Tuesday, March 18, 2008

LOADS OF DEMONSTRATIONS WEDNESDAY; Conservative Congressman Rohrabacher repudiates Bush

Dear Impeachment People and Greens:
A) Tomorrow is the FIFTH anniversary of our criminal invasion and
occupation of Iraq, so there are demonstrations all over the country.
You can get details on them from loads of websites: see "5" below. I'm
including cursory information on 4 fairly local ones: the first by COW
(Connecticut Opposes the War) in Hartford at 11:30 a.m.; the second by
COW in Bridgeport at 4 pm; the third by ANSWER at 4:30 in New Haven;
the fourth in White Plains at 4:30; the fifth at Mahattanville College
in Purchase, NY, at 7:15. There are also Move-on demonstrations and, I
believe, a lot of others. So I hope we can each find ONE.
B) Susan Serpa has forwarded an interesting long piece on a Republican
Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, who, in his own conservative way, is
fed up with the Bush Administration's obstructionism. This is exactly
the kind of movement of sentiment that spelled Nixon's doom—Nixon, you
may remember, handed in his resignation immediately after a talk with
Barry Goldwater.
So, hope you protest the occupation in some way tomorrow!

> HARTFORD, CT 06103
Connecticut Opposes the War
March 19th: the 5th anniversary of the War on Iraq ... from across the
state will be converging on Wesleyan University for the first COW
Student Conference. ...
ctcow.civicspaceondemand.org/ - 8k -
06604 We will protest at Chris Shays' office and throughout downtown
3) Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER):
Protest on the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq invasion! March 15th and
March 19th ... New Haven, CT March & Rally Wednesday, March 19 Gather
4:30 pm ...
answer.pephost.org/ - 32k -
4) From White Plains:


Wednesday, March 19TH 4:30 TO 6:30 PM.




Author of BLACKWATER ,The Rise of the

World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

JEREMY SCAHILL, a Polk Award-winning investigative

Journalist is a frequent contributor to The Nation

Magazine and a correspondent for Democracy Now!

He has reported extensively from Iraq, the former

Yugoslavia and Nigeria. He is currently a Puffin

Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute.

Scahill and colleague, Amy Goodman, were co-recipients of the 1998 Polk
award for their radio documentary,

"Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship which
documented the Chevron Corp.'s

alleged role in the killing of two Nigerian environmental activists.


7:15 pm

Reid Castle, Manhattanville College

Purchase, NY


For info:

Contact the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action

(914) 323-7156
6) First sites called up by "fifth anniversary Iraq" Google search:
Anniversary Highlights Iraq War's Role in Campaign - New York Times -
816 related articles »
Protests set to mark fifth anniversary of Iraq war - San Jose Mercury
News - 14 related articles »

mcbrooklyn: 5th-Anniversary Iraq Protests in Brooklyn, Manhattan ...
Two local actions will be held March 19, the fifth anniversary of the
invasion of Iraq: Press Conference & Brooklyn Says No to War March and
Vigil, ...
- 114k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Peace activists mark 5th anniversary of Iraq war - Boston.com
About 400 protesters marched through fresh, slushy snow to the State
House on Saturday, marking the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war and
calling for a ...
- Similar pages - Note this

VOA News - Iraq War at Crucial Junction on Fifth Anniversary
US military bracing for transition that will reduce combat power by
more than 20 percent by July, as surge forces President Bush deployed
last year end ...
www.voanews.com/english/2008-03-17-voa62.cfm - 40k - Cached - Similar
pages - Note this

All Spin Zone » 5th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion — GOP Pundit ...
Iraq is important, and on the fifth anniversary of the Bush invasion
of the country, one might expect to see a GOP pundit using the word
"jihad. ...
- 57k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

LA Daily News: Podcasts | Thousands protest Iraq war for fifth ...
Thousands protest Iraq war for fifth anniversary. Published on
Saturday, March 15, 2008 By Brandon Lowrey. HOLLYWOOD - Five years
after the U.S. invasion of ...
- 45k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Protesters Mark 5th Anniversary Of Start Of Iraq War - News Story ...
WASHINGTON -- Antiwar protesters stage a series of demonstrations in
Washington to draw attention to the fifth anniversary of the start of
the Iraq War.
www.nbc4.com/news/15634322/detail.html?rss=dc&psp=news - 3 hours ago -
Similar pages - Note this

Fifth anniversary: War in Iraq | news-press.com | The News-Press
Fifth anniversary: War in Iraq | news-press.com | The News-Press.
- 55k - 19 hours ago - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Churches prepare to mark fifth anniversary of Iraq invasion | Ekklesia
In the run up to the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq,
churches are reiterating their call for British troops to withdraw
from the country and will ...
www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/6890 - 26k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Iraq war marks 5th anniversaryIraq war marks 5th anniversary
Mar. 9 - Phil Nesmith came away from Iraq with a certain clarity. He
had been an Army paratrooper, but now he was among the first group of
government ...
usatoday.feedroom.com/?fr_story=FRdamp258111&rf=sitemap - Similar
pages - Note this

Iraq War at Crucial Junction on Fifth Anniversary
GlobalSecurity.org is the leading source for reliable WMD news and WMD
information, directed by John Pike.
- 22 hours ago - Similar pages - Note this

B)Susan Serpa forwards this:

"Toni Jean sent this to me. I checked it out. THIS IS WHAT WE'VE
BEEN WAITING FOR. Non-partisan support for impeachment.

Impeachment WILL happen when: (1) the people at large want it, and (2)
when it is generally considered a non-partisan act.

On Feb. 26th, a right-wing conservative Republican, Rep. Dana
Rohrabacher, CA railed against the Administration for a full hour.

CALL HIM ! ! ! FAX HIM, WRITE HIM!!! Tell him to sign on to HRes 799
and Wexler's petition.
Washington, D.C. Office
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2415
Fax (202) 225-0145
District Office
101 Main Street, Suite 380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 960-6483
(310) 377-9493
Fax (714) 960-7806

He is ready to tip ! ! ! (but don't ruin it and talk about the war.
While he is vehemently against all the ways this Administration has
acted in contempt of Congress, he still supports the war.)"

