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General News    H3'ed 6/26/08

Ex Weapons Inspector: Iran Not Pursuing Nukes, But U.S. Will Attack Before '09

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But he has been able, at the very least; distribute his intelligence to middlemen who can get the information to Congress.

“What I am saying to you is being said to the powers that be in Washington so there is no way [Democrats and Republicans] can say that they haven’t been made aware of this analysis,” Ritter said. “Ideally, there would be hearings and I would be invited to testify. So that not only these words would be given to the policymakers but it would be done in a way that the constituents would be cognizant of the fact that this is an analysis that was made available to policymakers who chose to act upon it or ignore it at their own risk.”

I contacted aides in the Democratic leadership offices of both Houses over the past week and also spoke to aides in minority offices. No one would comment on the record about the Bush administration’s policies toward Iran or discuss whether they have been made aware of Ritter’s intelligence analysis on the issue.

An aide to John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, pointed to the congressman’s May 8 letter sent to President Bush stating that Conyers would initiate impeachment proceedings if an attack on Iran was launched without first receiving approval from Congress.

"Late last year, Senator Joseph Biden stated unequivocally that ‘the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach’ the president,” Conyers’ letter says. "We agree with Senator Biden, and it is our view that if you do not obtain the constitutionally required congressional authorization before launching preemptive military strikes against Iran or any other nation, impeachment proceedings should be pursued..”

Ritter was critical of the letter Conyers sent to Bush, saying the congressman is still avoiding the issue.

“John Conyers is so off base on this one,” Ritter said. “I appreciate his passion, but the fact is rather than Conyers say [to President Bush] if you attack Iran I am going to impeach you why doesn’t Conyers reflect on the fact that there is no basis for impeachment because he’s been constitutionally empowered by Congress. If Conyers is so worried about this what Conyers needs to do is work with Congress to revoke the two existing war powers resolutions concerning Afghanistan and Iraq and then reconfigure the president’s war powers authority in a manner which constitutionally permits ongoing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but tells the president that if you seek any expansion of your authority you have to get the consent of Congress. Now if the president attacks Iran you can impeach him.”

Conyers office declined to comment.

Ritter said he understood that the hotly contested presidential election makes it difficult for Democratic lawmakers to address the issue of Iran.

“Let’s talk about political reality here. You cannot expect a politician, especially Democrats who want to retain control of Congress and want a Democrat to be president of the United States, to commit political suicide,” Ritter said.

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
 
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