Congressional Record: September 14, 2006 (Senate)
Page S9593-S9602


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, last Friday the Senate Committee on 
Intelligence released a bipartisan report that discussed Iraq's links 
to terrorism and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National 
Congress. These reports provided the American people with important 
insights into these critical issues.
  Unfortunately, the administration chose to redact--that is a word 
used around here meaning to black out--important portions of these 
reports that a bipartisan majority of the Intelligence Committee 
believes could have and should have been released to the American 
  Last night, I handed a letter to the distinguished majority leader 
informing him of my intent to offer an amendment to declassify one of 
these sections.
  I will, at an appropriate time, ask unanimous consent that I have the 
pending amendment set aside to offer my amendment. I am not going to do 
that right now.
  I do ask unanimous consent that a copy of my letter to Senator Frist 
be printed in the Record.
       There being no objection, the material was ordered to be 
     printed in the Record, as follows:

                                                  U.S. Senate,

                               Washington, DC, September 13, 2006.
     Hon. William H. Frist,
     Majority Leader, U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Leader Frist: Late last week the Senate Select 
     Committee on Intelligence on ``a bipartisan basis released 
     reports that discussed Iraq's weapons of mass destruction 
     program and its links to terrorism and the intelligence 
     community's use of information provided by the Iraqi National 
     Congress. These reports provided the American people with 
     important insights into these critical issues.
       Unfortunately, the Administration chose to classify certain 
     important portions of these reports that should have been 
     released to the public. A bipartisan majority of the 
     Intelligence Committee disagreed with the Administration's 
     decision to classify certain portions of the report's 
     findings and conclusions and said that classifying this 
     information is ``without justification.''
       In my view, the Administration's decision to classify one 
     particular portion of the report--a section discussing a CIA 
     document about the alleged meeting in Prague between 9/11 
     hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer--is 
     especially troubling and lacking in justification. As you may 
     know, as recently as this Sunday on national television, Vice 
     President Cheney left open the possibility that such a 
     meeting may have occurred. However, a bipartisan majority of 
     the Intelligence Committee, after thoroughly reviewing 
     relevant intelligence reports and assessments, concluded ``no 
     such meeting occurred.'' The continued classification of 
     sections referencing this meeting only serves to prevent the 
     American public from knowing the full facts about this 
       The classified version of the Intelligence Committee's 
     report, including the sections dealing with the alleged Atta 
     meeting, are available for all Senators to review in the 
     Committee's offices in room SH-211. I urge you to join with 
     me to encourage all members to review his text so they 
     understand its importance and why that text can and should be 
     made available to the American people.
       In light of the importance of this issue, I also think it 
     is important that the Senate act to declassify those portions 
     of the text on pages 96, 97, and 98 of the Intelligence 
     Committee's report that are currently redacted but do not 
     involve sources and methods.
       I plan to offer an amendment on that subject to the 
     legislation currently pending in the Senate. Notwithstanding 
     the procedural situation on the floor, I hope you will join 
     with me to offer this important amendment, permit the Senate 
     to act on it, and support its swift adoption.
       While I understand that S. Res. 400 spells out a process 
     for the Senate to declassify information, that process is a 
     lengthy one that is likely to take us well beyond your 
     announced adjournment date for the U.S. Senate. Therefore, in 
     light of the importance of this issue, I think it is 
     appropriate that the Senate act expeditiously to declassify 
     this material.
                                                       Harry Reid,
                                                      U.S. Senate.

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, again, before I get to the need for this 
amendment, let me be clear. This is about good government. It has 
nothing to do with politics. I notified the distinguished majority 
leader of my intentions to speak this afternoon, well in advance--not 
today; I advised him yesterday--so the majority leader--indeed, every 
Member of the Senate--knows this is not a partisan effort but, rather, 
a serious effort to ensure the Senate fulfills its responsibilities to 
the American people.
  I sincerely hope that the majority leader has had time to think about 
this important amendment and will join with me today to get it agreed 
  The fact is, the White House was wrong to classify portions of the 
phase II report, as both Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence 
Committee have said.
  This chart states as follows:

       The committee disagrees, however, with the Intelligence 
     Community's decision to classify certain portions of the 
     report's findings and conclusions . . . the Committee 
     concludes that the Intelligence Community's

[[Page S9594]]

     decision to classify this information is without 

  This was made public last Friday from the report.
  For the record, this is not my conclusion. This is not a Democratic 
conclusion. This is a bipartisan conclusion of the Republican-led 
Senate Intelligence Committee.
  Again, here is what they said:

       The Committee disagrees, however, with the Intelligence 
     Community's decision to classify certain portions of the 
     report's findings and conclusions . . . the committee 
     concludes that the Intelligence Community's decision to 
     classify this information is without justification.

