The Indictment: United States v. George W. Bush et al.Wed Nov 29, 2006 15:31
11/28/06 = "The Charles Goyette Show" 1100 AM Phx Az
INTERVIEW: Elizabeth de la Vega, Bringing Bush to Court
United States v. George W. Bush et al.
By Elizabeth de la Vega
Assistant United States Attorney: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're here today in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. In addition to President Bush, the defendants are Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who's now the Secretary of State, of course -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. I'll explain the law that applies to the case this afternoon, but I'm going to hand out the indictment now, so you'll have some context for that explanation. Take as long as you need to read it, and then feel free to take your lunch break, but please leave your copy of the indictment with the foreperson. We'll meet back at one o'clock.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CLICK FULL Indictment
The Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
16. Beginning on or about a date unknown, but no later than August of 2002, and continuing to the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants,
GEORGE W. BUSH,
RICHARD B. CHENEY,
DONALD M. RUMSFELD, and
COLIN M. POWELL,
and others known and unknown, did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting to state material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with regard to authorization of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress' lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations.
17. The Early Months of the Bush-Cheney Administration: Prior to January of 2001, BUSH, CHENEY, and RUMSFELD each demonstrated a predisposition to employ U.S. military force to invade the Middle East, including, specifically, to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein.
18. Since 1992, CHENEY has endorsed a "bold foreign policy" that includes using military force to "punish" or "threaten to punish" possible aggressors in order to protect the United States's access to Persian Gulf oil and to halt proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ("WMD"), a term that is customarily used to describe chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
19. On or about January 26, 1998, RUMSFELD and seven other future BUSH-CHENEY administration appointees signed a letter sent by a conservative policy institute named "Project for a New American Century" ("PNAC") to then President William Clinton, which called for U.S. military action to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein from power.
20. In January 1999, BUSH named RICE and her future Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley ("Hadley"), as his presidential-campaign foreign-policy advisers, along with future Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz ("Wolfowitz") and four others who had publicly advocated forcibly removing Saddam Hussein.
21. On or before September 2000, 12 future BUSH-CHENEY administration appointees, including Wolfowitz, former Assistant to Vice President CHENEY, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Rumsfeld's long-term aide Stephen Cambone, participated in drafting "Rebuilding America's Defenses," a PNAC policy statement which asserted that the "need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." PNAC acknowledged that its goals would take a long time to achieve "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event--like a new Pearl Harbor."
22. Once BUSH became the Republican candidate in the 2000 presidential election campaign, he and CHENEY informed the general public that they would be reluctant to use military force and did not believe that the United States should engage in "nation-building."
23. On and after January 20, 2001, BUSH and CHENEY caused to be appointed as senior foreign policy advisors and consultants, at least thirty-four persons who had publicly endorsed the PNAC principles of United States global preeminence and use of force to "punish" or "threaten to punish" emerging threats from weapons of mass destruction ("WMD") or impediments to United States access to oil in the Middle East. Of those appointees, eighteen had also publicly advocated forcibly removing Saddam Hussein.
24. In late December 2000, BUSH and CHENEY advised outgoing President William J. Clinton and others that, among potential foreign policy issues, BUSH's primary concern was Iraq.
25. On February 11, 2001, BUSH ordered the first airstrikes since 1998 to be conducted outside of the United Nations ("UN") agreed-upon No-Fly zones, to get Saddam Hussein's "attention."
26. The Attacks of September 11, 2001. On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four commercial airplanes. They crashed two planes into the World Trade Towers in New York City and another into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. In total, nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the September 11, 2001, attacks ("9/11").
27. Shortly afterward, United States intelligence agencies determined that 9/11 was the work of the terrorist organization al Qaeda, spearheaded by Osama Bin Laden. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from Yemen, and two from Lebanon. This information, along with the conclusion that no evidence linked the attacks to Saddam Hussein or al Qaeda, was immediately communicated to BUSH, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD, POWELL, and others.
28. BUSH-CHENEY administration members began discussing an invasion of Iraq immediately after 9/11. BUSH, RUMSFELD and others also assigned various subordinates, including former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, CIA Director George Tenet, and General Richard Meyers to look for intelligence that could justify attacking Saddam Hussein's regime.
