Congressional Record: March 2, 2004 (Senate)
Page S2012-S2018

                           IRAQ INTELLIGENCE

  Mr. REED. Mr. President, Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet and Nobel 
laureate, wrote lines that are destined for immortality:

       History says, Don't hope on this side of the grave. But 
     then, once in a lifetime the longed for tidal wave of justice 
     can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.

  We all long for that day when hope and history rhyme. But it is the 
special province of statecraft to try to make that rhyme.
  As such, one way to look at foreign policy is to determine if our 
policies do rhyme with history or whether they represent the triumph of 
hope over history. By history, I do not mean the strictly academic 
variety. I mean the accumulation of insight and experience that we all 
carry about. Perhaps it is better described as our rough sense of the 
way the world works.
  It is particularly interesting to pose these questions in light of 
the Bush foreign policy since so much of it seems to spring from 
ideological hope, from robust attempts to reshape the world along 
predetermined lines.
  Iraq, of course, is the crucial arena. It has been made so by the 
  Our immediate response to September 11 was to seek out and destroy 
the terrorist apparatus that struck us. Our attack in Afghanistan was 
aimed at the heart of al-Qaida and the rogue regime that provided it 
sanctuary. We understood very painfully that we could not grant these 
terrorists safe harbor. We had to act and we had to be prepared to act 
preemptively to destroy al-Qaida. The threat was clear and in the 
context of international terrorists like al-Qaida, the doctrine of 
preemption was not only compelling but also inescapable.
  Operation Enduring Freedom, the demolition of the Taliban regime, and 
the disruption of the al-Qaida infrastructure represented a shrewd use 
of military power to focus directly on an existential threat. The 
history, again, using my very nontechnical definition, clearly shows 
that al-Qaida could not be deterred and toleration would simply invite 
further attack.
  Ironically, having begun the destruction of al-Qaida in Afghanistan, 
the administration quickly shifted its attention from the complete 
destruction of the al-Qaida network to Iraq. Only in the past few weeks 
has the Bush administration begun to realize that Afghanistan is far 
from secure. They are redoubling their military and political efforts 
to ensure that Afghanistan does not slide back into a failed state. 
Still, the President's recent budget request only provides about $1 
billion in funding for that effort, whereas commanders in the field 
have said they will annually need $5 billion to ensure success.
  Furthermore, regardless of the situation in Afghanistan, and indeed 
anywhere else, the Bush administration has never lost its preoccupation 
with Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime.
  Some may recall that in January of 1998, Secretary Rumsfeld, 
Secretary Wolfowitz, and other prominent neoconservatives wrote to 
President Clinton urging him to use military force to remove Saddam 
Hussein. In their words:

       The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the 
     possibility that Iraq would be able to use weapons of mass 
     destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to 
     undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In 
     the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his 
     regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of 
     American foreign policy.

  This letter predated the attack on Iraq by 5 years. It predated 
September 11 by more than 3 years.
  With the publication of the first glimpses inside the Bush 
administration, this preoccupation with Iraq becomes more obvious. 
Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill recounts that at the 
first meeting of the National Security Council on January 30, 2001, the 
discussion quickly vaulted over nagging issues of the conflict between 
Israel and the Palestinian Authority and landed squarely on Iraq. In an 
apparently scripted exchange, Condoleezza Rice and Vice President 
Cheney and George Tenet not only led the discussion but also concluded 
with an examination of grainy photos purporting to show what the CIA 
thought was a plant producing chemical or biological materials for 
weapons manufacture. According to O'Neill, ``ten days in, and it was 
about Iraq.''
  September 11 did not put Iraq in the administration's gunsights. It 
was always there. It was there as a challenge, a personal one for the 
President, and in the view of neoconservatives, it was there as an 
opportunity to make hope and history rhyme.

  But in focusing almost exclusively on Iraq, the administration, in my 
view, disregarded a great deal of history. Again, I use the term 
history colloquially. The justification for action was based more on 
assumptions than evidence. The planning for their actions was based 
more on hopes than experience. The end of the cold war and the demise 
of the Soviet Union unshackled our military power so that we are 
unbeatable in any conventional battle against any conventional foe.
  However, it has not reversed a century in which empires collapsed and 
foreign colonies began a troubled but independent road. Our military 
power may be unchecked by any military adversary, but it is exercised 
in a world that has come to distrust the unilateral use of force and 
disbelief of the motives of those who wield such force.
  The administration's insistence on an essentially unilateral approach 
to confronting Iraq not only increased our effort both militarily and 
economically, but it also defied the worldwide consensus that without 
an immediate threat, the unilateral action of a great power against a 
lesser state is a vanished aspect of the colonial epic.
  Today, the United States is fervently trying to maintain the mantle 
of liberator and avoid the label of occupier. In large part, this is 
due to the overwhelming presence of the United States unleavened by a 
broad array of allies or the significant presence of the United States 
or United Nations or NATO in Iraq.
  In contrast, multinational operations in places such as the Balkans 
managed to avoid the stigma of occupation and insurgency for almost a 
decade. A multilateral attack is not a talisman that will guarantee 
success, but it is more congruent with a world that has rejected the 
colonial solution in favor of multinational action.
  The administration's rationale for a preemptive and virtually 
unilateral operation against Iraq rested on a faithful devotion to 
their preconceived notions and a strained reading of available 
intelligence. One of the more thoughtful and evenhanded military 
analysts, Anthony Cordesman, at the Center for Strategic and 
International Studies has accurately summarized the record of the 
administration's intelligence activities leading up to Operation Iraqi 
  In his words:

