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Hullabaloo


Monday, March 12, 2007

 
Big Henry

by digby

Sometimes I fail to appreciate what a privilege it is to have Henry Waxman as my congressman.

From Magnifico over at Kos:

Today, as Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Waxman sent this letter to Rice (pdf)

Since 2003, I have written 16 letters to you, either in your capacity as National Security Advisor or Secretary of State. According to Committee records, you have satisfactorily responded to only five of those 16 letters. Those five were co-signed by Republicans. Under the Bush Administration, several agencies followed a policy of not responding to minority party requests. Although I do not agree with this policy, I presume that you were also following it when you decided not to respond to my requests for information.

I am now renewing my requests as the chairman of the chief oversight committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On March 17, 2003, two days before the start of Bush's Iraq war, Waxman wrote:

In the last ten days ... it has become incontrovertibly clear that a key piece of evidence you and other Administration officials have cited regarding Iraq's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons is a hoax. What's more, the Central Intelligence Agency questioned the veracity of the evidence at the same time you and other Administration officials were citing it in public statements. This is a breach of the highest order, and the American people are entitled to know how it happened.

To which, he adds: "To this day, however, I have not received an adequate explanation to my question. The President did not respond to my letter, nor did you respond to multiple letters I sent you about this matter."

[...]

It was subsequently revealed, however, that the CIA had sent a memo directly to you and your deputy at the time, Stephen Hadley, raising doubts about the Niger claim months before the President's State of the Union address. According to Mr. Hadley, the CIA sent a memo directly to the White House Situation Room addressed to you and him on October 6, 2002, that described "weakness in the evidence" and that stated "the CIA had been telling Congress that the Africa story was one of two issues where we differed with the British intelligence." Mr. Hadley also reported that the CIA sent a second memo to him a day earlier, and that George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, personally telephoned him to ask that the reference be removed from a speech the President delivered in October 2002.

As a result of your failure to respond, the Committee still does not know what you knew about the fabricated Niger claim and when you knew it. We also do not know how the fabricated claim made it into the President's State of the Union address. We continue to learn in a piecemeal fashion about other explicit warnings received by White House officials about this bogus claim. According to one recent press account, for example, CIA briefer Craig R. Schmall wrote a memo to Eric Edelman, Vice President Cheney's national security advisor, warning that the "CIA on several occasions has cautioned ... that available information on this issue was fragmentary and unconfirmed." Yet we still do not know who at the White House kept resuscitating this claim after intelligence officials questioned its veracity.

I respectfully request a complete reply to my questions and document requests relating to the fabricated Niger claim by March 23, 2007.



You all see where this is going don't you? Perhaps Mr Fitzgerald was bound to stick to charges which he could prove in a court of law and had no mandate to expose the administration's lies and distortions in the run-up to the war. But the Democrats are under no such restraints. Indeed, they have that mandate, conferred by the people in November of 2006.

The Republicans want to rend their garments over poor little Scooter having been found guilty of lying even though there was "no underlying crime." Well, it depends on what the definition of crime is, doesn't it? Perhaps this White House didn't break the law when it "stovepiped" the intelligence to take this country into war, but damned well committed a political crime and it should be held to account for thet.

It will all come out --- every clumsy, stupid lie they told, and they'll pretend that up is down and black is white and their true believers will believe it. But the nation as a whole seems to be getting a little bit tired of feeling disoriented by the Republicans' insistence that they should ignore what their eyes and ears are telling them. This clarifying process is long overdue.

Go Henry. You make me proud to be a citizen of Santa Monica.



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