THE NOMINATION OF ANTHONY LAKE (Senate - February 13, 1997)

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Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, there has been considerable discussion in the public media and otherwise about the pending nomination of the Director of the CIA with the President having submitted the name of National Security Adviser Anthony Lake.

Last year the Senate Intelligence Committee did an extensive inquiry into a matter involving the sale of Iranian arms to Bosnia which involved Mr. Lake. I have written a `Dear Colleague' letter which I would like to read into the Record, and I ask unanimous consent that, at the conclusion of my statement, the Intelligence Committee report, a bipartisan report although there were some dissents, be printed in the Record.

We are checking to see how much of that may be printed in the Record under the rules.

The `Dear Colleague' letter which I am submitting today is as follows:

Dear Colleague: Since the media is filled with commentary about National Security Adviser Anthony Lake's nomination to be CIA Director and a pro-Lake `Dear Colleague' letter has been circulated, I consider it important to give my fellow senators and others my thinking from last year's Intelligence Committee hearings, which I chaired, on his activities in connection with the sale of Iranian arms to Bosnia.

In my opinion, an indispensable qualification to be CIA Director is a mindset to keep Congress fully and currently informed on intelligence matters. Mr. Lake acknowledges he was a part of a plan by officials of the State Department and National Security Council to conceal from Congress and other key Executive Branch officials a new Administration policy to give a `green light' on the sale of Iranian arms to Bosnia when a U.S. and UN embargo prohibited it.

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John M. Shalikashvili and CIA Director R. James Woolsey told the Senate Intelligence Committee they knew nothing about that `green light' or the change in U.S. policy.

In concluding that Congress should have been informed about this matter, the bipartisan Intelligence Committee report stated:

`By keeping from Congress the full truth about U.S. policy, the Executive branch effectively limited Congress's ability to responsibly debate and legislate on the Bosnia issue.'
Rejecting the argument that the matter involved traditional diplomatic activity, the bipartisan Intelligence Committee report stated:

`But it was not traditional diplomatic activity to: (1) give a response to a foreign head of state which effectively contradicted stated U.S. policy on isolating a country, in this case Iran, against which U.S. law imposed sanctions; (2) implicity turn a blind eye to activity that violated a United Nations Security Council resolution which the United States had supported and was obligated to obey; and (3) direct a U.S. Ambassador not to make a written report of a conversation with a foreign head of state.'

Even though I heard Mr. Lake's version during the Intelligence Committee's proceedings and have talked to him in a private meeting since his nomination, I believe he is entitled to be heard at his confirmation hearing before a final judgment is made on his nomination.

I strongly disagree with the practice of abandoning nominees like Lani Guinier, Douglas Ginsburg and Zoe Baird or reaching a conclusion on their nominations until they have had their day in court. If we are to persuade able people to come into government, nominees are entitled to state their case in Senate hearings so that the charges will not stand alone without an appropriate opportunity to respond.

It is beside the point that the Department of Justice concluded Mr. Lake did not commit perjury or obstruction of justice in the inquiries on the sale of Iranian arms to Bosnia. There never was any basis, in my opinion, for the referral by the House Committee on those issues.

Nor am I concerned about the ancient history of Mr. Lake's so-called leftist activities which have drawn considerable attention. I had thought the stock sale issue was of lesser importance until he agreed to pay a $5,000 fine, so that issue calls for an inquiry; and it may be that other questions merit investigation such as the recent report that a member of his staff engaged in fundraising.

There is no doubt that Mr. Lake is a man of considerable ability, and I do not question the sincerity of his motives in acting in what he considered to be in the national interest on the Bosnia issue. But the critical question remains as to whether Mr. Lake can be counted upon to keep the Congress currently and fully informed.

The Congress must have positive assurance on that issue in the light of a half century's experience with the CIA including the Iran Contra affair.

And this `Dear Colleague' letter is signed by me and circulated to my colleagues.

In order to have a complete understanding of this issue, which as I say I consider to be central to whether Mr. Lake ought to be confirmed as Director of the CIA, it is necessary to review in some detail and in some depth the bipartisan report filed by the Intelligence Committee. I advise my colleagues that the report is available from the Intelligence Committee, and encourage all Senators to read it.

I thank the Chair, yield the floor, and suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The Senator from Alaska is recognized to speak for up to 10 minutes.

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Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I have several things I want to discuss this morning. I have some charts, and I want to proceed as the charts are put up.