Good Government or Good Press Release?
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is threatening to subpoena Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tomorrow over the Iraq-Niger uranium reference in the 2003 State of the Union Address. Not only has the State Department been fully compliant in all requests for information from the committee but Secretary Rice specifically addressed the issue at length in her confirmation process.
The fact is, there's nothing left to be said. Unfortunately, the intelligence was misinformed and came from forged documents but the Department has been fully compliant in acknowledging this and being forthcoming. The problem is that this just isn't enough for Chairman Waxman - he's not interesting in just investigating the issue, he wants pictures and a press release to boot.
Maybe this should come as no surprise given the proclivity of the current Democrat leadership to seek only political whip checks and press rather than passing real legislation (see: everything they've done on Iraq). This time, however, they are going too far.
As Secretary of State, Dr. Rice has a busy schedule of doing the people's business ahead of her. The Secretary had planned on going to Norway to participate in a NATO foreign ministers meeting to solidify support among the alliance for our ongoing efforts in Afghanistan. Speaker Pelosi herself calls our efforts there the "real war on terror" (link).
In addition, Secretary Rice has two trips to the Middle East on her schedule. One to Egypt for the Iraq Neighbors Conference for the "regional diplomacy" the Iraq Study Group brought in vogue. Then another to for talks with Israel and Palestine (perhaps Mr. Waxman is trying to avoid having his California cohort Pelosi upstaged in her attempt to work on the issue).
Secretary Rice also plans on a trip to Russia to discuss Iran and other pressing issues, hosting the foreign minister of Australia which has proven to be one of our most steadfast supporters in the war on terror, and continued diplomacy on North Korea.
For Mr. Waxman, his spot in the limelight is more important than Dr. Rice being permitted to do her job.