       [T]here are many indications that the U.S. intelligence 
     community came under pressure to accept reporting by Iraqi 
     opposition forces with limited credibility, and in some 
     cases, a history of actively lying to either exaggerate their 
     own importance or push the U.S. towards a war to overthrow 
     Saddam Hussein. In what bore a striking resemblance to 
     similar worst case interpretations of the global threat from 
     the proliferation of ballistic missiles under the Rumsfeld 
     Commission, U.S. policymakers not only seem to have pushed 
     for the interpretation that would best justify military 
     action, but to have focused on this case as if it were a 
     reality, rather than a possibility.
       In the U.S., this pressure seems to have come primarily 
     from the Office of the Vice President and the Office of the 
     Secretary of Defense, but it seems clear that the Bush 
     administration as a whole sought intelligence that would 
     support its case in going to war, and this had a significant 
     impact on the intelligence community from 2002-onwards.

  The administration did not use intelligence to help make a difficult 
decision. It used intelligence to sell a preconceived notion. The long-
term fixed

[[Page S2013]]

view of the administration held that deterrence and international 
inspectors were inherently incapable of containing Saddam. Only the 
elimination of the regime could suffice. Moreover, regime change, in 
their view, could have the added benefit of precipitating a 
transformation of the entire region.
  In effect, what the President and the administration did is present a 
false dichotomy to the American people--two choices, when there are 
many more. The two choices were: Attack Iraq or do nothing. In fact, 
there are many other things we could have done and perhaps should have 
done, including give the U.N. inspectors more time to search. They 
might have come to the same conclusion that David Kay did: there are no 
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We could have used not only the 
legitimacy but also the cooperation of the United Nations if we had 
pursued a course of diplomacy. But the President saw only two options: 
Do nothing or attack Iraq.
  Of course, we could not do nothing; indeed, we were not doing 
nothing. We should have been actively engaged in containment, and not 
just containment but enforcing the U.N. resolution with inspectors on 
the ground. We should recall there were U.N. inspectors on the ground 
inside Iraq and the administration, through their actions, had those 
inspectors recalled prior to the inception of the military operations. 
That is a result of this preoccupation with Saddam, the destruction of 
his regime, the triumph of hope over history.
  Then in planning for post-hostilities, the administration most 
clearly let its hopes triumph over history. They bet that Iraqi 
gratitude, together with a government of exiles, would provide for a 
cheap and easy exit strategy. They ignored a history of antagonism 
among the Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds. They spoke of a rapidly 
emerging democracy and market economy in Iraq, a country whose civic 
life and social institutions had been suppressed for many years. They 
insinuated exiles of dubious reputations, like Chalabi, who do not 
command the respect of the Iraqi people. The administration entrusted 
post-hostility planning to the Department of Defense, not for their 
expertise, but for their ideological correctness.

  One other aspect of the administration's hopes is that our operations 
in Iraq would have a transformative effect on the region, if not the 
world. They saw a democratic, market-oriented Iraq as an irresistible 
attraction and example to the masses of Arabs who hunger for a better 
way of life. Our success in Iraq would be emulated either by 
enlightened leaders or rebellious streets. Since we have yet to succeed 
in creating this new Iraq, it is hard to judge its transformative 
value. In the very short run, the jury seems to be out.
  Furthermore, our engagement in Iraq has limited our strategic 
flexibility and narrowed our strategic focus. We are paying 
insufficient attention to a place that is more likely than Iraq to 
produce that dreaded intersection of ``nukes'' and terrorists; and that 
place is North Korea.
  We know the North Koreans have nuclear material and the ability to 
make much more of it, if they have not done so already. Although there 
does not appear to be any direct links between North Korea and al-Qaida 
or other terrorist organizations, the North Koreans have a disturbing 
history of weapons proliferation. Inept at economic development, they 
have become too adept at trading dangerous weapons to stay afloat or as 
a means to underscore their demands for international aid.
  A few days ago, we concluded another round of international talks 
with the North Koreans without any apparent breakthrough. As 
encouraging as these discussions may seem, success--meaning the 
complete and verifiable elimination of nuclear material and nuclear 
weapons held by North Korea--can come, in my view, only with more 
resolute and determined leadership by the President. To date, Iraq 
seems to have monopolized the effective attention of the President and 
his inner circle. Failure to resolve the situation in North Korea 
through diplomacy will result in an intolerable situation that could 
prompt the consideration of military action. A military option is not 
appealing, and it may be extraordinarily difficult to carry out with 
the current open-ended and demanding commitment to Iraq.
  In addition, there has been little progress between the Israelis and 
the Palestinians. In another regional problem area, the Iranians have 
opened their nuclear program to more robust international inspection 
but still refuse to moderate their domestic policies and their 
international rhetoric. Indeed, the hardliners in Iran recently won an 
election, giving them more clout and marginalizing the reformers within 
that country, in the wake of our attack against Iraq.
  Libya presents an interesting case. Our military success seems to 
have focused their attention on repairing their relationship with the 
West. One must be grateful any time a regime effectively renounces 
weapons of mass destruction. Nevertheless, Qadhafi's actions seem more 
like self-preservation than democratization. And, as previously 
discussed, the ``shock and awe'' in Iraq did not influence the Afghanis 
to be more cooperative. In fact, we lost ground in Afghanistan to 
reconstituted insurgent forces. In the longer run, these hopes of 
democratic reform and economic renewal in the region and throughout the 
world will battle historic and cultural forces that may yield, but not 
without a struggle and not without time.