29. On September 17, 2001, BUSH secretly ordered the formulation of preliminary plans for an invasion of Iraq, while admitting to his aides that no evidence existed to justify an attack.
30. On or about September 18, 2001, in response to BUSH's request, Clarke sent RICE a memo that stated: (a) the case for linking Hussein to 9/11 was weak; (b) only anecdotal evidence linked Hussein to al Qaeda; (c) Osama Bin Laden resented the secularism of Saddam Hussein; and (d) there was no confirmed reporting of Saddam cooperating with Bin Laden on unconventional weapons.
31. On September 20, 2001, BUSH informed British Prime Minister Tony Blair that after Afghanistan, the United States and Britain should return to the issue of invading Iraq.
32. U.S. Intelligence Community Assessments of Risk from Iraq in Effect on November 2001. On occasion, Executive Branch officials request assessments of current intelligence on risks posed by WMD in a given country. Although such assessments are coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA"), the final product incorporates the analyses, including dissenting opinions, of the intelligence branches of the Departments of State, Energy, Defense, the National Security Agency, and others, which are collectively called the Intelligence Community ("IC").
33. As of November 2001, the most recent assessment on Iraq was a December 2000 classified Intelligence Community Assessment ("ICA") called "Iraq: Steadily Pursuing WMD Capabilities." This ICA was a comprehensive update on possible Iraqi efforts to rebuild WMD and weapons delivery systems after the 1998 departure of International Atomic Energy Agency ("IAEA") representatives and UN weapons inspectors, who are collectively referred to as the United Nations Special Commission ("UNSCOM").
34. Regarding Iraq's possible nuclear program, the December 2000 NIE unanimously concluded that:
(a) The IAEA and UNSCOM had destroyed or neutralized Iraq's nuclear infrastructure, but Iraq still had a foundation for future nuclear reconstitution;
(b) Iraq was continuing low-level theoretical research and training, and attempting to obtain dual-use items that cold be used to reconstitute its nuclear program;
(c) if Iraq acquired a significant quantity of fissile material through foreign assistance, it could have a crude nuclear weapon within a year; if Iraq received foreign assistance, it would take five to seven years to produce enough weapons-grade fissile material for a nuclear weapon; and
(d) Iraq did not appear to have reconstituted its nuclear weapons program.
35. Escalation of Military Activity and Planning for Invasion of Iraq. On November 21, 2001, BUSH secretly ordered preparation of a formal war plan for invading Iraq. Thereafter, for sixteen months, the BUSH-CHENEY administration expended substantial U.S. government funds in military activity and planning for invasion of Iraq, all without notice to, or approval by, the U.S. Congress.
36. BUSH did not receive an extensive briefing about possible WMD in Iraq before ordering a war plan, nor did he discuss the legitimacy of grounds for war with anyone. BUSH received no such briefing until December 21, 2002.
37. On or about November 27, 2001, RUMSFELD asked General "Tommy" Franks, head of Central Command, which supervises Middle East operations, to immediately prepare an Iraq war plan in response to BUSH's order.
38. Thereafter, Franks discussed numerous revised Iraq war plans with RUMSFELD. Between December 2001 and August 2002, BUSH, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD, POWELL, and others held at least five lengthy meetings about Franks' plans. In August, BUSH ordered Franks to prepare to invade Iraq using the "Hybrid Plan," a combination of the "Running Start" and "Generated Start" plans developed previously.
39. During 2002, the United States and Great Britain increased air strikes in order to degrade Iraqi air defenses and began deploying troops to areas around Iraq.
40. On or about July 30, 2002, without approval by, or notice to, Congress, BUSH caused the diversion of $700 million from Afghanistan war funds into Iraq invasion preparations.
41. On September 5, 2002, without approval by, or notice to, Congress, BUSH caused approximately 100 United States and British aircraft to launch ballistic missiles at Iraq's major western air-defense facility.
42. By September 12, 2002, without approval by, or notice to, Congress, BUSH had caused the movement of 40,000 military personnel and over 350,000 tons of equipment to areas around Iraq. Franks also ordered Central Command to be moved to Al Udeid Air Base near Doha, Qatar.
