Sunday, June 12, 2005

An email to my Congressman in response to the Downing Street documents (Updated)

Congressman Adam Schiff
326 Cannon House Office Bldg.
Washington DC 20515

Dear Congressman Schiff:

You responded to my email message on June 8 by forwarding to me an email copy of a letter from Senator Diane Fienstein regarding her position on the intelligence that led us to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

I'm sorry but, no, this response was not appropriate because 1) you did not write it yourself and have your staff email it to everyone who had written to you specifically and 2) Senator Feinstein's position, which I assume is also your position, is that an honest failure of intelligence led to the invasion of Iraq, and we have since learned that this was not the case. The intelligence concerning the WMD was "fixed" and that fixing was subsequently, and continues to be, covered up.

When there was a break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters to repair nonfunctioning wiretaps that had been placed there during a previous break-in, it was covered up. That cover-up led to an investigation. When a President conducted an extramarital affair with an intern, it was covered up. That cover-up led to an investigation. When an Administration collusively altered intelligence and misled Congress and the voters about the need to go to war, it was covered up. And that cover-up not only did not lead to an investigation, it bestowed on a President the legacy of "Wartime President"?

I feel that the actions both you (introducing three WMD amendments to the State Dept. Authorization Bill) and Senator Feinstein (voting for the Intelligence Reform Bill) have taken, while in themselves good, are a hopelessly inadequate response to a situation of this magnitude. As a result of the covered up break-in, no one to my knowledge was killed. As a result of the covered up extramarital affair, no one was killed. As a result of the covered up intelligence-fixing, as reported on CNN's War In Iraq site:

There have been 1,878 coalition troop deaths, 1,694 Americans, 89 Britons, 10 Bulgarians, one Dane, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 25 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq as of June 12, 2005.
Because of your unwillingness to represent those voters in the 29th District of California who want this matter to be investigated, it occurs to me to cast my vote for another candidate when you are up for reelection next year.

Please give serious consideration to calling for an investigation into this cover-up.

Thank you.


An excerpt from Congressman Schiff's email reply on June 17:

The possibility that the President and his advisors deliberately misled Congress and the American public is deeply disturbing and is a subject worthy of investigation. Congress must take its Constitutional obligation of oversight more seriously, and I join in calling on my colleagues in the majority, who has the power to call hearings and subpoena witnesses, to ensure that these allegations are investigated thoroughly.

The discovery of the “Downing Street Memo”and the failure to discover WMD calls into question the quality of the intelligence and the representations made by the Administration. We know enough already to conclude that much of our intelligence was seriously flawed. In fact, the Administration has already admitted that the President relied upon faulty intelligence when he claimed during the State of the Union that Iraq had attempted to obtain nuclear material from certain sources in
Africa. It is imperative that a vigorous investigation be conducted to determine whether intelligence reports were overstated, misrepresented or politicized. This investigation must be a top national priority.

Last session, I cosponsored legislation with several of my colleagues to establish an independent commission to examine the intelligence leading to war in Iraq. The goal of the commission would be to examine executive branch efforts to collect, assess, and interpret intelligence regarding the threat posed by Iraq. In addition, the commission would review the claims made by executive branch officials about these threats. Modeled after the September 11th Commission, the Iraq Commission would consist of a 10-member nonpartisan panel with powers to hold hearings, obtain documents and testimony, and issue subpoenas if necessary.

In authorizing the President to use force, Congress made the most important decision it can make, and did so on the basis of our intelligence. If we have a serious flaw in our intelligence gathering process, or if that intelligence has been manipulated in any way, we need to know it if we are to avoid another September 11th. Moreover, if we are to maintain the full trust and cooperation of other nations, we must forcefully and candidly address this issue.

1 comment:

Jonathan Versen said...

Has Schiff had any town meetings in your district lately?