  There are signs that even the administration is coming to recognize 
that history has overtaken some of their hopes. To minimize the stigma 
of occupier, the Coalition Provisional Authority has accelerated the 
transition to sovereignty with a target date of June 30, a date that is 
more difficult to achieve with each passing day. It remains unclear who 
they will be returning this sovereignty over to. An interim 
constitution was adopted apparently today, but there is still a great 
deal of uncertainty as to who will be the ruling authority and 
ultimately how this sovereignty will be passed--truly passed--to the 
Iraqi people.
  In recognition of the economic reality of Iraq, the CPA has quietly 
shelved plans to privatize the Iraqi economy, plans they had initially. 
Now this would be a wrenching exercise in unemployment since almost 
every Iraqi directly or indirectly seems to work for a state industry 
or governmental entity.
  The CPA is also deferring serious land reform in a country where land 
was expropriated from traditional owners and bestowed upon supporters 
of Saddam. The CPA also seems quietly poised to allow the Kurds to 
develop an autonomous region under a loose federation, belying the 
initial commitment to a fully integrated Iraqi state. And still 
outstanding is whether the Shia majority will ultimately accept the 
governing arrangements for the new Iraq.
  And, having assumed the burden of Iraq, none of these recent 
pragmatic adjustments are themselves without great dangers. A hasty 
transfer of sovereignty could lead to a government without legitimacy 
or one that quickly morphs into a religious and authoritarian regime 
that does not share our enthusiasm for democracy. This political 
process becomes an inviting target for insurgents who see disorder as 
their key ally. Leaving economic restructuring to the Iraqis is 
probably leaving it undone. Allowing the Kurds to create an autonomous 
or semiautonomous region will cause consternation within Turkey while 
adding to the difficulties of the new central government in Baghdad.
  This administration has committed the Nation to operations in Iraq. 
And we cannot fail. Let me emphasize that again. We cannot fail. But we 
need to recognize that these ideological preoccupations that have led 
us to Iraq have very real costs. We are spending approximately $4 
billion a month to continue our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 
bulk of it being spent in Iraq. These costs do not include the 
heartbreaking loss of American service men and women.
  One must question a strategy in which you cannot afford to fail, but 
you may not win anything. But, questioning aside, one has little choice 
but to support our forces in the field and insist upon a more pragmatic 
  First, the administration must increase the overall size of our land 
forces, not temporarily, but in anticipation of a long deployment in 
both Afghanistan and Iraq.