  A majority of the Republicans and Democrats in the Intelligence 
Committee came together and concluded that the administration's 
decision to keep information from the American people was without 
  We talk about redaction. It is a word we use more often than I would 
think we should, but we are using it here today. I will show everyone 
in this chart what a redaction looks like. Here is the information I 
had in a letter to the majority leader where I said everyone should go 
upstairs and look at what these redacted sentences say.
  This is not just any redaction. Although, obviously, I cannot discuss 
the specific content of this, the Intelligence Committee's report does 
contain some publicly available information that I can discuss.
  According to unclassified sections of the committee's report, this 
section contains information from a CIA document about the alleged 
meeting in Prague between September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an 
Iraqi intelligence officer. That is from page 135 of the report on 
terrorism, page 174 of the Democratic additional views.
  As we all know, the alleged meeting referenced here was an important 
part of this administration's case for going to war. To this day, the 
meeting continues to be used by the administration officials to justify 
why we are still engaged in a war in Iraq. Obviously, this is an 
important piece of information as we assess how we got where we are 
today in Iraq and what we need to do to go forward in Iraq.
  For all my colleagues, though, I want you to know, as important as it 
is, I would not be here today pressing the declassification of this 
information if I thought disclosing it to the American people would 
compromise our intelligence sources and methods. It doesn't.
  A number of members of the Intelligence Committee who know exactly 
what this blacked-out section says, and have heard the administration's 
case for classifying it, have told me that significant portions of this 
passage can be declassified immediately with no harm to our national 
security, no revealing of sources and methods. Nor would I be here 
today if I thought the process of declassifying information spelled out 
in S. Res. 400 would work in this case.
  S. Res. 400 talks about how we declassify information. As anyone who 
has taken a look at S. Res. 400 will quickly see, the process is a very 
lengthy process--so long, in fact, that it is impossible that the 
Senate would be permitted to express its views on an issue prior to the 
majority leader's announced adjournment date.
  This amendment, the Reid-Rockefeller-Levin amendment, would provide 
the American people with information they have a right to know now. 
This amendment would not harm our national security. To the contrary, 
it will help ensure that we have a better informed Senate debate and a 
better informed American public, a critical underpinning of any 
effective national security policy.
  I express my appreciation because he has just come to the Senate, to 
the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee. I want the Record to 
be spread with the fact of how much I appreciate, the Democratic 
Senators appreciate, the Nation appreciates, the Senator's dedicated 
  It has been tough sledding. The Senator has been dignified in his 
approach. I so appreciate the tireless efforts of the Senator. Most 
Senators are in the public eye. That is our job. The Senator's job is 
not to be in the public eye. The Senator spends days of his legislative 
life in a room in the Hart Building, in secret proceedings. Nothing can 
be said that goes on in that room. That is where the Senator spends his 
time. I so appreciate the Senator's dedicated service to our country.
  Before I offer this unanimous consent request to set aside the 
pending amendment and have my amendment heard, I ask the distinguished 
Senator from West Virginia if he has some remarks he would like to 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, first of all, I totally appreciate 
and totally do not deserve the kind comments of our leader from the 
State of Nevada, but I heard them and I won't forget them and I didn't 
mind them at all.
  Before the Senate Intelligence Committee was able to release last 
week two sections of phase II that we have been working on in prewar 
intelligence in Iraq, we submitted the report to the intelligence 
community for declassification review.
  Overall, the declassification process on the phase II report produced 
a final product that was a substantial improvement, I have to say, over 
past efforts, including the committee's heavily redacted July 2004 
phase I report. Yet there were notable instances of overclassification 
in the final phase II report released September 8.
  The committee, in its report, disagreed with the intelligence 
community's decision to classify certain portions of the report's 
findings and conclusions. In its decision to keep this information from 
the public, which is what this is about, the intelligence community was 
unable to demonstrate to the committee that disclosing the redacted--
that is, what is blacked-out--the redacted information in question 
would compromise sensitive sources and methods or otherwise harm the 
national security.
  The committee, therefore, on a bipartisan basis, concluded in its 
report, which was reported out unanimously, that the intelligence 
community's decision to classify this information that we are talking 
about is without justification. Those are the words in the report, 
``without justification.''
  The Reid-Rockefeller-Levin amendment addresses the most egregious 
instance in the committee's Iraq report where the cloak of 
classification is being used improperly to keep critical information 
from the American people. Specifically, the amendment seeks to overturn 
the intelligence community's unjustified decision to classify it--that 
is what this amendment is trying to do--and not only overturn, but the 
unjustified decision to classify in its totality the section of the 
Iraq report referring to a CIA document about the alleged meeting in 
Prague between 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence 

  As the unclassified text of the committee report states, the CIA 
document referenced in these redacted paragraphs expresses concerns 
about the alleged Prague meeting in the context of a public speech by 
President Bush planned for March 14, 2003.
  For the information of Senators, the committee concluded in its 
September 8 Iraq report that the intelligence community was correct 
when it assessed prior to the war that there was no credible 
information--I repeat, no credible information--that Iraq was complicit 
in or had foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the United 
States or any other al-Qaida strike. The committee also concluded in 
its report, after exhaustive review of relevant intelligence reporting, 
that the alleged Atta meeting in Prague did not occur.
  Significant portions of the redacted passage of the report concerning 
the alleged Atta meeting, if not the entire three paragraphs, can be 
declassified without revealing sources and methods--that is, without 
compromising in any way intelligence--or otherwise harming national 
security. The decision to keep from the public--the public of the 
Senate, the public of the United States of America--this revealing 
information about the use of intelligence information prior to the Iraq 
war represents an improper use of classification authority by the 
intelligence community, the effect of which is to shield the White 
  I urge my colleagues to go to the Intelligence Committee offices and 
read the classified portions of the Iraq report--Senators can do that; 
all Senators can do that, do it in those particular rooms, and they can 
do it freely--including the sections dealing with

