Rice stalled probe of Blackwater

A leading Democratic lawmaker on Tuesday accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of interfering in congressional inquiries into corruption in Iraq’s government and the activities of U.S. security firm Blackwater.

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman said State Department officials had told the Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs they could not provide details of corruption in Iraq’s government unless the information was treated as a “state secret” and not revealed to the public.

“You are wrong to interfere with the committee’s inquiry,” Waxman said in a letter to Rice. “The State Department’s position on this matter is ludicrous,” added Waxman, a vocal opponent of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

But State Department spokesman Tom Casey said there seemed to have been a “misunderstanding” over the issue and all the information requested by Congress had either been provided or was in the process of being provided.

Waxman said security contractor Blackwater, which was involved in an incident in which Iraqi civilians were killed last week, said they could not hand over documents relevant to an investigation without State Department approval.

But Casey said later Blackwater had been informed the State Department had no objection to it providing information to Waxman’s committee.

Blackwater provides security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and has a contract with the State Department.

The company was involved in a September 16 shooting in which 11 people were killed while Blackwater was escorting a convoy through Baghdad. The State Department is investigating the incident along with the Iraqis.

Waxman, who has called a hearing on Blackwater for October 2, released a letter his staff received from the security contractor’s attorneys dated September 24.

“It (the State Department) directs Blackwater USA not to disclose any information concerning the contract without DOS (Department of State) preauthorization in writing.”

Blackwater also urged the committee not to ask questions at the hearing that could reveal sensitive information “that could be utilized by our country’s implacable enemies in Iraq.”

Such information included the size of their security staff in Baghdad, weaponry and the operation of convoys.

Waxman also released a letter signed by State Department contracting officer Kiazan Moneypenny to Blackwater.

“I hereby direct Blackwater to make no disclosure of documents or information … unless such disclosure has been authorized in writing by the contracting officer,” wrote Moneypenny.

Waxman also complained Rice was refusing to testify at any hearings his committee planned to look at political reconciliation in Iraq, corruption or the Blackwater incident.

“We have offered to make available for testimony those officials in the best position to respond to the specific issues the committee has raised,” said Casey.


  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Thanks Seal, I was just postulating a worst case scenario if Bush pulled a Hitler at Stalingrad type psychosis, refusing to give in and ignoring the congress with signing orders and that kind of thing. I didn’t mean to say I was advocating overthrow, but just what would happen if Bush got Hitlerian to the extreme. I was just having a hard time imagining all the scenario details, including a worst case ‘bunker’ type state of mind Bush could push the situation toward, so thanks Seal, your post here fed my curiosity as to just how it could play out.

  2. SEAL

    You guys are using some pretty dangerous language. Proposing or just inquiring about an “overthrow” of the presidency by military force in a forum such as this has already placed you on a “list.” Don’t expect to be able to fly anywhere. The airports will not be friendly places for you. And don’t be surprised if a couple of black suburban SUV’s show up in your neighborhoods.

    But to address your question, as I understand it, IF congress refused to fund the war they would still fund the military. They are two seperate things. Congress would never consider cutting off the money necessary to maintain the military and, certainly, Bush would sign the military funding bill.

    IF congress were to stand their ground and refuse to change the bill they sent Bush for the war in Iraq with the timelines, etc. there would be cataphonic screaming about failure to support the troops and the threat to the nation and so on and so forth. But if the dems would actually counter by exposing that as the nonsense that it is and simply refuse to send any other bill, Bush would be faced with either signing the bill and giving up control of the Iraq/Afghanistan occupation or ordering a complete withdrawal from Iraq (only) which, BTW, would require a new bill to fund that.

    Bush could keep the war going for 2 possibly 3 months in a stalemate with congress but that would be all. The people’s reaction would undoubtably determine the outcome and the press would certainly misrepresent that in Bush’s favor in the beginning. However, IF the congress was determined, there is nothing Bush could do but give in and sign the bill. That would end his power making him the lamest duck ever. Or he would have a vindictive tantrum and who knows what that would be. What would the corporate power do? I know what they did in the 60’s. There was a rash of “lone” assasins.

    The JCS would have nothing to do with any of this other than to explain to Bush what would be the effect of either option. One of those would be that it would take 6 months and cost a great deal to withdraw. There would be nothing for the JCS to “put the screws to Bush” about.

    I must admit the rising feeling I get from the picture my mind creates of the tanks rolling up to the White House and leveling their cannons at Bush but, with our system of government, I can’t conceive of any conditions created that could result in an overthrow by the military. And such a thing could not be confined to the president, it would have to be the entire government. I can conceive of conditions that would cause the military to refuse to obey an order given by the commander in chief (President Bush) such as Marshall Law as we have discussed before.

    Any vision of a military overthrow in this country is sheer fantasy for a movie. Removing a dangerous president from office does not require the military. We have police agencies that would handle that if it ever became necessary due to one mentally flipping out and locking himself in the Oval Office with the football or some such thing. Otherwise, there is impeachment (which should be over by now).