Aide says Rice lied to Congress about Iran proposal

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice misled the U.S. Congress when she said last week that she had not seen a 2003 Iranian proposal for talks with the United States, a former senior government official said on Wednesday.

Flynt Leverett, who worked on the National Security Council when it was headed by Rice, likened the proposal to the 1972 U.S. opening to China. He said he was confident it was seen by Rice and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell but “the administration rejected the overture.”

Speaking at a conference on Capitol Hill, Leverett said “this was a serious proposal, a serious effort” by Iran to lay out a comprehensive agenda for U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.

“The Bush administration up to and including Secretary Rice is misleading Congress and the American public about the Iran proposal,” he said.

Testifying before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee last week, Rice told lawmakers who asked about Leverett’s previous public comments and writings on the Iranian proposal: “I don’t know what Flynt Leverett’s talking about.”

She faulted him for not telling her, “We have a proposal from Iran and we really ought to take it.”

At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack said: “What she said is she has no recollection of having seen it. She has said that repeatedly.” he said the accusation that she had misled Congress was “just absolutely 100 percent false.”

Leverett and others have represented the proposal as a missed opportunity that could have defused tensions with Iran which have grown to the point that the U.S. administration has been forced to deny it plans military action against Tehran.

Leverett said he deserved an apology from Rice for calling his competence into question.

He said he had left the National Security Council, which advises the president on security issues, in March 2003 before the Iranian proposal was received. He returned to the CIA where he previously worked and soon after that left government.

Hence, he wasn’t in a position to made this case directly to Rice, nor was it his responsibility, he said.

But among other things, Leverett said that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a discussion about the Iranian proposal, told him he “couldn’t sell it at the White House.” This was evidence it had been discussed there, he said.

The proposal was transmitted to the White House in May 2003 by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who represented U.S. interests there. Washington has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

According to a copy of the proposal posted on the Washington Post Web site and cited by Leverett, it contains considerable detail about approaching issues of central interest to the United States and Iran.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited


  1. Dave

    I think the ability and the propesity to lie are directly connected with membership in a Church, particularly the southern evangelical Christian variety. These losers sit around making up lies, for each other and themselves, then twist and contort some obscure Old Teslatment verse to justify their pre-fabbed cockamamie obfuscations of truth. People like Rice have LOTS of practice lying, and it’s a skill developed at an early age. She is truly an expert in her field!

  2. Kent Shaw


    Ol’ Condi lies most of the time. I can see it in her body language, and hear it in her quavering voice. Can’t everyone?


  3. Boots

    Condi lied. She does that every time she opens her mouth. The question is what are we going to do about it?

    The Bush family makes all of the Mafia families look good. They certainly have killed more people and they have the government in their back pocket so that their dastardly deeds are covered up.

    For those who are still in the dark about what is really going on in this country should read this book: The Sociopath Next Door – by Martha Stout

    “As Martha Stout explains, a sociopath is defined as someone who displays at least three of seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Such people often have a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want. Stout argues that the development of sociopathy is due half to genetics and half to nongenetic influences that have not been clearly identified.” [From Publishers Weekly]

    Let me say this about that. The White House and Congress is full of these people. Not to mention the CIA, Justice, Pentagon and probably to a lesser degree the FBI. And that’s just in this country. The world is also loaded with them.

    It’s all a Good vs Evil thing and it sure looks like Evil is the winner. And I am not talking about the Islamic fundamentalists.They have been doing their thing way before the USA became a nation.And they haven’t got it right yet?

  4. SEAL

    Roger – INFINITY

















  5. Rice also “don’t recall” the pre-9/11 warnings she received.

    It is surely important to remember that this perennial liar was National Security Adviser when Bush was advised to invade Iraq.

    Rice is every bit as big a War Criminal as Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush.

    All four and several others belong in jail or on a scaffold.

    Cashel Boylo

  6. estelle

    why is anybody surprised that she lied. this president and the his cronies have been lying thru their teeth since bush was first elected.

  7. Roger


    That’s FORTRAN for Oh My God! raised to a very large power…. What was Al Franken saying about lies and their enabling liars?

  8. David Rosenberg

    Not telling the truth has become an art form in the White House. It is done so matter of factly. The motto is of course, “I don’t recall” It is safe to say, attacking Iran was on the agenda as far back as 2002.

    The entire bush administration is built on lies.

  9. Gary Gower

    Just one caveat re comments above: Remember that Fed agencies’ employees are your fellow citizens, and many (even at the CIA) sympathize with complaints about what politicians do. CIA acts as its political masters dictate (with rare exceptions when principled employees resign rather than go along with, or blow the whistle on, improper acts ordered by political bosses. Political appointees (in GOP regimes especially, due to their distrust of govenrment), often form tight cabals at the top of agencies, directing actons without input from the agencies’ career employees, or even without letting top officials know what actions have been ordered. Some former presidents have not hesitated to use the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, etc, to promote political agendas over nonpartisan or bipartisan appraisals of the national interest. Career employees often are the only obstacles to illegal actions, and most career employees are horrified and embarrassed by the careerists who allow themselves to be used by unethical political bosses. Career employees, hired and promoted on merit principles, motivated by the desire to serve honorably, and required by civil service rules to guard against the intrusion of politics and corruption in our government, are the best defenders of good government. There are bad apples in all occupations — and government has its share, but be thankful government isn’t run entirely by political appointees!!!

  10. Judy

    Jim asks a very interesting but simple question when he asks what the penalty is for lying to congress. I could’nt find what the penalty is because It seems the penalty is supposed to fit the crime..but during my search efforts, I did find out that Lying to Congress is a felony and lying to the public is an impeachable offense. If this is true, the entire Bush administration is guilty of one or both of these crimes..and it is my humble opinion that those guilty of both should first be impeached, then hung by their balls to die!

  11. JR

    Carl Nemo look to the history of our “intelligence” agencies – The Pike Committee investigated them and was pilloried for disclosing the 6 figure wine bill of the CIA Paris chief of station – his report was buried and he became a pariah finally leaving Congress – The “intelligence” community CIA, FBI, NSA etc. all have files on Senators and Congressman -do you think maybe blackmail might be active? – look at the role CIA played in repressing representative government in Iran and proping up the Shah – are we repeating the mistakes of history or just reaping the rewards of ignoring the lessons?

  12. Jason….Good question! I can see nothing honest or ethical anywhere in the White House and I’m wondering if it extends throughout the entire Republican Party. I find it difficult to see why people would follow a corrupt government and say nothing about it. Even the voters seem able to justify the Bush Administration.

    There was some honest discussions about running Rice for President last year. Now I’m hearing Gingrich! How bad will it get?

  13. Phil

    Maybe it would just be easier to report on any time someone in the administration told the truth. Now THAT would be news.

  14. SEAL

    Nothing ever happens to these people who get caught lying to congress and/or the Amercan people. They just lose their jobs. And, if they aren’t to old, they pop up again in another administration because of their vast experience and outstanding qualifications. Look at Cheney and Rumsfeld. They were run out of Dodge a couple of times in the Nixon and Bush The First administrations. Condi may get canned but she will be back. The public remembers nothing more than a week old.