Saturday, December 16, 2006

Levin Plans To Put Administration On Hotseat

Like many Americans, incoming Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) is tired of the unaccountability that the White House has enjoyed during the George W. Bush years.

Unlike most Americans, Levin's status as a powerful committee chairman gives him a way to do something about it.

Levin, a sharp critic of the administration's use of prewar intelligence, will have new, substantial powers to press the White House for information and for a new direction in Iraq.

In a recent interview in his Senate office, Levin said the Senate Armed Services Committee's first priority will be to seek ways to stabilize Iraq and gradually disengage the United States from the war. But the committee will also hold retrospective hearings, he said, to determine whether administration officials manipulated intelligence before the war and whether the post-invasion provisional government abused its contracting powers and wasted huge sums of money. ...

Levin plans to use his new powers in his long-running dispute with the Bush administration over the conduct of Douglas J. Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy. Levin says Feith exaggerated the relationship between Hussein's government and al-Qaeda when the Bush administration was trying to build public support for the Iraq invasion.

The administration's repeated refusal to give Levin 58 documents related to Feith's activities is about to be tested. "We're entitled to those documents," Levin said. "If necessary, I intend to subpoena those documents."

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