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

                           Amendment No. 1277

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I send an amendment to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Illinois [Mr. Durbin] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 1277.

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To limit the availability of funds for the Intelligence 
 Community Management Account pending a report on the development and 
   use of intelligence relating to Iraq and Operation Iraqi Freedom)

       Insert after section 8123 the following:
       Sec. 8124. (a) Limitation on Availability of Certain 
     Funds.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, of the 
     amount appropriated by title VII of the Act under the heading 
     ``Intelligence Community Management Account'', $50,000,000 
     may only be obligated after the President submits to the 
     appropriate committees of Congress a report on the role of 
     Executive branch policymakers in the development and use of 
     intelligence relating to Iraq and Operation Iraqi Freedom, 
     including intelligence on--
       (1) the possession by Iraq of chemical, biological, and 
     nuclear weapons, and the locations of such weapons;
       (2) the links of the former Iraq regime to Al Qaeda;
       (3) the attempts of Iraq to acquire uranium from Africa;
       (4) the attempts of Iraq to procure aluminum tubes for the 
     development of nuclear weapons;
       (5) the possession by Iraq of mobile laboratories for the 
     production of weapons of mass destruction;
       (6) the possession by Iraq of delivery systems for weapons 
     of mass destruction; and
       (7) any other matters that bear on the imminence of the 
     threat from Iraq to the national security of the United 
       (b) Additional Matters on Uranium Claim.--The report on the 
     matters specified in subsection (a)(3) shall also include 
     information on which personnel of the Executive Office of the 
     President, including the staff of the National Security 
     Council, were involved in preparing, vetting, and approving, 
     in consultation with the intelligence community, the 
     statement contained in the 2003 State of the Union address of 
     the President on the efforts of Iraq to obtain uranium from 
     Africa, including the roles such personnel played in the 
     drafting and ultimate approval of the statement, the full 
     range of responses such personnel received from the 
     intelligence community, and which personnel ultimately 
     approved the statement.
       (c) Appropriate Committees of Congress Defined.--In this 
     section, the term ``appropriate committees of Congress'' 
       (1) the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and 
     Foreign Relations and the Select Committee on Intelligence of 
     the Senate; and
       (2) the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and 
     International Relations and the Permanent Select Committee on 
     Intelligence of the House of Representatives.

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, yesterday as a member of the Senate 
Intelligence Committee, I sat through a 5-hour hearing with the 
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mr. George Tenet. It was 
one of the longest hearings I have ever been a party to in that 
committee. Virtually every member of the committee was present for the 
entire hearing. I think we can accurately draw the conclusion from that 
that it was a hearing of great importance because it addressed an issue 
which is central to our foreign policy and our national security, and 
that is the intelligence agencies of our Government.
  We are asking now some very difficult but important questions along 
two lines. First, was the intelligence gathered before the United 
States invasion of Iraq accurate and complete? Secondly, was that 
information relayed and communicated to the American people in an 
honest and accurate fashion? Those are two separate questions that are 
  Yesterday, Director Tenet reiterated publicly what he has said before 
on July 11, that he accepted responsibility for the fact that in the 
President's State of the Union Address last January a sentence was 
included which was at best misleading. The sentence, of

[[Page S9521]]

course, related to whether or not Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium 
from the African nation of Niger. What I am about to say is not from 
the hearing yesterday but rather from public disclosures and press 
reports relative to that issue.
  What we know is this: The allegations and rumors about Iraq obtaining 
uranium and other fissile materials from the country of Niger had been 
discussed at some length for a long period of time. In fact, documents 
had been produced at one point that some believed implicated the Iraqis 
and the Niger nation in this particular transaction. It is also true, 
though, that the people who are expert in this area had looked 
carefully and closely at that documentation and many had come to the 
opposite conclusion. Some had concluded this information, whether it 
was from British intelligence sources or American intelligence sources, 
was dubious, was not credible. Then it was disclosed that the 
documentation was actually a forgery.
  Many of those documents have been made public. Yesterday a leading 
newspaper in Italy published the documentation and it was reported on 
the news channels last night in the United States that when those 
documents were carefully reviewed, it was found that, in fact, they 
contained things which on their face were ridiculous, names of 
ministers in Iraq and Niger who had not been in that position for 
years, supposedly official seals on documentation which, when examined 
closely, turned out to be patently false and phony.
  So it was with that backdrop that the President, in his State of the 
Union Address, considered a statement concerning whether or not Niger 
had sold these fissile materials to Iraq.
  It has been disclosed publicly and can be discussed openly on the 
Senate floor that there was communication between the Central 
Intelligence Agency and the White House on this issue. It is apparent 
now to those who have followed this story that there was a discussion 
and an agreement as to what would be included in the speech. The 16 
famous words relative to this transaction have now become central in 
our discussion about the gathering and use of intelligence.
  What I heard yesterday during the course of 5 hours with Director 
Tenet is that we have been asking the wrong question. The question we 
have been asking for some period of time now since this came to light 
was, Why didn't Director Tenet at the CIA stop those who were trying to 
put misleading information in the President's State of the Union 
Address? That is an important question. Director Tenet has accepted 
responsibility for not stopping the insertion of those words. But after 
yesterday's hearing and some reflection, a more important question is 
before the Senate. That question is this: Who are the people in the 
White House who are so determined to include this misleading 
information in the State of the Union Address and why are they still 
  That goes to the heart of the question, not just on the gathering of 
intelligence but the use of the intelligence by the Executive Office of 
the President. That is an important question. It is a question we 
should face head on.
  An attempt was made last night by my colleague from New Jersey, 
Senator Corzine, to call for a bipartisan commission, a balanced 
commission, to look into this question about intelligence gathering and 
the use of the intelligence leading up to the war on Iraq. His 
amendment was defeated by a vote of 51 to 45 on a party-line vote--all 
Republicans voting against it; all Democrats supporting it. Senator 
Corzine's effort for a bipartisan, balanced, evenhanded commission was 
rejected by this Senate.
  The amendment which I bring today offers to the Senate an 
alternative. If the Senate does not believe there should be a 
bipartisan commission to investigate this question, this use of 
intelligence, then what I have said in this amendment is that we are 
calling on the President to report to Congress, the appropriate 
committees in the classified and unclassified fashion, whether or not 
there was a misuse of intelligence leading up to the war on Iraq. Those 
are the only two options before the Senate.
  In this situation, we have the Intelligence Committee in the House 
and the Senate looking at the classified aspect of this issue. We have 
said in the Senate that we do not accept the idea--at least, the 
Republican side does not accept the idea--of a bipartisan commission 
looking at this issue. So, clearly, the responsibility falls on the 
shoulders of the President.
  This amendment says that the President will report to the appropriate 
committees of Congress on this use of the intelligence information.
  Why is this an important discussion? It is particularly important 
from several angles. First, if we are engaged successfully in a war on 
terrorism, one of the greatest weapons in our arsenal will be 
intelligence. We will have to depend on our intelligence agencies to 
anticipate problems and threats to the United States. We will have to 
gather credible information, process that information, determine its 
credibility, determine its authenticity, and use it in defense of the 
United States. Now, more than ever, intelligence gathering is 
absolutely essential for America's national security.

