Lawmakers are examining a claim by the author of a new
book that the Bush administration used money designated for
the war on terrorism for Iraq war preparations, before Congress
approved action in Iraq. The White House and Pentagon have
denied funds were used specifically for Iraq without the knowledge
The account by journalist and Washington Post editor
Bob Woodward says some of the money allocated by Congress for
Afghanistan and anti-terrorism needs, was used by the Pentagon
to prepare for the invasion of Iraq.
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are seeking more
The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee,
Congressman David Obey, wants what he calls "a full, detailed
and immediate accounting."
Mr. Obey was a key critic of the administration during debate
on two "supplemental" spending bills the administration requested
after the Iraq war had begun.
He says the Iraq war resolution was approved in October
2002 with the understanding the administration would keep
Congress fully informed about its actions.
Mr. Obey's view was echoed by other Democrats, such as Congressman
Jim McDermott who spoke on the floor of the House.
"Instead of openly telling Congress and the American people
when he wanted to take out Saddam, the president secretly
diverted $700 million from the war in Afghanistan to prepare
for the invasion in Iraq, without telling the Congress, $700
million meant to help find and deal with Osama Bin Laden
on behalf of the September 11th victims, on behalf of America," he
Republicans say the allegations raised in Mr. Woodward's
book "lack specificity", warning that no one should draw
any conclusions until pre-war spending is reviewed.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is also examining the
claims in the book.
The White House denies it failed to keep Congress fully
informed about how money was being spent before the war.
Spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday emergency funding
approved by Congress after the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks provided "broad discretion" in how funds were used.
The Pentagon has said about $178 million spent before Congress
overwhelmingly approved the Iraq resolution was not aimed
specifically at war preparations.
Since publication of his book, Mr. Woodward has said in
interviews that Congress was kept "totally in the dark" about
spending prior to the war, for a range of military projects,
including facility improvements in Kuwait, to support the
U.S. military buildup.