Dana Rohrabacher
9th Term Republican Representative, California 46th District
Ranking Member of the International Organizations, Human Rights and
Oversight Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

The Administration and Congressional Oversight Floor Speech

Washington, Feb 26 -
-- (House of Representatives - February 26, 2008)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of
January 18, 2007, the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) is
recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Madam Speaker , I come to the floor tonight with a
heavy heart. The nature of the allegations I make speaks poorly of
this administration. In my heart of hearts, I have always wanted this
administration to succeed, but the issue at hand is of such magnitude
that the American people need to know what is being done and what
precedents are being set.
In my tenure as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, both as chairman and ranking member of an investigative
subcommittee, I have witnessed firsthand behavior by the Bush
administration which I find deeply troubling.
The disdain and uncooperative nature that this administration has
shown toward Congress, including Republican Members, is so egregious
that I can no longer assume that it is simply bureaucratic
incompetence or isolated mistakes. Rather, I have come to the sad
conclusion that this administration has intentionally obstructed
Congress' rightful and constitutional duties.
Tonight I will discuss some serious examples of this administration's
contemptuous disregard for the authority delegated to Congress by the
Constitution. This bad attitude has consistently manifested itself in
a sophomoric resentment toward Congress' constitutional role as an
equal branch of government. The result has been an executive branch
too insecure to let Congress do its job, an executive branch that sees
Congress, even when Republicans held the majority, as a rival and a
spoiler, rather than as elected representatives of the American people
playing a rightful role in establishing policy for our great country.
Unfortunately, when the President of the United States rejects the
legitimacy of congressional prerogatives, there are serious
consequences. Tonight, I will provide examples of how this
administration for the past 7 years has undercut congressional
investigators, has lied to Members of Congress, and has forged ahead
with secret deals in spite of efforts and pleas by Congress to be
informed, if not involved.
In the last Congress, I was chairman of the Oversight and
Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In
that capacity, I learned that in the time immediately leading up to
the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, convicted
Oklahoma City bomber and murderer Terry Nichols had been in Cebu City
in the Philippines. His stay in Cebu City coincided with another
visitor to that city, al Qaeda's terrorist leader Ramsey Yousef.
Interestingly, both Nichols and Yousef used similar bombs and methods
just 2 years apart to blow up two American targets. Yousef was the
mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
Nichols was a coconspirator in the bombing of the Oklahoma City
Federal Building in 1995.
By the way, I would like to acknowledge that today happens to be the
15-year anniversary of that first devastating attack on the World
Trade Center.
These individuals, one American and one Arab, were responsible for
planning two of the most lethal terrorist attacks on our countrymen in
our history. We are to believe that by coincidence they ended up in an
off-the-beaten-track city in the Southern Philippines? One doesn't
have to be a conspiracy nut to understand that this coincidence is
certainly worth looking into.
I started an official congressional investigation sanctioned by Henry
Hyde, then the chairman of the International Relations Committee, to
see whether Terry Nichols or his accomplice, Timothy McVeigh, had
foreign help in their murderous terrorist bombing of the Alfred Murrah
Building in Oklahoma City.
In light of the fact that Terry Nichols and Ramsey Yousef were both in
Cebu City at the same time prior to hauntingly similar terrorist
attacks, it was no stretch for a congressional investigative committee
to be looking into this matter. However, the Bush administration felt
quite differently. To those I had to deal with, it was ``case closed,
don't bother us.'' They had looked into the matter, and Congress
should simply and blindly accept their conclusion that there was no
Nichols-Yousef connect ion. ``Don't bother us.'' This was at times
bureaucratic laziness, and at other times it was clearly based on a
disdain for congressional investigations and authority.
During my investigation, I secured Ramsey Yousef's cell phone records.
The records were part of the phone calls that he made when he was in
that New York City area in the months just prior to the bombing of the
World Trade Center in 1993.
The phone records show that Ramsey Yousef made at least two phone
calls to a row house in Queens, New York.
That row house was occupied by the cousin of Terry Nichols' Filipina
wife. Let me repeat that. The terrorist bomber of the first World
Trade Center attack, the nephew of al Qaeda 9/11 mastermind Khalid
Sheikh Mohammad, made phone calls to the same row house that was
occupied by Terry Nichols' cousins-in-law just 2 months before he
exploded t he bomb in the garage of the World Trade Center 15 years
ago. Another coincidence?
I gave this information to the Department of Justice and since that
time have repeatedly sought their help in investigating this matter.
Time after time, my requests have gone unanswered or have just been
flatly denied.
I also asked the Department of Justice on numerous occasions to help
me investigate the name Samir Khahil. This name is on a list of
unindicted co-conspirators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a
gain in connection with Ramsey Yousef.
It also is the name, by the way, of an Iraqi man in Oklahoma City who
at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing employed an Arab immigrant
who fits the description originally made by numerous witnesses as to
John Doe II.
This Oklahoma-based Iraqi lied, meaning the John Doe II look-alike,
lied to the investigators about his whereabouts at the time of the
Oklahoma City bombing, yet there was little if any follow-up on this
John Doe II look-alike. In fact, the FBI simply declared that John Doe
II never existed. The existence of John Doe II, let it be remembered,
was based on a sketch and sketches derived from witnesses on the scene
of the Oklahoma City bombing and the truck rental company in which
that bomb was placed on a truck from that truck rental company. Those
witnesses described a man who, as I say, looked very much like Samir
Khahil's employee.
Now, I have repeatedly asked the Department of Justice to tell me if
the Samir Khahil on the unindicted coconspirators list of the 1993
World Trade Center bombing is the same Samir Khahil who employed a man
originally identified as John Doe II, the bomber, the number two
bomber in the Oklahoma City bombing. The Justice Department's answer:
``It would be too burdensome to find out if it was the same man.''
Further, we asked help in finding the Arab immigrant who looked like
John Doe II and the man who was employed by Samir Khahil. We traced
him to Boston, but we have had no support or cooperation in finding
this v ery possible terrorist, or at least terrorist suspect. He may
well have been working at Boston's Logan Airport on 9/11/01, the day
that a plane took off from that airport and was hijacked and crashed
into the World Trade Center. Another weird coincidence to the Oklahoma
City bombing. Another coincidence, yes.
You don't have to be a conspiracy nut to believe that these things
should be investigated. Instead, there has been no follow-through, no
interest. The case is closed, forget it, both in terms of Samir Khahil
and his Iraqi employer and employee; and both of these people, of
course, reside in the United States right now.
That is just a small taste of the deplorable lack of cooperation for a
legitimate congressional investigation. And it was no fluke. I didn't
just happen to snag some uncooperative Federal employee. No, this is
the level of non-cooperation Congress has learned to expect from this
