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Potomac Fever: Leach joins Democrats in backing memo bill
By JANE NORMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
DES MOINES REGISTER WASHINGTON BUREAU
August 28, 2005
Count on Rep. Jim Leach. He's going to make waves again as, apparently,
the first Republican to sign on to a House resolution demanding disclosure
of administration documents related to what's known as the Downing Street
Aides to the Iowa City Republican on Friday confirmed an announcement
posted on an anti-war Web site, www.afterdowningstreet.org, saying that
Leach will become a co-sponsor of House Resolution 375, authored by Rep.
Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
The resolution, which as of Friday had 39 Democratic co-sponsors, requests
that President Bush and the secretary of state send to the House all
information in their possession relating to communications with the United
Kingdom between Jan. 1, 2002, and Oct. 16, 2002, in connection with Iraq.
This includes telephone and e-mail records, logs, calenders, minutes and
Lee said in a July 21 statement that she wants answers to questions raised
by the release of classified British memos. The leaked memos, written by
aides to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, deal with the decision to
invade Iraq, and have become a rallying point for those opposed to the
"These documents offer strong evidence that the Bush administration
'fixed' intelligence in order to mislead our country into war, evidence
the administration has failed to dispute or answer," Lee said.
At a town hall meeting in July in Oakland, Calif., Lee said, "We knew all
along that the president was misleading and lying to the American people
about why he wanted to go to war," according to the Contra Costa Times.
"We all have a right to know. . . . We're going to force them to answer
the questions by any means necessary."
Both Bush and Blair, in a joint news conference earlier this summer,
denied trying to "fix" the intelligence leading up to the war.
"No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," Blair
said. "And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we
then went to the United Nations."
The resolution has been dispatched to the House International Relations
Committee, of which Leach is a senior Republican member. There has been
some thought that he might become chairman, although there are several
candidates likely to compete for the post.
It seems rather unnecessary to add that Republican leadership might not be
particularly impressed that Leach is allying himself with a congresswoman
who accuses the president of lying about the war.
Nonetheless, Leach goes his own way. There are Democrats who grumble and
moan every time his name comes up, as they long for a true-to-the-cause
Democratic member from his Democratic-leaning district. But that will be
minor compared to the unhappiness this latest move may stir among Iowa
members of the GOP.