WASHINGTON - Walking a tightrope on a politically charged issue, Sen. John F. Kerry vowed weeks ago to raise the controversial ``Downing Street Memo'' as an issue in Washington, but has since publicly held his tongue on the matter.
Instead, Kerry has been enlisting other senators to sign onto a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee seeking answers about the memo, aides said.
The memo contained minutes of a 2002 meeting in which British officials told Prime Minister Tony Blair they believed the Bush administration had already decided on military action against Iraq and ``fixed'' intelligence to fit the policy.
The Downing Street memo generated a firestorm in Britain last month and has gained increasing attention in the United States. President Bush and Blair have denied allegations that the memo proves intelligence was misrepresented.
``When I go back (to Washington) on Monday, I am going to raise the issue,'' Kerry told the New Bedford Standard-Times about the memo on June 2.
``I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home,'' he added. ``And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that.''
But Kerry has not been vocal about the issue since then, raising it neither in a floor speech nor in the media. Kerry spokesman David Wade insisted the administration needs to answer questions about the memo.
``It's not too much for Americans to expect a thorough explanation of the Downing Street memo,'' he said. ``The administration and the Washington Republicans who control Congress scoff at the idea of congressional oversight, and insult Americans by brushing off even the most basic questions about pre-war intelligence and planning for the aftermath of war.''
© 2005 Boston Herald