Yes, Departments and agencies do have limited resources, and I
understand that. I us ed to work in the executive branch. So, yes,
there may be some better uses for and some good uses for those limited
resources and better uses for their time and investigators, rather
than just following up on leads that are provided by Members of
You can hear someone explaining that. But the lack of cooperation that
we have had goes far beyond the fact that they are not going to give
their limited resources or even use some of their investigators to
track down what most of us would consider a very worthwhile lead,
especially considering that the terrorist that we are asking to look
into currently resides in the United States and may well have had
something to do with the bombing of the World Trade Center and the
bombing of the Oklahoma City building there.
But, again, a lot of my requests don't require a lot of time and
effort on the part of the executive branch, and I still have been
stonewalled. For the past year, for example, I have repeatedly
requested to interview the imprisoned terrorist Ramzi Yousef. He is in
Colorado and in strict lockup. He has been there for 10 years.
This would have taken no time and no resources from any executive
branch or Federal employee. None. This request is well within my
committee's jurisdiction as ranking member of the Investigative
Subcommittee of the House Foreign Aff airs Committee.
This request has been supported by the chairman of the Investigative
Subcommittee, the chairman of the full Foreign Affairs Committee, the
chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and the chairman of the
Intelligence Committee.
Such attention by Congress should be welcomed by this administration
and every administration. The legislative branch can help bring new
information to light and inform the public.
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice, consistent with its treatment
of congressional inquiries during the tenure of this President, has
dismissed this valid request. This request has been treated with what
can only be described as contempt and condescension.
The point is, unfortunately, that this rejectionist attitude is
typical. It is not that they don't have enough resources to help out,
to look into an easy matter to look into. It is just that they do not
want to cooperate with Congress, even when it's a Republican in
Congress, even when the Congress was controlled by a Republican
So, why would this administration obstruct congressional inquiries
such as this? Remember, Ramzi Yousef was the mastermind behind several
devastating terrorist attacks and plots against America. He led the
first murderous attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, as I say.
After fleeing to the Philippines, he and two other terrorists plotted
to kill thousands of Americans by blowing up 12 commercial airliners
over the Pacific at the same time. It was known as the Bojinka plot.
It was within 2 weeks of being executed when it was discovered and
thwarted by Philippine police.
Interestingly, the terrorist operation, the Bojinka plot, was to take
place about the same time as the Oklahoma City Federal building
bombing, perhaps on the same day. We don't know. Perhaps we should
know. Perhaps we should ask Ramzi Yousef about that.
Ramzi Yousef has been in Federal prison for over a decade. He is a
prisoner with a unique understanding of the al Qaeda terrorist
structure. He is the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind
of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
In 2006, when I was the chairman of the House Oversight Investigations
Subcommittee on the Foreign Affairs Committee, I was investigating
Yousef's movements and activities not only in the United States but in
the Philippines. I even traveled to the Philippines to question
authorities who had captured Yousef's roommate and coconspirator in
the Bojinka plot.
In spite of that fact and in spite of the fact that I was looking into
Yousef's terrorist activities and in spite of the fact that I had
obtained new information about Yousef's phone calls right here in the
United States and new information about his associates while he was in
the United States, the Department of Justice still dismisses the
effort and, more than that, they are obstructing a legitimate
congressional investigation, refusing to permit this elected Member of
Congress, a ranking member of a congressional investigating committee,
to interview a Federal prisoner. They refused access to Yousef
claiming that there is a ``ongoing investigation.''
This prisoner has been in jail for over 10 years. It is more likely
that what we have here is an ongoing coverup and not an ongoing
investigation. In fact, I have been told recently by a former member
of the Justice Department that they were told routinely simply to give
answers that there is an ongoing investigation even if no ongoing
investigation was underway, but simply using it as a phrase to dismiss
a request from Congress.
Well, this is outrageous, but it's typical of this administration.
This is a lot more than just a hurtful pride on my part of being
turned down.
This administration is setting a terrible precedent. What people have
to understand, when I am turned down like this, is when there is a
liberal Democrat in the White House, the President will have set that
Members of Congress can simply be dismissed, and that when they are
trying to do a congressional investigation need not be coo perated
with, in fact, can be obstructed. Is that the type of President that
we want? Is that acceptable? It shouldn't be acceptable to Democrats
and it shouldn't be acceptable to Republicans.
Doesn't Congress have a right to talk to Federal prisoners. Are these
the rules of engagement? Is it really the rules of engagement that we
want for our government that Members of Congress and the legislative
branch don't have a right to talk to Federal prisoners?
Well, that's apparently what the Bush administ ration is trying to
establish as the executive authority, as executive authority, the
right to deny congressional investigators access to Federal prisoners.
The danger of this should be easy to understand, both on my side of
the aisle, the Republican side, and the Democratic side of the aisle.
Again, the attitude, apparent in the treatment of this request, is not
an aberration or is it some sort of situation where this is not really
a representative way the President has acted with his authority. No, I
am afraid that's not the case.
This request was first made and denied when the Republicans controlled
the Congress and I was the chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee.
Now Congress has a Democrat majority. In my position as ranking member
of the International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight
Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have seen it
time and time again.
Our subcommittee chairman, BILL DELAHUNT from Massachusetts, read in
the newspaper that our President is negotiating a security agreement
with the Iraqi Prime Minister that will govern the future relationship
of our countries.
Now let me say that again. The Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee
on Foreign Affairs Committee is getting the information about a hugely
important foreign bilateral security agreement by reading the
newspaper. So, Chairman Delahunt conducted a hearing about the status
of such an agreement and invited the administration to send a witness
to testify before Congress.
How did the administration respond? They ignored the request. So the
hearing was held with a private panel of witnesses, and, yes, the
public has a right and an obligation to fully understand such
commitments that are being made by the President in our name.
In a democratic society, policy is made after having an open dialogue.
George Bush was elected President, not king.
In another attempt last month, our subcommittee held another hearing
on the Iraqi security agreement and, again, our panel invited and
pleaded with the administration to provide a witness. Their response?
Our subcommittee held another, a third hearing on this topic. Again,
our subcommittee invited the administration to attend and explain to
Congress what kind of commitment our government has agreed to with the
government of Iraq. Even our full committee chairman wrote letter s
asking for the administration to participate in the subcommittee
