(From the diaries. The real meat on this one is in the comment thread -- kos
Harry Reid just called for and got a closed session to talk about a "Phase II" investigation of the CIA leak. Durbin is on C-SPAN now demanding an investigation in the use of pre-war intelligence. (rough transcript)
It's important because we live in a democracy. It is clear now that the American people were not properly informed before the invasion of Iraq. Intelligence information was distorted and misused, and we've seen as late as last week the lengths to which this administration has gone to to silence and discredit their critics of the misuse of this intelligence information. The Republican congress in general and the senate in particular and specifically the Senate Intelligence Committee has been derelict in its responsibility of oversite over this adminustration.
From Reid's office:
There is no more important decision a country can make than going to war. Last Friday, we clearly saw the efforts and lengths this administration would go to shape our entry into this War. The Senate Democrats went into closed session today to get answers. Some facts below (and key facts on secret session).
Closed Senate Session
· Most important decision a President makes is to put American lives at risk and go to war.
KEY FACTS ON SECRET SESSIONS OF THE SENATE
· Since 1929, the Senate has held 53 secret sessions, generally for reasons of national security. For example, in 1997 the Senate held a secret session to consider the Chemical Weapons Convention (treaty).
o In 1992, the Senate met in secret session to consider “most favored nation” trade status for China.
o In 1988, a session was held to consider the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and in 1983 a session was held on Nicaragua.
o In 1942, a secret session was held on navy plans to build battleships and aircraft carriers, and in 1943 a secret session was held on reports from the war fronts.
· Six of the most recent secret sessions, however, were held during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
SENATE RULES ON SECRET SESSIONS
· During a secret session, the doors of the chamber are closed, and the chamber and its galleries are cleared of all individuals except Members and those officers and employees specified in the rules or essential to the session.
· Standing Senate Rules 21, 29, and 31 cover secret sessions for legislative and executive business. Rule 21 calls for the Senate to close its doors once a motion is made and seconded. The motion is not debatable, and its disposition is made behind closed doors.
· Many of us supported the decision to invade Iraq based on the national intelligence presented at the time.
· Over the past few months, and vividly last Friday, we’ve learned that we were given bad information. Americans were intentionally deceived.
· White House indictments confirm Republicans tried to silence critics and cover up the real intelligence.
· America deserves answers. National security is at stake.
· If mistakes were made, we need to know. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat them.
· Republicans committed to investigate how national intelligence was used to set the stage for war.
· Now, they are refusing to keep that commitment. What are they afraid of America learning?
· Republicans must come clean. It is our shared responsibility to be straight with the American people.
· Stakes could not be higher. That is why we are demanding answers through an unprecedented closed Senate session.
· We will not let up until America gets answers.
· Together, America Can Do Better
We have gone to war, we have lost over 2000 of our best and bravest, over 15,000 have been seriously wounded and we are spending over 6 billion a month with no end in sight and this GOP Senate Intelligence Committee refuses to even ask the hard questions about the misfinformatino and disinformation given to the American peope and the efforts by this administratin to cover it up.The purpose of this closed session in the Senate chamber, a historic session I might add, is to finally give the truth to at tleast the members of the Senate to finally call to task the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committe, to hold him responsible for finally investigating as he's promised for over a year.