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30-Something Working Group

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Location: Washington, DC


30-SOMETHING WORKING GROUP -- (House of Representatives - November 01, 2005)

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Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield, when you have that kind of mindset where you think you can get away with everything, when you think you can make these decisions in a box and you can take a country to war, as Thomas Friedman says, ``on the wings of a lie,'' then you end up with all the stuff we are already talking about. They just take it to the next level, and they think they can lie to the American people, lie to the grand jury and obstruct justice.

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield, what the gentleman from Ohio is saying is true, and I will just sum this all up. I have seen this with the Republican policies here under the President, as the means justifying the ends. In other words, they were determined, the President and his Republican colleagues that supported him in this secrecy and this coverup, were determined to go to war.

So it did not matter what the means were, they were going to get there. If that meant that they had to out a CIA agent and if it meant that they had to not tell the truth about what was happening in Iraq, if it meant that they had to go after those people who were trying to tell the truth and basically honestly tell us what was going on in Iraq, that did not matter, because they had to go to war. They had to attack Iraq. They had to go in there and get Saddam Hussein. So it did not matter what the means were, they were going to achieve that.

It is the same thing we had in the Watergate years with President Nixon. I hate to bring that up again, but it is true. The means justify the end.

But we see this over and over again with the Republican leadership and with the President Bush's policies, that they will go to whatever ends to achieve their goal. So there is no accountability. There is no feeling on anybody's part that they have to tell the truth or that they cannot ridicule people or destroy people's lives if they can accomplish their goal.

And that is basically wrong. It is very undemocratic. I mean, the gentleman from Massachusetts talked about the basis for democracy. The basis for democracy is free speech, that people can get up and express their views. But they do not want to hear the other views. They do not want to hear what the truth is about whether or not there was uranium coming from Niger to Iraq. They did not want to hear the CIA estimates that were saying that it was unlikely that Iraq was going to attack the United States, it was unlikely that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They did not want to hear the truth, because they wanted to go to war. And this attitude is pervasive.

I mean, you have talked about it and the gentleman from Florida has talked about it here on the floor with so many other things that the Republicans do, not wanting to have hearings, not wanting to have bipartisan investigations of the hurricane, because they do not want to get at the truth. They have this ideology that says, this is the way it is going to be; and if you do not like it, we do not want you around here. We do not want to hear dangerous points of view, and it is a very dangerous view.

Mr. DELAHUNT. If my friend from New Jersey would yield for a moment, I would direct my colleagues' attention to Wednesday, October 22, the Congressional Quarterly Today that you all know we receive once a week here. What is the headline? Just to reinforce and corroborate what FRANK PALLONE just said: ``GOP Says No to Probe of CIA Leak.'' Again and again and again, secrecy. Let us not look at it, because maybe we will find something ugly. Maybe we will find something that will embarrass the administration. Maybe we will find something that will embarrass the majority party and erode their power.

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. The Republicans.

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Mr. RYAN of Ohio. The gentleman makes a great point. We need to reiterate this to our colleagues, Mr. Speaker, to the American people, that this outfit that is currently in charge of the House and the Senate and the White House will do anything that they need to do to promote and bolster their party, the Republican Party. They will be willing to do anything. And they have proven, not just violating the rules of the House or the spirit of the rules of the House by keeping the clock open so that they can pass legislation at 3 in the morning 15 times, or lie about the prescription drug bill, or lie about the war, but to out a CIA agent to benefit yourself politically is outrageous.

As my friend said, that is no different, especially in the 21st century when we are dealing with intelligence, the war on terrorism is a war of intelligence, and so those covert operatives are foot soldiers in forward areas; and it is, as has been stated, the moral equivalent of outing a CIA agent, outing a CIA agent is the moral equivalent of telling the enemy where the marines are, and they are coming.

Mr. PALLONE. Let me just briefly, because the gentleman from Ohio always says that we need to point out how things would be different if the Democrats were in the majority, if the Democrats were in control. And I always like to, because I guess I am the one who has been here the longest, take us back to another era.

I remember when the Democrats were in the majority here and I told you before, the Energy and Commerce Committee that I serve on, we would have investigation after investigation. This is when we had a Democratic President; it did not make any difference. We would have investigations of agency actions. Whether it was Health and Human Services, Department of Education, we would bring them before the committee and the Democrats were in the majority and we would ask all of these serious questions about fraud and abuse and whether or not too much money was being spent. And if a Republican wanted to bring up an issue and criticize the White House or criticize the Democrat in the White House, nobody stopped them. Nobody sought to put an end to that.

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. So the gentleman is saying that when we were in charge, we actually put the country before our own political party.

Mr. PALLONE. Absolutely. I will take you even further back. You read about Jefferson and Adams and how they used to go at it on the floor and debate and argue and have totally different point of views and then, at the end of the day, they would be friends. They actually enjoyed the political debate and the fact that somebody was disagreeing with them. I mean, this notion that you go after the guy who you disagree with, or who is trying to bring out something that shows that you are not correct, that is un-American.

I do not want the public to think that this is what we do down here, that we just try to destroy the person who has a different point of view, or who is trying to bring out the truth that we do not agree with. That is not what the country is all about. This is supposed to be a country of free speech and free ideas and free flow of ideas. You start getting into this whole notion that if somebody disagrees with you, you are going to destroy them, then that is the end of democracy. I mean, this is serious stuff, I agree, not only with regard to the outing of CIA agents, but just the whole idea of going after your enemy because you do not like what he says. It is un-American.

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