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.
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.