Rep. Wexler Announces Legislation for Select Committee to Investigate Bush Abuses—A Real Investigation or a Waste of Time?

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,, 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 the author of We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform, scheduled to appear by September 2007. A retired federal analyst, his career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. He is also author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan AdministrationCaused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age. Read other articles by Richard, or visit Richard's website.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on May 4th, 2009 at 2:27pm #

    investigating bush, cheney, et al? But why? Why not investigate US? Its constitution? Its 180 wars? Slavery? Disappearance of the indigenous pop.
    why not investigate why is there no single payer insurance? Or why 1% of amers own 80% of america? etcetc. tnx

  2. Suthiano said on May 5th, 2009 at 1:15am #

    Charles E. Schumer: Former congressman, current Senator, Schumer was a supporter of the Iraq War Resolution, is an AIPAC member, and is stridently pro-Israel. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1990: $15,500, 1992: $10,300, 1996: $42,000, 1998: $107,550, 2000: $99,500, 2002: $124,550, 2004: $58,040. Total: $457,400

    Jay Rockefeller: has served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from West Virginia since 1985. He was Governor of West Virginia from 1977 to 1985. He is a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, and was a vocal advocate for the war in Iraq. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1990: $15,000,

    John Kerry: is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, he was defeated by 34 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election by former President, George W. Bush. Senator Kerry is currently the Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Barack Obama. He supported the Iraq War Resolution. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1990: $13,500,

    Arlen Specter: is an American lawyer and politician. He is the senior United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Elected in 1980, he is currently the 12th-most senior member of the U.S. Senate and the fifth oldest senator. Previously a centrist Republican, Spector joined the Democratic Party on April 28, 2009. At the recommendation of Representative Gerald R. Ford, he worked for the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As an assistant counsel for the commission, he authored or co-authored[9] the controversial “single bullet theory,” which suggested the wounds to Kennedy and non-fatal wounds to Texas Governor John Connally were caused by the same bullet. He voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1990: $9,000, 1998: $9,000, 2002: $30,000, 2004: $51,000, 2008: $47,600.

    Bill Clinton: served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. 1992: $98,275, 1996: $43,384.

    George Bush Sr: 1992: $68,250.

    Joe Lieberman: is the junior United States Senator from Connecticut. Lieberman was first elected to the United States Senate in 1988, and was elected to his fourth term on November 7, 2006. In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Lieberman was the Democratic candidate for Vice President. Lieberman voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1992; $11,500, 1994: $31,250, 2004: $34,000, 2006: 33,950.

    Henry Paulson served as the 74th United States Treasury Secretary and is a member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors. He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.
    Cycle Total Soft Money Dems Repubs % to Dems % to Repubs
    1990 $5,250 $0 $1,000 $1,500 19% 29%
    1992 $17,500 $0 $3,500 $9,250 20% 53%
    1994 $12,240 $0 $-510 $5,000 -4% 41%
    1996 $80,000 $25,000 $15,250 $59,500 19% 74%
    1998 $27,500 $0 $1,500 $21,000 6% 76%
    2000 $72,250 $50,000 $12,000 $54,000 17% 75%
    2002 $71,500 $50,000 $1,500 $68,000 2% 95%
    2004 $92,500 $0 $11,000 $76,500 12% 83%
    2006 $95,700 $0 $9,800 $75,900 10% 79%

    Robert Rubin: served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both the first and second Clinton administrations. Before his government service, he spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs. His most prominent post-government role was as Director and Senior Counselor of Citigroup, where he performed ongoing advisory and representational roles for the firm. From November to December 2007, he served temporarily as Chairman of Citigroup. One of his protégé’s was Current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Michael Paese, Goldman Sachs directory of government affairs: top staffer to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Frank. He was a registered lobbyist for the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association since he left Frank’s committee in September. He previously worked at JP Morgan and Mercantile Bankshares, and in between served as senior minority counsel at the Financial Services Committee.

    Mark Patterson, Goldman Sachs directory of government affairs (before Paese): now the Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Patterson was a close Tom Daschle associate.

    Sen. Evan Bayh: Bayh is up for re-election in 2010 and his top donor is Goldman Sachs. Goldman is also the top donor to Bayh over the course of his Congressional career, during which Bayh has received more than $4 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors.

    Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada, Canada’s Central Bank: Carney had a thirteen-year career with Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices. His progressively senior positions included co-head of sovereign risk; executive director, emerging debt capital markets; and managing director, investment banking. He worked on South Africa’s post-apartheid venture into international bond markets, and was heavily involved in Goldman Sachs’s work with the 1998 Russian financial crisis.

  3. HR said on May 5th, 2009 at 10:29am #

    The only investigation needed is a CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, carried out by the Department of “Justice”. The snake-oil-salesman-in-chief won’t allow that to happen, though. If Spain, or any other country, does decide to investigate and bring charges, as provided under international agreements, signed by the U.S., it is unlikely that Mr. Hope and Change will agree to extradition.

    Well, folks, you voted for him, now you’re getting the government you deserve, once again. There were other, REAL choices out there (Nader, McKinney), but you told them to go f**k themselves.

  4. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 6th, 2009 at 7:44am #

    i have a question about the US-Constitution: Why do the US-Constitution always talks about “In times of wars”. I mean was the US constitution written by imperialists who had wars in their minds already?

    Because in the video “Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings” it talks about Sir. Francis Bacon’s dream of USA as The New Atlantis, a New Empire. So i think that the imperial ambitions of America come back from before 1776. Remember that there lots of dubious things about US foundation

    and in another part it says: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” (hmmm Evo Morales and Chavez would get depressed with the US constitution)