hearing. All the requests to the administration by our committee and
by the superiors in the full committee were ignored, except for one,
and, in one instance, where the contact was made, and I am sad to say
that once again this administration was less than honest on a matter
of national importance, Chairman Delahunt's subcommittee was told by a
White House staffer that the administration's unwillingness to
participate in hearings was because ``There is nothing to talk about
because we haven't put pen to paper'' on security, because they
haven't put the pen to paper on the security agreement, supposedly.
Well, when confronted with the fact that the New York Times had
written a story saying that a 17-page agreement was being passed
around, this White House staffer backtracked and quibbled.
This is unacceptable, it's dishonest, and it's typical. It's like
saying there is an ongoing investigation; don't discuss anything
anymore wit h me. There is nothing going on here.
Now, there is something going on, just as, instead of talking and
trying to negotiate about what type of spokesman we could have at a
hearing, instead, what we get is an undermining of the congressional
right to oversee for the foreign policy decisions of this
This stonewalling prevailed until a few weeks ago, when Condoleezza
Rice, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a person and a leader who I
deeply admire, testified at a hearing of the full International
Relations Committee.
When asked about this issue, about witnesses not showing up from the
State Department and this administration to explain to us in public
and to discuss in public these very important agreements that are
being negotiated with Iraq, she pledged at that time that there would
be future witnesses dealing with this Iraqi agreement.
At least Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, feels secure enough
in this administration to do what's right and to talk directly to Cong
ress and to send her people over to talk to us.
Unfortunately, we had to go all the way to the Secretary of State
before we could get anybody in this administration to participate. Let
me note, I am a supporter of the President's Iraqi policies. I have
been a supporter since day one. I supported the surge, and I am not in
favor of some of the propositions made by my friends on the other side
of the aisle, which I consider would be a precipitous leaving of Iraq
and would cause damage, I believe.
But that's not the point. The point is, Congress has a legitimate
oversight responsibility and that the President of the United States
should be discussing in public so that the public could understand why
policy is being made rather than trying to secretly arrange a policy
agreement and then surprise everybody, you know, as a done deal.
Sadly, this administration's antipathy to the constitutional
responsibilities of the legislative branch of government does not stop
and end with my efforts and those of my subc ommittee on
In October of last year, 22 of my colleagues and I wrote to the Acting
Attorney General, Peter Keisler, regarding the pending lie detector
test for former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.
Madam Speaker, I submit for the Record, a copy of a letter concerning
making that request of Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler.
October 10, 2007.
Mr. PETER D. KEISLER, Acting Attorney General,
Department of Justice,
Washington, DC.
In 2005, former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger pled
guilty to the mishandling and destruction of classified documents.
He admitted to entering the National Archives and unlawfully removing,
then subsequently destroying, classified documents dealing with
terroris t related issues. He removed the documents by stuffing them
down his pants and in his suit jacket, presumably with the intention
of getting rid of any damning evidence showing his involvement in the
failure of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to prevent
the Sept. 11th attacks prior to his testimony before the 911
Commission. These documents have never been recovered.
As part of a plea deal, Mr. Berger agreed to take a polygraph test to
be administered by the Department of Justice. It has been two years
since that agreement and Mr. Berger has yet to fulfill his obligation.
We are writing to officially request that as Attorney General you
direct the Department of Justice without any further delay to
administer a lie detector test to Mr. Berger and determine what
documents were stolen and how our National Security was compromised.
The Congress, and the American people, deserve to know the facts of
this crime and what Mr. Berger was covering up. Therefore we
respectfully request a dire ctive be issued by your office ordering
Mr. Berger to surrender to the Justice Department immediately and that
a polygraph test be administered forthwith.
Dana Rohrabacher,
Member of Congress.
In 2005, Sandy Berger pled guilty to the mishandling and destruction
of classified documents. He admitted that he unlawfully removed and
subsequently destroyed classified documents from the National
Archives. These documents dealt with the failure of our intelligence
agencies during the Clinton administration to prevent the horrendous
attacks on 9/11.
As part of his plea, Mr. Berger agreed to a lie detector test which
was given by the Department of Justice. This would determine what
documents had been stolen by Mr. Berger. We are still waiting for that
test to be administered.
As a member, as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, I was and still am rightfully concerned about the length of
time between his crime and the administration of his lie detector
So on October 10, 2007, I sent a letter, that letter signed by 22 of
my colleagues, asking the Department of Justice why the test had not
been administered.
On October 22, 2007, my office received a form letter acknowledging
the DOJ's receipt of our inquiry. It was signed with an illegible
signature. We have no idea who signed it. All we know is that he or
she penned it ``for'' next to a printed name Brian Benczkowski.
Principally, he is the principal Deputy Assistant Secretary General.
We were also given a tracking number so we could track any future
correspondence. In spite of that fact, we received a
computer-generated response and a tracking number to an official
congressional inquiry, okay, signed by 23 Members of Congress. We had
hoped that we would actually have an answer to our request and that
there would actually be a human being rather than a tracking number
that we could look to.
Well, we got our wish and we got a letter back. On January 24, 2008,
94 days after the letter, we received a response, and I submit the
response for the Record.
Washington, DC,
January 24, 2008.
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN ROHRBACHER: This is in response to your letter, dated
October 10, 2007, in which you requested that the Department of
Justice administer a polygraph examination to Mr. Samuel Berger, who
pleaded guilty in April 2005, to v iolations of federal law relating
to the removal of copies of classified documents from the National
We appreciate your interest and have enclosed a copy of our letter,
dated February 16, 2007, to the Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of
the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, advising him of our
views regarding the Minority Staff Report that was issued regarding
this matter. As stated in our response to Chairman Waxman, we believe
that there are no facts that would justify a polyg raph of Mr. Berger
at this time.
We are sending an identical response to the other Members who joined
in your letter to us. Please do not hesitate to contact this office if
you would like additional assistance regarding this or any other
Brian A. Benczkowski,
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
The letter was dismissive and said that the DOJ found no reason to
issue a polygraph test to Sandy Berger, and attached was an old letter
the DOJ had sent to Chairman Waxman of the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee almost a year before our correspondence.
The letter this time was signed by Brian Benczkowski.
Madam Speaker, I have been a Member of Congress for 19 years. I have
never seen such a pattern of blatant disregard and outright disdain
