The chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), announced Monday that his staff will probe into allegations in Ron Suskind’s new book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” that the Bush administration forged intelligence documents to justify the war in Iraq.
“Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq,” said Conyers in a statement released Monday afternoon. “I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration’s attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind’s reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author’s interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind’s allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter.”
In a release, Conyers identified specific areas where he is directing his staff to investigate:
* The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush’s 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;
· The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;
· The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;
· Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq’s chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;
· The payment of $5 million to Iraq’s chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;
· The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind’s research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson’s notes were also confiscated.
Conyers, of course, has been trying to get to the bottom of the administration’s role in the U.S. attorney scandal and fashioning interrogation policy, but has been consistently stymied by the White House’s refusal to provide key aides such as Karl Rove to testify. That matter remains in litigation in federal court.