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In a move that has not occurred in twenty-five years, the Democrats shut the American public out of the Senate chamber and forced a secret session of the upper chamber this afternoon. Without warning, Harry Reid invoked Rule 21 and after an immediate second, chased out the press and Senate staffers, locked the doors -- and threw a tanrum over Joe Wilson:
he US Senate held a rare secret session to discuss a scandal that led to the resignation of a top White House official last week and the intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Opposition Democrats requested the closed door session saying it was necessary to allow for a full, open debate on alleged manipulation of prewar intelligence.
This shows the emptiness of Democrats, both in head and heart. As Bill Frist said afterwards, the minority party proves it has nothing to contribute except cheap political stunts. They know that the Fitzgerald investigation came up with next to nothing on the Plame leak -- because it didn't constitute a crime under US statute. Despite having a prosecutor independent of the Bush administration run wild for almost two years and exceed the original boundaries of his mandate, the only indictment he could muster was one in which a very stupid and probably criminal act by a single person could be verified -- and that just had to do with the investigation and grand jury itself, not with the Plame leak.
Reid says that the Wilson/Plame brouhaha proves that the Bush administration lied about the war. This was practically the entire Democratic Party platform last year -- and it lost them the White House and four seats in the Senate. One would think that going back to the well a year later would be stupid beyond belief, but apparently Reid forgot about that big poll taken last November. He also forgot about this bipartisan report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which outlines exactly how Wilson's report in fact bolstered the case that Iraq still wanted to get material for nuclear weapons -- and that Wilson had lied about it in leaks to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and then in his own editorial and book. He also lied about how he got his mission to Niger, and has yet to explain how he managed to get that mission and not sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Further, if Reid wanted to really investigate all this, he should be throwing the doors to the Senate wide open, shining a light on the corruption he claims exists in this issue. What he's doing, however, is merely venting the same old bromides that the Democrats have screamed for the past two years at an electorate that has long since tired of their crybaby, whining tactics. He's locked the doors to give it an aura of authenticity. Instead, it looks like a big, heaping helping of pompous impotence.
The press should take careful note of this. In all of the debate over the intelligence and diplomacy leading up to the Iraq War, the Republicans never even entertained locking the doors on the Senate or Congress for the debate. Not once. They offered full public hearings on the issues, and only in committee -- and only when appropriate -- closed hearings on specifically classified issues. Rule 21 should have been reserved for only the most dire circumstances; instead, Reid has abused it for his petulant tantrums.
Will those in the Fourth Estate stand idly by while the Senate locks its doors in their faces?
UPDATE: Some of my liberal friends (I mean that honestly, not sarcastically) in the comments want to argue that it takes a secret session of the full Senate to discuss intelligence. If so, why is this the first time in 25 years it has been found necessary to do so? When the issue of Iraq came up in 1998 to debate the change of policy on Iraq to a commitment to regime change -- discussing the same intelligence on WMD that proved out-of-date five years later -- the GOP held that in open session, where the American electorate could keep an eye on the proceedings.
I guess when Harry Reid talks on intelligence, the Democrats want no one to listen to what he has to say. Maybe because he doesn't speak with intelligence on the subject.
This has nothing to do with debating intelligence, and everything to do with flexing what little muscle the Democrats can muster in the Senate. They want to show what will happen if the Byrd option gets invoked. Lindsay Graham and Mike DeWine has given the GOP enough votes to pass it with their comments yesterday and Sunday. It has nothing to do with anything other than that -- and if anyone thinks Reid has anything more altruistic in mind, they simply haven't paid attention.Sphere It View blog reactions
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