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Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
June 1, 2018
Political Fracas Stalls Senate's Iraq Investigation
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The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s investigation into Iraqi intelligence has screeched to a virtual standstill after a draft Democratic staff memo surfaced a few weeks ago. The memo laid out a strategy for forcing an independent investigation into whether the Bush administration misused intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. No hearings have been held since the memo was leaked Nov. 4, and Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said in comments on the Senate floor that it will be impossible to return to “business as usual” until the Democratic senators on the committee “clearly repudiate the blatantly partisan strategy laid out in the attack memo.”

Returning fire, the committee’s ranking member, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called charges that the draft memo represents a plan to discredit what the Intelligence Committee is doing and to politicize the inquiry “inaccurate and unfortunate.” He noted that “[i]t is disturbing that individuals are seeking to score political points and that a draft paper describing the rights of the minority to push for a full and fair review of these issues is being so grossly mischaracterized to try to deflect attention from the real issue.”

Meanwhile, on Nov. 6, President George W. Bush signed an $87.5 billion package for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan that includes $600 million for David Kay’s continuing investigation for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Congress approved the funding measure in October.