Congressman Stephen F. Lynch introduced House Resolution 616, a measure that would require the House Committee on Government Reform to hold the first public hearings on the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq.  If Lynch’s resolution is adopted, the House of Representatives must begin hearings on pre-war intelligence within 30 days. 


Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003, and questions regarding the validity of intelligence and the Bush Administration’s use of that intelligence soon surfaced.  Recently, President Bush and members of his Cabinet have admitted that key pieces of the intelligence they used were indeed false.  However, to date, not one public congressional hearing has been held on the issue. 


"All we’re asking for here is the opportunity to ask questions,” said Congressman Lynch.  "The Congress has a basic responsibility to determine whether the Bush Administration deliberately misused or manipulated intelligence in the lead up to war.  In times of crisis, Members of Congress and the American people must have the confidence that their president is providing them with the most accurate information available – not just the bits of intelligence that support his position.”


Democrats on the Government Reform Committee, the Congress’s chief investigatory panel, have repeatedly requested that the Committee hold hearings on pre-war intelligence, but the Republican leadership has refused to do so.  Congressman Lynch’s resolution would force the Committee to hold hearings over the Republicans’ objections.


"Considering that Republicans held 140 hours of hearings on whether President Clinton abused his Christmas card privileges, it’s inexcusable that they continue to stonewall our requests for hearings on an issue of national security,” added Congressman Lynch.  "I hope that this resolution will encourage leadership to do the right thing by the American people and schedule hearings as soon as we return to Washington in January.” 


Congressman Lynch’s resolution has garnered support from senior Democrats on the Government Reform Committee, including Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Brian Higgins (D-NY). 


One of the resolution’s original co-sponsors, Congresswoman Linda T. S├ínchez (D-CA), said, "It’s critical that the American public know whether Congress was given the same facts as the President when we were asked to decide whether to preemptively invade Iraq. This Administration has some serious explaining to do and these hearings are a first step in getting some of those answers.”