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  Last fall, I was able to propose an amendment with my colleague, 
Chuck Hagel, to increase the size of our Army by 10,000 soldiers. It 
passed on the floor of the Senate but was stripped out of the 
conference report at the insistence of the administration. They, at 
that point, failed to recognize the need for more military personnel. 
Since that time, the administration has indicated that they now 
recognize a need for additional forces in the Army. But they still 
continue to insist that it can be paid for out of supplemental 
  I believe we have to prepare for a long stay in Iraq. These new 
military personnel should be paid for through the budget process, not 
supplemental appropriations here and there on an irregular basis.
  I believe also that in addition to increasing our overall end 
strength, the administration must increase the number of forces in Iraq 
and direct those forces to the protection of the Iraqi people, not just 
to hunt for insurgents. Today, the greatest threat to the successful 
reconstruction of Iraq is the rampant violence that engulfs the 
country. Only a small portion of this violence is directed against 
American forces. The greatest portion is directed against the Iraqi 
people, creating a daily climate of violence facing every Iraqi which 
saps their will to remake their country and support our efforts.
  Today is a prime example. Over 140 Shiites were killed when bombs 
exploded in Karbala and Baghdad during a religious holy day. However, 
the Department of Defense still stubbornly clings to the proposition 
that more American troops won't help. Rather, they claim that 
indigenous Iraqi security forces are the answer. So they have created, 
mostly on paper, Iraqi security forces that are inadequate and 
insufficient for the critical months ahead.
  ``Iraqization'' has dim echoes of ``Vietnamization.'' Both are 
political responses to real security problems. One failed; the other is 
of dubious value at the moment.
  Secondly, the administration must candidly and promptly acknowledge 
the huge costs that are necessary to pursue our international 
objectives. The recently submitted Presidential budget does not include 
any funds for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The President is 
attempting to rely on previous supplemental appropriations until the 
election. Recently, the chiefs of the Army, the Marine Corps, and the 
Air Force admitted they would run out of funds on October 1 for 
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, reports have 
surfaced that the services may indeed run out of these funds sooner 
than that. They are now robbing Peter to pay Paul as they scavenge 
other accounts to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  In addition to funding for our military forces directly, we should 
understand even at the most optimal success level, military forces will 
buy you time to deal with the more fundamental problems that cause 
terrorism, that cause unstable governments, unstable regions. Those 
costs are also huge: costs in economic development assistance, costs in 
educational assistance. Those costs have to be factored in also. They 
are not included effectively or sufficiently in the budget the 
President sent to us.
  As I said, this is not only poor budget policy with regard to 
military forces, but if we cannot even honestly budget for military 
operations, how can we marshal the will and the dollars to reinforce 
military success with the resources for economic development that will 
address the root causes of the animosity we are confronting.
  One measure of the wisdom of any strategy is whether that strategy is 
sustainable. The administration's choice of a virtually unilateral 
preemptive attack followed by long-term and expensive nation building 
is not a strategy that can be easily duplicated. It is especially 
difficult to sustain without broad-based international support. 
Ironically, our preoccupation with Iraq might serve as an inhibition as 
we confront other adversaries. Moreover, our military advantages simply 
buy us time, precious time, to deal with fundamental issues that create 
the climate in which terrorism thrives.
  Our attention to these issues of education and economic development 
is necessary now and not just in Iraq. These, too, are expensive 
undertakings that require international cooperation with strong 
American leadership. We face great challenges around the world and here 
at home. But Americans are not strangers to great challenges. We will 
endure. And with wisdom and courage, we will prevail--the courage we 
witness every day in the extraordinary valor of our fighting forces.
  But the challenges before us require a strategic vision grounded on 
attention to the compelling threats we face, not the ideological 
impulses that stir our hearts. These challenges can best be faced with 
other nations, not alone. These challenges require huge resources and a 
long-term commitment, not budgetary gimmicks in the short run.
  Until the administration acts on these basic principles, our response 
to real threats will be hobbled by ideology rather than focused by 
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant journal clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Under the previous order, the Senator from Florida is recognized for 
30 minutes.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I would like to start by saying I believe 
our colleagues who scheduled this debate today have done a great 
service to this body and to the American people. The topic of the 
United States in the world and specifically the United States in the 
war on terror is of great importance to the American people. They 
deserve to have the kind of elevated discussion we are giving this 
  This should not be a partisan issue. Rather, it is an issue of our 
national and personal security. Never in our Nation's history have we 
been so dependent on credible intelligence for our safety and security 
as we are today.
  The real test all of us will face as policymakers on behalf of the 
people of the United States will be how wise we are in identifying the 
problems we need to address and how willing we are to cast away the 
anchor of the status quo and initiate real reforms. In both of those 
efforts, one of our strongest assets will be our American intelligence.
  If we were to ask any person who has a reasonable knowledge of the 
capabilities of terrorists and the extent of America's vulnerability 
the question, what is the likelihood the United States of America will 
suffer another successful terrorist attack on our homeland within the 
next 5 years, the consensus answer is certainly going to be almost a 
100 percent likelihood of a successful attack.
  That is a sad but true fact. It is a sad but true fact which is 
unnecessary. In part, it is unnecessary because we need to initiate the 
reforms within our intelligence community. Reforms we have learned from 
the experience of September 11, and learned again in the war against 
Iraq and, I suggest, we will learn again in the incidents that have led 
up to the events in Haiti, the lack of transforming our intelligence 
community to a set of agencies that can effectively understand, 
interpret, and then assist policymakers in making decisions that will 
make us more secure, those reforms have not been made.
  It is also unfortunately true there has been a lack of 
accountability. We have had major intelligence failures in the last 3 
years. Yet, as of today, virtually no one has been held accountable for 
those. What signal does that send to our agency and our adversaries, 
that we are willing to tolerate performance that is less than 
acceptable, or to benefit by performance which is beyond the call of 
duty, and the former is not sanctioned and the latter is not 
  What I think we are facing this evening is a series of deficits that 
will prove as significant to the future of the American people as the 
skyrocketing budget deficit of this administration will be to our 
economic future. These deficits include a deficit in judgment. The 
reality is in the spring of 2002, the United States and our coalition 
partners had the terrorist group which had perpetrated the tragedy of 
September 11 on the ropes in Afghanistan. But a decision was made in 
the early spring--a decision which military officials

[[Page S2015]]

close to its implementation describe as an ending of the war on terror 
in Afghanistan and a substitution of a manhunt in Afghanistan and 
Pakistan, and a redirection of American intelligence and military 
personnel and resources to commence the war in Iraq.
  This was more than a year before the war actually started. If you 
will read the front page of this past Sunday's New York Times, it talks 
about the fact that we are now, 2 years later, beginning to reintensify 
our efforts in Afghanistan, and we are returning to Afghanistan those 
very military and intelligence resources that were shifted to Iraq in 
the beginning of the spring of 2002.
  So the consequence of making a decision that our greater enemy was 
Saddam Hussein than the enemy which had already shown the capability, 
the will, and the presence in the United States to effectively strike 
us on September 11 has been to allow our greater enemy to become yet 

  Al-Qaida is a powerful network today. It is a powerful network which 
is less hierarchical, more entrepreneurial, more diffuse, more 
difficult to attack--especially as al-Qaida cells form alliances with 
other radical Islamic groups. We missed the opportunity in the spring 
of 2002 to have cut off the head of this snake because we exercised 
unacceptably poor judgment as to which was the greater danger to the 
people of the United States.
  What is the report card on that decision of judgment? I quote from a 
statement made by the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mr. 
George Tenet, on Tuesday of last week. This is what the leader of our 
American intelligence community said:

       . . . We have made notable strides. But do not 
     misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that al-Qaida is 
     defeated. It is not. We are still at war. This is a learning 
     organization that remains committed to attacking the United 
     States, its friends and allies.

