Congressional Record: June 5, 2003 (Senate)
Page S7432-S7435                       

              Iraq's WMD Intelligence: Where is the Outrage?

  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, with each passing day, the questions 
concerning and surrounding Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction 
take on added urgency. Where are the massive stockpiles of VX, mustard, 
and other nerve agents that we were told Iraq was hoarding? Where are 
the thousands of liters of botulinim toxin? Wasn't it the looming 
threat to America posed by these weapons that propelled the United 
States into war with Iraq? Isn't this the reason American military 
personnel were called upon to risk their lives in mortal combat?
  On March 17, in his final speech to the American people before 
ordering the invasion of Iraq, President Bush took one last opportunity 
to bolster his case for war. The centerpiece of his argument was the 
same message he brought to the United Nations months before, and the 
same message he hammered home at every opportunity in the intervening 
months, namely that Saddam Hussein had failed to destroy Iraq's weapons 
of mass destruction and thus presented an imminent danger to the 
American people. ``Intelligence gathered by this and other governments 
leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal 
some of the most lethal weapons ever devised,'' the President said.
  Now, nearly 2 months after the fall of Baghdad, the United States has 
yet to find any physical evidence of those lethal weapons. Could they 
be buried underground or are they somehow camouflaged in plain sight? 
Have they been shipped outside of the country? Do they actually exist? 
The questions are mounting. What started weeks ago as a restless murmur 
throughout Iraq has intensified into a worldwide cacophony of 
  The fundamental question that is nagging at many is this: How 
reliable were the claims of this President and key members of his 
administration that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed a clear 
and imminent threat to the United States, such a grave threat that 
immediate war was the only recourse?
  Lawmakers, who were assured before the war that weapons of mass 
destruction would be found in Iraq, and many of whom voted--now get 
this--to give this administration a sweeping grant of authority to wage 
war based upon those assurances, have now been placed in the 
uncomfortable position of wondering if they were misled. The media is 
ratcheting up the demand for answers: Could it be that the intelligence 
was wrong, or could it be that the facts were manipulated a little 
here, a little there? These are very serious and grave questions, and 
they require immediate answers. We cannot--and must not--brush such 
questions aside. We owe the people of this country an answer. Those 
people who are listening, who are watching this Chamber, and every 
Member of this body ought to be demanding answers.
  I am encouraged that the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence 
Committees are planning to investigate the credibility of the 
intelligence that was used to build the case for war against Iraq. We 
need a thorough, open, gloves-off investigation of this matter, and we 
need it quickly. The credibility of the President and his 
administration hangs in the balance. We must not trifle with the 
people's trust by foot-dragging.
  What amazes me is that the President himself is not clamoring for an 
investigation. It is his integrity, President Bush's integrity, that is 
on the line. It is his truthfulness that is being questioned. It is his 
leadership that has come under scrutiny. And yet he has raised no 
question that I have heard. He has expressed no curiosity about the 
strange turn of events in Iraq. He has expressed no anger at the 
possibility that he might have been misled by people in his own 
administration. How is it that the President, who was so adamant about 
the dangers of WMD, has expressed no concern over the whereabouts of 
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
  Indeed, instead of leading the charge to uncover the discrepancy 
between what we were told before the war and what we have found--or 
failed to find--since the war, the White House is circling the wagons 
and scoffing at the notion that anyone in the administration 
exaggerated the threat from Iraq.
  In an interview with Polish television last week, President Bush 
noted that two trailers were found in Iraq that U.S. intelligence 
officials believe are mobile biological weapons production labs, 
although no trace of chemical or biological material was found in the 
trailers. ``We found the weapons of mass destruction,'' the President 
was quoted as saying. But certainly he cannot be satisfied with such 
meager evidence.
  At the CIA, Director George Tenet released a terse statement the 
other day defending the intelligence his agency provided on Iraq. ``The 
integrity of our process was maintained throughout and any suggestion 
to the contrary is simply wrong,'' he said. How can he be so absolutely 
  At the Pentagon, Doug Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense for 
policy, held a rare press conference this week to deny reports that a 
high-level intelligence cell in the Defense Department doctored data 
and pressured the CIA to strengthen the case for war. ``I know of no 
pressure. I can't rule out what other people may have perceived. Who 
knows what people perceive,'' he said. Is this administration not at 
all concerned about the perception of deception? The perception is 
  And Secretary of State Powell, who presented the U.S. case against 
Iraq to the United Nations last February, strenuously defended his 
presentation in an interview this week and denied any erosion in the 
administration's credibility. ``Everybody knows that Iraq had weapons 
of mass destruction,'' he said. Should he not be more concerned than 
that about U.S. claims before the United Nations?
  And yet . . . and yet . . . the questions continue to grow, and the 
doubts are beginning to drown out the assurances. For every insistence 
from Washington that the weapons of mass destruction case against Iraq 
is sound comes a counterpoint from the field--another dry hole, another 
dead end.
  As the top Marine general in Iraq was recently quoted as saying, ``It 
was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we 
have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward 
dispersal sites. Again, believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've 
been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti 
border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there.''
  Who are the American people to believe? What are we to think? Even 
though I opposed the war against Iraq because I believe that the 
doctrine of preemption is a flawed and dangerous instrument of foreign 
policy, I did believe that Saddam Hussein possessed some chemical and 
biological weapons capability. But I did not believe that he presented 
an imminent threat to the United States as indeed he did not.
  Such weapons may eventually turn up. I said so weeks ago; they may 
eventually turn up. But my greater fear is that the belligerent stance 
of the United States may have convinced Saddam Hussein to sell or 
disperse his weapons to dark forces outside of Iraq. Shouldn't this 
administration be equally alarmed if they really believed that Saddam 
had such dangerous capabilities?
  The administration took steps to protect the oil facilities in Iraq 
from being damaged and set on fire. The administration took 
extraordinary steps

