Saturday, August 05, 2006
House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Updates Report On Administration Skullduggery
The House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff has updated their December 2005 report detailing the abuses of power by the Bush Administration in the conduct of what they call the "War on Terror."
Entitled The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance, this report gathers in one handy document the systemic malfeasance that has been made public in bits and pieces (usually leaked) over the past few years.
In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration; and approved domestic surveillance that is both illegal and unconstitutional. As further detailed in the Report, there is evidence that these actions violate a number of federal laws, including:
- Making False Statements to Congress, for example, saying you have learned Iraq is attempting to buy uranium from Niger, when you have been warned by the CIA that this is not the case.
- The War Powers Resolution and Misuse of Government Funds, for example, redeploying troops and initiating bombing raids before receiving congressional authorization.
- Federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, for example, ordering detainees to be ghosted and removed, and tolerating and laying the legal ground work for their torture and mistreatment.
- Federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals, for example, demoting Bunnatine Greenhouse, the chief contracting officer at the Army Corps of Engineers, because she exposed contracting abuses involving Halliburton.
- Federal requirements concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence, for example, failing to enforce the executive order requiring disciplining those who leak classified information, whether intentional or not.
- Federal regulations and ethical requirements governing conflicts of interest, for example, then Attorney General John Ashcroft's being personally briefed on FBI interviews concerning possible misconduct by Karl Rove even though Mr. Rove had previously received nearly $750,000 in fees for political work on Mr. Ashcroft's campaigns.
- Violating FISA and the Fourth Amendment, for example intercepting thousands of communications "to or from any person within the United States," without obtaining a warrant.
- The Stored Communications Act of 1986 and the Communications Act of 1934, for example, obtaining millions of U.S. customer telephone records without obtaining a subpoena or warrant, without customer consent, and outside of any applicable "emergency exceptions."
- The National Security Act, for example, failing to keep all Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees "fully and currently informed" of intelligence activities, such as the warrantless surveillance programs.
There are over 1400 footnotes to the report. The authors clearly anticipate the gooper tactic of demanding proof for even the most obvious of facts.
The report is available online from house.gov (at the link above) and is offered in PDF, Word, and HTML formats.