[[Page S9595]]

the alleged Atta meeting. Senators should read the report and draw 
their own conclusions about whether information known prior to the war 
is being kept from the American people for reasons unrelated to 
protecting national security.
  Mr. DURBIN. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I am happy to.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I would like the Senator from West 
Virginia to clarify one point, if he might. We have two bodies of 
information. One is part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 
report--unclassified, public knowledge. We have another body of 
information which is classified. I would like to ask the Senator from 
West Virginia strictly about the first.
  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report that was issued 
last week--unclassified and public knowledge, which the Senator has 
referred to, and particularly as it relates to the alleged meeting in 
Prague, the Czech Republic, involving Mr. Atta, who was one of the 
terrorists involved in the 
9/11 attacks--if I heard the Senator from West Virginia correctly, the 
report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, an unclassified 
and public report, stated no such meeting occurred; is that correct?
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. That is correct.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I might ask the Senator from West Virginia 
the following: So when Mr. Tim Russert of ``Meet The Press'' asked Vice 
President Dick Cheney, on September 10, this last Sunday, ``And the 
meeting with Atta did not occur?'' and the Vice President replied, ``We 
don't know,'' does that contradict the published, unclassified report 
of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that, in fact, we do 
know the meeting did not occur?
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I would say to the Senator from Illinois that he is 
correct, it does contradict that, and moreover this contradiction has 
been carried on by a number of high officials in this Government for a 
very long period of time in spite of intelligence which they knew which 
said this meeting never took place.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator for yielding for the 
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. In closing, I urge my colleagues to not only read 
the information blacked out, redacted--those are pages 96, 97, and 98--
read those of the report, but also to consider it in the context of the 
unclassified, publicly released section on the alleged Atta meeting in 
Prague that precedes these pages. It sounds complicated, but it is not. 
Just go read it and you will understand.
  I think Senators will find the information classified by the 
administration on these three pages does not involve intelligence 
sources and methods as much as it does provide insight into the warning 
bells that were going off all over about the alleged Atta meeting in 
the context of a Presidential speech a week before the Iraq war 
commenced. This is information on the use of prewar intelligence which 
the White House does not want the American public to have because it 
would be embarrassing.
  The Senate cannot allow this misuse of classification authority to 
stand. I urge my colleagues to support the Reid-Rockefeller-Levin 
  Mr. President, I once again thank the minority leader and yield the 
  (At the request of Mr. Rockefeller, the following statement was 
ordered to be printed in the Record.)
 Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, this past Friday, the Senate 
Intelligence Committee released a report that, among other issues, 
looks at what we have learned after the attack on Iraq about the 
accuracy of prewar intelligence regarding links between Saddam Hussein 
and al-Qaida. The report is a devastating indictment of the Bush-Cheney 
administration's unrelenting and misleading effort to convince the 
American people that Saddam Hussein was linked with al-Qaida, the 
perpetrators of the 9/11 attack.
  Before the war, President Bush said: ``[Y]ou can't distinguish 
between al-Qa'ida and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror,'' 
and: ``This is a man [Saddam] that we know has had connection with al-
Qa'ida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qa'ida 
as a forward army.''
  But the report released by the Intelligence Committee on Friday tells 
a different story. The report quotes the CIA's June 2002 assessment 
that ``our assessment of al-Qa'ida's ties to Iraq rests on a body of 
fragmented, conflicting reporting from sources of varying 
reliability.'' That same CIA report said that ``the ties between Saddam 
and bin Ladin appear much like those between rival intelligence 
  The Intelligence Committee's report quotes a January 2003 prewar CIA 
assessment that ``Saddam Husayn and Usama bin Ladin are far from being 
natural partners;'' that Saddam has ``viewed Islamic extremists 
operating inside Iraq as a threat;'' and that ``the relationship 
between Saddam and bin Ladin appears to more closely resemble that of 
two independent actors trying to exploit each other.''