  Second, the President has said we are now following a policy of 
preemption; we will no longer wait until a country poses an imminent 
threat to the United States or our security. If the President and his 
administration believe a country may pose such a threat in the future, 
the President has said we are going to protect our right to attack that 
country to forestall any invasion or attack on the United States.
  How do you reach the conclusion that another country is preparing to 
attack? Clearly, again, by intelligence gathering. Now, more than ever, 
in the war on terrorism and the use of a policy of preemption, we 
depend on intelligence. Those are the two central points.
  Equally, if not more important, is what happened in the lead-up to 
the invasion of Iraq. For months, the President, the Vice President, 
and his Cabinet all sought to convince the American people this 
invasion of Iraq was not only inevitable but was, frankly, in the best 
interests of America's national security. The administration, the 
President, gathering the intelligence data, presented it to the 
American people in a variety of different fashions. We can all recall 
how this started. It was almost a year ago that in Crawford, TX, we 
first heard the President while he was in summer retreat suggest that 
something had to be done about Iraq and used the words ``regime 
  Then, over the months that followed, a variety of different 
rationales came forward for the need to invade Iraq and remove Saddam 
Hussein. First and foremost--and nobody argued this point on either 
side of the aisle--Saddam Hussein was a very bad leader, not just for 
the people of Iraq but for the region and a threat to the world. His 
removal from power from the beginning was certainly something that 
everyone understood would be in the best interest of the people of 
  But the obvious question was, if you are going to set out just to 
remove bad leaders of the world, where would you draw the line and what 
would those leaders do in response? So the administration said there 
are more arguments, even more compelling rationales.
  First and foremost, in Iraq they were developing nuclear weapons. We 
recall that conversation. As evidence of that, administration officials 
talked about the fact that Iraq had obtained certain aluminum tubes 
that could likely be used for the development of new nuclear weapons.
  Now, in fact, we know on reflection that there was even a debate 
within the administration whether these aluminum tubes could be used 
for nuclear weapons. Despite that, the administration said 
categorically, we believe they will be used for nuclear weapons and we 
believe that is a rationale for the invasion.
  Second, on other weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological 
weapons, the administration went so far in its presentation to suggest 
that there were 550 sites where there was at least some possibility of 
weapons of mass destruction. They went into detail about how these 
weapons could threaten Israel, could threaten other countries in the 
region, might even threaten the United States. That information was 
given repeatedly.
  The fact is, we are 10 weeks after the successful completion of our 

[[Page S9522]]

invasion of Iraq. More than 1,000 inspections have been made in Iraq. 
No weapons of mass destruction have been found. There has been some 
small evidence related to the discovery of something buried in a rose 
garden that could have been a plan for the use of a nuclear device. 
There has been the discovery of these mobile units in trailers which 
might have been used for the development of biological weapons. Those 
things have been discovered but of the so-called 550 sites, the fact is 
we have not discovered or uncovered one as I stand here today.

  I am confident before this is over that we will find some evidence of 
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It could happen as soon as 
tomorrow. I think that will happen. I believe that will happen. But we 
were told we were dealing with 550 sites. Statements were made by the 
President, the Vice President, Ms. Condoleezza Rice and others, that 
Saddam Hussein had arsenals of chemical and biological weapons. They 
have not been apparent.
  To think in that lightning-fast conquest of Baghdad, somehow Saddam 
Hussein had the time to literally wipe away or destroy any evidence of 
weapons of mass destruction strains credulity.
  What we have now is a serious question as to whether the intelligence 
was valid and accurate or whether it was portrayed to the American 
people in a valid and accurate way.
  We also had allegations that Saddam Hussein was linked with al-Qaida. 
Of course, this is something of great concern to the American people. 
We know that the al-Qaida terrorists are responsible for September 11, 
the loss of at least 3,000 innocent American lives on that tragic day. 
We would and should do what we can in any way, shape, or form to 
eliminate al-Qaida's threat to terrorism. I joined the overwhelming 
majority of the Senate, giving the President the authority and power to 
move forward on this question as to whether or not we should eliminate 
al-Qaida and its terrorist threat. The fact is, now, as we reflect on 
that information provided by the administration prior to the invasion 
of Iraq, there is scant information and scant evidence to link Saddam 
Hussein and al-Qaida.

  The list goes on. It has raised serious questions about the 
intelligence gathering leading up to the invasion of Iraq and the 
portrayal of that information to the American people. There is nothing 
more sacred or important in this country than that we have trust in our 
leaders when it comes to the critical questions of national security. 
When a President of the United States, with all of his power and all of 
his authority, stands before the American people and says: I am asking 
you to provide me your sons, your daughters, your husbands, your wives, 
your loved ones, to stand in defense of America--that, I think, is the 
most solemn moment of a Presidency. That is what is being questioned 
now. Was the information, for example, in the State of the Union 
Address, accurate in terms of America's intelligence? Two weeks ago the 
President conceded at least that sentence was not.
  What I have asked for in this amendment is that the Bush White House 
come forward with information on the gathering and use of this 
intelligence. With this information, they will be able to tell us with 
more detail exactly how the intelligence was used, intelligence related 
to the possession by Iraq of chemical and biological and nuclear 
weapons and locations, the links of the former Iraqi regime to al-
Qaida, the attempts of Iraq to acquire uranium from Africa, the 
attempts of Iraq to procure aluminum tubes for the development of 
nuclear weapons, the possession by Iraq of mobile laboratories for the 
production of weapons of mass destruction, and the possession by Iraq 
of delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction, and any other 
matters that bear on the imminence of the threat from Iraq to the 
national security of the United States.
  I go into particular detail in paragraph B of this amendment where it 
relates to the acquisition of uranium from Africa because I think this 
has become abundantly clear. Some person or persons in the White House 
were bound and determined to include language in the President's State 
of the Union Address which was misleading, language which the President 
has disavowed, language which in fact Director Tenet said should never 
have been included.
  When you look at the uranium claims that were made in the President's 
State of the Union Address, and then read the statements made 
afterwards by members of the Bush White House, we can see on their face 
that we need to know more. Bush Communications Director Dan Bartlett, 
discussing the State of the Union Address, said last week that:

       There was no debate or questions with regard to that line 
     when it was signed off on.