  Continuing to quote from the director of the CIA:

       Successive blows to al-Qaida's central leadership has 
     transformed the organization into a loose collection of 
     regional networks that operate almost autonomously. These 
     regional components have demonstrated their operational 
     prowess in the past year.
       The sites of their attacks span the entire reach of al-
     Qaida--Morocco, Kenya, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, 
     Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia.
       And al-Qaida seeks to influence the regional networks with 
     operational training, consultations, and money. . . .

  You should not take the fact that these attacks occurred abroad to 
mean the threat to the United States homeland has waned. As al-Qaida 
and associated groups undertook these attacks overseas, detainees 
consistently talked about the importance the group still attaches to 
striking the main enemy: the United States.
  In conclusion, the Director of Central Intelligence made this 
chilling observation:

       The steady growth of Osama bin Laden's anti-U.S. sentiment 
     through the wider Sunni extremist movement, and the broad 
     dissemination of al-Qaida's destructive expertise, ensure 
     that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable 
     future--with or without al-Qaida in the picture.

  That is the residue of the decision to allow the snake of al-Qaida to 
regenerate itself because we determined that the greater enemy to the 
United States--the enemy which had the greater capability to threaten 
the people of the United States of America--was Saddam Hussein. We have 
paid and we will pay a significant price for that flawed judgment.
  There is also a deficit in credibility. Once the administration made 
the decision at least as early as the spring of 2002--and probably 
earlier--it used incredible information to convince the Congress and 
the American people to support that invasion.
  To pick one example which has been widely reported, the 
administration knew, or should have known, that it was using misleading 
information about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, about yellow 
cake from Niger, about the existence of tubes which could be used for 
centrifuges to make nuclear products, and about the connections of 
Saddam Hussein's regime with the tragedy of 9/11.
  On several occasions, it was a leading figure within the 
administration, including the Vice President of the United States, who 
went to the intelligence agencies, asked for further information on the 
specific charge relative to Saddam Hussein's status as a producer and 
user of weapons of mass destruction, received from the intelligence 
agencies a report indicating it was a fabrication, and yet the 
administration continued to recycle incredible misinformation.
  The administration's fondness for calling Iraq the new front in the 
war on terror has become a self-fulfilling proposition. There is 
little, if any, evidence that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaida and 
that terrorist networks were active in the sections of Iraq that were 
controlled by Saddam Hussein.
  What now? Now we have created chaos in Iraq, and in spite of the 
bravery and professionalism of our troops, we have seen a situation in 
which the terrorist organizations which did not exist in Iraq prior to 
the war have now become serious threats to the stability of that 
country and to the lives of American fighting men and women.
  This is how the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, VADM 
Lowell Jacoby, described the situation in Iraq when he testified before 
the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday of last week:

       Foreign fighters who have entered Iraq since the end of the 
     war have carried out some of the most significant attacks, 
     including suicide bombings. Left unchecked, Iraq has the 
     potential to serve as a training ground for the next 
     generation of terrorists.

  There was minimal to no al-Qaida influence in Iraq before the war. 
Now, and this is credible, al-Qaida has found a new base of operations 
in Iraq. There is also a deficit of trust in the American people. This 
great democracy has had, as one of its fundamental values, that the 
people of America will serve their role as citizens only if they are 
fully informed about the operations of their Government. But why does 
this administration not want to let the people know the truth about our 
foreign policy and about the decisionmaking that takes place in forming 
that foreign policy?
  This President lacks a basic respect for the common sense of the 
American people and relies excessively on secrecy, not to protect the 
national interests but to avoid political embarrassment.
  I cochaired the House-Senate joint inquiry into the intelligence 
failures that preceded September 11. Our joint committee produced a 
lengthy report, some 800 pages, which focused on, among other things, 
the findings relative to the support which one or more foreign 
governments had provided to some, if not all, of the 19 terrorists.
  The executive branch, after 7 months of examining our report, 
insisted on censoring the 27 pages of our report that contain the most 
important findings about that foreign support. It reached this level of 
absurdity. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, responding to 
media speculation that it was his government mentioned in those 
27 pages, pleaded with the President and his administration that the 
full report be released. ``How can I defend my kingdom against attacks 
of treacherous nature unless I can know what is the basis of those 
attacks?'' It was not just the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi 
Arabia. The Foreign Minister of the Kingdom flew to Washington to plead 
for the declassification, for the release of this information so that 
he could also defend the honor of the Kingdom.

