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Argument: Obama administration consulted with Congress on Libya

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Obama Administration letter to Congress justifying Libya engagement, June 15th, 2011: "The Administration has consulted extensively with Congress about U.S. engagement in Libya. Since March 1, the Administration has: testified at over 10 hearings that included a substantial discussion of Libya; participated in over 30 Member and/or staff briefings, including the March 18 Presidential meeting with Congressional Leadership, Committee Chairs and Ranking Members; all three requested 'All Members Briefings' (two requested by the Senate, one by the House); and all requested 'All Staff Briefings;' conducted dozens of calls with individual Members; and provided 32 status updates via e-mail to over 1,600 Congressional staff.

The list below catalogues Libya-related hearings, briefings, calls, and other communication and consultation between Congress and the Executive Branch from March 1 through June 15. (In addition to what’s included below, the Intelligence Community has provided and continues to provide frequent classified written intelligence products on Libya and regular Libya intelligence update briefings to Members and Committees, numbering in the dozens of such briefings since March 1.)

June 14: Amb. Cretz provided classified briefing on Libya to staff of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

June 10: Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, Lt Gen Charles Jacoby (J-5), and ODNI provided classified briefing on Libya to SASC Members.

June 9: Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Arabian Gulf and Maghreb Affairs, Janet Sanderson; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Joe McMillan; ODNI; JS (Rear Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director for Intelligence, J-2 & Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director for Operations, J-3); provided classified briefing on Libya to SFRC Members.

June 2: Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, Joe McMillan; ODNI; JS (Rear Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director for Intelligence, J-2 & Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director for Operations, J-3); provided classified briefing on Libya to HASC Members.

June 1: Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffery Feltman; ODNI; JS (Rear Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director for Intelligence, J-2 & Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director for Operations, J-3); provided classified briefing on Libya to HFAC Members. Other House Members attended at the request of the Chairwoman and Ranking Member.

May 31: ODNI; DOD (Rear Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director for Intelligence, J-2 & Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director for Operations, J-3); provided classified briefing on Libya to HPSCI Members.

May 13: VCJCS called Senators Lugar and Corker to provide an update on Libya operations.

May 13: J2, J3 and OSD-P briefed staff for Majority Leader Reid and Chairman Levin on Libya operations.

May 12: State Deputy Secretary Steinberg testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Assessing the Situation in Libya.

May 11: State DAS Janet Sanderson and Treasury DAS Daniel Glaser briefed Senate leadership and committee staff on the Libya vesting proposal.

May 11: State DAS Janet Sanderson and Treasury DAS Daniel Glaser briefed House leadership and committee staff on the Libya vesting proposal.

May 5: State Assistant Secretary Michael Posner and DAS Tamara Wittes testified before HFAC on Transitions in the Middle East including mention of Libya.

April 22: VCJCS called Senator Corker to provide an update on Libya Operations.

April 19: Amb. Cretz and other State Department briefers provide classified briefs on Libya, focused on the $25 million drawdown package, to SFRC staff and separately to HFAC staff.

April 13: Desk officers from State provided SFRC staff classified briefing on Libya.

April 8: RADM Rogers (J2) and RADM Tidd (J3) briefed Rep Smith on Libya operations.

March 31: Amb. Cretz briefed Sen. Lieberman on Libya.

March 31: Amb. Cretz briefed SACFO staff on Libya.

March 31: Sec Def and CJCS testified in hearings on Libya before HASC.

March 31: Sec Def and CJCS testified in hearings on Libya before SASC.

March 31: State Deputy Secretary Steinberg testified before SFRC on Assessing the Situation in Libya.

March 31: State Deputy Secretary Steinberg testified before HFAC on Libya: Defining U.S. National Security Interests.

March 30: Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Director of National Intelligence, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff conducted all House Members briefing on Libya, the earliest available opportunity following commencement of military operations given the March Congressional recess.

March 30: Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Director of National Intelligence, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff conducted all Senators briefing on Libyan operations, the earliest available opportunity following commencement of military operations given the March Congressional recess.

March 29: RADM Rogers (J2) and RADM Tidd (J3) briefed Chairman Young and Rep Dicks on Libya.