  Those accurate prewar assessments didn't stop the administration from 
making many false and misleading statements trying to link Saddam 
Hussein and al-Qaida before the war. What is doubly shocking is that 
the false statements continue to this day.
  Just last weekend, the Vice President said on ``Meet the Press'' that 
``The evidence we also had at the time was that he [Saddam] had a 
relationship with al-Qaeda.''
  And the Secretary of State told Fox News earlier this week that 
``There were ties between Iraq and Al Qaida.''
  Just read the Senate Intelligence Committee's bipartisan report. 
Those statements are simply not supported by the intelligence, prewar 
or postwar.
  Three weeks ago, the President said in a press conference that Saddam 
Hussein ``had relations with Zarqawi'' the recently killed terrorist.
  The Intelligence Committee's report demonstrates that statement to be 
flat out false. The committee report discloses, for the first time, the 
CIA's previously classified October 2005 assessment that Saddam's 
regime ``did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye 
toward Zarqawi and his associates.''
  But neither the CIA's assessment nor the committee's report has 
stopped the false statements. Just last Sunday, the Vice President said 
on ``Meet the Press'' that ``We know that Zarqawi . . . fled and went 
to Baghdad and set up operations in Baghdad in the spring of '02 and 
was there from then, basically, until basically the time we launched 
into Iraq.''
  Just last weekend, the Secretary of State told CNN ``We know that 
Zarqawi ran a poisons network in Iraq. . . . So was Iraq involved with 
terror? Absolutely, Iraq was involved with terror.''
  And just this week, Tony Snow, the White House spokesman said ``there 
was a relationship'' between Saddam and Zarqawi.
  Don't they read the CIA's assessments? If they do and disagree, they 
should say so. Again, the CIA's October 2005 assessment said, flat out, 
Saddam's regime ``did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind 
eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.''
  There are many more misleading statements. In the fall of 2001, the 
Czech intelligence service provided the CIA with reporting based on a 
single source who stated that the lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met 
with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001.
  On December 9, 2001, Vice President Cheney was asked about the report 
on ``Meet the Press.'' The Vice President said, said that ``. . . it's 
been pretty well confirmed that the [9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta] did 
go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi 
intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months 
before the attack.''
  On March 24, 2002, the Vice President told ``Meet the Press'' that 
``We discovered, and it's since been public, the allegation that one of 
the lead hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had, in fact, met with Iraqi 
intelligence in Prague . . .''
  But the Intelligence Committee's report declassifies, for the first 
time, a July 2002, a Defense Intelligence Agency paper that said 
``Muhammad Atta reportedly was identified by an asset (not an officer) 
of the Czech [ ] service only after Atta's picture was widely 
circulated in the media after the attacks, approximately five months 
after the alleged meeting occurred'' and that ``there is no 
photographic, immigration or other documentary evidence indicating Atta 
was in the Czech Republic during the time frame of the meeting.''

[[Page S9596]]

