in a plainly-testy tone, rep. henry waxman
has warned condoleezza rice to tell her guard-
dog legislative staff office to “chill“. . .
May 4, 2007
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Department of State
220I C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Madam Secretary:
I am writing to urge you to instruct your staff, particularly officials in your legislative affairs office, not to impede the Committee’s investigation into why President Bush and other senior Administration officials, including yourself, cited forged evidence in building a case for war against Iraq. I am also writing to notify you of a deposition of a State Department official and to request documents relevant to the Committee’s investigation.
On Wednesday, Committee staff contacted Simon Dodge, a nuclear weapons analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to ask whether he would be willing to meet to discuss the warnings he raised in January 2003 about the fabricated evidence that Iraq sought uranium from Niger. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, Mr. Dodge wrote to members of the Intelligence Community on January 13, 2003 — two weeks before the President’s State of the Union address — that the Niger claim was “probably a hoax” and “clearly a forgery.” Mr. Dodge indicated that he was willing to cooperate fully with the Committee’s efforts.
Yesterday, however, a member of your legislative office informed Committee staff that you were prohibiting Mr. Dodge from meeting with Committee investigators. This official claimed that allowing Mr. Dodge to speak with Committee staff would be “inappropriate” because the Committee voted to issue a subpoena to compel your attendance at a hearing on your knowledge of the fabricated evidence.
I assume that your legislative staff was acting without your authorization in this matter. It would be a matter of great concern — as well as an obvious conflict of interest — if you had directed your staff to impede a congressional investigation into matter that may implicate your conduct as National Security Advisor.
Mr. Dodge issued a timely and unmistakable warning that the uranium evidence the President cited in his State of the Union address — and that you subsequently used in a New York Times op-ed — was fabricated. Yet neither the Senate report nor any other public report has addressed whether you and other officials in the White House were aware of, or should have been aware of Mr. Dodge’s assessment. This is relevant and appropriate information for the Committee to obtain.
To ensure that the Committee obtains the information it seeks without further delay, I am advising you that the Committee has sent a letter to Mr. Dodge notifying him that he must appear for a deposition on May 9, 2007. I trust you will cooperate in this matter and instruct your staff to cease further interference with the Committee’s inquiry.
I am also writing to request documents relevant to the Committee’s inquiry. I previously requested some of these documents from you in a letter on July 29, 2003, but you failed to provide them. I renewed my request for these documents in a letter on March 12, 2007,but again you failed to provide them.
Specifically, the Committee requests that you provide all documents in your possession or control, or the possession or control of the State Department, whether classified or unclassified, relating to the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Africa. These documents should include:
1. All documents and communications between the CIA and the Executive Office of the President, including the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President, and the White House Iraq Group (collectively, “EOP”), relating to the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Africa, including two memos sent to you or your deputy, Stephen Hadley, on October 5 and 6, 2002;
2. All documents and communications between the National Intelligence Council and the EOP or the State Department relating to the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Africa, including a National Intelligence Council communication reportedly sent in January 2003;
3. All documents and communications between the State Department and the EOP relating to the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Africa;
4. All communications between State Department official Simon Dodge and Intelligence Community officials relating to the claim that Iraq sought uranium in Africa, including emails sent in January 2003;
5. All documents and communications relating to the portion of the President’s 2003 State of the Union Address that stated that “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”;
6. All documents or communications relating to the portion of your January 23, 2003, op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Why We Know Iraq is Lying” that concerned the issue of Iraq seeking uranium in Africa; and
7. The September 2003 joint report of the Department of State and CIA Inspectors General on the Alleged Iraqi Attempts to Procure Uranium from Niger.
I ask that you provide these documents to the Committee by Friday, May 11, 2007. You should provide all responsive documents in your possession or control, or within the possession or control of the State Department, regardless of whether other offices or agencies may have generated original versions of these documents. I am also sending similar document requests to the White House and other agencies.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X. An attachment to this letter provides additional information on how to respond to the Committee’s request.
If you have any questions regarding this request, please contact me or David Rapallo or Theodore Chuang with the Committee staff at (202)225-5420.