43. Behind-the-Scenes Strategizing with British Officials: On or before March 2002, BUSH, RICE, Wolfowitz, and others secretly began discussing ways to persuade the public and foreign allies to accept Bush's goal of invading Iraq, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair ("Blair") and his advisers.
44. On March 12, 2002, in Washington, DC, RICE met with Blair's Foreign Policy Adviser Sir David Manning and informed him of BUSH's problems with persuading "international opinion that military action against Iraq was necessary and justified."
45. On March 17, 2002, in Washington, DC, British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer advised Wolfowitz that the two countries should "wrongfoot" Saddam Hussein by seeking a UN resolution that would require the readmission of weapons inspectors with the expectation that Saddam would create a justification for war by obstructing the inspections.
46. On April 6, 2002, in Crawford, Texas, BUSH and Blair discussed strategies to sway public opinion regarding military action in Iraq. Blair agreed to support a United States invasion if the two countries obtained a UN resolution first.
47. In mid-July, 2002, in Washington, DC, White House officials discussed Iraq with visiting British officials. Upon their return to London, these officials reported the talks to Blair in a meeting at 10 Downing St. on July 23, 2002. Among other things, Blair's advisers suggested that he urge BUSH to devise a more realistic political strategy for attacking Iraq, because a desire for "regime change" would not justify military action under international law.
48. In mid-July, 2002, in Washington, DC, CIA Director Tenet and others talked about the Bush administration's intentions regarding Iraq with Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of British Intelligence.
49. On July 23, 2002, during the Downing St. meeting described above, Dearlove informed Blair that in the United States "Military action was now seen as inevitable. BUSH wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
50. On July 23, 2002, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also noted that BUSH had "made up his mind to take military action." Straw said he would urge POWELL to persuade BUSH to seek a UN resolution requiring Saddam Hussein to readmit weapons inspectors, in effect, suggesting the "wrongfooting" strategy that Meyer had described to Wolfowitz.
51. Behind-the-Scenes Efforts to Fix Intelligence Around the Policy. Within weeks after learning from Clarke, Tenet, and others that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had no involvement with either 9/11 or al Qaeda, RUMSFELD caused Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Douglas Feith ("Feith") to secretly create the Counter Terrorism Group ("CTEG"), a small unit of political appointees whose mission was to find links between Iraq and al Qaeda by reviewing raw intelligence that previously had been discarded as unreliable. CTEG reported weekly to RUMSFELD's long-term associate Stephen Cambone, and occasionally presented information directly to Wolfowitz, thereby circumventing standard IC procedures.
52. At some time in 2002, Feith also designated political appointees to work under his supervision in the newly-created Office of Special Plans, whose purpose was to develop and package information for use in marketing the President's plan for an invasion of Iraq. In the fall of 2002, this group presented information directly to RUMSFELD, to RICE's office, and to CHENEY's office, thereby circumventing standard IC procedures.
53. In the spring of 2002, CHENEY and his former aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, began visiting CIA headquarters to question CIA agents' assessments about Iraq. RUMSFELD and Deputy National Security Adviser Hadley also repeatedly pressed CIA Director Tenet and his subordinates to present a stronger case against Iraq.
54. Bush's Creation of the White House Iraq Group. By the summer of 2002, domestic and international support for BUSH's plan to invade Iraq was lukewarm. At the same time, Bush's chief political strategist and Senior Adviser Karl Rove and Kenneth Mehlman, head of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, were beginning to coordinate the President's involvement in the November 7, 2002, congressional election. Their overall goal was to gain Republican majorities in both houses of Congress so that the President would have the greatest possible support for his policies. Rove had specifically recommended that Republicans "focus on war" as a way to win elections. Consequently, in the summer of 2002, BUSH's efforts to win support for an invasion of Iraq and his efforts to assist Republican congressional candidates became inextricably intertwined.
55. In the summer of 2002, BUSH caused the creation of the White House Iraq Group, which was cochaired by BUSH's long-term political operatives Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, who remained BUSH's close associate even though she had resigned her position as Cby Charles CoughlinCan Bush Be Impeached Now?Fri Dec 1, 2006 21:16220.127.116.11
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