  Two months later, in September 2002, CIA published it's assessment 
that ``evidence casts doubt'' on the possibility that the meeting had 
occurred and that ``The CIA and FBI have reviewed the reporting 
available so far and are unable to confirm that Atta met al-Ani in 
  None of those assessments stopped the Vice President from continuing 
to suggest that the report of the meeting was evidence that Saddam's 
regime was linked to the 9/11 attackers. On September 8, 2002, in a 
``Meet the Press'' interview the Vice President said that the CIA 
considered the report of the meeting ``credible,'' although, again, 
that same month the CIA said that there was evidence that ``cast 
doubt'' on it having occurred.
  In January 2003, still before the war, the CIA published an 
assessment stating that, ``A CIA and FBI review of intelligence and 
open-source reporting leads us to question the information provided by 
the Czech service source who claimed that Atta met al-Ani.'' The 
January 2003 paper stated that CIA was ``increasingly skeptical that 
Atta traveled to Prague in 2001 or met with IIS officer al-Ani'' and 
that ``the most reliable reporting to date casts doubt on this 
  But the Vice President continued to be undeterred by the CIA's 
skepticism. In September of 2003, 8 months after the CIA said that the 
most reliable reporting cast doubt on the possibility of a meeting 
between Atta and the Iraqi intelligence officer, Vice President Cheney 
was still citing it as having possibly occurred.
  On January 19, 2004, a full year after the CIA expressed serious 
doubts about the meeting and the fact that not a shred of evidence had 
been found to support the claim of a meeting, the Vice President told 
the Rocky Mountain News that the Atta meeting was ``the one that 
possibly tied the two [Saddam and the 9-11 attackers] together to 9/
  Six months later, on June 17, 2004, the Vice President was asked 
whether Iraq was involved in 9/11. The Vice President said ``We don't 
know. . . . We had one report, this was the famous report on the Czech 
intelligence service, and we've never been able to confirm it or to 
knock it down. We just don't know.'' The Vice President may not have 
``known'' but the intelligence community sure as heck didn't believe--
for a long time before the Vice President's statement--that the meeting 
took place.
  Now the Senate Intelligence Committee's report says that ``Postwar 
findings . . . confirm that no such meeting occurred.''
  But just last Sunday, before a nationally televised audience, the 
Vice President was asked whether the meeting occurred. The Vice 
President replied ``We don't know.''
  The Intelligence Community does know. The Senate Intelligence 
Committee knows. The bipartisan report we released last week says 
``Postwar findings . . . confirm that no such meeting occurred.''
  The intelligence assessments contained in the Intelligence 
Committee's unclassified report are an indictment of the 
administration's continuing misleading attempts to link Saddam Hussein 
to al-Qaida. Portions of the report which have been kept from public 
view provide some of the clearest evidence of this administration's 
false statements and distortions.
  Among what remains classified, and therefore covered up, includes 
deeply disturbing information. Much of the information redacted from 
pages 96, 97, and 98 of the public report does not jeopardize any 
intelligence sources or methods. The continued classification of that 
entire portion of the report reeks of a coverup by the administration. 
The Senate should not go along. The public is entitled to the full 
picture. Unless this report is further declassified, they 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, Senator Levin would be here, but he is, to 
say the least, tied up in the Armed Services Committee. He has been 
working with others to get a bipartisan measure to the floor so we can 
deal with the detainee problem that was brought to a head by the 
Supreme Court in the Hamdan decision.
  I do wish to say that Senator Levin, during Senator Rockefeller's 
incapacity, was a real stalwart working with us. He kept Senator 
Rockefeller informed at his home on a daily basis as to what was going 
on in that committee. We very much appreciate Senator Levin's efforts. 
He is really overworked. He had his responsibilities for Armed 
Services, but he filled in very well for the distinguished Senator from 
West Virginia. We are glad Senator Rockefeller is back and in better 
shape than when he left. He is stronger than ever, and we are very 
fortunate to be able to work on this side of the aisle with these two 
wonderful Senators.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent, notwithstanding rule XXII, 
that amendment No. 5005, to declassify certain text of the Report of 
the Select Committee on Intelligence on Post-War Findings about Iraq's 
weapons of mass destruction program, still be in order.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. BOND. Reserving the right to object, first, let me clarify, this 
is not classification----
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, is there an objection or not?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator from Missouri object?
  Mr. ROBERTS. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mr. President, I regret the decision of the majority. I really do. 
There will be ample time for my friend from Missouri to speak. I wish 
to speak for a few more minutes. No matter the issue or the costs to 
the American people, I am sorry to say, partisanship is the order of 
the day in this Republican Senate. On such an important matter as this, 
I had hoped we could set aside our partisan differences and work 
together. This is not the case.
  Our amendment will not be adopted, but it is not we who will pay the 
price. The real consequences will be paid by this institution and the 
American people.
  The Senate has lost and the American people have lost once again 
because the Republicans have chosen to rubberstamp a bad decision by 
the Bush White House. They have put the administration's political 
standing ahead of this body's constitutional obligation and their own 
political interests ahead of the Nation's interests.
  Again, the American people have lost because, again, they have been 
denied an opportunity to fully understand the facts behind President 
Bush's rush to war in Iraq. The decision to keep this revealing 
information from the public represents an abuse of classification 
authority by the Intelligence Committee. They have shielded the White 
House at the expense of America's security.
  More than 3 years into the war in Iraq--longer than it took in World 
War II in the European theater--the principal underpinnings of the 
administration's case for war have been undermined, if not obliterated, 
by events on the ground and Friday's Intelligence Committee report.
  We learned long ago that Saddam did not possess weapons of mass 
destruction, that he did not have stockpiles of chemical weapons, that 
he did not have stockpiles of biological weapons, and that he did not 
have nuclear capabilities.
  Further, we know definitely from the Intelligence Committee report on 
Friday that another administration claim--that Saddam Hussein had ties 
with al-Qaida--is totally and completely unfounded. Of course, that 
does not stop this administration from repeating this charge. This next 
chart shows exactly what I am talking about. Look at what has been said 
in recent weeks. And the colloquy between the distinguished whip and 
the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee certainly showed this 
and will show it again.
  Here is what was said:

       [Saddam Hussein] had relations with Zarqawi.

  President Bush said this in August of this year, late August of this 
  The Senate Intelligence Committee report:

       [T]he Regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or 
     turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi.

  This did not stop the President from saying ``[Saddam Hussein] had 
relations with Zarqawi.'' This is not a truthful statement.

[[Page S9597]]

