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Nadler: Fitzgerald Must Broaden Investigation
8th Congressional District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Reid Cherlin
September 20, 2005
Nadler: Fitzgerald Must Broaden Investigation
"Did the Bush Administration deliberately mislead Congress about the war?"
Senior Judiciary Committee member's letter to Acting Deputy Attorney
General McCallum makes first demand for Fitzgerald to
explore key new question
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of recent developments in the CIA leak
investigation and other recent revelations, Congressman Jerrold Nadler
today called for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to expand his
investigation to include a criminal investigation to examine whether the
President, the Vice President, and members of the White House Iraq Group
conspired to deliberately deceive Congress into authorizing the war in
Iraq. This is the first call from a member of Congress for the Fitzgerald
investigation to be expanded to look into whether the White House engaged
in a conspiracy to lie to Congress.
"The CIA leak issue is only the tip of the iceberg," Congressman Nadler
said. "This is looking increasingly like a White House conspiracy aimed
misleading our country into war - in part by manufacturing now-refuted
evidence in support of its rationale, in part by smearing and silencing
critics, and in part by manipulating media complicity. There is mounting
evidence that there may have been a well-orchestrated effort by the
President, the Vice President, and other top White House officials to lie
to Congress in order to get its support for the Iraq War."
It is a crime to lie to Congress under several federal statutes.
Congressman Nadler requested that Special Counsel Fitzgerald follow the
leads he has already discovered and broaden his investigation to include
charges of lying to Congress. In his letter to Acting Deputy Attorney
General McCallum asking for a broadening of Special Counsel Fitzgerald's
investigation, Nadler cited the President's infamous reference to African
Uranium in the 2003 State of the Union Address, reports of the White House
Iraq Group's singular mission to sell the war at all costs, assertions
in the "Downing Street Memo," and reporters' own accounts of media
"Honest, if mistaken, reliance on faulty intelligence to convince Congress
to authorize a war is bad enough," Congressman Nadler wrote in his letter
to McCallum. "But, if, as mounting evidence is tending to show,
Administration officials deliberately deceived Congress and the American
people, this would constitute a criminal conspiracy against the entire
"We are no longer just talking about a Republican culture of corruption
cronyism," Nadler added. "We now have reason to believe that high crimes
may have been committed at the highest level, wrongdoing that may have led
us to war and imperiled our national security."
Congressman Nadler demanded answers to the following questions in his
letter to McCallum:
--> Was the CIA leak incident merely one part of a larger illegal
effort by the Administration to deceive Congress about a matter of war and
--> Who was involved?
--> Were any of their actions criminal?
The text of Congressman Nadler's letter to Deputy Attorney General
October 20, 2005
Acting Deputy Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Deputy Attorney General McCallum:
I urge you to use the powers granted to you, under the regulations
promulgated by the Department of Justice in June of 1999, to expand the
framework of the investigation currently being conducted by Special
It is now clear that the key reason cited by the Bush Administration - the
imminent acquisition by Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction - to
persuade Congress and the American people of the necessity of invading
was not true. There is new and mounting and evidence, stemming in part
from the current investigation, that members of the Bush Administration
have deliberately, and, therefore, illegally, misled Congress. Since
Special Counsel Fitzgerald is already investigating the CIA leak, it seems
appropriate that he be empowered to expand his investigation to examine
whether the leak itself was part of a broader conspiracy knowingly to
mislead Congress into authorizing a war.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee who opposed the extension of the
independent counsel law, I do not take this matter lightly. I believe
these types of investigations should be reserved for only the most serious
of alleged crimes, but I have to believe that lying to Congress in order
obtain its support for a war meets that test.
Some of the evidence that members of the Bush Administration may have
deliberately, and, therefore, illegally, misled Congress is as follows:
1) We now know that during the summer of 2002, at a time when the
White House maintains that no decision had been made about going to war,
the Bush Administration created the "White House Iraq Group" whose sole
purpose appears to have been to market and sell a decision to go to war to
Congress. It appears that this group specifically sought to deceive
Congress about the intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction.
(New York Daily News, Oct. 19, 2005.)
2) We now know from the so-called "Downing Street Memo," that it
appeared to senior members of the British Government who had conferred
senior Administration officials, that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam,
through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and
But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
3) We now know that President Bush included in his State of the
Union Address in January of 2003 an already discredited reference to Iraq
seeking uranium from Niger.
4) We now know from Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation
itself that there was an orchestrated campaign to smear and discredit
Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who attempted to tell the truth about some of
faulty "evidence" used by the White House to make its case for war.
Although Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation has yet to determine whether a
crime was committed by any Administration official(s) in leaking the
identity of Wilson's wife as a covert CIA operative, it is abundantly
that the White House Iraq Group was engaged in an effort to discredit
revelations of the falsity of the Administration's justifications for the
war, and to intimidate and punish those who would reveal the truth.
According to sources quoted by the New York Daily News, this group of
House officials was "so determined . . . to win its argument that it
morphed into a virtual hit squad that took aim at critics who questioned
its claims." (New York Daily News, October 19, 2005.)
5) We now know that top Administration officials, including Vice
Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby, misrepresented to the media the scope and
nature of what the U.S. intelligence community knew and didn't know about
Saddam Hussein's weapons programs before the war. (Newsweek.com, Oct. 19,
2005.) Manufacturing of media complicity, if achieved through a
plan to provide false information, would have played a key role in
misleading Congress. And indeed, we need to know more about the
relationship between Administration officials and certain media outlets in
view of details emerging from this investigation regarding the special
access to Administration officials and, perhaps, to potentially classified
information afforded to Judith Miller of The New York Times, which led to
clearly erroneous stories supporting the Administration's false claims
regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
With this growing body of evidence that the White House may have
deliberately misled Congress into authorizing war, a broader independent
investigation is clearly necessary.
Special Counsel Fitzgerald has done a great service to the nation thus far
by investigating the CIA leak, but real questions remain. Was the CIA
incident an effort to enforce discipline as part of a much broader
conspiracy by members of the Bush Administration to deceive Congress about
a matter of war and peace? Who was involved? Were any of their actions
These questions go to the core of the functioning of democratic
self-government in the United States. Honest, if mistaken, reliance on
faulty intelligence to convince Congress to authorize a war is bad enough.
But, if, as mounting evidence is tending to show, Administration officials
deliberately deceived Congress and the American people, this would
constitute a criminal conspiracy against the entire country.
It is self-evident that the Administration cannot investigate itself in
this matter. I therefore urge you to expand the Special Counsel's
investigation to include these matters crucial to our national security
I look forward to your response.
Member of Congress
Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New
8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and