The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance
The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance is a Report completed and delivered August 4, 2006, to the 109th Congress by the House Committee on the Judiciary.
From the Report
The following is cited as taken from the Report, excerpted as "Here's the meat" by Yellow Canary at Daily Kos, August 4, 2006:
"In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration; and approved domestic surveillance that is both illegal and unconstitutional. As further detailed in the Report, there is evidence that these actions violate a number of federal laws, including:
- Making False Statements to Congress, for example, saying you have learned Iraq is attempting to buy uranium from Niger, when you have been warned by the CIA that this is not the case.
- The War Powers Resolution and Misuse of Government Funds, for example, redeploying troops and initiating bombing raids before receiving congressional authorization.
- Federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, for example, ordering detainees to be ghosted and removed, and tolerating and laying the legal ground work for their torture and mistreatment.
- Federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals, for example, demoting Bunnatine Greenhouse, the chief contracting officer at the Army Corps of Engineers, because she exposed contracting abuses involving Halliburton.
- Federal requirements concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence, for example, failing to enforce the executive order requiring disciplining those who leak classified information, whether intentional or not.
- Federal regulations and ethical requirements governing conflicts of interest, for example, then Attorney General John Ashcroft’s being personally briefed on FBI interviews concerning possible misconduct by Karl Rove even though Mr. Rove had previously received nearly $750,000 in fees for political work on Mr. Ashcroft’s campaigns.
- Violating FISA and the Fourth Amendment, for example intercepting thousands of communications “to or from any person within the United States,” without obtaining a warrant.
- The Stored Communications Act of 1986 and the Communications Act of 1934, for example, obtaining millions of U.S. customer telephone records without obtaining a subpoena or warrant, without customer consent, and outside of any applicable “emergency exceptions.”
- The National Security Act, for example, failing to keep all Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees “fully and currently informed” of intelligence activities, such as the warrantless surveillance programs.
"With regard to the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, we have also found that members of the Bush Administration made a number of misleading statements regarding its operation and scope; the legal justifications proffered by the Bush Administration are constitutionally destabilizing; there is little evidence the programs have been beneficial in combating terrorism and may have affirmatively placed terrorism prosecutions at risk; and the programs appear to have designed and implemented in a manner designed to stifle legitimate concerns.
"The Report rejects the frequent contention by the Bush Administration that their pre-war conduct has been reviewed and they have been exonerated. No entity has ever considered whether the Administration misled Americans about the decision to go to war. The Senate Intelligence Committee has not yet conducted a review of pre-war intelligence distortion and manipulation, while the presidentially appointed Silberman-Robb Commission Report specifically cautioned that intelligence manipulation “was not part of our inquiry.” There has also not been any independent inquiry concerning torture and other legal violations in Iraq; nor has there been an independent review of the pattern of cover-ups and political retribution by the Bush Administration against its critics, other than the very narrow and still ongoing inquiry of Special Counsel Fitzgerald into the outing of Valerie Plame.
"There also has been no independent review of the circumstances surrounding the Bush Administration’s domestic spying scandals. The Administration summarily rejected all requests for special counsels, as well as reviews by the Department of Justice and Department of Defense Inspector Generals. When the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation, the Bush Administration effectively squashed it by denying the investigators security clearances. Neither the House nor Senate Intelligence Committee have undertaken any sort of comprehensive investigation, and the Bush Administration has sought to cut off any court review of the NSA programs by repeatedly invoking the state secrets doctrine."
The Final Investigative Report
- Table of Contents
- Introduction by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee
- Report Summary
- The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War
- Unlawful Domestic Surveillance and the Decline of Civil Liberties Under the Administration of George W. Bush
- Recommendations and Conclusion
- Legal Standards and Authority
- Major Reports
Related Reports & Statements
- "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street minutes and deception, manipulation, torture, retribution, and coverups in the Iraq war" by House Judiciary Committee Minority Staff, December 20, 2005: Full Report (273-page pdf) and Summary, truthout; Full Report (273-page pdf), After Downing Street.
- "Preliminary Judiciary Democratic Congressional Briefing: 'Constitution in Crisis: Domestic Surveillance and Executive Power'," January 20, 2006. Congressmen Conyers, Scott and Van Hollen hosted a Congressional Briefing on the "Constitution in Crisis: Domestic Surveillance and Executive Power."
- John Conyers, Jr., "Statement of John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee, Oversight Hearing on the Department of Justice, April 7, 2006.
- John Conyers, Jr., "The Constitution in Crisis: With 26 Laws Implicated by Administration Misconduct, Its Long Past Time for Real Checks and Balances," House Judiciary Committee, August 1, 2006. Also posted at Talking Points Memo Document Collection.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Bush administration
- Bush administration vs. the U.S. Constitution
- Congressional Action: Ban on Torture
- executive order
- executive privilege
- National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive
- North American Union
- presidential signing statements
- The case for impeachment of President George W. Bush: SourceWatch Resources
- Unitary Executive Theory
- United States Constitution / United States Constitution: Amendments
- Laurence H. Tribe, "The Constitution in Crisis: From Bush v. Gore to the War on Terrorism," The Tanner Lectures on Human Values Delivered at Brasenose College, Oxford University, May 20-21, 2002.
- John Conyers, Jr., "What Went Wrong in Ohio?" Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, January 5, 2005.
- John Conyers, Jr., "Did Bush Deliberately Deceive America About Iraq?" CounterPunch, June 6, 2005.
- John Conyers, Jr., "A Motion for Censure," The Nation, December 12, 2005.
- John Conyers, Jr., "The Constitution in Crisis: Censure and Investigate Possible Impeachment," The Huffington Post, December 20, 2005.
- Edward Chu, "The Constitution in Crisis report," The Free Press, December 22, 2005.
- "Al Gore to Warn of President's Threat to Constitution," U.S. Newswire, January 12, 2006.
- John Nichols, "Gore to Address 'Constitutional Crisis'," The Nation (Common Dreams), January 14, 2006.
- Al Gore, "A Constitutional Crisis," AlterNet, January 17, 2006.
- John Conyers, Jr., Editorial: "Why We Act," truthout, March 2, 2006.
- David, "Cafferty: Conyers' Constitutional Crisis," Crooks and Liars, August 2, 2006. WMP and QT formats.
- Noel Sheppard, "Jack Cafferty is Cuckoo for Conyers," NewsBusters, August 2, 2006.
- Noel Rabinowitz, "'The Constitution in Crisis' – preview upcoming House Judiciary Report," Political Affairs Magazine, August 3, 2006.
- John Conyers, Jr., "The Constitution in Crisis Final Report Released," Daily Kos, August 4, 2006. Cross-posted at The Huffington Post.
- "Dems release 'Constitution in Crisis' report," The Carpetbagger Report, August 4, 2006.
- Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, "The Constitution in Crisis," That's Another Fine Mess, August 5, 2006.
- Byron York, "The Democrats’ Impeachment Road Map. It’s finished, ready to go — and waiting for November," National Review Online, August 7, 2006.
- Matthew Sheffield, "Conyers Hints at Impeachment in Report Citing Pantheon of Leftist Media," NewsBusters, August 7, 2006.
- "Conyers Hints At Impeachment. Or Does He?" The Hotline/National Journal, August 7, 2006.
- "Media ignore 'Constitution in Crisis'," Think Progress, August 7, 2006.