  On September 10, just last Sunday, the Vice President said, on ``Meet 
The Press,'' at 10:30 in the morning--he was asked the question by Tim 
Russert, ``And the meeting with Atta did not occur?''--keep in mind, 
this is after the report was made public Friday, 2 days before this--
and the Vice President said, ``We don't know.''
  The Senate Intelligence Committee report says no such meeting 
occurred. It is against this backdrop that I offered the Reid-
Rockefeller-Levin amendment. We have an administration that continues 
to misstate the record and prevent the public from getting additional 
information that will shed further light on their misstatements. And 
``misstatements'' is an understatement. We have a Republican-controlled 
Congress that actively aids and abets the administration in these 
  Mr. President, we need a new direction. For too long, this Republican 
Congress has put its own security ahead of the security of the American 
people. Today is a good example of that, and it is too bad for the 
American people.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas is recognized.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I rise in very strong opposition to 
Senator Reid's amendment. The amendment simply directs the release of 
three pages in the classified version of the committee's phase II 
report on the accuracy of prewar intelligence assessments. I just think 
this amendment is an irresponsible, very dangerous way to seek the 
release of classified information and would set a very dangerous 
  To my knowledge, this action is unprecedented--the full Senate 
considering a bill that has nothing to do with the subject matter that 
is now being discussed and for the Senate not to declassify the 
information but to simply release classified information. I can 
probably conjure up a lot of other different attempts to do this and 
put the full Senate in the position of trying to release classified 
  While we are at war, what the Democratic leader is proposing is that 
the Congress unilaterally release information that our intelligence 
professionals--not the administration--that our intelligence 
professionals have determined to be protected from disclosure. Again, 
to my knowledge, the Senate has never taken such a drastic step.
  Now, the Democratic leader's amendment is not about port security. In 
fact, the amendment will do nothing to enhance our security. The Senate 
should not adopt a precedent that allows one Senator to release 
classified information for whatever purpose that he or she would deem 
fit or for their own purposes.
  Before I proceed any further, however, I must take issue with the 
manner in which the committee action on the matter of declassification 
has been characterized. Senator Reid claims that a bipartisan majority 
of the Intelligence Committee voted to include in the report a 
statement that the committee disagreed with the administration's 
decision--I will repeat, the administration's decision--to classify 
certain portions of the report's findings and conclusions and said that 
classifying of this information is without justification.
  In actuality it was the intelligence community, not the 
administration, that made the decision to protect the sensitive 
information contained in those three pages. That decision was based on 
the community's judgment--their judgment--I know Senators Rockefeller, 
Reid, and others may disagree with the community--concerning sources 
and methods.
  More important, the committee actually classified the 
declassification this way, and I am quoting from our report:

       The committee recognizes that classification decisions are 
     often difficult, requiring a careful balancing of our 
     responsibility to protect the national security sources and 
     methods with the need for the appropriate transparency of the 
     intelligence activities.

  That says it, and it is a very difficult task that one faces when you 
are approaching that kind of a challenge. Overall, the declassification 
process on this report--and I am quoting again--``was a substantial 
improvement over past efforts.''
  That is what the committee said. I know that doesn't include the 
three pages that the Democratic leader, Senator Rockefeller, and others 
would like to have released. It would still be classified, but it would 
be released in a bill that has nothing to do with intelligence matters. 
It is important to understand that this was a broad, bipartisan 
statement relating to a number of issues. Several Senators, many 
Senators, this Senator, had things they would have liked to have seen 
declassified. I worked overtime with the intelligence community in 
regard to the section on the Iraqi National Congress, to make sure that 
all of that report was in, all of the nuances and history would be 
declassified. Did I get everything I wanted? No, but I got a large 
portion of it.
  The committee, however, made no specific reference to the issue that 
Senator Reid brought to the floor today. There was that generic 
statement that I just said earlier. I am very familiar with the 
material that the Senator seeks to publicly release. I agree with the 
Intelligence Community that this material does contain sensitive 
information that would damage our intelligence sources and methods. I 
believe it is properly classified. I supported the report's statement 
that there are certain portions of the report that I believe should 
have been declassified. This is not one of them.
  The information the Democratic leader wants to release is very 
sensitive. Mr. President, it is CIA operational traffic between an 
undercover overseas field station and CIA headquarters. This type of 
correspondence exists to permit the rapid informal flow of information 
and operational guidance needed to execute the mission of the CIA. It 
is not formal intelligence reporting. It is not a finished intelligence 
assessment drafted and coordinated to support policymakers, as has been 
indicated, and it is not routinely available or needed by anyone 
outside of the CIA. It must be handled with care.
  Now, the next question, obviously, is why? Because the release of 
unevaluated information and CIA operational traffic would potentially 
damage the relationships with foreign country security services that 
work closely with the CIA. These foreign services do so with the 
expectation that their words and their actions will remain 
confidential. Additionally, declassification and public release of such 
correspondence would certainly impinge upon the speed and frankness 
that marks this correspondence. CIA's effectiveness is reduced when 
this happens.
  For these reasons, and others that cannot be discussed publicly, this 
information should not be released. In short, this amendment would 
damage our sensitive sources and methods by recklessly disclosing 
properly classified information--again, not by the administration but 
by the intelligence community.
  There is another way to do this. It is the proper way. A number of 
Members on both sides of the aisle, including this Senator, have issues 
concerning the declassification of these reports. They have agreed to 
work with the National Archives Public Interest Declassification Board, 
which is the proper way to do it, to review and, hopefully, further 
declassify some of the remaining redacted portions. This review process 
will look at all of the information that remains classified, not just 
the information singled out in Senator Reid's amendment. I think this 
is a much more responsible approach.
  I hope my colleagues will proceed in that manner. That is how we 
intend to proceed in the Intelligence Committee in regard to 
classification and declassification. I oppose this amendment, and I 
urge my colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. DURBIN. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. ROBERTS. I have yielded the floor, but I will answer the 
Senator's question.
  Mr. DURBIN. I ask the Senator because I am not on the committee, the 
Senate Intelligence Committee released a report last week, and he 
stands by the findings--at least the majority section. I asked the 
question of my Democratic colleague, Senator Rockefeller, which I would 
ask of you. In that Senate Intelligence Committee report relative to 
the alleged meeting in Prague involving Mohammad Atta, the Senate 
Select Committee on Intelligence report says that