  The President refused that request even before the Foreign Minister 
had reached the White House. Are we supposed to believe there wasn't 
some coordination of efforts, that there were private assurances of 
maintaining the status quo despite public pleas for release?
  This President has shown that he does not believe the American people 
have the right nor the ability to effectively utilize information which 
will help them to understand who to hold accountable and to participate 
in reforms necessary for their security.
  These are some of the deficits we have seen as a result of the events 
before and particularly after September 11, that we have seen in the 
preparation for the war in Iraq, and which we may well see repeated in 
the circumstances leading up to the current anarchy that grips Haiti.
  Again, I conclude by saying how pleased I am that Senator Kyl and 
other colleagues have given us the chance to have this discussion. We, 
too, have a responsibility to the American people to offer them the 
best security

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that the Government can provide. There is no cave, there is no spider 
hole that we will be able to hide in to escape that responsibility 
should there be another terrorist attack on our homeland and we have 
not utilized the information of our previous failures to make our 
Nation more secure.
  Let us look in the mirror. The face we see will share the 
responsibility for the loss of life and for the deficits I have 
outlined which are unacceptable in our democratic society.
  Before I conclude, I would like to say that I believe the value of 
this debate has indicated the value of similar debates on other issues 
that have wide public concern. I will soon seek unanimous consent that 
we schedule time for a debate of this nature on the floor of the Senate 
on a regular basis for the remainder of this session.
  I propose that the next issue to be discussed be our budget deficit, 
the inheritance of debt that we are going to leave to our people. The 
suggestion made recently by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board 
that we make tax cuts permanent while we also cut benefits for Social 
Security and Medicare could help in framing the choices that we will 
have in dealing with this budget deficit.
  The American people deserve from this, the greatest deliberative body 
in the world, to pay attention to their future. They deserve to know 
that we serve their interests with sound judgment, with credibility, 
and with respect for those who have given us the opportunity to serve 
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida yields the floor. 
Does the Senator suggest the absence of a quorum?
  Mr. GRAHAM of Florida. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DAYTON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Under the previous order, the Senator is recognized for 20 minutes.
  Mr. DAYTON. Mr. President, I thank my colleagues from the other side 
of the aisle for giving us this opportunity to discuss the matters 
surrounding the Iraq war, a war in which we are still engaged, a war in 
which Americans are losing their lives and their limbs on an almost 
daily basis. I am sure my colleagues have attended funerals, as I have 
in my own State, of brave men who did not return from that war alive. 
We all know the human cost that has been involved.
  A number of us were at Walter Reed Hospital 2 weeks ago for an 
evening with brave men and women who have lost limbs and health, and in 
some cases will not ever be able to live fully normal lives because of 
the terrible devastation wreaked on their bodies by the war in Iraq. So 
what we are talking about tonight is something of enormous importance, 
something we should have talked about far more often in the past months 
and year than we have. I attempted back in the first months of 2003 to 
get this body to address some of these critical issues, questions about 
the information we had been provided even though we had voted 
previously in October of 2002 on this resolution that the President 
requested the majority of this body authorize, along with the House, to 
initiate a war at a time of his determination. But in the weeks 
preceding that I tried in vain, as did some of my colleagues, to ask 
the majority leader to bring this matter before the Senate, before the 
American people again. Unfortunately we were not able to. The decision 
was made not to create the time and the opportunity to do so.

  Better late than never. This is much later than it should have been. 
I look forward to this opportunity in the weeks and months ahead 
because, as I understood from the Senator from Arizona, who was 
coordinating the time the Republican caucus used before we were given a 
chance to reply, that whenever the questions were raised, challenges 
were raised about the use or the misuse of intelligence information by 
the President of the United States and by his administration, there 
would be these occasions to discuss those matters again in the future. 
If that is the case, then I look forward to those opportunities because 
those questions should be raised. They have been raised before.
  The American people have a right to know the truth, the facts about 
these matters. Those who have lost sons and daughters over in Iraq, 
those whose sons and daughters are serving there now, all of us whose 
lives, whose children, and grandchildren will bear the consequences of 
these profoundly important decisions that have affected not only the 
United States and our national security but the stability of the entire 
world have a right to know the truth.
  Let's have these debates and these considerations as frequently as 
possible and air these matters fully, particularly since the 
commissions that have been established--the most recent one, by the 
President himself singlehandedly--are being precluded from addressing 
many of these issues like the misuse, as has been alleged, of 
intelligence information by high intelligence officials. That 
commission will not be allowed to investigate those matters. It will 
not have the authority to subpoena documents and information, 
investigating those matters. We will remain in the dark as those of us 
on the Senate Armed Services Committee on which I serve will remain in 
the dark despite our requests repeatedly to have that committee 
investigate these matters under its jurisdiction. At one point the 
distinguished chairman of that committee, Senator Warner, a man for 
whom I have the greatest respect, one of the finest of the men and 
women with whom I have had the privilege of serving in this body over 
my 3 years, suggested on a Sunday talk show that would be the 
appropriate purview of the committee and that should be investigated to 
its determination of the facts and truth and then, from all accounts, 
was forcefully dissuaded from that position by higher level officials 
in the administration who did not want that kind of investigation.
  So if we can't get the facts because we can't get committees of the 
Senate to look into these matters, if we can't get the facts because 
the President's own hand-picked commission is going to be prevented by 
him from investigating and reviewing these matters, then let's use 
these occasions here on the Senate floor, even if we are going to be, 
as the word was used, ambushed by the Republican caucus on these 
matters. That was reported last week. This was going to be a big 
surprise last Thursday. It was reported in one of the Hill newspapers 
and evidently it was decided to postpone it.