  I will tell you point blank that is not factual, based on statements 
made by Director Tenet.
  On Friday, July 11 of this year, National Security Adviser 
Condoleezza Rice said there was ``discussion on that specific sentence 
so that it reflected better what the CIA thought.''
  Miss Rice said, ``Some specifics about amount and place were taken 
  Director Tenet said Friday that CIA officials objected and ``the 
language was changed.''
  White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Monday, July 14, that 
Miss Rice was not referring to the State of the Union speech, but she 
was, instead, referring to President Bush's October speech given in 
Cincinnati--even though Miss Rice was not asked about that speech.
  We have a situation here where the President and his advisers and 
speech writers were forewarned in October not to include in a speech in 
Cincinnati any reference to the acquisition of uranium by Iraq from the 
nation of Niger or from Africa. That admonition was given to a member 
of the White House staff and that element was deleted from the 
President's speech.
  Now we have statements from the President's National Security Adviser 
suggesting that there was still some discussion that needed to take 
place when it came to the State of the Union Address. I will tell you 
that is not a fact. This amendment which I am offering is asking that 
we have final clarity on exactly what happened in the White House on 
this critical piece of information that was part of the President's 
most important speech of the year, his State of the Union Address.
  White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer also said on Monday, July 
14, that while the line cut from the October speech in Cincinnati was 
based on Niger allegations, the State of the Union claim was based on 
``additional reporting from the CIA, separate and apart from Niger, 
naming other countries where they believed it was possible that Saddam 
was seeking uranium.''
  But Fleischer's words yesterday contradicted his assertion a week 
earlier that the State of the Union charge was ``based and predicated 
on the yellowcake from Niger.''
  Consider the confusion and distortions which we have already received 
from this administration about that line in the speech, and what it was 
referring to. That is a clear indication that more information is 
needed, more clarity is needed. We need from the President leadership 
in clearing this up and, frankly, clearing out those individuals who 
attempted to mislead him in his State of the Union Address.
  Miss Rice was asked a month ago about the President's State of the 
Union uranium claim on ABC's ``This Week,'' and here is what she 

       The intelligence community did not know at the time or at 
     levels that got to us that there was serious questions about 
     this report.

  But senior administration officials acknowledged over the weekend 
that Director Tenet argued personally to White House officials, 
including Deputy National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, who is in 
the office of Condoleezza Rice, that the allegations should not be used 
in the October Cincinnati speech, 4 months before the State of the 
Union Address.
  CIA officials raised doubts about the Niger claims, as Director Tenet 
outlined on July 11, last Friday. The last time was when ``CIA 
officials reviewing the draft remarks'' of the State of the Union 
``raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the 
intelligence with National Security Council colleagues.''
  Here is what it comes down to. We now have a battle ongoing within 
the administration over the issue of gathering and use of intelligence. 
The American people deserve more. They

[[Page S9523]]

deserve clarity. They deserve the President's disclosure. They deserve 
the dismissal of those responsible for putting this misleading language 
in the President's State of the Union Address. I think what is at stake 
is more than a little political embarrassment which this administration 
has faced over the last several days. What is at stake is the gathering 
and use of intelligence for the security of the United States of 

  This issue demonstrates the administration's intelligence-derived 
assertions about Iraq's levels of weapons of mass destruction-related 
activities raised increased concern about the integrity and use of 
intelligence and literally the credibility of our Government.
  We now know that when Secretary Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, 
was to make his address to the United Nations several days after the 
President's State of the Union Address, he sat down and, it has been 
reported in U.S. News and World Report, for a lengthy gathering with 
Director Tenet at CIA headquarters and went through point by point by 
point to make certain that he would not say anything in New York at the 
United Nations which could be easily rebutted by the Iraqis. Secretary 
Powell wanted to be careful that every word that he used in New York 
was defensible. And one of the first things he tossed out was that 
element of the President's State of the Union Address which related to 
acquiring uranium from Africa.
  Secretary Powell took the time and, with the right advisers, reached 
the right conclusion that certain things being said about Iraq that 
were being hyped and spun and exaggerated could not be defended. And he 
was not about to go before the United Nations Security Council and to 
use that information. He was careful in what he did because he knew 
what was at stake was not only his personal credibility but the 
credibility of the United States. That is why this incident involving 
the State of the Union Address is so important for us to look into.
  On the question of weapons of mass destruction, on August 26 of last 
year, Vice President Cheney said:

       Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now 
     has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is 
     amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, 
     and against us.

  On September 26, 2002, the President said:

       The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.

  On March 17, 2003, President Bush told the Nation:

       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.

  On March 30, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, said:

       We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit 
     and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.

  Not only did the administration tell us that there were over 500 
suspected sites Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was even specific as to their 
  Here we are 10 weeks later and 1,000 inspections later with no 
evidence of those weapons of mass destruction.
  On the al-Qaida connection, last year Secretary of Defense Donald 
Rumsfeld described evidence about a connection between Iraq and al-
Qaida as ``bulletproof.'' But he did not disclose that the intelligence 
community was, in fact, uncertain about the nature and extent of these 
  In his speech before the United Nations Security Council on February 
5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, in addition to the al-
Qaida-affiliated camp run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in areas not 
controlled by the Iraqi regime, two dozen extremists from al-Qaida-
affiliated organizations were operating freely in Baghdad.
  The claim of a close connection between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaida 
was key to the fears that Iraq could team up with terrorists to 
perpetrate another devastating attack on the United States. It is 
critical that the truth of these assertions be examined in light of 
what the United States has found during and after the war.
  On the issue of reconstituting its nuclear weapons program in 
addition to the dispute about whether Iraq was trying to acquire 
uranium from Africa, the intelligence community was divided about these 
aluminum tubes that Iraq purchased and whether they were, in fact, 
intended to develop nuclear devices or only conventional munitions. 
Administration officials made numerous statements, nevertheless, 
expressing certainty that these tubes were for a nuclear weapons 
  In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on December 
12, 2003, the President said,

       Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength 
     aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.

  On September 8, 2000, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said 
on CNN's ``Late Edition'' that the tubes ``are only really suited for 
nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.''
  On August 26, Vice President Dick Cheney told the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars that ``many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear 
weapons fairly soon. Just how soon we cannot gauge.''
  On March 16, the Vice President said:

       We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.

  Consider these assertions and these statements leading up to our 
decision to invade. The hard question which has to be asked is whether 
the intelligence supported the statements. If the intelligence did not, 
then in fact we have exaggerated misleading statements which have to be 
made part of our record.
  On the question of mobile biological warfare laboratories, Secretary 
of State Powell said in his speech to the United Nations Security 
Council that ``we know that Iraq has at least seven of these mobile, 
biological agent factories.''
  On May 28, 2003, the CIA posted on its Web site a document it 
prepared with the Defense Intelligence Agency entitled ``Iraqi Mobile 
Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants.'' This report concluded 
that the two trailers found in Iraq were for biological warfare agent 
production, even though other experts and members of the intelligence 
community disagreed with that conclusion, or believe there is not 
enough evidence to back it up. None of these alternative views were 
posted on the CIA's Web page.

