May 15, 2007

Tenet Agrees To Testify On "Intelligence Failure", Hadley Not Available

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has secured the cooperation of former CIA Director George Tenet and sent a letter to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley in its broadening probe into faulty pre-war Iraq intelligence.

Tenet has agreed to appear for a closed-door deposition regarding the now-discredited uranium claim in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address, which warned that Iraq was seeking to obtain uranium from Africa, according to a committee press release.

Yesterday’s announcement is part of the panel's efforts to get testimony from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was national security adviser at the time and helped oversee the drafting of the 2003 speech. In April, the panel's Democratic majority issued a subpoena for Rice — over strong objections from GOP members — and asked her to testify today. Rice has not responded to either the subpoena or to previous letters by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) asking her to appear in person and answer questions about the uranium claim.

In light of forthcoming information from Tenet, the committee will move its requested hearing date for Rice up to June 19, according to the release. Tenet is also slated to testify in the public hearing on that date.

Hadley is the third official whom the committee has contacted in this probe. The panel has requested a voluntary deposition from Hadley, who was Rice's deputy in 2003.

The panel is holding off for now on deciding whether to subpoena Hadley if he does not respond.

A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said yesterday that testimony from Hadley is "clearly not going to happen." Fratto added that a closed-door deposition or informal talks are also ruled out.

"If the inquiry has to do with his time as a senior adviser to the president, he is not available," said Fratto.

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