested the meeting, but Johnson will be unable to attend Thursday's session. Johnson also served as the State Department's deputy chief of counterterrorism in the first Bush administration.
A call to the office of Sen. Pat Roberts (search), R-Kan., chairman of the Intelligence Committee, was not immediately returned Wednesday. Roberts and the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (search) of West Virginia, have been reluctant to start their own investigation, saying they don't want to interfere with the Justice Department inquiry.
Johnson rejected that position. "I think there's a lot they can do without undermining the criminal investigation," he said in an interview.
Investigators are trying to determine who leaked to columnist Robert Novak (search) and two Newsday journalists the identity of Valerie Plame (search), an undercover CIA operations officer. Novak wrote in his column that the information came from two senior administration officials.
Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson (search), who has accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq before the war.
Marcinkowski said he wants to stress to the committee that the leak was an "unprecedented and extremely egregious act." He said he wanted to urge the committee "to say, 'We're going to look at this because it's important."'
Johnson said: "When you start outing clandestine officers for political reasons, that has to be stopped."
He stressed that he is a Republican who voted for Bush and contributed to his presidential campaign.
Johnson said he, Plame and Marcinkowski had trained together at the CIA in 1985.