  Did this Nation go to war based on flawed, incomplete, exaggerated, 
or misused intelligence?
  I am a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which 
is conducting this review. I support that review because there is a lot 
we need to get into. We have oversight responsibilities over the 
intelligence agencies.
  I commend our Chairman, Senator Roberts, and our ranking member, 
Senator Rockefeller, on that committee. They have requested that the 
Inspectors General of the Department of State and the Central 
Intelligence Committee work jointly to investigate the handling and 
characterization of the underlying documentation behind the President's 
statement in the State of the Union Address. I certainly support that 
  But the question of how intelligence related to Iraq was used by 
policymakers is a different question that simply must be determined.
  What we are saying now is if the Senate, as it did last night, 
rejects the idea of a bipartisan commission to look into the question, 
at the very least we should say in this Department of Defense 
appropriations bill that the President has a responsibility to report 
to Congress on this use of intelligence and information. It really goes 
to the heart of the President's responsibility as the head of our 
country and as Commander in Chief. He needs to have people near and 
around him giving him the very best advice based on the best 
intelligence. It is not only good for his administration, but it is 
essential for the protection of this Nation.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. STEVENS. Madam President, before the Senator leaves, I wish to 
say categorically that had I been the Vice President of the United 
States, based upon the intelligence briefings that I have participated 
in now for over 20 years, I would have made exactly the same statements 
the Vice President made.
  I believe sincerely that the record of history shows clearly that 
Iraq has tried to acquire and did acquire nuclear capability in the 
past. The Israelis destroyed it once. We know he was trying again to 
reestablish them.
  There is no question that he had weapons of mass destruction. He used

[[Page S9524]]

them on the Iranians. He used them on the Kurds. Gas is a weapon of 
mass destruction.
  There is also no question at all that he had the vehicles to 
transport weapons of mass destruction. Why did he build the vehicles if 
he didn't have them?
  This nit-picking at the language that was used--it was used, we now 
know, in error in terms of veracity as far as the reliance upon the 
concept of what the British had because it was later disclosed that one 
of the things they had was a forged document. Why did the United 
Nations, 17 times, ask to examine that country to find the weapons of 
mass destruction if the world did not believe he was after weapons of 
mass destruction, after he used them on the Iranians more than 15 years 
ago? They bombed the plant that absolutely had the reactor in it. And 
we knew he had weapons then.
  I have to say that when we look at what has happened, when our troops 
went into those barracks after the war commenced, they found that the 
Iraqis had special masks to protect them against weapons of mass 
destruction. We don't have those kinds of weapons.
  The Senator is a member of the Intelligence Committee. I am reliably 
informed that at a classified session yesterday he asked CIA Director 
George Tenet the very questions which he has asked on the floor, and he 
received the answers. Some of the Members don't like the answers, but 
they received them. Had Director Tenet took responsibility for a 
mistake in his agency--clearly he had problems about the way that 
document was handled and in terms of the speech.
  This is the third time this has come up now on this bill. This 
amendment would fence the Community Management Agency of the CIA, one 
of the most important and vital works of the agency. It would take $50 
million from them.
  I am not going to do it now, but sometime in the future I am going to 
ask the Senator whether he believes that he never had weapons of mass 
destruction. Does he believe Iraq never had weapons of mass 
destruction? Does he believe there was no reason to go in there and do 
what we did?
  The problem is this amendment standing alone would deny the following 
programs funding:
  Assistant Director of the CIA to allocate their collection efforts 
against terrorists and other high-priority target activities. This is 
their central community program.
  Talking about the intelligence community, one of them is the National 
Drug Intelligence Center's Analysis of Information for 
Narcotraffickers--a vital concept that deals with counterterrorism 
  The second is the National Counterintelligence Oversight Analysis 
Assessment of Vulnerabilities to Foreign Intelligence Services.
  The next is efforts to improve the intelligence community's expertise 
in foreign languages.
  This was identified as the key unmet need by the joint inquiry that 
investigated the 9/11 activities.
  Each of those programs is essential to our national security.
  In order to make his point on this concept, the Senator again seeks 
to fence off $50 million for those vital activities. I hope the Senate 
listens to us about what he is willing to do in order to make this 
statement again.
  I shall move to table this amendment. But, again, I have been asked 
this question many times personally at home by the press and by family 
friends. Some of us are exposed to intelligence at a very high level of 
Government. We can't come out and talk about it.
  I noticed in the paper yesterday that some of our people because of 
this issue are starting to ``lip off'' about intelligence matters that 
should be classified. The Senate and the Congress should come back to 
order on that. We are allowed access to classified information--and to 
have us, because of some question about one phrase in the President's 
speech, suddenly decide that classification means nothing, is wrong, 
and it is not in the best interest of the United States.

  Now, Senator Inouye and I have been involved in extremely classified 
information for years. As a matter of fact, at our request, there was 
what we call a ``tank'' built in our building so we could have those 
people come visit us and we would not have to go out and visit the CIA 
or the other intelligence agencies. And we do listen to them.
  Based on everything I have heard--everything I have heard; and the 
two of us have shared the chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations 
Subcommittee, which is defense intelligence related, since 1981--
everything I have heard convinces me, without question, that Iraq tried 
to develop a program of weapons of mass destruction, and did, in fact, 
have weapons of mass destruction. And we were justified--just as the 
Israelis were over 15 years ago when they went in and bombed one 
plant--we were justified to go in and just absolutely disestablish that 
administration because it had rebuked the U.N. 17 times in terms of the 
attempt to locate those weapons of mass destruction and to do what 
Saddam Hussein agreed he would do after the Persian Gulf war. He agreed 
to destroy them. He admitted he had them. He agreed to destroy them. 
And we tried to prove he destroyed them. Now, what is all this question 
about whether he had them? Because he admitted he had them.
  It is time we settle down and get back to the business of providing 
the money for the men and women in uniform around the world, and to 
ensure that the people who conduct our intelligence activities have the 
money to do what they have to do.
  The extended debate on this floor about intelligence activities 
because of that one 17- or 16-word--I don't remember--the small phrase 
in the President's State of the Union message is starting to really 
have an impact on the intelligence-collecting activities of this 
country. We do not want to besmirch that. We have the finest 
intelligence service in the world. If someone made a mistake--and now 
it has been admitted there was a mistake; not in whether or not he was 
trying to put together his nuclear weapons program--the mistake was in 
reference to what the British did have; and it was later found that the 
foundation for what the British thought they had was a forged document.
  Intelligence is absolutely essential to a nation that bases its 
capability to maintain peace on force projection, and we have to rely 
on many people to provide us information. Human beings make mistakes. 
God forbid that anyone would ever say because of one mistake we should 
harness the core efforts of our intelligence efforts and deny them the 
money this bill has for them to proceed until this commission, which 
the Senator wants to create, reports. I cannot believe we would delay 
the release of these funds for those reasons.
  The ongoing efforts of the Intelligence Committee are known. The 
Senator is a member of the Intelligence Committee. We who are members 
of the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations have access to everything 
they have access to, because we manage the money that finances the 
agencies they investigate. So there is a whole series of us here who 
have access to extremely classified information.
  We classify it primarily because there are so many people involved 
that many lives might be in jeopardy if we disclose the sources of that 
information or we disclose the impact of that information in terms of 
the relationship to some of the programs we are funding today.

