Committee Grills Rice Over Corruption

Thursday, October 25th 2007, 4:22 pm
By: News On 6

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- House Democrats have been grilling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over corruption in Iraq.

A House oversight panel chairman, Henry Waxman, says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has essentially given himself immunity by issuing an order requiring that any corruption investigations get his approval.

The California Democrat says that's not a "minor accusation" at a time when fraud and abuse is rampant and hurting reconstruction efforts.

Condoleezza Rice told the panel she was not aware of the specific order. But she said the U.S. would oppose any policy shielding senior officials from criminal prosecution or investigation.

The issue prompted a tense exchange between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and committee Democrats. At one point, after being cut off by Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, she said making such unsubstantiated allegations would be "deeply damaging" and "wrong."