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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Congress Needs Assistance With Oversight Strategy

The letter, inter alia :

A. Well illustrates the problem Putin discussed;

B. Is fair warning of emerging and continuing oversight problems in Congress;

C. Evidence there are major oversight, systems analysis problems within the Congressional leadership, and problems with the Congressional Staff Counsel; and

D. Shows the US Congress is not yet ready to engage in oversight, but needs assistance to focus on the core problems, and map an appropriate oversight strategy to oversee the Executive Branch.

* * *

The information discussed below relates to:

1. A public oversight plan of Congress;

2. Recurring problems with the Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports; and

C. Congressional failure to see the expanding, illegal US war of aggression resembles the Japanese during WWII.

Problems With Congressional Staff Counsel

The American Bar Association needs to be brought into the nexus to review the apparent problems with Congressional legal counsel, staffing, and problem assessments. There is a communication and problem analysis problem within the Congressional leadership touching the policy making and legal counsel areas. The Congressional Staff counsel has some legal issues which they need to better discuss with the Congressional leadership.

Until these oversight issues are solved and Members of Congress share a common Executive Oversight Plan, We the People can expect the President and others to exploit the unresolved problems and expand illegal warfare.

Member of Congress Legal Duty To Correct Oversight Processes

This state of affairs is an impermissible assent to continued war crimes. The problem is known. Members of Congress need to organize themselves to end what they have the power, duty, obligation, and requirement to end: Expanding illegal, aggressive war.

Members of Congress have an oath to exercise reasonable care and diligence on important legal matters, including the Geneva Conventions. They are well supported by marginally competent Congressional staff counsel. However, without Congressional action to the known problem and requirement as discussed below, Members of Congress associated with this letter may be viewed by war crimes tribunals as being reckless in not ending what they have the duty to investigate and end.

* * *

Details: Letter Analysis

Ref The DNC leadership is using a faulty premise when conducting oversight of the American intelligence community.

Their letter incorrectly assumes information was flowing up, from the bottom, to policy makers.

The actual, but incorrect approach, was for the policy assessments to flow down, driving what information was or was not presented; and incorrectly permitting conclusions to drive analysis.

* * *

The inherent flaw in the DNC leader's letter would logically affect the questions and appropriateness of the oversight. By focusing on the indefensible actions of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the DNC leadership is incorrectly shifting the focus from the Vice President's top-down approach to imposing policy objectives on data analysis.

It is not correct to define the problem in terms of what the Under Secret of Defense for Policy did or did not develop, produce, or dissemination. This office was one of many players who were involved with the illegal warfare.

DoD IG Not A Judicial Court

DoD IG is also in no position to assert that the activity, even if it were illegally authorized, is nor is not a violation of the law.

It is impermissible for the legislature to take misleading and irrelevant assessments by DoD IG as if they were definitive legal conclusions by the judiciary.

DoD IG's statement of events are convoluted, and fail to focus on the core problem: Data was twisted to meet an agenda and support war crimes.

No Member of Congress can credibly accept the DoD IG conclusions about the legality or illegality of the war crimes as definitive. It is incorrect to use the DoD IG report as the starting point for any assumption. These legal issues need to be explored in detail.

* * *

The DoD IG report, given its problems, raises fundamental credibility issues. Once these issues are addressed, we might have a discussion about the factual account DoD IG suggests may have happened.

To explain a problem, DoD IG has to correctly start from a neutral point: What did or didn’t happen. DoD IG has, in so many words, asserted that the actions were not illegal; but used this assertion as a premise to narrow the inquiry and form unreasonable explanations for the issues cursorily examined.

___ Why should believe the DoD IG reasoning as to why an incorrectly characterized state of events did or did not happen?

It is an error to define something as lawful -- which is not grounded in legal theory -- but then have us believe that this characterization of the legality of that mischaracterized situation was or was not linked with something that may or may not be relevant or a full explanation.

Here’s what's needed:

1. Where is the documentation, guidance, or other memorandum from the Vice President and Addington related to the planning cells which the Joint Staff and the OSP were a party.

2. What were the standing orders, policies, and guidelines related to who information from the Vice President would be crafted, disseminated, and provided to analysts within the CIA.

___ What really happened?

___ Which direction was the information flowing?

___ What are the explanations for this illegal activity?

___ Who refused to prevent the Vice President and OSP from doing things which were not appropriate, if not illegal?

___ Where was the DoD IG during these events?

___ Once the illegal activity surfaced and there was no imminent threat, where are the Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports; DoD IG review of these reports; and the Congressional memorandum related to the gaps in the required Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports?

Without answers, we need only look at the results: Illegal warfare. How we got to illegal warfare is less important than ending the illegal activity.

* * *

It may be true that the OSP and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy were making intelligence assessments. The question is whether Congress is appropriately looking at the real flow of information, where it was coming from, and why it appears as though these assessments were conveniently linked with a top-down policy supporting invasion, regardless the facts.