  I urge the Senate to settle down. I urge the Senate to settle down. 
We do not need this continued debate about the words in that State of 
the Union message. That is history, and it is going to be examined in 
terms of politics in the future.
  Now we had arranged the schedule this morning so we could conduct our 
business and still start the markup of four separate appropriations 
bills. I must be absent now as chairman of the committee for a period 
of time.
  I move to table the Senator's amendment, and I ask unanimous consent 
that the vote on that occur at a time to be determined by the majority 
leader after consultation with the minority leader. At the time of the 
stacking of votes on this and other amendments, I shall seek approval 
for a recorded vote on this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. DAYTON. Madam President, reserving the right to object, I ask 
what the Senator's intention is regarding the schedule right now after 
the Senator concludes his remarks?

[[Page S9525]]

  Mr. STEVENS. Madam President, I have a motion to table. Has the 
motion to table been accepted by the Chair?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has a unanimous consent request.
  Mr. STEVENS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the time 
for that vote be determined by the majority leader after consultation 
with the minority leader.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, I reserve the right to object. The Senator 
from Illinois is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, but he 
wants to have an opportunity to respond.
  Mr. DURBIN. I do.
  Mr. REID. He can do it any way he chooses. We are not going to have a 
vote right away, so he can attempt to have the floor. I wonder if the 
Senator from Alaska would--we have no right to object in any way to the 
motion to table, but the Senator from Illinois has more to say.
  Mr. STEVENS. I have no objection if the Senator wishes to respond. I 
wish to get my motion to table on the record, and I am happy for the 
Senator to speak after that motion in relationship to the amendment. I 
have no problem with that. I just want to get my part of this business 
done so I can go chair that committee markup.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion to table is pending.
  Mr. STEVENS. Is there an objection to my request that the motion to 
table vote be postponed until a time certain to be determined by the 
majority leader after consultation with the minority leader?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. STEVENS. I am prepared to yield the floor, and you can talk as 
much as you want.
  Mr. REID. Has the unanimous consent request been agreed to?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. No, it has not.
  Without objection, it is so ordered. The request is agreed to.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, before the distinguished chairman of the 
Appropriations Committee leaves the floor, the Senator from Minnesota 
asked a question: What are we going to do now? We have a number of 
amendments lined up. We are not going to do those because the two 
managers of this bill are members, of course, of the Appropriations 
Committee, as are Senator Durbin and myself.

  Mr. STEVENS. Will the Senator yield?
  I would be prepared to make a request that after Senator Durbin makes 
his remarks there be a period for morning business during which the 
Senator from North Dakota may be able to speak for up to 30 minutes on 
a matter not related to this bill.
  Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object, the Senator from Wyoming 
wishes to speak for 10 minutes, I am told, on the bill itself.
  Is that right?
  Mr. THOMAS. Yes. I was going to follow up on what has been said.
  Mr. REID. The Senator from North Dakota has no objection to him going 
first, he being the Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. STEVENS. That is fine.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senator from 
Wyoming have 10 minutes to speak on the bill, and following that time, 
the Senator from North Dakota have 30 minutes as in morning business, 
and following that the Senator from----
  Mr. DAYTON. Minnesota.
  Mr. STEVENS. Minnesota.
  Mr. DAYTON. I would like to speak on Senator Durbin's amendment. I 
would agree to 5 minutes.
  Mr. STEVENS. Could it be that we agree to 30 minutes of debate 
pertaining to matters relating to this amendment, notwithstanding the 
motion to table has been made? Is that agreeable? That will give us 
enough time to get back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. Also, Mr. President, if I could, Senator Kennedy is going 
to be here at around 11 o'clock. Of course, that has slipped.
  Mr. STEVENS. It is roughly 11 o'clock.
  Mr. REID. He will offer the next amendment. Perhaps then Senator Byrd 
will. Really, we are narrowing the number of amendments that are going 
to be offered.
  Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I don't know what the Senate would do 
without the assistance of the distinguished Democratic whip. We have in 
history Light Horse Harry, and this is our ``Heavy Horse'' Harry. He 
does the heavy work around here, and we all appreciate him.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, pursuant to the unanimous consent 
agreement, I can assure my colleagues I will not take 30 minutes. I 
will be extremely brief because I already stated my case in support of 
this amendment. But I would like to respond to the Senator from Alaska.
  He and I have had some titanic struggles on this floor over a variety 
of issues, but I have the highest regard and respect for him 
personally. I am certain he did not mean to suggest nor did he say I 
have disclosed any classified information in my statement this morning. 
I would not do that, not knowingly. What I have disclosed to the 
Senate, in preparation for a vote on this amendment, has all been a 
matter of public record and published information.
  There are many other things I have learned as a member of the Senate 
Intelligence Committee to which I can't make reference, because it is 
classified and very important, that remain classified. But I don't know 
which bill you would go to if you didn't go to the Defense Department 
bill to deal with questions of intelligence. It is one of the few, if 
only, bills coming before the Senate relating to intelligence 
gathering. We don't have a full blown discussion here about 
appropriations for the Central Intelligence Agency and all the 
intelligence aspects of the Federal Government. It is a carefully 
guarded secret of our Government as to how much is being spent and how 
it is spent. Many people have objected to that over the years. I 
understand their objections. I also understand the wisdom that we try 
to keep in confidence exactly what we are doing to gather information 
to protect America. About the only place where we openly discuss the 
funding of intelligence is in this bill. If you don't come to this 
floor on this bill to suggest that we can do a better job in gathering 
intelligence to protect America, then, frankly, there is no other 
appropriations bill to which you can turn.
  I assume you might argue that the Department of Homeland Security, 
our new Department, has some aspects of intelligence. Maybe that 
argument can be made. But the most compelling argument is on this bill, 
the Department of Defense bill. That is why this amendment is not 
superfluous or out of line. This is where the amendment needs to be 
offered because what we are saying is, America is only as safe as the 
men and women who are protecting it, men and women who are in uniform, 
literally putting their lives on the line, and men and women working 
for our Government gathering information so that we can anticipate 
threats and make certain we protect the people.
  What I have said in this amendment is we, clearly, know now that in 
the President's State of the Union Address statements were made which 
the President has disavowed as not being accurate and which the 
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency has said should not have 
been included because they were misleading. That is a critical element.
  We gather across this Rotunda in the House of Representatives once a 
year, the combined membership of the House and the Senate, the Cabinet, 
the Supreme Court, the diplomatic corps, to hear the President deliver 
the State of the Union Address. It is his most important speech of the 
year. He outlines to the people the accomplishments of our Nation and 
the challenges we face.
  This President came before us last January in an atmosphere leading 
up to an invasion of Iraq, a war. I don't think there is any more 
serious undertaking by a government than to say we are going to war. We 
are asking our citizens to put their lives on the line for the security 
of America. The President came to the people with that message.
  We now know that at least one major part of that message--they say it 
is only 16 words but it was a major part of his message--was not 
  Do I think the President intentionally misled the American people?

