The Corner

That Memo

The text:

We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we

have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows:

1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead

to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by

Administration officials. We are having some success in that regard.

For example, in addition to the President’s State of the Union speech,

the Chairman has agreed to look at the activities of the Office of the

Secretary of Defense (e.g. Rumsfeld, Feith and Wolfowitz) as well as

Secretary Bolton’s office at the State Department. The fact that the

Chairman supports our investigations into these offices, and cosigns our

requests for information, is helpful and potentially crucial. We don’t

know what we will find, but our prospects for getting the access we seek

is far greater when we have the backing of the Majority. (Note: We can

verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing).

2) Assiduously prepare Democratic “additional views” to attach to

any interim of final reports the committee may release. Committee rules

provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage of it. In

that regard, we have already compiled all the public statements on Iraq

made by senior Administration officials. We will identify the most

exaggerated claims and contrast them with the intelligence estimates

that have since been declassified. Our additional views will also,

among other things, castigate the majority for seeking to limit the

scope of the inquiry. The Democrats will then be in a strong position

to reopen the question of establishing an independent commission (i.e.

the Corzine amendment).

3) Prepare to launch an Independent investigation when it becomes

clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the

Majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of

the Administration’s use of intelligence at any time — but we can only

do so once. The best time to do so will probably be next year either:

A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim

report — thereby providing as many as three opportunities to make our

case to the public: (1) additional view on the interim report; (2)

announcement of our independent investigation; and (3) additional views

on the final investigation; or

B) Once we identify solid leads the Majority does not want to pursue.

We would attract more coverage and have greater credibility in that

context that on e in which we simply launch an independent investigation

based on principled but vague notions regarding the “use” of intelligence.

In the meantime, even without a specifically authorized independent

investigation, we continue to act independently when we encounter

foot-dragging on the part of the Majority. For example, the FBI Niger

investigation was done solely at the request of the Vice Chairman; we

have independently submitted written questions to DoD; and we are

preparing further independent requests for information.

Summary

Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public’s

concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet, we have an important

role to play in revealing the misleading — if not flagrantly dishonest

methods and motives – of the senior Administration officials who made

the case for a unilateral, preemptive war. The approach outline above

seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the Administration’s

dubious motives and motives.

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