By Political Affairs
Yesterday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D–CA) introduced a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives which would require the White House and the State Department to "transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq." The resolution was introduced with 26 co-sponsors.
The resolution is regarded as a first step in an official congressional investigation of recently leaked information showing that in the spring and summer of 2004, as much as one year before the war began, high-level British government officials believed that the Bush administration was intent on going to war with Iraq, that is was planning to fix intelligence to support its cause, and that its case for war was insupportable with the known intelligence.
"The contents of the Downing Street Memo," reads the letter, "undermine this faith and only rigorous congressional oversight can determine the truth."
The resolution must be voted on in committee within 14 legislative days of its introduction. It is expected to be referred to the House International Relations Committee. The Republicans who control the committee may take the matter up right away, hoping to vote it down before the August recess. If they do not, they will be required to take it up by September 16th.
AfterDowningStreet.org, a coalition of organizations that is calling for a serious and thorough investigation into the President’s policy on war with Iraq as a result of revelations in the Downing Street Memo and related official British documents, says that the more members of Congress in the full House who co-sponsor the resolution, the more likely the committee members are to vote for it.
This resolution is important because the information in the Downing Street Documents strongly suggests that President Bush intentionally deceived Congress about the reasons for war. If that is not the case, then releasing the documents requested here will clear that up – something the President should be eager to do.
The coalition asks the public to urge members of the House International Relations Committee not only to vote for it but to discuss it at length and engage in a substantive debate when the committee meets, so that members who oppose it have to give reasons.
The Lee resolution comes just weeks after ten senators sent a letter to the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts (R-KS) and to the Vice Chair John Rockefeller (D-WV). The letter strongly urged the committee to conduct the investigation of Iraq war policy and the role of policy makers in using intelligence that led the country to war that the committee had committed to over a year ago.
The letter explained that completing the investigation was more urgent with the discovery of new information found in the Downing Street Memo and other leaked British government documents that is undermining the faith the people have in the government to be honest with them about matters as serious as this. "The contents of the Downing Street Memo," reads the letter, "undermine this faith and only rigorous congressional oversight can determine the truth."
The Senators who signed the letter were Kerry, Johnson, Corzine, Reed, Lautenberg, Boxer, Kennedy, Harkin, Bingaman, and Durbin.
The AfterDowningStreet.org coalition calls on the other 90 senators to draft and jointly sign a similar statement and urges the public to ask their senators to take the lead in drafting such a letter, or to sign such a letter if it is drafted.
To highlight the pressing need for a full investigation, between 300 and 400 events are planned in the US and London to discuss the Downing Street Memo and related official government documents. On July 23, these events will mark the three-year anniversary of the meeting at #10 Downing Street in London, England, which was recorded in the now infamous Downing Street Memo.
Read the memo and other documents and find out more about these events at AfterDowningStreet.com.
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