DC As Usual

And we think they’re all full of it. Shut up and get to work.

Rockefeller: Cheney applied ‘constant’ pressure to stall investigation on flawed Iraq intelligence
By Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney exerted “constant” pressure on the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, the panel’s Democratic chairman charged Thursday.

In an interview with McClatchy Newspapers, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia also accused President Bush of running an illegal program by ordering eavesdropping on Americans’ international e-mails and telephone communications without court-issued warrants.

In the 45-minute interview, Rockefeller said that it was “not hearsay” that Cheney, a leading proponent of invading Iraq, pushed Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., to drag out the probe of the administration’s use of prewar intelligence.

“It was just constant,” Rockefeller said of Cheney’s alleged interference. He added that he knew that the vice president attended regular policy meetings in which he conveyed White House directions to Republican staffers.

Republicans “just had to go along with the administration,” he said.

In an e-mail response to Rockefeller’s comments, Cheney’s spokeswoman, Lea McBride, said: “The vice president believes Senator Roberts was a good chairman of the Intelligence Committee.”

Roberts’ chief of staff, Jackie Cottrell, blamed the Democrats for the investigation remaining incomplete more than two years after it began.

“Senator Rockefeller’s allegations are patently untrue,” she said in an e-mail statement. “The delays came from the Democrats’ insistence that they expand the scope of the inquiry to make it a more political document going into the 2006 elections. Chairman Roberts did everything he could to accommodate their requests for further information without allowing them to distort the facts.”

“I’m not aware of any effort by the vice president, his staff or anyone in the administration to influence the speed at which the committee did its work,” said Bill Duhnke, who was Roberts’ staff director.

Rockefeller’s comments were among the most forceful he’s made about why the committee failed to complete the inquiry under Roberts. Roberts chaired the intelligence committee from January 2003 until the Democrats took over Congress this month.

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