Condi Condi Condi
The New York Times is reporting (along with everyone else) that, due to pressure from the Democrats and from nervous Republicans, Condoleezza “Oil Tanker” Rice will be taking a few more questions from the 9/11 Panel. The article thankfully announces in the second graf that Rice will appear “only in private and not under oath”.
Personally, I could really care less about whether or not she appears in public, it’s the oath that counts. I’m sure there is some information she has that cannot be given in public, and frankly, appearing in public is little more than media circus at this point. The fact that she will not speak under oath means that her appearance in front of the 9/11 panel is essentially pointless. The perjury statute is essentially the governmental version of the lemon law- a safeguard to make sure you are being sold an honest story when you ask your questions.
This commission is supposed to be the most important and thorough investigation into the greatest national security failure in post-WWII United States history. Everyone involved in this failure, regardless of party affiliation and position of power should be testifying under oath. No one (including the current President and, of course, President Clinton) should be immune from the panel’s questions. To do otherwise is to ensure that the 9/11 Panel’s findings are essentially meaningless and that the whole thing is essentially a stunt.
But there’s also two special reasons for Rice to testify under oath, first: she’s a well document prestidigitator for the Bush Administration. Someone with a record for honesty (hard to come by with this or really any administration) is one thing, but putting someone up there who has a bizarre from-a-distance relationship to the truth and demanding she not be held legally accountable for what she says is really quite outrageous. The second reason is that she is currently very publicly undermining the veracity of Richard Clarke who just was willing to testify under oath about his views on the lead-up to 9/11. Rice is being allowed to say whatever she wants in public, and then protect herself from accountability. Can anyone out there imagine Clinton (who, as I’ve said above should be testifying under oath in front of this commission either privately or publicly) would be granted the same courtesy? Within 48 hours, the commission would have subpoena power and be forcing him to testify, while crazy-pants Coulter made another zillion dollars off her new book “Perjury: How Liberals Undermine the Constitution In Another Attempt To Destroy America”.