  Today, after we talked, even at our caucus lunch today, the 
Democratic caucus lunch at 1 o'clock today, based on the information 
the Democratic leader received from the majority leader, we were going 
to finish the resolution of the bill before us and then we were going 
to turn to another piece of legislation. Lo and behold, we found out 
literally as members of the Republican caucus took the floor this 
afternoon that this was going to be the subject for debate.
  But so be it. If you want to ambush us on this topic, then do it as 
frequently as possible so we can present to the American people all the 
facts, facts they may not receive in any other way.
  Let's go back a minute and review the bidding on this whole matter. 
Let's go back to January of 2002. Mr. Karl Rove, senior adviser to the 
President, political strategist, was quoted as telling a Republican 
political gathering that the winning issue for the Republicans in 
November of 2002, at the midterm election, would be ``the war.'' By 
that at the time he meant the war against al-Qaida, against the Taliban 
in Afghanistan. But evidently in June of 2002, according to published 
reports based on an interview with the chief of staff of the White 
House, Andrew Card, published in the New York Times on September 7 of 
2002, but referring back to a decision that was, according to Mr. Card, 
made in June of that year, 3 months earlier, to bring the spotlight 
onto this supposed immediate, desperate, urgent threat to the national 
security of the United States and the safety of our people by Saddam 
Hussein and his regime in Iraq, the question was asked of Mr. Card by 
the reporter, why, then, was there this delay until then right before 
and then right after

[[Page S2017]]

Labor Day of 2002, a good 3 months later, to bring this matter to the 
attention of Congress and to the American people. Mr. Card's answer, 
and I quote, was, ``Well, from a marketing standpoint you don't bring 
out your new products in August.''
  About two sentences later he indicated also the President was on 
vacation in August. So, instead, we were all, I think, startled--this 
Senator was certainly surprised to hear from the Vice President, Vice 
President Cheney, at two conventions of former men and women of the 
armed services in the last week of August of 2002, where he spoke to 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he announced, ``Simply stated, there 
is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.''
  The President himself then elaborated on these claims time and time 
again. He conjured up the most serious of threats to this country. On 
September 26 of 2002, at the time when this body was being pressured to 
rush to a vote about authorizing a war in Iraq, the President, after 
meeting with Members of Congress on that date, said:

       The danger to our country is grave. The danger to our 
     country is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and 
     chemical weapons. . . .The regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, 
     and with fissile material, could build one within a year.

  He continued on that day to say:

       The dangers we face will only worsen from month to month 
     and from year to year. To ignore these threats is to 
     encourage them. When they have fully materialized, it may be 
     too late to protect ourselves and our friends and our 
     allies. By then the Iraqi dictator would have the means to 
     terrorize and dominate the region. Each passing day could 
     be the one on which the Iraqi regime gives anthrax or VX 
     or someday a nuclear weapon to a terrorist ally.

  On October 7, just 4 days before the October 11 vote in the Senate on 
the war resolution, the President said:

       We know that Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network share 
     a common enemy--the United States of America. We know that 
     Iraq and al-Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a 

  He continued:

       We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaida members in 
     bombmaking and poisons and deadly gases. Alliance with 
     terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America 
     without leaving any fingerprints.

  He also elaborated on claims of Iraq's nuclear weapons program when 
he said on October 7 of that year:

       The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its 
     nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous 
     meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 
     ``nuclear mujahideen''--his holy warriors. If the Iraqi 
     regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-
     enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it 
     could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

  At that time, 4 days thereafter, the Senate voted historically and, I 
believe, having voted against that resolution, erroneously to authorize 
the war with the determination of the President--on a resolution which 
I believed and still believe is unconstitutional, was premature and, 
which has ultimately turned out to be the case, unfounded.
  These assertions continued during the fall and then into the new 
year. Of course, Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the United 
Nations and stated that there were thousands of tons of these strains 
of botulism, of nerve gas agents, of botox, and other substances that 
were of such enormous quantities that they would have been easily 
identified by satellite surveillance or by the United Nations weapons 
inspectors then in Iraq, though at the time none had been found.
  The Vice President again on March 16, just before the eve of the 
decision by the President to invade Iraq, leveled a serious new 
allegation that Hussein already had nuclear weapons. He said, ``We know 
he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons,'' 
and ``We believe he has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons.''
  Subsequent events, of course, have proven all of those assertions to 
be almost totally incorrect.
  Thank God. When United States and British forces invaded Iraq just a 
few days later, there were no chemical or biological or nuclear weapons 
used against them. None were found on the battlefield unused or in 
caches hidden and ready for use or even those weapons materials 
anywhere in Iraq, as the chief weapons inspector, David Kay, has now 
indicated in his public statements. He said to our Senate Armed 
Services Committee that he does not believe they will be found. But the 
more important fact, the irrefutable fact, is that they did not exist 
to be used against our Armed Forces. I am grateful for that. But that 
was the overriding premise--at least I know from a number of my 
colleagues on this side of the aisle--the overriding factor in their 
decision to support the resolution in October.
  Under the United Nations charter, under international law, the only 
justification legally for invading another country, for launching a 
preemptive attack against another country, starting war against another 
country, is either an actual attack itself or the imminent danger or 
threat of an attack against a country.
  It was certainly on that assertion by the administration repeatedly 
that Members of Congress were persuaded to support the resolution in 
October. It was that assertion that was made by the President himself 
and others leading up to and even in the speech the President gave to 
the Nation the night he authorized that invasion of forces.
  In his State of the Union Address, he made assertions that Iraq had 
sought to buy uranium in Africa to reconstitute its nuclear weapons 
program. It was not until July 7 of 2003--almost 6 months later, or 
over 5 months later--that the administration acknowledged for the first 
time that the President should not have made that statement even though 
the reports were they knew conclusively as early as March. Some 
allegations are that they knew even prior to the time, or at the time 
of that statement, that that was not substantiated, or, in fact in 
March, a report even said it was false.
  There are other statements that have been made by former CIA 
intelligence officials, reports made by investigative reporters that 
refer to information that was available to the administration at the 
time these various assertions were made that were contrary to facts as 
they were being reported.
  The linkage to al-Qaida, between Iraq and al-Qaida, is one that I 
certainly can say from my own direct experience, being involved in 
probably two dozen top secret briefings in the fall of 2002 and early 
2003 with members of the administration, that was something that was 
repeated, was raised in a most speculative way from other intelligence 
  Then it is reported in June of 2003, after all this has been 
underway, according to the New York Times, two high officials of al-
Qaida now in U.S. custody told interrogators, told them before the war 
in fact, that the organization did not work with Mr. Hussein. Several 
intelligence officials said no evidence of cooperation had been found 
in Iraq.
  It caused the CIA Director, George Tenet, to state that:

