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Rice Hints at Rejection of Congressional Subpoena

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is suggesting she will defy a congressional subpoena to testify about the Bush administration's reasons for invading Iraq.

Rice told reporters in Oslo, Norway Thursday that she has "answered and answered and answered" questions about what she knew about the administration's claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger in order to build nuclear weapons. That claime later proved to be false.

Rice served as President Bush's national security advisor during his first term, when the administration began planning to oust Saddam Hussein. She says any discussions with Mr. Bush on the matter are protected under executive privilege, and she is not required to testify before Congress.

The Democratic-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the subpoena Wednesday by a vote of 21 to 10. Rice says she will be happy to answer any of the committee's questions in writing.

Past U.S. presidents have used executive privilege to prevent turning over information to the legislature, claiming it is part of the separation of powers granted under the U.S. Constitution.

Another House panel Wednesday authorized, but did not issue, a subpoena to a former Department of Justice official involved in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The Judiciary Committee voted 32 to 6 to grant immunity from prosecution to Monica Goodling, a former aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Goodling resigned her post earlier this month. She has refused to testify before Congress, citing her rights under the Fifth Amendment of the constitution which protects individuals from self-incrimination.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.