Congress Kept Out of the Loop on Iraq Negotiations

Updated 8/22 10:05 AM EST

During a press briefing Thursday, National Security Council Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe declared that though consultation remains ongoing with certain members of Congress, no ratification of any security deal made with the Iraqi government will be sought. While such agreements would normally require ratification from the Senate, Mr. Johndroe says no such ratification would be required for this bilateral agreement, which is not technically a treaty

This is in keeping with the April testimony of State Department official David Satterfield before the Senate, who likewise claimed that any agreement with Iraq would be an “executive agreement” as opposed to a formal treaty, and thus not subject to Senate approval.

The Washington Times however reports that Congressmen feel the White House is stretching the traditional use of executive agreements. Rep. Delahunt (D – MA) calls it “one of the biggest constitutional issues going”, while Rep. Rohrabacher (R – CA) is quoted as saying “Keeping Congress in the dark about these negotiations is the height of arrogance”. An unnamed top official denied deliberately trying to freeze Congress out of the talks, but admitted they had been unable to keep them “in the loop”. Still, the official dismissed such concerns as “quibbling over legal terminology”.

He closes with the quote “It is a binding international agreement, period.”

compiled by Jason Ditz

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Author: Eric Garris

Eric Garris is webmaster and managing editor of Antiwar.com.