Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may refuse to submit to Chairman Henry Waxman's subpoena that she testify before the House oversight committee regarding false pre-war claims of Iraq's WMD program, public comments she made Thursday indicate.
Speaking at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Norway, Rice said she didn't know what more she could add to the public record. "I addressed these questions, almost the same questions, during my confirmation hearing," she said. "This is an issue that has been answered and answered and answered."
Rice said she would be more than happy to answer them again in letter form, but she did not appear inclined to make a trip to Capitol Hill. Though she declined to say whether she would outright refuse to testify, she invoked the spectre of executive privilege to hint at the recourse she feels available to her if Waxman decides to pursue legal means to compel her testimony.
"This all took place in my role as national security adviser," she said. "There is a constitutional principle. There is a separation of powers and advisers to the president under that constitutional principle are not generally required to go and testify in Congress.
"So, I think we have to observe and uphold the constitutional principle, but I also observe and uphold the obligation of Congress to conduct its oversight role, I respect that. But I think I have more than answered these questions, and answered them directly to Congressman Waxman."