[House Report 109-526]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     109-526




   June 23, 2006.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 


Mr. Hyde, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted the 

                             ADVERSE REPORT

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                       [To accompany H. Res. 846]

  The Committee on International Relations, to whom was 
referred the resolution (H. Res. 846) requesting the President 
and directing the Secretary of State to provide to the House of 
Representatives certain documents in their possession relating 
to strategies and plans either designed to cause regime change 
in or for the use of military force against Iran, having 
considered the same, report unfavorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the resolution not be agreed to.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    House Resolution 846 requests the President and directs the 
Secretary of State to provide to the House of Representatives 
not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of the 
resolution all documents, including planning documents, 
electronic mail records, minutes, memoranda, and advisory legal 
opinions in the possession of the President or Secretary of 
State, respectively, relating to strategies and plans either 
designed to cause regime change in or for the use of military 
force against Iran.


    House Resolution 846 is a resolution of inquiry, which 
pursuant to rule XIII, clause 7 of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, directs the Committee to act on the resolution 
within 14 legislative days or a privileged motion to discharge 
the Committee is in order. H. Res. 846 was introduced and 
referred to the Committee on International Relations on May 25, 
2006. The Committee held a markup session on June 21, 2006, and 
ordered H. Res. 846 reported adversely.
    Under the Rules and Precedents of the House, a resolution 
of inquiry is one of the methods used by the House to obtain 
information from the executive branch. According to Deschler's 
Procedure it is a ``simple resolution making a direct request 
or demand of the President or the head of an executive 
department to furnish the House of Representatives with 
specific factual information in the possession of the executive 
    \1\Deschler's Precedents, H. Doc. No. 94-661, 94th Cong., 2d Sess., 
vol. 7, ch. 24, section 8.
    On May 25, 2006, Rep. Barbara Lee of California introduced 
H. Res. 846. Rep. Lee's resolution seeks all documents, 
including planning documents, electronic mail records, minutes, 
memoranda, and advisory legal opinions in the possession of the 
President or Secretary of State, respectively, relating to 
strategies, and plans either designed to cause regime change in 
or for the use of military force against Iran.\2\
    \2\H. Res. 846, 109th Cong. (May 25, 2006).
    The Committee has now reported thirteen resolutions of 
inquiry. This particular resolution of inquiry comes at a 
critical time in diplomatic negotiations with Iran, when a 
peaceful solution to the crisis surrounding Iran's attempts to 
gain nuclear weapons might be attainable. Adoption of H. Res. 
846 by the House could divert focus and possibly undermine the 
Administration's diplomatic efforts to secure a peaceful 
agreement with Iran. Conscious of this background, the 
Committee voted to report the resolution of inquiry adversely.
    In recent years, Iran has aggressively pursued development 
of its nuclear program in the face of vocal opposition by the 
international community. With the accession of Mahmoud 
Amadinejad as president in 2005, we have seen an increase both 
in the pace of Iran's work on its nuclear program and in the 
inflammatory, confrontational rhetoric of Iran's leader. 
Nonetheless, the Bush Administration has continued to pursue a 
peaceful resolution through the use of diplomatic channels.
    This emphasis on diplomacy can be seen in numerous 
noteworthy efforts. Over the past three years, the 
Administration has encouraged France, the United Kingdom and 
Germany (``the EU-3'') in their diplomatic negotiations with 
Iran. The Administration has supported Russia in its proposal 
to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian soil. In addition, the 
Administration has actively sought a United Nations Security 
Council Resolution aimed at limiting Iran's ability to produce 
weapons of mass destruction through non-military, punitive 
    In May of this year, the President offered to join 
diplomatic talks with Iran, signaling a major shift in U.S. 
policy and underscoring the Administration's commitment to a 
diplomatic solution. As a result, representatives of the United 
States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany submitted a 
proposal to Iran that would require Iran to suspend its nuclear 
activities. Iran has not yet formally responded to the package, 
but stated that the proposal created a ``positive atmosphere'' 
and was ``a step forward.''
    In this positive and productive atmosphere of diplomacy, it 
would be counterproductive to demand documents on contingency 
military plans from the Executive Branch. While news stories 
surfaced in April that the Administration was studying a 
possible military attack on Iran, President Bush immediately 
dismissed these reports as ``wild speculation.'' Contingency 
military plans exist for countless possible situations but are 
highly classified because their release would risk American 
lives and military effectiveness if they were ever needed. The 
Administration has given absolutely no indication that military 
strikes or actions to facilitate a regime change are presently 
being considered. In contrast, the Administration's commitment 
to a diplomatic solution is evident.
    Given the classified nature of the documents being 
requested and this crucial time in diplomatic negotiations with 
Iran, the Committee voted to report H. Res. 846 adversely.


