Waxman to Rice: Answer 11 ignored letters on Iraq claims

Michael Roston
Raw Story
Monday, March 12, 2007

The Chairman of the House's Oversight and Government Reform Committee today demanded that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice respond to 11 outstanding requests for information sent by his office since 2003. The letters primarily concerned claims, later proved erroneous, on the threat posed to the United States by Saddam Hussein's government in the run up to the Iraq War.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) warned Dr. Rice that a failure to respond to his committee's inquiries would undermine Constitutional governance.

"Refusing to allow officials to testify before Congress...or ignoring congressional requests for information, as you apparently ignored my inquiries, are not consistent with our constitutional system of government," said the Committee's Chairman in a letter released today.

Waxman's letter stated that he was seeking to learn more about a variety of issues from the Secretary of State, including her "role in the President's false assertion that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger."

The California Democrat also explained that he had sent Dr. Rice 16 inquiries since 2003, but only 5 of the letters, that were also signed by committee Republicans, had received responses. "Under the Bush Administration, several agencies followed a policy of not responding to minority party requests," Waxman stated.

Waxman was particularly concerned with the false claim made by President George W. Bush in the 2003 State of the Union address concerning Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, as well as supporting statements by administration officials.

He also made note of other letters to which Rice had not responded: the White House's treatment of classified information; her appointment of Richard Jones, a former deputy to Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer, to a new position while he was under federal investigation; the political considerations that went into the inclusion of nongovernmental representatives in US delegations at international conferences; and, the possibility of using needle exchange programs to fight blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS.

For the Iraq letters, Waxman requested a response by March 23 of this year.

RAW STORY was awaiting response from the White House and the State Department at press time.

Waxman's full inquiry can be accessed at his committee's website.

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