Press Release from Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Ninth Congressional District of California
U.S. House of Representatives
Congress to Debate "Fixed" Pre-War Intelligence
House Panel Will Vote on Lee Resolution on the "Downing Street Memo"
Who/What: The House International Relations Committee will debate and vote on H.Res. 375, a Resolution of Inquiry introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA). The Resolution, which has bipartisan support and 70 cosponsors, calls upon the Bush administration to give Congress all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom relating to U.S. policy in Iraq between January 1, 2002 and October 16, 2002, the date Congressional authority to use force in Iraq became law. 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.
Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
When: Wednesday, September 14th, 10:30 AM EDT
Background: 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.
Since the publication of the memo, 131 Members of Congress have written the President, asking for answers to the questions it raises. Rep. Lee and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) delivered more than 575,000 petition signatures to the White House, demanding answers. All of these inquiries have gone unanswered.
"The American people deserve to know the truth about the circumstances under which our troops were sent to war," said Lee.
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," said Lee. "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."
Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee
1724 Longworth House Office Bldg.
ph 202 225-2661
fax 202 225-9817
SIX NEW COSPONSORS, (76 TOTAL):
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
Hilda Solis (D-CA)
Steve Rothman (D-NY)
Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)