Looks like Condi is daring Henry Waxman to subpoena her to testify before his committee. In response to his letter asking for a response to the many requests from him Condi has blown off over the years, the State Department's Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs wrote a letter back effectively flipping Waxman the bird. (Not surprising, really, since that's the only kind of diplomacy these Bushies appear to be good at.) I'll post an update with details below.
In response, Waxman wrote:
On March 12, 2007, I wrote to you on behalf of the Committee to request answers to multiple letters that I had sent to you over the past four years. I requested a response by March 23,2007, but I received no reply by that date. As a result, on March 30,2007, I sent a letter notifying you that the Committee will be holding a hearing on April 18,2007, and I requested that you make yourself available to provide testimony and respond to questions about the issues raised in the March 12 letter.
On April 3, 2007, I did receive a letter from your assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Jeffrey Bergner. Mr. Bergner's letter does not answer many of the Committee's questions, nor does it provide most of the information and documents the Committee requested. As a result, I continue to request your appearance before the Committee on April 18, 2007.
As I hope you can understand, because of the inadequacies of Mr. Bergner's response, the Committee will not withdraw the invitation for you to testify on April 18, 2007.
Given the nastiness of Bergner's reply, I suspect (as I've been predicting) Condi has no intention of complying with Waxman's requests. Henry, ready your subpoena pen.
Do you think there's a reason Condi doesn't want to testify under oath about her role in putting the "16 Words" in the 2003 SOTU?
Update: Mr. Bergner's many styles of flipping Waxman the bird.
Response on Niger
The biggest question that Waxman posed in his original letter to Condi was to respond to his questions about the Niger intelligence. Waxman described his first inquiry to the Administration on this issue (a March 17, 2003 letter), but then named a June 10, 2003 letter to Condi as the first of several she blew off. He noted another dated July 29, 2003. Both letters were written in response to ongoing BS that Condi and Bush were spouting, so they clearly reflected new information and new questions beyond the original March 17 letter. But in response to these two later letters, Bergner sent the original response to the March 17, 2003 letter, which WH had pawned off on Powell's State Department, as well as a later State response to a letter directed to State. The earlier letter has statements that have been since debunked, which suggests that the US didn't know the Italian reports were based on the forgeries until March 4, 2003:
Not until March 4 did we learn that in fact the second Western European government had based its assessment on the evidence already available to the U.S. that was subsequently discredited.
Or this one about the December 19 fact sheet, which State has since admitted was created under John Bolton's direction:
The December 19 fact sheet was a product developed jointly by the CIA and the State Department.
The second document repeats this lie, asserting falsely that,
John R. Bolton ... did not play a role in the creation of this [December 19] document.
So State basically sent two outdated documents, and didn't address Waxman's questions specific to Condi, which are:
(1) whether you had any knowledge that would explain why President Bush cited forged evidence about Iraq's efforts to procure uranium from Niger in the State of the Union address; (2) whether you knew before the State of the Union address of the doubts raised by the CIA and the State Department about the veracity of the Niger claim; (3) whether there was a factual basis for your reference in a January 23, 2003, op-ed to "Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad"; and (4) whether you took appropriate steps to investigate how the Niger claim ended up in the State of the Union address after it was revealed to be fraudulent.
Basically, Waxman's asking about Condi's role, and State responded with details about anything but.
Richard Jones is classic case of a Iraq contracting fraudster. While serving as Deputy to Paul Bremer's CPA, he steered a fueling contract to a Kuwaiti firm that subsequently bilked us, badly. And Condi, in her infinite wisdom, thought that made Jones the perfect candidate to serve as "special coordinator" for Iraq, even while State's IG and DOJ were still investigating his fraud.
On February 17,2OO5,I wrote to you seeking the results of the investigation regarding this issue or, if the investigation were not concluded, an explanation of why you appointed Ambassador Jones to this position while a criminal investigation remained ongoing.
Bergner's response? The State Department's dogs ate your homework, Henry.
After a thorough search of our database, we have found no record of your February 17, 2005 letter regarding the appointment of Ambassador Richard Jones as special coordinator for Iraq.
Bergner goes on to include the questions Barack Obama asked Jones before his confirmation. And rather than answer Waxman's questions about the results of the investigation, Bergner noted only,
Ambassador Jones was not the subject of a criminal investigation.
Well, that's a relief. I guess that makes one Bushie, not a suspect.
Telecom Loyalty Oaths (Again)
Waxman's next request pertained to loyalty oaths--and since it's so timely, I'll cite from the magazine article (ironically written by Viveca Novak and John Dickerson) that sparked the inquiry:
The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry but important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week's meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda. At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry's 2004 campaign.
The State Department has traditionally put together a list of industry representatives for these meetings, and anyone in the U.S. telecom industry who had the requisite expertise and wanted to go was generally given a slot, say past participants. Only after the start of Bush's second term did a political litmus test emerge, industry sources say.
So Waxman, being the kind of guy he is, thought maybe the American taxpayers ought to know if BushCo was administering loyalty oaths on international conference participants. Bergner explains why State blew Waxman off when he asked the first time:
In order to manage the substantial number of requests for documents and information requiring consderable research that the Department receives each year, the Department often requires that Congressional requests of this nature come from the chair of a committe or subcommittee of jurisdiction rather than from individual Members.... At the time your August 1 letter was received, we viewed your specific request in this context and decided in this case that a formal request from the Committee Chairman was needed.
Though Bergner did actually respond to Waxman's inquiry in his letter, if you count spin as a response:
A variety of Executive Branch entities with an interest ... are consulted to identify those individuals whose interest, experience and expertise would most effectively advance U.S. interests, including advancing U.S. policy on the subject of the conference, which is of course set by the incumbent Administration.
So the answer to Henry about loyalty oaths? Yes, the WH was administering loyalty oaths before picking participants for international conferences.
Overall, Condi appears to be following this strategy regarding a response to Waxman: aside from the dog eating letters in both directions (Bergner says they did respond to one of Waxman's requests), Condi is basically responding to requests solely as Secretary of State, now. So she responds to the Niger question not by addressing the question, but by answering as Colin Powell would have. And to the question about inconsistent treatment of classified leaks (you know, Valerie Plame), she just won't answer. She's not NSA anymore, why should she answer questions about what she did, even if she was asked those questions when she was NSA.