Saturday, June 25, 2005

FROM RAW STORY: Sen. John Kerry has written a letter urging the Senate Intelligence Committee to pick up the pace on getting answers to the questions raised by the Downing Street minutes. Nine senators in addition to Kerry have signed the letter: Tim Johnson, South Dakota; Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey; Jack Reed, Rhode Island; Barbara Boxer, California; Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts; Tom Harkin, Iowa; Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico; and Dick Durbin, Illinois.

Here are portions of it:

We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received.
The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address.

The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable."

The minutes reveal that President "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously -- warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation.
Read the entire letter here.

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