[[Page S7433]]

to do that. Why did it not take equally extraordinary steps to protect 
chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear weapons, possibly, from 
being looted, from being stolen, from being taken away by those who 
would sell them, possibly, to terrorists?
  Saddam Hussein is missing. Osama bin Laden is missing. Iraq's weapons 
of mass destruction are missing. And the President's mild claims that 
we are ``on the look'' do not comfort me. There ought to be an army of 
UN inspectors combing the countryside in Iraq or searching for evidence 
of disbursement of these weapons right now. Why are we waiting? Is 
there fear of the unknown or fear of the truth?
  This nation--and, indeed, the world--was led into war with Iraq on 
the grounds that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed 
an imminent threat to the United States and to the global community. As 
the President said in his March 17 address to the Nation, ``The danger 
is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, 
obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their 
stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of 
innocent people in our country, or any other.''
  That fear may still be valid, but I wonder how the war with Iraq has 
really mitigated the threat from terrorists. As the recent attack in 
Saudi Arabia proved, terrorism is alive and well and unaffected by the 
situation in Iraq.
  Meanwhile, the President seems oblivious to the controversy swirling 
about the justification for the invasion of Iraq. Our Nation's 
credibility before the world is at stake. While his administration digs 
in to defend the status quo, Members of Congress are questioning the 
credibility of the intelligence and the public case made by this 
administration on which the war with Iraq was based. Members of the 
media, Members of the fourth estate, are openly challenging whether 
America's intelligence agencies were simply wrong or were callously 
manipulated. Vice President Cheney's numerous visits to the CIA are 
being portrayed by some intelligence professionals as ``pressure.'' And 
the American people are wondering, once again, what is going on in the 
dark shadows of Washington.
  It is time that we had some answers. It is time that the American 
people were given some answers. It is time that the administration 
stepped up its acts to reassure the American people that the horrific 
weapons that the administration told us threatened the world's safety 
have not fallen into terrorist hands. It is time that the President 
leveled with the American people. It is time that the President of the 
United States demanded that we get to the bottom of this matter and to 
follow every lead, regardless of where that lead goes.
  We have waged a costly war against Iraq. American fighting men and 
women are still dying in Iraq. We have prevailed. But we are still 
losing, as I said, still losing American lives in that nation. And the 
troubled situation there is far from settled. American troops will 
likely be needed there for months, many months--even years. Billions of 
American tax dollars will continue to be needed to rebuild that 
country. I only hope that we have not won the war only to lose the 
peace. Until we have determined the fate of Iraq's weapons of mass 
destruction, or determined that they, in fact, did not exist, we cannot 
rest, we cannot claim victory.
  Iraq's weapons of mass destruction remain a mystery, an enigma, a 
conundrum. What are they, where are they, how dangerous are they? Or 
were they a manufactured excuse by an administration eager to seize a 
country? It is time these questions were answered. It is time--past 
time--for the administration to level with the American people, and it 
is time for the President of the United States to demand an accounting 
from his own administration as to exactly how our Nation was led down 
such a twisted path to war. His credibility and the credibility of this 
Nation is at stake.
  I yield the floor.