The Honorable Pat Roberts
United States Senate
Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
109 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1605
April 25, 2006
Dear Chairman Roberts,
Over four months ago, on 16 December 2005, I wrote to you requesting to report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) probable illegal conduct in the Intelligence Community (IC) regarding Special Access Programs (SAP)s. I made this request under the provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA). My concern was that probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts were conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). I informed you that these acts involve the Director of the National Security Agency, the U.S. Air Force Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
To this date I have not received a response from you or the SSCI addressing my request to testify about these SAP programs. In a letter addressed to me by NSA on 09 Jan ‘06 (letter provided), of which NSA also provided you a copy, they asserted that neither you nor any senator on the SSCI retains high enough security clearances to hear about the intelligence work I performed in these very highly classified programs and operations. NSA’s assertion did not appear credible to me, considering I was an intelligence officer and the ICWPA suggests that the congressional intelligence committees are responsible for intelligence oversight.
The press has suggested that the Senate Armed Services Committee may be the proper place for me to testify about the SAP intelligence misconduct that I would like to report. Other rumors circulated that no one in congress is allowed access to this information. One news article said that the SSCI Vice Chair admitted that the intelligence committee did not have jurisdiction. In their letter, NSA did not make mention of any other congressional committee that was cleared. The staff of the HPSCI believes that I fall into a “gray” area between intelligence and military special programs.
As the responsible committee for intelligence in the Senate, I have been waiting for your directions on this matter. If another committee is the proper place for me to testify, I believe it is your responsibility to forward my request to that committee and keep me informed of the process. You are also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and, as such, should know if SAP related intelligence programs fall within the jurisdiction of intelligence and/or the military committees. If the SSCI is indeed the proper place for me to convey this intelligence related misconduct, I likewise believe it is your responsibility to inform me of such. This, of course, has not been the case.
In the absence of any direction, I recently have been researching this question of jurisdiction. In doing so, I have stumbled upon a directive that seems to address the question of who in congress is cleared to know about these SAP programs. U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, Chapter 2, Subsection 119 (Special Access Program: Congressional Oversight), dated 12 July 2005 (provided) states that the Senate and House Appropriations, Appropriations Defense Sub, and Armed Services Committees are responsible for reviewing “waved” SAP programs. No mention is specifically made in regard to the considerable intelligence missions associated with these SAPs.
Nonetheless, with this Title 10 directive clearly addressing congressional oversight of SAPs, and in the absence of any direction from the SSCI committee you chair, I have decided to direct all further intelligence related inquires and requests that involve the SAP related ICWPA concern I need to report, to the aforementioned alternate committees. The very same request I made of you and the SSCI over four months ago, I am now making to these alternate committees. They will be receiving letters from me in conjunction with this letter to you.
Russell D. Tice
Former Intelligence Officer,
National Security Agency
cc: The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski
The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes