House Judiciary to examine claim of White House intel forgery

Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday August 13, 2008

The blockbuster claims that White House officials conspired to forge evidence linking Iraq to 9/11 plotters and ignored clear intelligence indicating Saddam Hussein's lack of WMDs may not be getting as much attention as it should in the US press, but some key lawmakers are beginning to take notice.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers says his staff will investigate these allegations and others aired in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind's new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism.

"I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration," Conyers said in a press release Tuesday evening. "The administration’s attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind’s reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author’s interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind’s allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."

The announced probe garnered quick praise from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has waged a months-long campaign to convince his colleagues and Democratic leaders in the House to impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Suskind has said the allegations outlined in his book could be impeachable offenses.

According to Conyers' office, the Judiciary Committee staff's investigation will focus on the following areas:
  • The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush’s 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
  • The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
  • The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
  • Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq’s chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
  • The payment of $5 million to Iraq’s chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
  • The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind’s research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson’s notes were also confiscated.

Kucinich, who was a Democratic presidential candidate earlier this year, last week requested an investigation of the book's claims.

"If true," he said, "the Administration fabricated evidence and used it to lead the country into an unprovoked war."