Reid Won't Be Fooled Again, He Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says he wants to make sure the President Bush can't mislead the nation on Iran the way Bush supposedly misled Americans on the situation in Iraq.

In an effort to get Congress more involved in U.S. policy toward Iran, Reid on Monday introduced a bill called the Iran Intelligence Oversight Act.

Among other things, the bill would require President Bush to inform Congress about his objectives regarding Iran and his strategy for achieving them. It also would give Congress more "oversight" on the intelligence pertaining to Iran -- and it would require the administration to provide an unclassified summary of that intelligence to American people.

"This legislation will ensure the Congress is fully engaged in the Iran debate, and it will also push the Bush White House to develop and implement the right policy for dealing with Iran," Reid said in a press release.

"The Senate must be engaged as we move our diplomacy forward with Iran," Reid said. "We must take seriously our responsibility to insist on a thorough review of the facts, a full debate of the threat, and full consultation as events move forward."

(According to Reid, the U.S. effort to halt Iran's nuclear program has been delayed and complicated by the Bush administration's failures in Iraq.)

Reid said his proposed legislation would bring the "rigorous oversight necessary to hold the administration accountable for its rhetoric, and its all too frequent tendency to spin and distort the facts."

He said the bill would require the Bush administration to give Congress and the American people "solid answers" to three questions, as follows:

-- First, what is the judgment of the government's professional intelligence analysts about the threat of Iran, and what tools are most likely to influence the Iranians to change their ways?

-- Second, what are the president's policy objectives with Iran, and what is his strategy for achieving these objectives?

-- Third, this legislation asks the question -- what is the process for making sure that senior Administration officials don't publicly mischaracterize the evidence and the challenge of Iran?

"Much of what we heard from the administration in the run-up to Iraq about mushroom clouds, yellow cake, and uranium tubes turned out to be overstated or based on intelligence that was known to be suspect," Reid said. "With my legislation in place, and with vigilance from Congress, we will be one step closer to ensuring this kind of misleading does not happen regarding the threat posed by Iran."

Reid also complained that Congress has not yet been briefed on the deal offered to Iran a few weeks ago.

"The Iranians have been briefed. The Europeans have been briefed. The Russians and Chinese have been briefed. But not the United States Senate. Congress needs to be in on the takeoff, not asked to board the plane for the crash landing," he said.

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