[[Page S9526]]

There is no evidence of that whatsoever. I have not heard a single 
person say he intentionally misled the American people in making that 
statement. But I will tell you this, there were people in that White 
House who should have known better. They had been warned 4 months 
before not to use the same reference in a speech the President was 
giving in Cincinnati. They had been told by the CIA that 
the information was not credible, could not be believed, should not be 
stated by the President of the United States, and that section was 
removed from the President's speech in October.

  Those same people in the White House, bound and determined to put 
that language in the President's State of the Union Address, put in 
misleading language which attributed this information not to our 
intelligence, because our intelligence had disavowed it, discredited 
it, said we can't believe it.
  No, they attributed it to British intelligence. Our people believed 
the British intelligence had been wrong from the start and yet we 
allowed that to be included in the speech.
  Across America and around the world, people heard our President say 
that Iraq was acquiring uranium--or attempting to--from Niger in Africa 
to develop nuclear weapons. That is a serious charge. It is as serious 
as any charge that has been made against Saddam Hussein's regime. 
Someone in the White House decided they would cut a corner and allow 
the President to say this by putting in that phrase ``based on British 
  I would think the President would be angered over the disservice done 
to him by members of his staff. I would think the President would 
acknowledge the fact that even if Director Tenet could not discourage 
that member of the White House staff and stop them from putting in that 
language, the President has within his ranks on his staff some person 
who was willing to spin and hype and exaggerate and cut corners on the 
most important speech the President delivers in any given year.
  That is inexcusable. This amendment says that this President will 
report to Congress on exactly what happened in reference to that State 
of the Union Address, that finally we will know the names of the people 
involved, that they will be held accountable for this misconduct which 
has caused such embarrassment, not just to the President, not just to 
his party, but to our Nation.
  We need to be credible in the eyes of the world. When statements such 
as the one made by the President are clearly disavowed by the 
President, it affects our credibility.
  Last night we tried to create an independent bipartisan commission to 
look into this question in an honest fashion. It was rejected on a 
party-line vote with every Republican voting against it.
  Now I have taken the second option. Now we call on the President 
himself. Harry Truman from Independence, MO, used to say ``the buck 
stops here,'' when it comes to the President. The buck has stopped on 
the President's desk. The question is, What will he do to establish his 
credibility, to make certain that the next State of the Union Address 
is one that is credible in the United States and around the world and 
to make sure those people who misused the power of their office to lead 
him to make those misleading statements are removed once and for all?
  It is a painful chapter in American history but it is one we cannot 
avoid. So long as it is unresolved, there will be a shadow over the 
intelligence gathering and use of this administration. That is not in 
the best interest of national security. It is not in the best interest 
of the people.
  We in Congress have our responsibility, as a coequal branch of 
Government, to enforce oversight and to make certain that the American 
people are well served.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. DAYTON. Following the custom of alternating back and forth, I am 
prepared to defer to my colleague from Wyoming. I would like to inquire 
as to his intentions to speak.
  Mr. THOMAS. Madam President, my understanding was that I was going to 
have 10 minutes, then we would go to Senator Conrad, and then the 
Senator from Minnesota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. It is correct that the Senator from Wyoming 
has 10 minutes, to be followed by the Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. REID. I am sorry.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Is the consent agreement, as interpreted by the Chair, that 
the two morning business matters will be completed prior to debate on 
the motion to table? That seems a little unusual.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming is speaking on the 
amendment for up to 10 minutes.
  Mr. REID. I apologize.
  Mr. DAYTON. I have asked unanimous consent that following the 
conclusion of the remarks of the Senator from Wyoming, I might speak on 
the amendment for 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. THOMAS. Madam President, I rise to discuss similarly what our 
floor leader said a few moments ago in terms of this bill before us. We 
are here to talk about the Defense appropriations. We have gone on now 
for a couple of days focusing on this matter of uranium from Africa. It 
seems to me that we need to focus on the issue that is before us and 
that is supporting our troops where they are, the Defense 
appropriations that we have, and probably the most important, certainly 
the largest appropriations that is before us.
  I have been listening now for some days and listening to the media, 
the charge that the 16 words President Bush uttered during his January 
State of the Union have been false. This is what he said:

       The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein 
     recently sought significant quantities of uranium from 

  That is what was said. So we say this may be false because in fact 
the British Government continues to stand by the assertion even if the 
CIA does not. So what Mr. Bush said about what the British believed was 
true in January, and it is still true today. That is what the British 
  Now do we need to take a look at our intelligence system? Of course, 
that is very important to us. But anyone who thinks every piece of 
intelligence is going to have certified truthfulness behind it, of 
course, is being naive. Because that is not the way things work.
  It is so clear this is so political that it really is kind of hard to 
accept. In fact, there are ads out now, political ads, assailing the 
President's credibility, and they go ahead and quote what the President 
said. But interestingly enough, they leave off the words ``the British 
government has learned.''
  They leave those off. Doesn't this give you some feeling that we are 
taking this a little more politically than we are anything else? It 
seems to me that is the case. We are here now and this whole matter of 
weapons of mass destruction is an issue we are all concerned about. But 
this matter of uranium is not the reason we are in Iraq. Saddam Hussein 
used chemical weapons on his own people, his neighbors. Clearly, the 
production facilities were making chemical and biological weapons. 
There is no question about that.
  In September 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, and Iraq used chemical weapons. 
In 1988, chemical weapons were used against Iraqi Kurdish, killing 
5,000 Kurds. After Operation Desert Storm, February 18, 1991, in the 
terms of the cease-fire, Iraq accepted the conditions of the U.N. 
Security Council resolution. That resolution required Iraq to fully 
disclose and permit the dismantling of the weapons of mass destruction. 
That did not happen. That is why we are there.
  This idea of leading us off the track because of the uranium is not 
really the issue. Should we look at our intelligence system? Of course. 
We do that constantly. But we don't need to take away the dollars that 
are in this bill for those agencies while we take a look at it. There 
is nothing more important in the world today than to have intelligence.
  I just think we need to cut through some of the things that have been 
going on here and we need to get down to what issues there are that 
affect our defense and the American people and deal with those. 
Politics is fine, but this is not the place to continuously

