Congressional Record: July 17, 2003 (Senate)
Page S9580-S9581                        


  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, for almost a week now the Senate has 
been debating the appropriations bill for the Department of Defense. 
Several amendments have been offered regarding the need to determine 
the accuracy of our pre-war intelligence and the use of that 
intelligence by the Executive--specifically, a reference in the 
President's State of the Union message that has now been acknowledged 
to be erroneous. I want to take a few minutes to comment on some of 
these continuing questions regarding the accuracy of pre-war 
intelligence which became a part of the public debate soon following 
the invasion of Iraq. I have worked with Chairman Roberts to find a 
bipartisan approach to reviewing these issues. On June 20 we reached 
agreement on the terms of reference for what was by then an ongoing 
inquiry. I had proposed a broader, more formal approach but after some 
discussion agreed to proceed with a structured review and see where the 
information led us.
  The committee has been poring through the volumes of material 
provided by the intelligence community and interviewing relevant 
officials, and has held two closed hearings and one briefing.
  But as this process has moved forward it has become increasing clear 
that a business as usual, oversight review is not going to be able to 
address our expanding appreciation of the scope of the problem. Every 
day brings new information, often from the press, which requires us to 
make sure that we have the right charter and organization for this 
  Tuesday it was the story, reported in the Washington Post, that a 
four-star general was sent to Niger last year to inquire about the 
security of Niger's uranium. According to the article, the general said 
that he came away convinced that Niger's uranium stock was secure. 
Obviously, there is much to be learned about this. Why was he sent? 
What was his mission? Who was aware of the trip? And what happened to 
the general's report when he returned?
  This revelation follows on the heels of a week of accusations, 
denials, admissions and recriminations among the senior members of the 
administration's national security team about who was responsible for 
language related to Iraqi uranium purchases appearing in the 
President's 2003 State of the Union speech. By week's end, Director 
Tenet had stepped forward to accept responsibility. His statement, 
however, raised many other questions about how this information was 
handled by those outside the intelligence community.
  The credibility of the intelligence related to Iraq and Niger first 
came to public attention in March when the IAEA determined the 
documents supporting the charges to be fraudulent. I immediately asked 
Director Mueller to have the FBI investigate the counterintelligence 
implications of this revelation. Subsequently, Senator Roberts joined 
me in asking the Inspectors General at the CIA and State Department to 
investigate how this information was handled by the intelligence 
  These investigations, however, will answer only questions of how we 
came into possession of these documents and what the intelligence 
agencies did with them. They cannot, because of the reach of these 
investigative organizations, deal with the questions that have 
dominated the public debate in recent days. How did information, known 
to be dubious at best, find its way into the President's State of the 
Union speech? Who is responsible for inserting the information? Were 
reservations properly conveyed to senior officials? If not, why not? If 
so, why were those reservations not heeded?
  It seems clear that the White House staff played a key role in this 
episode. Unless we follow the evidence wherever it leads, we will end 
up reporting to the American people only part of the story. And the 
Niger episode is just the first example of what we can expect as we get 
further into this process.
  I am committed to a complete, bipartisan investigation that covers 
the full spectrum from collection to the analysis and use of prewar 
intelligence about Iraq. I believe that the Senate Intelligence 
Committee has the authority to conduct that investigation. But it has 
to be willing to use the full authority that the Senate has given it, 
or to ask the Senate if it needs any additional authority.
  We should bite the bullet and authorize a formal investigation, 
explicitly state that it will examine the full range of activities 
concerning prewar intelligence--which includes the use of that 
intelligence--and provide for the

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direction, organization and resources that will assure a complete and 
probing examination of all facts.
  In short, it is now clear that this is not an ordinary oversight 
review but should be a full-fledged investigative effort, with a clear 
charter and with sufficient staffing and resources. We must do whatever 
is necessary to get to the bottom of this, and answer the fundamental 
questions of how intelligence was used to support this war.