Busting The Whole Thing Wide Open

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Rep. Henry Waxman has sent a letter requesting the pleasure of the Secretary of State's company in April to testify before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which he chairs. The purpose of her little visit will be to discuss the claims by the administration that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger prior to our invasion. These claims were later discovered to have been based on forged documents. The reason this is a big deal is that it violates two Executive Orders and a section of the United States Code. But who would prosecute such a crime?

Well, as it turns out, the U.S. Attorneys would. You know, those are the guys and gals who serve at the pleasure of the President and must be able to serve in a completely apolitical environment. Ha- just kidding, they must be "loyal bushies" and better bitch-slap Democratic hopefuls and not start screwing around with Republicans up for re-election or else they'll be looking for jobs as Georgetown crossing guards.

But lets get back to which laws may or may not have been broken. The excellent book by ex-US attorney Elizabeth de la Vega, United States v George W. Bush et al. lists why presenting forged documents as the cornerstone of a case for going to war is a crime (and not just a supremely shitty thing to do to your country), here are a few of the highlights:

10. As employees of the Executive Branch, BUSH, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD, and POWELL were governed by Executive Orders 12674 and 12731. These Orders provide that Executive Branch employees hold their positions as a public trust and that the American people have a right to expect that they will fulfill that trust in accordance with certain ethical standards and principles. These include abiding by the Constitution and laws of the United States, as well as not using their offices to further private goals and interests.

11. Pursuant to the Constitution, their oaths of office, their status as Executive Branch employees, and their presence in the United States, BUSH, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD, and POWELL, and their subordinates and employees, are required to obey Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States.

12. As used in Section 371, the term "to defraud the United States" means "to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful government functions by deceit, craft, trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest." The term also means to "impair, obstruct, or defeat the lawful function of any department of government" by the use of "false or fraudulent pretenses or representations."

13. A "false" or "fraudulent" representation is one that is: (a) made with knowledge that it is untrue; (b) a half-truth; (c) made without a reasonable basis or with reckless indifference as to whether it is, in fact, true or false; or (d) literally true, but intentionally presented in a manner reasonably calculated to deceive a person of ordinary prudence and intelligence. The knowing concealment or omission of information that a reasonable person would consider important in deciding an issue also constitutes fraud.

14. Congress is a "department of the United States" within the meaning of Section 371. In addition, hearings regarding funding for military action and authorization to use military force are "lawful functions" of Congress.

15. Accordingly, the presentation of information to Congress and the general public through deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, and fraudulent representations, including lies, half-truths, material omissions, and statements made with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, while knowing and intending that such fraudulent representations would influence Congress' decisions regarding authorization to use military force and funding for military action, constitutes interfering with, obstructing, impairing, and defeating a lawful government function of a department of the United States within the meaning of Section 371.

So you're G.W.- you may have committed a crime and you have the power to fire anyone who would be able to prosecute you for it. What would you do? I know that I would fire them. It is a good thing for all of us that I am not the President of the United States. It is a terrible shame that he is.

Waxman's Letter




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