[[Page S9598]]

no such meeting occurred. I would like to ask the Senator from Kansas 
this: When the Vice President was asked on Sunday on ``Meet the Press'' 
by Mr. Russert the following question: ``And the meeting with Atta did 
not occur?'' he replied, ``We don't know,'' is that statement by the 
Vice President consistent with the report that you signed and issued to 
the public on the previous Friday?
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, responding to the Senator from Illinois, 
that is a hypothetical. I did not watch ``Meet the Press.'' I have not 
studied the Vice President's comments other than what the Senator has 
said. My name is not Tony Snow.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Will the chairman yield for another question?
  Mr. ROBERTS. Yes, I certainly yield to my friend and colleague.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Thank you very much. I am sure that the Senator is 
aware, having talked about the importance of the operational cables, 
the foreign service, and all these kinds of things that there are in 
our report--or in the report there are at least 30 specific references 
to operational cables. I am looking at page 31 of the prewar assessment 
part. CIA operational table, December 2002, the INC part. And there are 
two on page 68--two CIA cable references that are declassified. Is the 
Senator aware of that, that we have done this 30 times at least in our 
  Mr. ROBERTS. It is my understanding that the operational cables and 
the INC reports are two separate reports.

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. That is correct. But there are 30 in various parts 
of this that are operational cables specifically referred to, which 
  Mr. ROBERTS. Basically, the decision is made by General Hayden in a 
letter I would be delighted to read on the floor of the Senate, except 
that it is classified. He goes down specifically, exactly the comments 
I have made in a very generic way as to why he didn't declassify them. 
One report is INC and one is on the accuracy of the prewar assessments 
regarding weapons of mass destruction. I don't understand the point.
  By the way, the general indicated that he will provide us a letter 
that is not classified outlining why the CIA Director feels very 
strongly that this should not be released.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. What the CIA Director reportedly is saying, and the 
chairman of the full committee indicates, is that operational cables 
cannot be identified publicly. I am saying that they are identified 30 
times in our two reports.
  I direct my colleagues' attention to these 30 specific examples from 
the committee's two reports found on page 31 of the report on Post War 
Findings and pages 41, 43, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 76, 77, 78, 80, 82, 86, 
87, 104, and 107 of the INC report.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, let me say to my friend from West 
Virginia, however, if I might, and my friend from Illinois, I don't 
speak for the Vice President. I ask the Senator to address that 
question to the Vice President. It is the information in the cable 
which is classified, not the format. I think the distinguished vice 
chairman is talking about the format in another report as opposed to 
the report that Senator Reid quoted from, and it is that information--
the cable which is classified, again, by the intelligence community. 
The Senator knows how hard we have both worked to get both reports 
declassified, to the extent that the American people could at least 
know what is going on and let the chips fall where they may. That does 
not include, however, a decision when the DNI and the Director of 
Central Intelligence insist that basically the information in the cable 
is classified.
  I suppose that in future debates on any bill--and it could be port 
security or the farm bill or any bill that really doesn't pertain to 
intelligence--somebody can say, you know, I think there is a portion of 
some intelligence report, or any intelligence, that ought to be 
released even though it is classified. If we start doing this, if we go 
down the slippery slope with regard to having this body in executive 
session or otherwise decide to release classified information, we may 
as well replace ``E pluribus unum'' up there with the New York Times. 
It is a dangerous precedent.
  There is a way to do that. We have a committee set up to go to the 
review board to see if we can get the most declassification possible. I 
agree with the Senator that too much is classified. That is a given. In 
this particular case, I think you have to rely on--or you should rely 
on the CIA Director and the Director of National Intelligence who say 
we are going to lose allied support.
  The Senator knows that every week we get a courtesy call from various 
people who come in and who are our counterparts representing other 
countries. The bottom line is: Why can't you Americans keep quiet? So, 
consequently, I think that has an aspect of this. That has entered 
into, I think, part of the DNI's involvement here and decisionmaking, 
as well as the CIA Director's involvement. It is a canard of the first 
order to say it was the administration. It is not. It is the people who 
work with this every day.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. I say to the chairman of the full committee, is the 
Senator aware that on page 31, the prewar assessment part of the 
report, there is a reference at the bottom, as I indicated, to the CIA 
operational cable of December 20, 2002. The Senator indicated the 
substance is not included, but I will read from the report:

       In addition, the Committee is examining the facts 
     surrounding a December 20, 2002, cable from the relevant CIA 
     station [this is all available to the American public today] 
     which transmitted comments from a letter to the DCI and a 
     discussion with the Chief of Station from the head of the 
     foreign intelligence service that handled CURVE BALL. The 
     cable noted that the head of the foreign intelligence service 
     intelligence said experts from a number of foreign 
     intelligence services had analyzed the CURVE BALL information 
     and believed ``the information was plausible''--et cetera, et 

