Congressional Record: July 8, 2003 (House)
Page H6276-H6303                      


  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

                              {time}  1215

  Mr. Chairman, let me confirm that I think this bill will be supported 
broadly on both sides of the aisle, and I would simply like to bring 
three matters to the attention of the House.
  First of all, I really do believe that this institution is going to 
have to take a look at the number of commitments that we have worldwide 
and compare that to the strain that we have on the available troops for 
use under these many commitments. I think anyone who looks at the 
situation will understand that we are dangerously close to having an 
overextended military; and I think we ought to ask ourselves honestly 
if we are going to engage in these many commitments around the world, 
do we need to have a larger Army. In my view if we are, then we do. If 
we do not intend to enlarge the Army, then I think we must be much more 
aggressive in asking our allies to help us deal with some of the 
peacekeeping functions that we face, for instance, in Iraq.
  Secondly, I do have some misgivings about the funding levels for SDI 
in the bill.
  Thirdly, I want to talk about something that I think is more 
important than any of those considerations. This Subcommittee of 
Defense is perhaps the most bipartisan of all appropriations 
subcommittees, and the Committee on Appropriations is probably the most 
bipartisan committee in the House; and it is in that spirit that I 
raise a matter that I think every Member should be aware of because of 
its deadly importance. It involves intelligence, specifically the 
intelligence gathering and analysis used in support of Operation Iraqi 
  What I am going to say is based on published reports purportedly 
based on interviews with intelligence officials and military officers. 
Neither I, nor I suspect anyone in the House of Representatives, knows 
the extent to which these reports are accurate so there is no 
possibility of disclosing classified material. We have had the staff of 
the committee look at the allegations on a bipartisan basis, and I 
think it is fair to say, while they do not have enough information to 
reach specific conclusions, they do find much of what has been said in 
these stories to be credible.
  In addition to the CIA, which is an independent agency, there are 
four major intelligence organizations inside the Department of Defense. 
All of these entities are funded in this bill. The press stories I am 
referring to, and I would be glad to provide copies of them to any 
Member who is interested, those stories argue that a group of civilian 
employees in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, all of whom are 
political employees, have long been dissatisfied with the information 
produced by the established intelligence agencies both inside and 
outside the Department. That was particularly true, apparently, with 
respect to the situation in Iraq.
  As a result, it is reported that they established a special operation 
within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which was named the 
Office of Special Plans. That office was charged with collecting, 
vetting, and disseminating intelligence completely outside the normal 
intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears that the information 
collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with the 
established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed 
on to the National Security Council and the President without having 
been vetted with anyone other than OSD political appointees.
  It is further alleged that the purpose of this operation was not only 
to produce intelligence more in keeping with the preheld views of those 
individuals, but to intimidate analysts in the established intelligence 
organizations to produce information that was more supportive of policy 
decisions which they had already decided to propose. There is 
considerable discussion regarding the intelligence relating to weapons 
of mass destruction.
  I think it would be unfortunate if this issue were subsumed by the 
question of whether or not Saddam Hussein had such weapons. First of 
all, we do not know at this point. My personal suspicion has always 
been that he did. Secondly, measuring the quality of our intelligence 
apparatus requires more than determining whether the reporting was 
right or wrong on any single issue. Is what was reported consistent 
with the best information that was available? Did we reach the right 
conclusion based on good information or by happenstance?
  These allegations, however, go well beyond the issue of WMDs. It 
appears that the individuals in question also challenged the consensus 
within the intelligence community on the number of troops that would be 
required for a successful invasion. The political appointees within the 
Office of the Secretary maintained regular contact with sources within 
the Iraqi National Congress, who in turn maintained contact with 
sources inside of Iraq.

[[Page H6298]]

  The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) has 
  (By unanimous consent, Mr. Obey was allowed to proceed for 3 
additional minutes.)
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, based on information transmitted by these 
sources, the political appointees argued that the conclusions of the 
intelligence community, the Joint Chiefs, and in particular General 
Shinseki, were in error and the invasion could be successfully carried 
out with fewer than 50,000 troops.
  While the chiefs in the end got most of the troops that they 
requested, it appears that the invasion was both lighter than they 
would have desired and lighter than what was required. The inability to 
fully protect supply lines did in fact result in the loss of life. The 
shortage of available personnel did leave certain critical sites such 
as nuclear facilities unprotected.
  We all know this is incredibly serious business. It is important not 
only to understand what we did or did not do with respect to Iraq, but 
it is far more important in terms of what we will do in the future. How 
will the information that the President and the Congress receive on our 
options in Korea be put together, for instance? Will the long-
established collection mechanisms, evaluation and dissemination be 
used, or will we again fall back on the ad hoc efforts of this self-
appointed group of experts?
  It is important to note that these same individuals have established 
a new office with an Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. This 
office will have more than 100 people, and it is widely believed in the 
intelligence community that the office is being created for the express 
purpose of pressuring analysts to produce information more supportive 
of predetermined policy. I do not know if that is true or not, but the 
question remains, Will this office stand between our war fighters and 
the information they need? Why did they require this small group of 
civilians to employ this kind of a role? Will the Under Secretary 
compete with the Director of Central Intelligence in the coordination 
of these agencies? All I can say is that we are paying for all of this. 
We ought to have the answers.
  I would like to ask Members to remember that there was a reason the 
National Security Act of 1946 placed all intelligence activities under 
the control of one man, the Director of Central Intelligence. General 
Hoyt Vandenberg, who himself served as the DCI, explained that decision 
in testimony before Congress. He said, ``The joint congressional 
committee to investigate the Pearl Harbor attack found failures that 
went to the very structure of our intelligence organizations, a failure 
to coordinate the collection and dissemination of intelligence, and the 
failure to centralize intelligence functions of common concern to more 
than one department of the government which could more efficiently be 
performed centrally.'' I think we need to remember those words, and I 
think the Congress needs to dig and dig hard to get to the bottom of 
  I do not, frankly, know what the right structure for gathering and 
dissemination of intelligence information ought to be, but I am very 
leery of the fact that we have a new operation which can deal with 
information without clearing it with anyone else. The reason the system 
has served us so well over the past years is because all information 
has been vetted with other people who are supposed to know the most 
about it. I think it is dangerous when we get away from that practice.