       ``it was not at all clear there was any coordination or 
     joint activities,'' a CIA source told the Washington Post.

  An article in the Baltimore Sun went on to say:

       Last fall, in a classified assessment of Iraq, the CIA said 
     the only thing that might induce Mr. Hussein to give weapons 
     to terrorists was an American invasion. But month after 
     month, unconstrained by mere facts, the president trumpeted a 
     danger that his own intelligence officials dismissed.

  Yes, there are very serious questions and a most profoundly serious 
matter reflecting on the veracity of the President of the United States 
and his officials at the highest levels. The debate should be 
undertaken here and the American people should have a right to all the 
facts but they will not get them.
  One of the most disgusting ploys tonight has been to blame President 
Clinton and Senate Democrats during the 1990s for the supposed 
curtailment of our Nation's military preparedness and its intelligence 
operations. Some people are masters at this kind of slander.
  In 2002, there were Republican campaign commercials that put Senator 
Max Cleland, a Democratic Senator from Georgia, upon the television 
screen next to pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, claiming 
that all three of them were enemies of the national security of the 
United States.
  Senator Cleland was a triple amputee and sat in this chair next to me 
during my first 2 years of the Senate, the

[[Page S2018]]

most amazing demonstration of human courage I have ever heard. I could 
scarcely imagine a man who lost three limbs serving in the military in 
Vietnam, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who had voted 
for every single dollar of President Bush's requested military 
increases for military spending, for homeland security, every dollar, 
being smeared as an enemy of this Nation along with Saddam Hussein and 
Osama bin Laden.
  Here they go again, smearing President Clinton and even Senator John 
Kerry. I heard President Clinton attacked by colleagues across the 
aisle from the day I joined the Senate Armed Services Committee in 
January of 2001 for supposed military weaknesses. That continued up 
until the military that President Clinton commanded for 8 years routed 
the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan 10 months later. Now he is 
accused of emasculating the Intelligence Agency, causing the failures 
to prevent September 11, 2001, and the failures to inform us properly 
about the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
  Unfortunately, we cannot find out who is and who is not responsible 
for whatever failures occurred. We cannot find out because President 
Bush has blocked the 9/11 Commission access to the information that 
bipartisan group of distinguished Americans has been requesting for 
months from the administration.
  We will not get to the truth about who misused intelligence 
information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq because the 
President refused to appoint an independent commission, refused to 
grant them subpoena powers, and refused to authorize them to 
investigate the use of intelligence information by himself and his 
  If the former administration is the one that is so culpable and if 
the current administration is so blameless, why wouldn't this 
administration want those two commissions to have access to all 
relevant information? Why would this administration block the 9/11 
information that its cochairman, former Republican Governor of New 
Jersey, Thomas Kean, has requested for months on behalf of his 
Commission? Why won't the President allow his own handpicked Commission 
to assess the misinformation about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq 
that was provided to Congress and to the American people to investigate 
all the questions about that colossal misrepresentation of the truth as 
we later discovered it to be?
  Those are critical questions that affect the future safety of our 
country and our citizens, whatever flaws existed before September 11, 
whatever errors were made after September 11, whatever mistakes, 
whatever lack of communication, whatever misre- porting, 
misunderstanding, misrepresenting, exaggerating, or improper 
influencing of information, whatever or wherever it occurred, which 
weakened our national security, must know what that was in order to 
prevent it from ever happening again.
  That imperative should transcend partisan politics. It should 
transcend Presidential reelections. It should transcend any 
consideration except for the safety of this country and of the American 
  If my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to strengthen 
our national security, as I know they do--as we all do, because we are 
Americans first, and we are partisans after that--then I ask them to 
join us in insisting that the President unshackle those two 
commissions. Let them find the truth, the whole truth, whatever it 
might be, wherever it is, whoever it helps, whoever it hinders, so that 
we can know what we must do to ensure that the horrors of 9/11 never, 
ever occur again, and to ensure that the serious misinformation about 
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which influenced Members of this 
body to support a resolution to authorize the President to start a war 
against that country--to make sure that kind of misinformation used to 
justify a war to the American people never, ever happens again.
  So, yes, let's debate these matters as frequently as possible. Let's 
get out all of the facts. And then let's let the American people 
  Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota yields the floor.