for Members of Congress. If Sandy Berger is not to be polygraphed to
verify the documents that were stolen from the Archives, we need to
know why such verification is not being done. This administration
wouldn't even give a respectable answer to the rightful inquiry of
Members of Congress of why we are not verifying through a polygraph
test what documents were stolen from the National Archives by the
former National Security Adviser.
On the one hand, this President believes he has a right to make
demands on us. The President said in his State of the Union ad dress
that Congress must act on certain issues. We must do as he wishes. We
must pass legislation he deems necessary. Yet while 23 Members of
Congress write his Justice Department a serious letter of inquiry
about a national security issue, we get a computer-generated form
letter and a copy of an old response to a different inquiry. The bad
attitude I am detailing is pervasive.
The handling of a proposed totalization agreement with Mexico is again
yet another example. The totalization agreements, and totalization
agreements are not necessarily a bad thing, they can serve a useful
function. Large corporations both in the United States and abroad
often assign people to work in an overseas office for several years.
During these years, employers are double taxed. They pay both Social
Security and the equivalent tax in their native countries. Allowing
the Social Security Administration and foreign agencies to give credit
under one system towards retirement makes sense if there are a limited
number of people involved and the people who are involved in this are
working here legally and temporarily. The concept itself is not
However, this is emphatically not the case with Mexico. We have
millions of Mexican citizens living illegally in the United States.
This is not a limited number of Swedish or Japanese executives who
will only work here for a number of years and then go home. Not only
are Mexicans not going to return to Mexico; the Mexican Government
encourages them to stay in the United States. Af ter all, if the U.S.
is going to pay for their health care, their education and now their
retirement, why should Mexico be bothered.
Knowing the volatility of the American people on both the Social
Security and illegal immigration issues, the totalization negotiations
with Mexico were kept totally under wraps. Now remember, these
negotiations with Mexico started in 2002 with a Republican-controlled
Congress. One would think that a Republican administration would at
the very least advise Congress, perhaps giving a status report,
concerning such diplomatic efforts as the totalization negotiations
with Mexico.
Well, Congress did not know the details until it hit the press. Worse,
these press releases on the agreement, put out by the administration,
were misleading and it appears that Congress was being misled as to
just what the administration had agreed to concerning Social Security
benefits for Mexican nationals illegally working in the United States.
Now, I have proposed legislation to ensure that no work done while
someone is in this country illegally should be counted towards a
Social Security benefit. The administration apparently agreed in the
totalization agreement negotiations that illegal aliens from Mexico
will be eligible for the same treatment under Social Security as U.S.
citizens without ever becoming a legal resident or citizen. It took a
long, drawn-out legal battle in the form of a Freedom of Information
lawsuit to get the details of this agreement from the administration.
Again, stonewalling and concealment, whether it deals with Iraq or
whether it deals with a totalization agreement dealing with Social
Security rights for the people from Mexico who come to our country
In both cases, regardless of how you feel about the Iraq policies or
Social Security for illegal immigrants into our country, the point is
we should not be keeping this debate secret. Congress has a right to
oversee such agreements, and we should have a public dialogue about
these types of decisions.
T his administration has, as I am pointing out, a history of
concealment and in some cases of distorting and actually not telling
us the truth about what is going on with these negotiations and
agreements that are happening behind closed doors.
Once Congress and the public found out about the agreement in the
totalization agreement, a fire storm broke out not just about giving
illegals Social Security but about keeping it secret from Congress.
Yes, as I said, Congress, as well as America's seniors, have e very
right to know if the President of the United States is in the process
of signing an agreement to give Social Security benefits to illegal
immigrants. It is something we should discuss. It is not something
where the President should try to make an agreement behind closed
doors. In this case the administration is undermining the public's
right to know and the Congress is being left in the dark.
And please remember, the danger from this agreement is not past. Due
to the public outrage, it has b een put on the back burner, but the
President at any time can submit this agreement to Congress even if he
has not detailed it for us now so we can discuss it.
What I am describing is a pattern of arrogance and contempt, and that
is especially true not just with Social Security but with broader
issues relating to illegal immigration and on issues dealing with
The tragic case of wrongly imprisoned Border Patrol agents Ignacio
Ramos and Jose Compean exemplifies the worst aspects of this
administration's attitude problem, and will forever leave a black mark
on this administration.
President Bush has himself made decisions that directly led to the
ongoing tragedy which sees these two Border Patrol agents languishing
in solitary confinement; and that's where they are today, in solitary
confinement, being treated worse than we treat the terrorists in
Guantanamo. That is where we are now. That is what they have had to
endure in that solitary confinement for over a year.
Now, this is clearly a questionable case, but President Bush has
deliberately dug in his heels to protect his good friend and young
protege, the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. Rather than
entertain the probability that a terrible injustice was in progress
and instruct the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland
Security to cooperate so Congress could get to the bottom of this
nightmare, this President has thumbed his nose at the congressional
concerns and initiated a policy of obstruction and denial in terms of
Ramos and Compean.
Since the Ramos and Compean case was brought to my attention in
September 2006, I have written over a dozen letters to this
administration requesting various documents regarding the harsh
prosecution of Ramos and Compean. I have been joined by several other
Members of Congress in this effort, including Congressmen POE,
CULBERSON, and MCCAUL. These three Members of Congress, in fact,
attended a briefing on Ramos and Compean's prosecution by the
Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office on
September 26, 2006.
In that briefing, serious questions were raised by these three Members
about the fundamental justification for this prosecution to begin
with. The President and his lap-dog prosecutors would like us to
believe that they have no discretion, but these Members of Congress
who have long histories in the law and in prosecution, they know. They
could see there was something wrong because we know that the actual
charges being brought against Ramos and Compean, and they were fully
aware of this because these Members of Congress, as I said, have a big
background in law, they knew that what charges were being brought were
totally at the discretion of the prosecutors. The prosecution's hands
were not tied.
What were the grounds for charging these men with crimes like
attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, the unlawful discharge
of a firearm during a crime of violence, and a Federal civil rights
These charges that could have put Ramos and Compean in prison for
10-20 years were totally at the discretion of the prosecution. Did
this fit the crime? If there was any crime at all that was committed,
why would they be charged with this overwhelming attack by the
prosecution knowing that by making these charges these men are going
