President George W. Bush intentionally let Osama bin Laden escape capture as a pretext for war in Iraq, one Democratic lawmaker alleged Monday.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) said that Bush let the al-Qaeda leader go free on purpose in order to provide justification for the subsequent U.S. invasion of Iraq.

"Look what happened with regard to our invasion into Afghanistan, how we apparently intentionally let bin Laden get away," Hinchey said during an appearance on MSNBC. "How we intentionally did not follow the Taliban and al-Qaeda as they were escaping up into the northeast of Afghanistan, over into the Pakistani border?"

Hinchey was referencing the reported near-capture of bin Laden at the Tora Bora mountain range in Afghanistan during the early stages of the U.S. military engagement in that country.

"That was done by the previous administration because they knew very well that if they would capture al-Qaeda, there would be no justification for an invasion in Iraq," Hinchey said.

When pressed by MSNBC hosts whether he believed Bush deliberately let bin Laden escape, the New York Democrat, who was a sponsor of a resolution to impeach Bush, said, "Yes, I do."

He asserted that most viewers would find his claim to be accurate.