GUTIÉRREZ CALLS FOR CLASSIFIED BRIEFING ON IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT FOR WHOLE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
"I believe that all of my colleagues would benefit from the opportunity to receive much more detailed briefings, including classified information," Rep. Gutiérrez
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi requesting a classified briefing for all Members of the House of Representatives on the international agreement aimed at preventing a nuclear armed Iran. The importance of Iran and the Middle East, recent Capitol Hill hearings, and the President's threat to veto any additional economic sanctions on Iran all triggered the request for a classified briefing next week.
Rep. Gutiérrez states that he has already been briefed, but that others would make more informed decisions with more information. He writes:
I believe that all of my colleagues would benefit from the opportunity to receive much more detailed briefings, including classified information. This is particularly important given the President’s threat to veto any new sanctions on Iran during his State of the Union address.
Rep. Gutiérrez also writes "Members of Congress want to be as helpful as possible in furthering American interests, promoting peace, and creating the conditions for long-term stability" in the Middle East. The interim agreement was signed with Iran and went into effect on January 20, 2014.
The full text of the letter is pasted below. A pdf file is here:
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January 30, 2014
Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi:
There is no area of the world that causes greater consternation or anxiety for American foreign policy, nor any region of the globe more important, than the Middle East. Members of Congress want to be as helpful as possible in furthering American interests, promoting peace, and creating the conditions for long-term stability there. We want to make sure that the hopes and aspirations of our constituents are reflected in American foreign policy and almost every American I have ever met is deeply concerned about matters in the Middle East. But to be forceful advocates for our constituents, we must be fully informed ourselves.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle share a strong commitment to preventing a nuclear armed Iran. The signing of an interim multilateral agreement represents a significant step toward achieving that goal. If diplomacy is to succeed, it will require changes from the Iranian regime that has a track record of destabilizing provocations in the region and egregious human rights violations in addition to its illicit nuclear activities.
As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I have had access to classified information on the status of the negotiations and have benefited from this information in forming my own opinions about how the United States should proceed and what the role of the U.S. Congress should be. As congressional committees strive to conduct robust oversight with hearings on the interim agreement this week and, perhaps, vote on legislation related to this crucial foreign policy question, I believe that all of my colleagues would benefit from the opportunity to receive much more detailed briefings, including classified information. This is particularly important given the President’s threat to veto any new sanctions on Iran during his State of the Union address.
I ask you to convene a classified briefing for all Members of Congress next week so that legislators will have the opportunity to hear from Administration and intelligence leaders about the terms of the interim agreement and the verification mechanisms in place that ensure Iran complies fully with the obligations in the agreement. I believe that this briefing would enhance our ability to work with the Administration and international negotiators with common purpose to halt Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon and increase the prospects of a more stable and peaceful Middle East.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request. I look forward to your response.
Luis V. Gutiérrez
Member of Congress