- In a letter to voters, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL)
has announced his introduction of House Resolution 383 to establish "a
bi-partisan Select Committee tasked with making comprehensive recommendations
on our national security policy - including those covering laws on torture,
FISA law violations, wiretapping, civil liberties protections, among others.
This committee would have all of the power of a standing committee, including
subpoena power." Co-sponsors are Barbara Lee (D-CA) and John Conyers
(D-MI). Conyers is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
- Wexler's statement continued by stating that, "The
committee will investigate many of the outrageous policies of the Bush
Administration to unearth and expose what happened during the past eight
years. We must take a hard look at what went wrong in the last eight years.
We must continue to peel back the veil of secrecy that the previous Administration
used as cover to undermine our system of checks and balances, and establish
a clear line between what is necessary for our security and what is unlawful
government intrusion and a violation of our civil liberties."
- Wexler is not the only member of Congress to announce
his attention to call out the Bush administration on its abuses. Senator
Patrick Leahy wants to set up a "Truth Commission," whose mission,
as described in Time, would be "to investigate the politicization
of prosecution in the Justice Department under former Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales; the wiretapping of U.S. Citizens; the flawed intelligence
used to justify the invasion of Iraq; and the use of torture at Guantanamo
and so-called black sites abroad. Leahy's commission is to be modeled after
one that investigated the apartheid regime in South Africa."
- The trouble is that congressional investigating committees
rarely amount to anything. An example was the 1976 House Select Committee
on Assassinations, set up to investigate the killings of President John
F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The committee met largely in
secret, withheld much of its evidence from the public, and, while it said
both assassinations likely involved conspiracies, stated no government
agencies were parties to them. The latter point has been disputed by independent
researchers both before and since.
- Another example was the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks on the United States, a.k.a, the 9/11 Commission. While the commission
concluded that failures of the CIA and FBI allowed the attacks to occur,
it failed to look at any possibility of complicity by those agencies or
the Bush administration. Members of the commission later said government
officials lied to them and impeded the investigation.
- It's possible, of course, that any committees set up
to investigate Bush, Cheney, at.al., will have better luck, but will they
examine the questions that really matter? Neither Wexler nor Leahy mention
reopening the 9/11 case. And neither mentions the event that may be just
as momentous-this is the "financial 9/11"; i.e., the 2008 collapse
of the U.S. financial system.
- I'd like to find out, for instance, how the 9/11 terrorist
attacks were connected with the extraordinary movement of massive amounts
of funds within and outside the Federal Reserve and U.S. banking system
that led to a huge growth in the M3 monetary supply before the Federal
Reserve stopped reporting M3 data in 2006. Such a link has been suggested
in some internet reports.
- I'd also like to know how and why Federal Reserve Chairman
Alan Greenspan colluded with the Bush White House to suddenly start pumping
massive amounts of credit into the housing bubble from 2001-2005 and what
instructions went out to Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and
Exchange Commission, and other federal regulators to prevent the abuses
in the subprime mortgage market from being investigated.
- Then I'd like to know why the Bush Administration, including
Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, claimed no one foresaw the crash
of the financial system in October 2008, why the demand was suddenly made
to Congress for over $700 billion in bank bailouts, and what the role of
Paulson and the host of other former Goldman-Sachs executives working for
the Bush administration had in setting the stage for the crash and profiting
from it. And why is current Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
doing virtually the same as Paulson did in throwing money at the banks
while the economy sinks deeper in recession?
- Of course neither Wexler nor Leahy intends to examine
any of these issues. Which is why their calls for investigations make good
political theater, may put a few minor players on the hot seat, but, in
the big picture, will be a complete waste of time. A better course would
be a Special Prosecutor. But the Obama administration has given no indication
of doing this either.
- Richard C. Cook is a former federal analyst who writes
on public policy issues. His book "We Hold These Truths: the Hope
of Monetary Reform" is now available at www.tendrilpress.com. His
website is www.richardccook.com.