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House Intelligence Committee To Determine Bush's Fate On 'Doctored WMD' War Issue

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House Intelligence Committee To Determine Bush's Fate On 'Doctored WMD' War Issue

Dems in House want Bush to turn over all documents about fake WMD threat; White House balks and ignores demand.

By Greg Szymanski
15 Sep 2005

After dragging its heels for months, the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday began debating the issue on whether the Bush administration will be required to turn over vital information about whether President Bush doctored WMD intelligence, lied to America and misled the country into the Iraq war.

The House committee voted 22 against and 21 in favor of demanding the White House turn over documents, demonstrating the strength of the Republican-backed Congress when it comes to opening up a fair and honest debate concerning issues of vital importance to the American people.

The committee took up the resolution to get to the bottom of the controversial WMD issue after Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced a resolution demanding the reluctant Bush administration turn over documents and all other communications with the United Kingdom from Jan. 1, 2002, and Oct. 16, 2002.

A spokesman from Rep. Lee’s office said the formal resolution to get at the truth was finally heard since if the committee refused to hear the matter, Rep. Lee would have the parliamentary right to have the full House vote on the matter, something Republicans are trying to avoid.

“The measure is a privileged resolution, meaning if it is not taken up by the International Relations Committee in a defined period of time, Representative Lee would be entitled to request that it be brought to the House floor for a vote,” said Nathan Britton, communications director for Rep. Lee.

“On May 1, 2005, The Sunday Times (UK) published the leaked minutes from a US-British meeting on July 23rd, 2002. The "Downing Street Memo," as the minutes came to be known, as well as other documents that came to light subsequently, have raised serious questions as to whether the Bush administration manipulated intelligence data in order to justify the invasion of Iraq; the UN weapons inspection process was manipulated to provide a legal pretext for the war; and that pre-war air strikes were deliberately ramped up in order to soften Iraqi infrastructure in preparation for war, prior to the October Congressional vote authorizing the use of force.”

The Bush administration has not disputed the authenticity of these documents, but has said repeatedly that the President acted on faulty intelligence reports without the slightest bit of deception and manipulation.

However, since the Downing Street Memo surfaced, 131 congressmen have demanded accountability, writing Bush and demanding answers to the serious question of whether he led America into an illegal war.

The push for truth and presidential accountability has been led by Rep. Lee and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)as they also delivered more than 575,000 petition signatures to the White House, demanding answers. Since the letter has been presented, all inquiries have been ignored by the White House.

"The American people deserve to know the truth about the circumstances under which our troops were sent to war," said Rep. Lee prior to the hearings. “The memo and subsequent documents raise questions not only about the administration's case for war, but also the constitutional separation of powers, specifically whether Congress' power to authorize the use of force was circumvented through the manipulation of intelligence.

"The U.S. is currently at war in Iraq under an authority conferred to President Bush by the U.S. Congress. It is not only Congress' prerogative, it is our responsibility to make sure that the authority to use force was not granted under circumstances that were deliberately misleading."

Only one Republican, Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, has thrown his support in with Democrats, the fone and only break in party ranks, signifying only minimal hope Rep. Lee’s WMD resolution will ever see the light of day with a Republican controlled Congress.

In early May, documents were leaked showing head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, told Prime Minister Tony Blair and others at a top level meeting that Bush had already decided to manufacture the WMD threat, learning this during high-level meetings in Washington months prior to the Iraqi invasion.

The documents were then verified as authentic by Blair, creating a public outcry on both sides of the Atlantic for accountability regarding the accusations made in Dearlove’s assessment of the American war strategy.

After the release of the potentially damaging documents, Bush has remained steadfast, saying the WMD threat was not manufactured, claiming the decision to topple Sadaam Hussein was justified and he should not be blamed if intelligence was flawed.

On Thursday, Rep. Lynn Woolsey is holding hearings on Capitol Hill regarding exit strategies for Iraq and a coalition of organizations demanding an end to the war will hold a rally at 5 p.m. that evening in front of the White House.

Witnesses testifying for a quick exit from Iraq include U.S. Senator Max Cleland, former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, former head of the Veterans Administration and triple amputee from his military service in the Vietnam War; General Joseph Hoar (Ret. USMC), former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command; Ambassador David Mack, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and current Vice President of the Middle East Institute; Dr. Ken Katzman, Middle East analyst and Iraq specialist at the Congressional Research Service; Anas

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