to end up being put away for one or two decades of their life.
These two Border Patrol agents had wounded a fleeing illegal alien
drug smuggler who was escaping after assaulting one of the officers
who had intercepted the drug dealer during an attempt to bring $1
million worth of drugs into this country. Although they were never
intended by Congress to be applied in this way, the gun laws which
were applied by the prosecution, the gun law of mandatory prison
sentence, was applied to the law enforcement officers in this case,
and these law enforcement officers had made a split-second decision to
discharge their weapons. Is that right? Isn't there some question
about that, considering they threw the book at these guys?
The prosecutors knew that it was not the intent of Congress that they
should be charging law enforcement officers with split-second
decisions in the discharge of a weapon; but they threw the book at the
agents, including the charges that required tens of years of mandatory
imprisonment. Again, it was at their discretion that they made these
When Congressmen POE, CULBERSON, and MCCAUL asked why the most serious
charges that could be leveled at the Border Patrol agents were
initiated by the prosecutors, and why the prosecutors took the word of
the drug dealer that he had no weapon rather than the word of the law
enforcement officers, the DHS officials, briefing these Congressmen,
assured them that this was a legitimate and righteous prosecution.
These were, according to the DHS briefing given to these Members of
Congress, these were rogue cops. Ramos and Compean were rogue cops,
and the Congressmen were told they actually confessed that they knew
that the drug smuggler was unarmed and that the agents didn't really
feel threatened.
And the biggest lie of all, the Department of Homeland Security
briefer insisted that Ramos and Compean had told fellow officers the
day of the incident that they ``wanted to shoot a Mexican'' that day.
That charge raised eyebrows considering that the accused, Ignacio
Ramos and Jose Compean, are themselves Mexican Americans married to
Mexican American wives with Mexican American children. Sure, they just
go out and intentionally shoot some Mexicans that day. Sure.
This is what Members of Congress were told in an official briefing.
Asking for proof, the three Congressmen who were being briefed were
told that the charges were documented in the reports of the
investigative officers. The Department of Homeland Security briefer
promised to provide this proof that Ramos and Compean had actually
intended that day to go out and ``kill a Mexican.'' Of course, the
proof never came.
The Congressmen kept asking. Calls weren't returned. The Department of
Homeland Security stalled for 5 months. Members asked for copies of
the completed report of investigation which should have backed up the
alleged facts that were told to Members during the September 26
briefing to the Members of Congress.
Months passed, and nothing more. Just months passed. Nothing from the
Department of Homeland Security. Several letter s and public pressure
arose, and the Department of Homeland Security finally released a
redacted version of the official report of investigation in February
2007. And surprise, surprise, the alleged confession of Ramos and
Compean was nowhere to be found in that document. The documentation of
the charge that they had brazenly proclaimed their intent to kill a
Mexican was not there. But that charge was repeated over and over
How could this be? How could the Department of Homeland Security
official s, how could they assure Members this was a solid prosecution
and that evidence existed that Ramos and Compean were guilty and they
wanted to shoot a Mexican? These were flat out lies told to Members of
Congress who were being officially briefed by this administration.
During a Department of Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on
February 6, 2007, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner was questioned
by Congressman Culberson about this issue. Under oath Skinner
acknowledged the information given to the Texas Congressman was in
fact false, but he smugly justified his blatant and willful lying by
calling it ``mischaracterization unfortunately repeated at the
briefing.'' No, Mr. Skinner, it was a lie, no matter how colorful the
Ollie North was prosecuted on a charge far less egregious than what
we're talking about now. Ollie North gave, or so it was alleged,
misinformation to congressional staffers who were not part of an
official briefing of Members of Congress; yet, he was prosecuted.
This administration ends up lying in a briefing to Congress and shrugs
it off. To this day, absolutely nothing has been done about this
crime. And yes, lying to Congress, especially about an issue of this
magnitude, is a crime.
Administration officials deliberately misled Members of Congress in
order to discourage them from pursuing the Ramos and Compean case, and
no one has been held accountable for this crime. The Ramos and Compean
case has stunk since day one. The President, instead of looking into
the matter, which he should have done, has dug in his heels,
permitting his appointees to slander these two agents.
Even worse, the President has personally made decisions that have
resulted in these two agents languishing in solitary confinement. They
are in solitary confinement because of decisions made directly by the
President of the United States. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton publicly
labeled Ramos and Compean as corrupt; yet, again, when asked for some
sort of justification on this, what corruption charges were brought
against these people, there were no charges of corruption.
To say that this is a mean-spirited and vindictive prosecution is to
put it mildly. This case demonstrates why hearings are an integral
part of the check-and-balance system created by our Founding Fathers.
It is in this venue that the executive branch is held accountable for
their actions. Under oath, it was only when an administration official
was under oath that the lies about Ramos and Compean were admitted.
But this administration has decided to thumb its nose at that
obligation and has decided not to make its case under oath at a public
hearing and, instead, has actually said things, as I say, calling
Ramos and Compean corrupt in radio interviews and such.
Chairman WILLIAM DELAHUNT graciously approved my request to hold
hearings on the Ramos and Compean case. In doing so, an official
subcommittee investigation into the case in preparation for the
hearing was authorized. During the course of this investigation, the
resistance from the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and
State was consistent with the arrogance and obfuscation that flows
through this administration from the top down. Our hearing had to be
postponed for months because of the administration's refusal to
provide documents or to send the necessa ry witnesses to testify
before the subcommittee, citing that the committee did not have proper
jurisdiction; therefore, the U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the
Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Skinner, or any of
his other investigators need not appear. That decision was clearly
made by the White House.
Our Government provided a flawed immunity agreement, free health care,
unconditional border crossing cards to an illegal alien criminal drug
smuggler in exchange for his testimony that sent Border Patrol Agents
Ramos and Compean to prison.
Our Government kept secrets from the jury that the drug dealer
intercepted by Ramos and Compean had hauled another shipment of drugs
across the border, this, while on a Government-issued border crossing
Clearly, this is well within the jurisdiction of an oversight
investigative committee responsible for overseeing relations with
other countries, including Mexico, and including international drug
smuggling. Clearly, the public has a right to kno w about these
This administration apparently believes there is no obligation to
answer questions in public and under oath about the actions or
policies of the administration. And in preparation for that hearing,
we made a request, and request after request, countless phone calls,
and even a freedom of information lawsuit by a watchdog group,
Judicial Watch, and the administration still refuses to release copies