The error is to ignore the evidence from the UK, and the Downing Street Memo.

It may be true that the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy should or should not be doing something. The question is:

___ What else were they doing

___ Who was involved with providing the real information

___ To what extent the "assessments" were merely restatements of policy supporting invasion regardless the inconvenient facts which may or may not have been real 2000-2003.

* * *

The error is the letter is for the Congress to tell the DoD what the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy should be doing.

"The office should be focusing its attention on. . . " is something that the Congress needs to apply to itself. Congress is doing what it doesn't want the Executive Branch to do: Talking about policy processes instead of implementing credible policy.

* * *

It is incorrect for the Members of Congress in the letter to say that the "responsibility" for the assessments belongs to the intelligence community.

No, under our system of government, responsibility is shared.

Further, the President likes to tout the idea of a unitary executive. Putting aside the fact that this theory of power is invalid, the logical extension of that responsibility which this letter assigns to the intelligence community is with the leadership in the Executive and Legislative Branches.

* * *

This letter is a sign that Members of Congress are not looking at the Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports; nor looking at the responsibility Members of Congress and the President and Vice President jointly shared in mindlessly going to war.

We've seen what happens when there is convoluted thinking: Plans are botched. Iraq reconstruction doesn't work. Similarly, the problem with this letter isn't the letter, but it is a measure of the convoluted thinking inside the DNC leadership:

___ Focusing on the wrong problem

___ Avoiding discussion responsibility on the leadership

___ Making incorrect assumptions

___ Starting with faulty premises

___ Accepting without question the invalid legal conclusions of non-qualified personnel

___ Silently assenting to assertions by Executive Branch DoD IG personnel of judicial power in making legal conclusions, without credibly challenging the legal conclusion

* * *

The error is to conclude asking the DoD offices to respond, without looking at the procedures and policies of the Office of Vice President, EOP, and National Security Council who worked with the Joint Staff and planning cells.

Indeed, even if the DoD leadership were to respond to this letter and outline a plan, there is nothing that will prevent the same thing from happening.

The real solution is to look at what is going to lawfully prevent the Vice President, DoD leadership, and the Joint Staff from jointly agreeing to wage illegal warfare, regardless the facts, evidence, or lack of resources to implement that illegal war.

Until the DNC leadership challenges the President and Vice President for their illegal activity, this Congress should expect any and all reforms as they related to Iraq WMD issues to remain meaningless solutions to the larger reforms needed across the Congress and Executive Branch:

___ A clear enforcement mechanism against the President for illegal warfare;

___ Ethics sanctions against Members of Congress for refusing to end Geneva violations, which they have the power to do but refuse;

___ A clear story why Members of Congress -- in both parties as Minority or Majority -- refused to documented Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports;

___ A clear plan by the Congress to compel Executive Branch personnel, when they do engage in illegal activity, to have all illegal memorandum publicly challenged in court and before the Congress. [Reminder: ORCON prohibits classification of illegal activity; and Executive Privilege does not cover illegal usurpation of power, or DoJ memorandum related to illegally asserting non-delegated powers. The Executive cannot rely on Executive Privilege to hide evidence of illegal activity; or memorandum support illegal usurpation of legislative or judicial power.]

* * *

Without the above, We the People should reasonably assume:

1. The problem is not getting solved;

2. The needed attention on Congressional malfeasance on the Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports has not been done;

3. The same abuses by this President and Vice President on the Iraq WMD issues can be expected to continue with Iran;

4. Despite fair warnings by Putin that the world will not tolerate illegal warfare, the US is likely to use Russian military opposition to US military recklessness as an excuse to expand illegal warfare against Russia;

5. Despite the expanding illegal warfare, the US Congress focuses on meaningless band-aid solutions will mean the leadership will not [a] contain it's military forces; nor will it [b] ensure the finite resources are appropriately managed by this President.

6. Illegal warfare will expand despite resource limitations; and the President will use this reckless use of finite resources as a basis to say that the setbacks, losses, and other foreseeable problems in Iran is (absurdly) the fault of the Russians or other countries.

* * *

The letter is a sign that the DNC leadership is not effectively overseeing the legal issues related to illegal, aggressive war; nor are Members of Congress competently reviewing their contribution to the failed Title 28 and Title 50 exception report oversight.

This is not real oversight, but incompetence. American citizens can reasonably expect leaders to look at the larger issues, not the symptoms which have been selectively repackaged by the Bush Administration allies in the Department of Defense.

A fast reply to this letter, however that is defined, is a meaningless measure of whether the real problem is or isn't getting addressed. These issues would be appropriately discussed and reviewed during a Congressional investigation on issues related to allegations of war crimes through the impeachment process.

The voters know this is a legal option. The error is for the DNC leadership to dance around the symptoms and not solve the core problem: The man in the oval office is a war criminal, cannot be trusted with power, and is pretending that someone else has a problem. This letter shows Congress continues to embrace the ruses and is not looking at the mirror or the problem in the Oval Office.