[[Page S9527]]

use items that are obviously just political and try to take away the 
credibility of the President, which is one of his greatest assets, and 
I understand that. I understand that we are in an election cycle and so 
on. I really think it is time to deal with the important issues. We are 
having hearings. I think we need to move on and deal with the issues 
before us--to continue to clean up the situation in Iraq, look for 
peaceful solutions. That is really what it is all about.
  I will not take any more time. For a couple of days, I have been 
listening to this constant recital of the same sort of thing. It seems 
to me it is pretty clear where we are. We are in Iraq for a number of 
reasons, this being a very slight impact on the decisionmaking. What we 
are really intent on doing is getting on with these appropriations 
bills, supporting our military, providing a strong military so we can 
continue to do the things we have to do. But this idea of continuing to 
try to contain an issue and make it something more than it really is 
seems to me to be worn out.
  I hope we can move forward. We have a lot to do. We need to deal with 
the issues that are before us. I don't think this particular amendment 
is useful. We already have a system for looking at this. Withholding 
money pending a third-party operation simply doesn't make sense. I hope 
we will table this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Mr. DAYTON. I fully concur with my colleague that we need to conclude 
our work on this bill. This is the third day we have been on this 
matter. There are several hundred billion dollars involved; it is one 
of the most costly measures we consider every year. The majority leader 
said we will complete work on the bill tonight. I expect we will do so 
with that instruction. I am prepared to stay late, as others of my 
colleagues are, to talk about these issues. I cannot think of anything 
that is more profoundly important to this country today and to the 
future of this Nation and to the world today and to the future of the 
world than what we are addressing, which is the circumstances that 
caused the President of the United States to make, as my colleague from 
Illinois said, an onerous and fateful decision to start a war, doing 
something that was unprecedented in our Nation's history--to initiate a 
war against another country, invade another country.
  Now, there may be other reasons cited for doing so, but under 
international law, under the U.N. Charter, of all the reasons cited by 
the administration for this action, the one that has no credence is the 
threat of an immediate and urgent attack against the United States by 
weapons of mass destruction with the missile capability to deliver 
them. That is what was stated and implied on a frequent basis by 
members of the administration last fall.
  This is not about one 16-word inclusion in the President's State of 
the Union speech, as important as that is. This is about questions, as 
the Senator from Illinois said, that dictated the actions or influenced 
the actions of Congress last October in voting to give the President 
the authority to initiate military action, which the President followed 
through on 6 months later, for which we have 145,000 sweltering 
Americans in Iraq today. I was there 2 weeks ago in 115-degree 
temperatures. If anything, they are even hotter than that at this point 
in time. Some of those incredibly brave young men and women won't come 
home to their families and friends alive. They will give the ultimate 
sacrifice on behalf of their country.
  So these are profound matters. I commend my colleague from Illinois 
for his careful choice of words and his reasoned approach to these 
matters, in recognition of his position on the Senate Intelligence 
Committee, his restraint in sharing only unclassified information to 
support his amendment, which I am proud to support myself.
  We have tried on this side of the aisle in the last days to strike 
some bipartisan agreements about how to address matters of disclosure 
of financial expenditures for this military undertaking. We talked with 
the distinguished chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee about 
where the money is in this bill for the purposes of the ongoing 
military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  The chairman informed us that 2 days ago, in the 2003 supplemental 
appropriations, those funds were provided that are being drawn down for 
the purpose of conducting these military operations in those two 
countries and we should expect another supplemental appropriations 
request to be forthcoming early in the next calendar year. That same 
day, however, the comptroller for the Department of Defense was quoted 
as saying there remains only $4 billion in that account. Given the 
statement of the Secretary of Defense to our Senate Armed Services 
Committee the week before that we are spending, on a monthly basis, 
$4.8 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, it is quite obvious that 
that $4 billion is going to last them less than another month.
  So we have tried and we have not been as successful as we should be 
because it ought to be transparent to this body exactly what is being 
spent, where it is being spent, and we ought to be appropriating, as 
others have pointed out--Senator Byrd first and foremost among them--
that we ought to be doing this through proper channels.
  Yesterday, as the Senator from Illinois said, we tried to get an 
agreement for a bipartisan independent commission that would be 
established and that would bring, it is my conception, the 
distinguished senior Americans, those whose credibility and integrity 
and experience and wisdom are unquestioned and would bring forth for 
the benefit of this body, but most importantly for the benefit of all 
the American people, what are the facts in these questions that have 
been raised and how do they instruct us in terms of the veracity of our 
intelligence information and the veracity of our political leaders.
  Yesterday there was an editorial in the Washington Post which stated 
just that. It said: ``Wait for the facts.'' It cited the President's 
remarks in his State of the Union Address, the 16-word sentence that 
has received so much attention. It went on to say:

       If so, that would represent one of several instances in 
     which administration statements on Iraq were stretched to 
     reflect the most aggressive interpretation of the 

  That, I believe, is a carefully phrased way of saying what I said 
earlier in my remarks. There were several times last fall when the 
implication was made or the assertion was stated that these weapons of 
mass destruction were not only developed but were poised to be used 
against the United States and that they constituted an immediate and 
urgent threat to our national security which, as I said before, both 
under U.N. charter and international law, is the single legal basis for 
the United States to invade another country: The threat of imminent 
attack or the actual attack itself.
  As the most powerful nation in the world, the one that has led the 
way for over the last half century in not starting wars--finishing wars 
successfully, but not starting them--for us to engage in now the first 
of what the President has articulated as the doctrine of preemption, 
where we will initiate those wars, we will attack first, in the 
judgment of this Senator is a very unwise course which will dangerously 
destabilize the world if it becomes the normal practice of nations, 
other than the United States--and we have to expect it will--to launch 
those kinds of attacks.
  Last August, before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville, Vice 
President Cheney said:

       There's no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass 

  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in September in Atlanta said 
that American intelligence had ``bulletproof'' evidence of links 
between al-Qaida and the government of President Saddam Hussein of 
  In each case, officials have offered no details to back up those 
assertions. Mr. Rumsfeld said today doing so would jeopardize the lives 
of spies and dry up sources of information.
  As was stated by a couple of my colleagues, we have to rely on this 
hidden information which can be alluded to, to prove just about any 
point anybody wants to make, but we cannot know the facts.
  In October, the President himself made his argument, quoting an 

[[Page S9528]]

in the Chicago Tribune, for invasion, emphasizing the notion Hussein 
could strike the United States first and inflict ``massive and sudden 
  Finally, Secretary Rumsfeld, again testifying before the Armed 
Services Committee, said:

       The United States must act quickly to save tens of 
     thousands of citizens.