    The Committee did not hold hearings on H. Res. 846.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On June 21, 2006, the Full Committee marked up the 
resolution, H. Res. 846, pursuant to notice, in open session. 
The Committee agreed to a motion to report the resolution 
adversely to the House by voice vote, a quorum being present.


    The Committee held no oversight activities under clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives.


    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this resolution in article I, section 1 of the Constitution.


    I am disappointed that this Committee chose to vote to 
order this resolution of inquiry reported adversely.
    My resolution would have simply requested the President to 
provide all information including documents, emails, minutes, 
memos, and advisory legal opinions relating to strategies, 
options, and plans either designed to cause regime change in 
Iran or for the use of military force against Iran.
    At the outset, let me just set the record straight: as a 
long-time advocate for nuclear nonproliferation, I am concerned 
about the threat a nuclear Iran poses to not only the middle 
east, but also the world. Iran must be held accountable to 
international standards.
    However, even as the unnecessary war in Iraq continues, 
along with a number of my colleagues, constituents, and 
Americans across the country I remain concerned that this 
administration may be taking steps to prepare a preemptive 
military strike against Iran.
    The May 31 announcement that the Bush administration will 
join with the EU+3, China, and Russia in negotiations with Iran 
is a significant development. It is a step in the right 
direction. As Jessica Mathews, president of the non-partisan 
Carnegie Endowment has observed, joining in the negotiations 
and focusing on non-proliferation over regime change is crucial 
to the process.
    A policy of regime change must be off the table if 
diplomatic negotiations are to succeed.
    At the same time, the administration's participation in 
negotiations must not end our vigilance.
    Frankly, we should all be concerned about the statements 
and actions that the administration is making given our 
experience in the lead up to the war in Iraq. The parallels are 
eerily similar.
    Recent reports of the increase in reconnaissance, special 
operations in Iran and enlistment of the Iranian dissidents and 
opposition groups all remarkably mirror the march to a 
preemptive war against Iraq in 2003.
    Let me give you a few examples:
    Much like the incursions in July of 2002 with predator 
drones into Iraq, there have been reports of predator drones in 
Iran beginning in the spring of 2005.
    According to retired Air force Colonel Sam Gardiner, there 
have been reports of special operations like that of Operation 
Southern Focus which reportedly struck 400 targets in Iraq 
beginning in July 2002. Similarly, there have been reports of 
special operations with Azeri, Kurdish and MEK support 
beginning last summer. All this is without congressional 
authorization, and presumably, oversight.
    On the home front, similar to the White House Iraq Group 
which was formed with the express purpose of marketing the war 
in Iraq to Americans, there have been recent reports of the 
Iraq-Syria Operations Group being formed. For what purpose? 
This resolution of inquiry would have helped provide these 
    Finally, and most disturbingly, the President's National 
Security Strategy, released in March of this year restates this 
administration's commitment to wage preemptive war.
    Recent events on the diplomatic front, while encouraging 
must not dull us into complacency and lead us to shirk away 
from our constitutional obligation--the duty to conduct 
    It is important for us as members of Congress--especially 
those of us on this committee--to ensure that every diplomatic 
option is employed to disarm Iran.
    Diplomacy is not simply a checkbox we mark off on the way 
to war.
    We must get at the facts and get at the truth.

                                                       Barbara Lee.