Rule 21 of the Senate mandates that any time an issue is to be brought up on
the Senate floor that could reveal classified information that the cameras be
shut off, no electronic recording devices in the room and no staffers in the
room. It is done so to protect national security.
That is the reason Harry Reid called for a rule 21 hearing into the pre-war
intelligence failures in Iraq. It is also welcomed sign to Democrats around the
country that we will no longer stand by while the Republicans hijack our nation
.Republicans don't feel the same. They are calling it a political stunt to
shut down Senate. Bill Frist even complained about the courtesies involved in
this move by Senator Reid. Bill Frist told reporters that this kind of lack of
decency has never been done in either house of Congress. I guess he considers
illegally extending votes by the Republicans in the House ethically sound
Senate has come to an agreement in this situation. A committee of 6 Senators,
three from each party, is being empanelled in order to look into the reasons why
"phase 2" of the intelligence committee's report on the failure of intelligence
leading to the Iraq war has been stalled. This committee is to report back to
Senate no later than November 14.
Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee stated that
they will hold hearings all next week to try and get this report concluded. The
initial phase of the report cited major failures in the pre-war intelligence of
Iraq's WMD program. Phase 2 is to look into the use of this failed data and see
if it was used to sway support for the invasion.
This is definitely news the White House did not want to hear right now. They
have been stonewalling the intelligence committee and a report came out last
week that Cheney and Libby both ignored advice of White House lawyers when they
decided to withhold key information from the committee.
February of 2004, phase two was announced. Since then there has only been one
hearing about this report. October of 2004, Pat Roberts said that he was
delaying phase two because he did not want it to become a partisan tool to
influence the election. After the election, Pat Roberts said that there was no
real hurry on the completion of the report since the election was over.
It appears that Pat Roberts realizes there is going to be information come
out of the phase two report that will be damming to the President and his
reasons for the war. This is most likely the key reason for stonewalling the
completion of this report.
Republicans will take to the airwaves trying to downplay today's events. They
have already said that the Democrats do now want to address issues important to
the American people, but this issue is very important to the American people.
The support for this war is at an all time low and U.S. troop deaths are on the
rise in Iraq. We deserve and are entitled to answers. The constitution of this
country requires a level of oversight from one branch of government to the next.
A total failure of intelligence leading this nation to war is a very serious
issue and requires such oversight. Considering the fact that the Republican
controlled Congress continues to ignore the importance of this issue and their
mandate of oversight is a dereliction of duty and can not go unanswered.
Celebrate today fellow Democrats for we are now seeing a new spark in our
party, one that will quickly alter the stage for next years midterm elections.
Senator Harry Reid took a bold step to start this momentum today by taking into
action something that has not been done in over a quarter century.
If you care anything about this nation, its people, and its military then you
will urge your Senator and Representative to ensure that this oversight is
adhered to. If someone did lie and manipulate this country into war then must be
held accountable and charged for any crimes that may have been committed.