The longest serving U.S. Senator described how a spy novel scenario led to him voting against declaring war on Iraq.
“The Road Taken: A Memoir” by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) covers his career from his earliest campaign to become the first Democrat sent to the Senate by Vermont voters. The title was inspired by the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.”
One of the moments from his political career he wrote about in his book, which was released in August, involved two encounters in a park.
“Two joggers trailed behind us,” Leahy reminisced about their first meeting. “They stopped and asked what I thought of the intelligence briefings I’d been getting. Marcelle realized this was a conversation she would normally not be involved in and kept on walking ahead.”
The joggers asked Leahy if his briefers had shown him “File Eight.”
“It was obvious from the look on my face I had not seen such a file,” Leahy wrote, adding the encounter felt like Bob Woodward meeting Deep Throat, except in broad daylight.
The senator quickly arranged to read File Eight, Leahy wrote, adding the file contradicted much of the information he had received from the Bush administration.
Days after the initial meeting, Leahy and his wife were again greeted by the joggers while walking together in the same park.
“After the opening greetings, they told me they understood I had seen File Eight and asked what did I think about it,” Leahy said, adding he replied with his usual disclaimer that he could not speak about classified information he had been briefed on. “They said of course they understood but wondered if I had been shown File Twelve.”
Leahy stated the look on his face, again, probably made it obvious what his answer was despite his silence.
“The next day, I was back in the secure room in the Capitol to read File Twelve, and it again contradicted the statements the administration, and especially Vice President Cheney, seemed to be relying on, and I told my staff and others that for a number of reasons I absolutely intended to vote against the war in Iraq,” he recounted.
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