Yesterday Chairman Waxman of the Oversight Committee sent a letter to Secretary Rice reiterating his request that the State Department make available information pertaining to the Committee's investigation in Iraq by noon, September 20. A hearing scheduled for today on corruption in Iraq has been rescheduled for September 27, 2007.
Full text of the letter:
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Madam Secretary:
On September 10, 2007, I sent you a letter announcing that the Committee would be holding a hearing on corruption in Iraq on September 20, 2007. In that letter, I requested that the State Department provide “all reports prepared by the Office of Accountability and Transparency, whether classified or unclassified, relating to the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity.” I also requested that the State Department make available for interviews two officials from the Office of Accountability and Transparency: James Mattil and Vincent Foulk. Subsequently, my staff requested an interview with a third official in that office, Christopher Griffith.
With one exception, the State Department has not complied with the Committee's requests.
On September 14, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs informed Committee staff that the State Department would not produce the Office of Accountability and Transparency reports. Rather than providing the reports, the Deputy Assistant Secretary offered to allow Committee staff to come to the State Department and review the reports. On September 17, majority and minority Committee staff read the reports. Based on their review, it is clear that the reports are directly relevant to the Committee's review and should be turned over immediately.
With respect to interviews, James Mattil appeared for a transcribed interview with the Committee on September 12. On September 17, however, the Deputy Assistant Secretary informed Committee staff that the State Department would not make Mr. Foulk or another official in the office, Christopher Griffith, available to the Committee. Based on the interview with Mr. Mattil, it is apparent that both Mr. Foulk and Mr. Griffith have information relevant to the Committee's inquiry and also should be made available immediately.
The Committee has rescheduled the hearing to September 27, 2007. Because of the imminent hearing, I request that you provide copies of the reports reviewed by Committee staff to the Committee by noon tomorrow, Thursday, September 20, 2007. I also request that you make arrangements by the same deadline for transcribed interviews with Mr. Foulk, Mr. Griffith, and a third official, James Santelle, the Rule of Law Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. If the State Department persists in refusing to provide the documents and arranging the interviews, the Committee will issue subpoenas for the documents and the officials' appearance at a deposition. I would like to avoid the need for the use of this compulsory process.
I am also concerned about the possibility that the State Department may retroactively classify the two reports to protect the Department from the release of embarrassing information in the reports. I would like to work with the Department between now and the hearing to make sure that this does not occur.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal oversight committee in the House of Representatives and has broad oversight jurisdiction as set forth in House Rule X. If you have any questions about these requests, please contact me or ask your staff to contact David Rapallo or Steve Glickman of the Committee staff at (202) 225-5420.
Henry A. Waxman