Webb not satisfied with Iraq&Iran answers

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said yesterday that he is not satisfied with the Bush administration’s response to his inquiries on whether the White House believes its signing statement accompanying the 2002 Iraq war authorization gives the president authority to attack Iran.

Webb first wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and newly confirmed deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte last month after a Rice appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During questioning by Webb, Rice did not clearly state whether President Bush believes he can pursue action against Iran under his 2002 signing statement, which interprets the war authorization as a broad mandate to defend “threats to national interests.”

Webb said yesterday that he has heard from Rice and Negroponte, but that their responses were “lengthy and not to the point,” adding that he intends to pursue a clarification of presidential authority to use force in Iran in the near future.