of the border crossing cards that were issued to the drug smuggler in
this case. Of c ourse, they are claiming, when we make this request
about these cards issued to the drug smuggler that permitted him to
freely go across the border, they say that the drug smuggler is
protected under, get this, ``the privacy act.'' This is what the
Justice Department tells us.
I was instructed by the Justice Department to obtain a privacy waiver
in order that that information be released, a privacy waiver for an
illegal alien criminal. This is absurd and just another example of the
condescending and dis missive attitude. This type of obstructionism,
however, is the rule, not the exception, of this administration.
By the way, due to a bureaucratic fluke, the border crossing cards, we
actually got a hold of them, and this is how we have learned that this
person that was involved with the Ramos and Compean event actually
took a second shipment of drugs.
I submit for the Record the letters and copies of these exchanges with
the administration.
Washington, DC,
September 12, 2006.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,
Department of Justice,
Washington, DC.
DEAR ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: We are writing to you as members of
Congress with deep concern over the Justice Department's wrongheaded
prosecution of two U.S. Bord er Patrol agents who were simply doing
their jobs to protect our homeland.
Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean should have been
commended by our government for their actions last year in attempting
to apprehend a Mexican drug smuggler who brought 743 pounds of
marijuana across our border. But because of an incomprehensible
prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office--including granting full
immunity to the smuggler so he could testify against our agents--these
men may soon receive 20-year prison sentences for firing shots at the
fleeing smuggler, who they believed carried a gun. The smuggler--who
received complete medical care at William Beaumont Army Medical Center
in El Paso, Texas--is now suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for
violating his civil rights!
The Justice Department's unjust prosecution does nothing but tie the
hands of our Border Patrol and prevent them from securing America
against a flood of illegal immigrants, drugs, counterfeit goods and
quite possibly, terrorists. This dem oralizing prosecution puts the
rights of illegal alien drug smugglers ahead of our homeland security
and undermines the critical mission of better enforcing our
immigration laws. The convictions against these agents demand
Due to significant concerns over the circumstances surrounding the
prosecution of Agents Ramos and Compean, the House Judiciary Committee
has already recognized the need for a thorough review of this case by
calling for Congressional hearings and an investigation of the Dep
artment of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, U.S.
Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Mr. Gonzales, we strongly urge the Department of Justice to postpone
the sentencing of Agents Ramos and Compean, and to reopen their case
for a fuller investigation of the facts.
Walter B. Jones, Tom Tancredo, Ted Poe, Charlie Norwood, Ernest
Istook, Dana Rohrabacher, Sue Myrick, Virginia Foxx, John Duncan,
Barbara Cubin, Jim Ryun, Virgil Goode, Ginny Brown-Wait e, Gary G.
Miller, Kenny Marchant, Ed Whitfield, Ed Rover, Dan Burton, Robin
Hayes, Henry Brown, John Campbell, Michael Bilirakis, Members of
Washington, DC, February 16, 2007.
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN WAXMAN: This letter responds to concerns expressed in
the January 9, 2006, Minority Staff Report, ``Sandy Berger's Theft of
Classified Documents: Unanswered Questions'' (``the Report''). The
Report alleges failures in the Department's handling of the Berger
investigation. We have reviewed the Report and respectfully disagree
with its characterization of the Department's investigation.
The Department's investigation began when we were first advised of
Berger's actions by the National Archives and Records Administration
Inspector General (IG) on October 15, 2003, almost two weeks after
Archives staff and agents of the IG had begun their own investigation
of the incident. The Department and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) devoted significant resources to the task,
including prosecutors and FBI Special Agents trained in the
investigation of national security cases. The FBI conducted over 50
interviews, made inspection s of the Archives facilities, and reviewed
thousands of pages of documents, in addition to other law enforcement
efforts. We examined Mr. Berger's conduct during all four of his
visits to the Archives.
The Report suggests that the Department did not inquire about Mr.
Berger's first two visits to the Archives, citing the IG's
recollection that the Department had informed the IG in April 2004
that the Department had not questioned Mr. Berger about his May 2002
and July 2003 visits. This suggestion appears to be based on a
misunderstanding of the sequence of the Department's investigation. As
of April 2004, the Department had not yet asked Mr. Berger any
questions, as he had not yet agreed to an interview. When the
Department did subsequently interview Mr. Berger, the Department
questioned him regarding all of his visits. Furthermore, the
Department questioned every witness with knowledge of Mr. Berger's
visits about all of his visits. Neither Mr. Berger nor any other
witness provided the Department with evidence that Mr. Berger had
taken any documents beyond the five referenced in the plea agreement.
In this, as in all criminal investigations, the Department's
obligation was to gather the available testimonial and documentary
evidence and then rigorously put that evidence to the test--often
pitting the memory of witnesses against the written record supplied by
the documents--in order to determine as accurate a picture as possible
of what transpired. In this case, as in others, some of the initial
allegations did not withstand further analysis.
For example, the Report suggests that the Department did not give
sufficient weight to the accounts of Mr. Berger's activities provided
by Archives staff, most notably the e-mail sent on September 2, 2003,
from Official A to Senior Official 1. In this e-mail, Official A
described an encounter with Mr. Berger that day in which he saw Mr.
Berger ``fiddling with something white which looked to be a piece of
paper or multiple pieces of paper'' down by his ankle. The Department
was fully aware of this e-mail, and knew that Berger had in fact
removed his notes and a document on the visit of September 2, 2003.
The e-mail was a significant piece of information that the Department
appropriately investigated.
The account described in the e-mail was evaluated in conjunction with
Official A's interview with the IG's agents on October 15, 2003,
conducted before the Department was involved in the case. The
recording and transcript of the interview with the IG's Agents were
reviewed in full in the course of our investigation. According to the
IG's recorded interview, Official A repeatedly stated that the
interaction was ``very quick'' and he could not be certain what he
saw. Further, Official A told the IG's Agents, ``I could not, um, you
know, swear that what I saw was documents, but it certainly unnerved
me enough.'' Later, Official A was asked by the IG's agents how he was
feeling and he responded, ``very unsettled. I mean, it's, it's
unsettled but at the same time I mean, n ot, not unsettled in the way
that I'm a hundred percent sure of what I've seen and, and I'm sick,
just like, did I see what, what I, you know possibly could ..... There
was a certain grey area in my mind and whether this was actually a
document, a piece of paper.''
When Official A was interviewed later by the FBI on October 17, 2003,
he once again expressed uncertainty about what he saw, diminishing
further the probative value of his e-mail. The e-mail, and Official
A's interviews with the IG's agents an d the FBI, had to be further
weighed against the evidence that after the e-mail was sent and after
Official A discussed with Senior Official 1 what he saw, Senior
Official 1 contacted a supervisor, but the Archives staff did not
