‘Second Front’ on the Iraq Intel Inquiry: Bearing Fruit Already?

I wonder if there is any connection between this story — Bush to Furnish All Prewar Iraq Data, Senator Says — and this story: Democrats open second front against Bush in war over Iraqi secrets.

The AP says that the White House has caved, and will turn over all the pre 9/11 documents the Intel committee was asking for. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that the Intel Committee Democrats will invoke an unknown-to-me rule and run their own official inquiry. Which given the history of bipartisanship on the Intel Committee is pretty amazing if true.

I see three possibilities: (1) The Telegraph is wrong — wouldn't be the first time they blew some Senator's remark out of proportion; (2) The Democrat's threat to run “a second, 'independent' investigation into the role of the White House and the Pentagon in processing pre-war intelligence on Iraq” was a bargaining chip, and it pried loose the documents; (3) It's a coincidence, and the Democrats are going ahead with their independent inquiry.

Here's the really intriguing part of the Telegraph story,

[quoting Sen. Richard Durbin] “If the Republican leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee is determined to protect the administration at any cost, we'll do the investigative job on our own.”

The inquiry, under a rule never evoked before, would have legal powers to demand documents and summon witnesses from within the administration, potentially leading to high-ranking confrontations with top Bush officials.

I never heard of such a rule. If it really exists, can the committee rescind it to block the Democrats if they want to go it alone?

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