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Kucinich Requests Investigation into 'Executive Assassination Ring'

Washington D.C. (March 16, 2009) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) Friday sent a letter to Chairman Edolphus Towns of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requesting an immediate investigation into allegations made by the investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that the White House operated an 'executive assassination ring' that circumvented Congressional oversight.

Kucinich explains in the letter that, "Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. He stated, "Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving" It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. . .Congress has no oversight of it.'"

Kucinich adds, "If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight. . . Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth."

The full text of the letter follows:

March 13, 2009

The Honorable Edolphus Towns

Chairman

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

U.S. House of Representatives

2157 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Towns:

As you may already be aware, recent media reports indicate that investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, while answering questions before a public audience at the University of Minnesota divulged information about what he calls an "executive assassination ring" operating under the George W. Bush Administration.

If substantiated, the allegation would have far reaching implications for the United States. Such an assertion from someone of Hersh's credibility that has a long and proven track record of dependability on these issues merits attention. Mr. Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth. As such, I request that the Full Committee immediately begin an investigation to determine the facts in this matter.

Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. He stated, "Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving."

Mr. Hersh continued, "It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently," he explained. "They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. . .Congress has no oversight of it."

If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight. Current statute governing covert action (50 U.S.C. 413b) requires a presidential finding and notification to the appropriate congressional committees. Additionally, Executive Order 12333 clearly states that "[n]o person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in or conspire to engage in assassination."

I urge the Committee to explore Mr. Hersh's allegation. Please do not hesitate to call on me or my staff if we can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Dennis J. Kucinich

Member of Congress

###

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