confront Mr. Berger, did not search him, and did not contact any
security or law enforcement officials. In light of these additional
facts, the Report's suggestion that the Department somehow failed to
consider the full import of the e-mail and related information is
The Department's analysis of the other documentary and testimonial
evidence in this case was similarly thorough. And at the conclusion of
its extensive investigation, the Department secured a guilty plea from
Mr. Berger, pursuant to which he admitted to ``conceal[ing] and
remov[ing]'' five copies of classified documents from the Archives,
concealing them at his office, and ``cut[ting] three of the documents
into small pieces and discard[ing] them''--all in violation of 18
U.S.C. §1924. April 1, 2005 Factua l Basis for Plea at 2. The
Department stands by its investigation and believes that this
resolution was the best one possible in light of the available
The Report also suggests that, as a result of Mr. Berger's conduct,
the 9-11 Commission may have been deprived of the information
necessary to render its final report. The Departmen t, however, has no
evidence indicating that this suggestion is accurate. In the course of
its investigation, the Department interviewed numerous witnesses who
might have had knowledge of any missing items. None of these
witnesses, however, provided the Department with evidence that Mr.
Berger's conduct deprived the 9-11 Commission of information or
documents. Nor has the IG ever advised us--either at the time of our
investigation or at any time since--of any evidence that Mr. Berger
had taken any documents other than the five referenced in the plea
Thus, not the Department, the FBI, or the Archives IG has found any
evidence that Mr. Berger took any documents other than the five
referenced in the plea agreement. The Department's public statements
made after Mr. Berger's April 1, 2005, guilty plea reflected the
results of its extensive investigation into this matter, and were
based solely on the evidence gathered in that investigation and
contained in the detailed factual statement--the contents of which Mr.
Berger admitted as a condition of his plea agreement.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Mr. Berger must cooperate with
the Archives IG and make himself available for any cooperation with
the government. Indeed, on July 8, 2005, after the plea and prior to
sentencing, the IG, along with Department attorneys and FBI agents,
also questioned Mr. Berger. At this meeting, Mr. Berger was again
questioned about all of his visits to the Archives, including those
that occurred in May 2002 and July 2003. Again, Mr. Berger's answers
in this session were evaluated and compared to his previous answers
and the vast amount of evidence collected in the investigation.
In light of Mr. Berger's disclosures during an extensive interview in
March 2005 and his acceptance, as part of his guilty plea, of a
detailed factual basis for the charges against him, the judgment of
the Department and the FBI was not to administer a polygraph
examination to Mr. Berger. The Department is aware of no new facts
regarding th e law enforcement aspects of this investigation to
suggest that it should revisit that judgment.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that the Department's silence
with respect to certain other factual assertions and conclusions in
the Report should not be mistaken for agreement. Indeed, to cite but
one additional example, the Department disagrees with both the manner
in which certain of its employees were interviewed and the manner in
which their statements to Committee staff were presented in the Repo
rt. We nevertheless hope that this letter provides you assurance that
the Department takes investigations regarding the mishandling of
classified information and documents very seriously, and vigorously
investigates and prosecutes those who endanger our national security.
We appreciate your attention to this matter.
Richard A. Heating,
Acting Assistant Attorney General.
This is plea after plea from Members of Congress, I might add that
even a majority of Members of Congress have voted for and supported on
both sides of the aisle. Chairman Delahunt of our Investigative
Subcommittee knows that there's something wrong with this case. As I
say, it stinks and has stunk from the beginning.
We have asked for the President to intervene on behalf of Ramos and
Compean personally, either by pardoning or commuting their sentences.
These requ ests have been ignored over and over again. And last year,
I personally reached out to the President to take the pressure and
confrontation out of this issue. I suggested that the President direct
the Department of Justice to request that Ramos and Compean be
permitted to remain free on bond pending their appeal. Even common
criminals in our society are able to stay out pending appeal of a
And what was the response? The White House released a press release
the next day, it was issued the very n ext day, proclaiming that the
administration opposes letting Ramos and Compean out pending appeal
and that no special consideration would be granted to anyone.
Now, that's a lot of holier than thou rhetoric, okay? So no special
consideration was going to be given to anyone, much less these two
Border Patrol agents. Now, that sounds righteous, a position of not
making any exceptions, except, of course, for the fact that a short
time later, White House Aide Scooter Libby had his sentence commuted
by the Pr esident in a heartbeat.
For the record, I found out, and let me just note, I believe that
commuting Scooter Libby's sentence was justified. But it's totally
inconsistent with what we had been told of why Ramos and Compean
couldn't even be considered to let them out, even waiting, pending
Yeah, Scooter Libby got a raw deal. But the fact is that what's
happening, what we see is only members of the President's personal
clique get such consideration. It's clear, that's evident, and it's
It is truly with a heavy heart, Madam Speaker, that I stand here
reciting example after example of the maliciousness and condescending
attitude exhibited by this administration. It is a problem that's
flowing from the top.
When I hear my friends on the other side of the aisle accusing this
administration of stonewalling, of coverups, or thwarting
investigations, I sadly must concur with them. Even though I may
disagree with what the policy issue of the day is, I have to agree
that Congress is not being treated with respect and that the President
is engaged in obfuscating and in stonewalling of rightful requests by
this body.
This White House exemplifies needless hostility, turf jealousy, and
obstructionism. The American people should know it and should know
that these charges come not from a partisan Democrat, but from a
lifelong conservative Republican. I have worked in the White House. I
worked for 7 years as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan, as much as people can disagree or agree with the
policies that he espoused, was a person who never acted arrogantly
towards others. He never, when he was giving State of the Union
messages, never used the word ``must,'' never made demands. And I
think that President Reagan would not feel comfortable with the type
of attitude that is exemplified in this administration. He, instead,
wanted to reach out to people and cooperate.
This administration seems to want to just bulldoze whoever gets in
their way and does not have the human concern for other people,
especially for people like Ramos and Compean, the little guys, that we
saw in Ronald Reagan, which made him so popular and successful.
I would ask that the rest of my remarks be put into the Record. Thank
you very much for permitting me this hour.
And to the American people, I say, carefully consider who our leaders
are going to be and carefully consider the issue of the day. We have a
wonderful democratic society. There's a balance of power here set up
by our Founding Fathers. And it's important, whether you're Republican
or Democrat, that we maintain this balance of an authority, the
legislative, executive, and judicial in this country, and we should
not be setting precedents that the President of the United States has
the lion's share of the power in this great democracy of ours. The
power is rested in these three branches and in the people themselves.

Susan C. Serpa