  I could go on with illustrations. My point is, we should let the 
facts speak for themselves. We deserve to know the facts. We deserve 
and must know, for the sake of our national security, whether the 
information we received from intelligence agencies was accurate, and we 
need to know for the sake of our democracy whether the representation 
of those facts by our leaders was accurate.
  That is the intent of the Durbin amendment. It is the reason it 
should be approved by this body. It is the reason this body should do 
what is right, which is to seek together to know the facts.
  I thank the Chair. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senator from 
North Dakota is recognized.
  Mr. CONRAD. Madam President, I thank my colleagues for raising these 
important issues. I am going to take the first few minutes of my 30 
minutes to talk on what has been discussed this morning because I think 
it is so important to the country, and then I will turn to another 
  I have not previously spoken on these issues on the floor because my 
primary responsibility in the Senate is representing the State of North 
Dakota, and I have special responsibility for budget issues in my 
position as ranking member on the Budget Committee and as a senior 
member of the Finance Committee for matters that relate to Social 
Security and Medicare and the financing of the U.S. Government, and, of 
course, in my role on the Agriculture Committee dealing with questions 
of agricultural policy. I am not on the committees that deal with 
foreign policy and defense policy.
  All of us have a responsibility to speak out when we believe the 
country is headed in a wrong direction. I believe the President is 
taking us down a road that is fraught with real danger for the country.
  The President asked this Congress--the Senate and the House--for 
authority to launch a preemptive attack on another nation, an attack 
before that country had attacked us or attacked any of our allies. In 
fact, Iraq had not engaged in an attack on anyone for more than a 
decade. The President told us and told the world that they, Iraq, 
represented an immediate and imminent threat to America.
  I personally believe there may be a place for preemptive attack in 
protecting the American people. I believe if we have clear and 
convincing evidence that a country represents an imminent threat to our 
people, we have a right to act first, especially in a world where 
weapons of mass destruction do exist, to prevent catastrophic loss to 
our Nation.
  When we launch a preemptive attack on another country, we had better 
have it right. We had better make certain that what we are saying and 
telling the world is correct. This President and this administration 
told the world and told this Congress that Iraq had weapons of mass 
destruction. There were many reasons to believe that statement, but now 
the harsh reality is, those weapons of mass destruction have not been 
found. This administration and this President told the Congress and 
told the world that Iraq was trying to develop a nuclear capability, 
and they gave as their best evidence that Iraq was seeking to buy 
uranium from Niger. That has proved to be wrong.
  The President told the world and told this Congress that there was a 
clear connection to al-Qaida, and repeatedly we were told the best 
evidence was there was a terrorist camp in Iraq training al-Qaida 
operatives. Now we learn that camp was in a part of Iraq not controlled 
by Saddam Hussein but controlled by the Kurds.
  The day before yesterday, the President made the most astonishing 
statement of all. In the Washington Post, the President is quoted as 
saying that he attacked Iraq because Saddam Hussein would not permit 
the U.N. weapons inspectors into the country.
  I do not know if the President was misquoted. I have seen no attempt 
to correct the record. I said nothing about this yesterday because I 
hoped that the White House would say the President was misquoted. There 
has been no attempt to correct the record.
  We all know the weapons inspectors of the U.N. were in the country. 
They were in Iraq. They were going site to site trying to determine if 
there were weapons of mass destruction, trying to determine if there 
was a nuclear program underway in that country. For the President to 
now say he attacked Iraq because they would not permit inspectors 
absolutely stands the facts on their head. The inspectors were there. 
The reason the inspectors left is because we were threatening to attack 
Iraq. So saying that Saddam Hussein did not permit inspectors in as a 
rationale for war is mighty thin.
  We have a fundamental problem of the credibility of the Nation. Our 
country told the world a set of assertions, one after another, that 
have proven to be wrong or have proven not to be demonstrably the case. 
That puts our country's credibility at risk. When we are talking about 
attacking other nations preemptively, as I said in the beginning, we 
better make certain we have it right because if we start going around 
the world attacking countries and cannot prove our assertions that they 
represented an imminent threat to us, then I think America is in very 
serious risk of alienating the world community. That is not in our 
  Mr. REID. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. CONRAD. I am happy to yield.
  Mr. REID. Senator Durbin had to go to an appropriations meeting, but 
he asked that I relate to the Senate, and I will do it through the 
Senator from North Dakota--is the Senator from North Dakota aware there 
is a Web site the President has--I am sure the Senator is aware of 
that; is that right?
  Mr. CONRAD. Yes.
  Mr. REID. Well, I am aware of the fact that there was a part of that 
Web site that one can no longer get into. ``Behind the Scenes'' is what 
it was entitled. I hold up in front of the Senator now something that 
was on the Web site that one could go to, but one cannot anymore, 
talking about how the President prepares the State of the Union 
  It says: Behind the Scenes, State of the Union preparation.
  And it shows the President with his hands out there. It shows the 
President going over his speech word by word.
  Under this, it says: While working at his desk in the Oval Office, 
President Bush reviews the State of the Union address line-by-line, 
  I want the Senator from North Dakota to know that Senator Durbin--
this is on his behalf but certainly I underline and underscore what he 
wanted to be printed in the Record--we are to a point that the Senator 
from North Dakota said we are. It is the credibility of not necessarily 
going to war in Iraq, which is certainly part of it, but the 
credibility of this country in the world. Can the United States of 
America, the great country that it is--can people depend on the word of 
the President of the United States? And certainly in that they have 
taken this off the Web site, it indicates that there is certainly a 
problem with the President going over his speech word-by-word, line-by-
  Mr. CONRAD. I say to the Senator, I have not said anything for weeks 
on this issue, but with each passing day I become more concerned about 
the credibility of our Nation. When a policy is announced of preemptive 
strike, something we have never done before in our country's history--I 
remember going to grade school and being taught that America never 
attacked first, but if somebody attacked us, we countered and we always 
won. That was what we were taught growing up. I was proud of it. I was 
proud that America never attacked first.

  Now the world has changed. I would be the first to acknowledge the 
world has changed. I can see a role for preemptive strike in a world 
where weapons of mass destruction do exist in order to prevent 
catastrophic loss to this country. But we better be very certain before 
we launch an attack on another nation that that attack is justified and 
that, in fact, that nation represents an imminent threat because, if we 
start attacking nations and we cannot prove our assertions, very 

[[Page S9529]]

the rest of the world is going to doubt our word, our credibility, and 
our basic goodness as a nation. Now, that is serious business.
  The fact is, this administration told the world Iraq had weapons of 
mass destruction; that they were trying to develop nuclear capability; 
that there was a connection to al-Qaida. Each and every one of those 
claims now is in question. It is not just 16 words in the State of the 
Union. It is far more serious than that.
  For the President, the day before yesterday, to compound it by saying 
he attacked Saddam Hussein because he did not permit U.N. weapons 
inspectors in that country is false on its face. We all know the 
weapons inspectors were there. We all know they were going site to site 
trying to find weapons of mass destruction. The question of whether or 
not they were effective or not is another question but to assert to the 
world that we attacked Iraq because there were not inspectors there, I 
am afraid it makes us look as though we are not very careful with our 
  (The further remarks of Mr. Conrad are printed in today's Record 
under ``Morning Business.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Madam President, what is the business before the Senate?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Durbin amendment is before us.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I ask unanimous consent that it be temporarily laid 
aside so that my amendment will be in order.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
                         Vote On Amendment No. 1277

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion to 
table the Durbin amendment No. 1277. The yeas and nays have been 
ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from Florida (Mr. Graham), the 
Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry), the Senator from Connecticut 
(Mr. Lieberman), and the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Miller) are 
necessarily absent.
  I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry) would vote ``no.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 62, nays 34, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 287 Leg.]


     Graham (SC)
     Nelson (NE)


     Nelson (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--4

     Graham (FL)
  The motion was agreed to.