March 28: RADM Rogers (J2), RADM Tidd (J3) participated with State and ODNI in a classified briefing to update Congressional staff on Libya operations. All Congressional staff who had a Secret-level clearance were invited to attend.

March 22: State (Ambassador Gene Cretz); ODNI; DOD (Rear Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director for Intelligence, J-2 & Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director for Operations, J-3); and Treasury (Acting Undersecretary David Cohen) participated in interagency closed and open briefing to House and Senate staff on Libya.

March 21: The President provided the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate a report consistent with the War Powers Resolution, which provided details regarding the mission and the specific circumstances under which we were undertaking military action.

March 20: VADM Gortney (Director, JS) briefed Chairman Levin on developments in Libya.

March 19: Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough contacted Rep. Boehner, Rep. Cantor, Rep. Hoyer, Senator Reid, Senator Durbin, Senator Kyl.

March 19: State Department's Deputy Secretary Steinberg spoke with Kerry, Lugar, Ros-Lehtinen and Berman.

March 19: DOD USDP Flournoy called House and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairmen and Ranking Members to provide an update on Libya operations. USDP Flournoy also called Senator Sessions.

March 19: Admiral Mullen called House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairmen and Ranking Members to provide an update on Libya operations.

March 18: Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough held a conference call with bipartisan, bicameral leadership and committee staff to discuss the President's meeting and to answer questions.

March 18: President Obama invited Congress' bipartisan bicameral leadership to the White House to consult on the situation in Libya and brief them on the limited, discrete and well-defined participation that he envisioned for the United States to help implement the U.N. Resolution. The White House invited House and Senate Leadership, Chairs and

Ranking of Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intel committees. Members of Congress who were able to participate included: Majority Leader Harry Reid Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer Senator Carl Levin Senator Dick Lugar Senator Saxby Chambliss

Rep. Mike Rogers Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger Speaker John Boehner Majority Leader Eric Cantor Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Senator Dick Durbin Senator Mitch McConnell Senator John Kyl Senator John Kerry Senator Diane Feinstein Rep. Buck McKeon Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Rep. Howard L. Berman March 17: All Senators briefing on Libya developments and possible USG and international responses including potential military options by an interagency team led by State U/S Bill Burns, with ODNI and DOD.

March 17: U/S Burns testified in open session of SFRC on Popular Uprisings in the Middle East, with main focus was on Libya.

March 15: Embassy Tripoli Chargé and Acting DCM briefed SFRC staff on Libya.

March 10: PDASD McMillan (ISA), MG Leins (J5), Col. Olsen (J3) briefed HASC Chairman McKeon on Libya. The briefing included the latest developments and possible military options for Libya, including the mechanics of a no-fly zone.

March 10: State A/S Feltman testified before the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee on Assessing U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities and Needs Amidst Economic Challenges in the Middle East, at which there were questions about Libya.

March 4: ASD Vershbow (ISA), RADM Rogers (J2) and RADM Tidd (J3) briefed SASC Members on Libya. They provided an update on Libya including recent intelligence. They also discussed possible military options, including the mechanics of a no-fly zone.

March 2: Secretary Clinton testified at SFRC hearing on National Security and Foreign Policy Priorities in the FY 2012 International Affairs Budget, which included discussion of Libya.

March 2: Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen testified at HAC-D hearing on FY 2012 Defense Department Appropriations, which included discussion of Libyan no-fly zone.

March 1: Secretary Clinton testified at HFAC hearing on Assessing U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities and Needs Amidst Economic Challenges, which included discussion of Libya.

March 1: State DAS Sanderson, DASD Huddleston, MG Holmes, and ODNI provided classified brief to SFRC, SASC and leadership staff on Libya, as well as Yemen and Bahrain.

March 1: DASD Huddleston (ISA/AF) and DAS Sanderson (NEA) provided an update briefing on the situation in Libya to SASC and SFRC professional staff members.


Press Secretary Jay Carney rejected the criticism that Obama made the decision without Congressional consultation. “We take very seriously the need to consult with Congress and we have been doing that, and we would welcome any action they took to show support.”[1]

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