In other words, the content is right here.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I would just simply say to my 
distinguished friend and colleague, and to let everybody know who is 
listening to this debate, it is an interesting debate; it is a unique 
debate. It sets a precedent that I don't agree with. But simply because 
we are having this discussion doesn't mean we are not friends and 
colleagues and trying our very best to do a job under very difficult 
circumstances. But we do defer--or at least I think we should defer--to 
the intelligence professionals here who work with this material. If 
they make a mistake, we are all over them.
  So we are at war. Let's let the Public Interest Declassification 
Board take a look at these reports. That was the suggestion by Senator 
Wyden, picked up by Senator Bond, endorsed by myself and I think by the 
Senator from West Virginia. That is the proper way to go about it, not 
in this format, when we don't even have a bill that pertains to this 
and where we are setting a precedent where all of a sudden somebody can 
say: Oh, I think we should release even though it is classified.
  Once we start down that road, I would say to my dear friend, we will 
never hear the end of it. We will have everything else declassified. We 
could conceivably, with all the furor in regards to the ABC documentary 
over the handling of 9/11, get into reports and get into Presidential 
findings and everything else. I just don't think that is appropriate. 
So there is a way to do it. Let's do it the proper way.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri is recognized.
  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I want to join in support of the chairman of 
the committee. It is important to realize this was not classified after 
the fact. This was classified information.
  Now, we cannot say on the floor why this must remain classified. 
There are good and sufficient reasons for this, unlike some of the 
other cables which have been cited by the distinguished vice chairman 
of the committee, why this one should not be released.
  We are witnessing something here that is very, very disturbing. The 
minority leader said that partisanship is the order of the day because 
we have objected to this unwarranted effort to misuse and abuse the 
intelligence process to score political points. This approach, 
regrettably, is something that has been used going back to 2003 when 
the Democratic staff in the Intelligence Committee laid out a partisan 
political game plan to use intelligence to try to beat President Bush 
and Vice

[[Page S9599]]

President Cheney in 2004. They laid out a game plan and they stayed on 
it. They stayed on it through phase I. Phase I took 2 full years during 
which we exhaustively examined all of the documents, interviewed 
anybody that might have information on whether there was an intentional 
misleading or misrepresentation or pressure to change the estimates of 
the intelligence analysts and thwart the process.
  We reviewed that process exhaustively. At the end of it, our 
bipartisan conclusion was there was no evidence of any pressure to 
change findings of the Intelligence Committee; there was no effort to 
mislead or misuse the information of the intelligence analysts or the 
intelligence estimates.
  Regrettably, our Democratic colleagues were not satisfied with that. 
They wanted to continue the battle. So we initiated a second backward 
look into history that I think was a tremendous waste of time--phase 
II--to go back and say: Well, maybe we missed something. We are going 
to go back and look at the intelligence prior to the commencement of 
Operation Iraqi Freedom and see if we can't find some misstatement, 
some misstep by the administration.
  Well, President Bush is not running again. I don't know whether they 
want to try to impeach him or whether they just want to try to score 
points in the 2006 election campaign. But whichever thing they are 
doing, it is a blatant partisan effort to take what should be the 
bipartisan, even nonpartisan, Intelligence Committee and drag it 
through the political mire of name-calling and rock-throwing.
  I think it is time for us to hit the baloney button on this and say: 
We have wasted now 2 more years in the Intelligence Committee going 
back and trying to defeat or impeach President Bush, and we have not 
been successful.
  Let me mention something about this. All of this hype is about things 
that were added--much of it is about things that were added as comments 
to one of the two reports that we reported out of the Intelligence 
Committee. The Democrats chose to make extraneous allegations now that 
will be considered in a later report that is yet to be finalized by the 
committee, to look into statements made by administration officials and 
Members of Congress, to see whether they were inaccurate or if there 
was a misuse of the intelligence estimates that were available at the 
time. I have looked at them and I have seen some significant 
overstepping in statements that were made. Regrettably, those 
statements primarily came from Members of Congress, some on the other 
side of the aisle, who went too far. They went beyond what the 
intelligence estimates said.
  Now, we have focused in this process on what the final intelligence 
estimates were. There are thousands--perhaps hundreds of thousands--at 
least tens of thousands of operational cables. They bring in different 
points of view. There are 16 different intelligence agencies that may 
have points of view. Do those all come to the policymakers? Of course 
not. The intelligence community is responsible for coming up with a 
National Intelligence Estimate, a community assessment that goes to the 
policymakers, whether that is the President, the Vice President, or 
this body. We get the final product.
  Now, any time you want to, you can go back and look at all kinds of 
operational cables. You can find cables at any one time saying it is 
daytime and others say it is night, a third one saying it is dusk, and 
a fourth one saying it is dawn. But that is not what is given to the 
  We ask the Intelligence Committee to use their best judgment. And as 
far as this cable, which has been properly classified--and we will not 
go into why it is properly classified--this cable was one communication 
to the headquarters, and it was not the only one. There were many, many 
  Looking back on it, we have a much better idea of what went on. But 
the whole purpose of this, the whole purpose of our Democratic 
colleagues in phase II, was to find grounds to defeat President Bush in 
2004 or perhaps impeach him in 2006 or maybe in 2007. Well, we have 
been looking in the rearview mirror far too long. We have been looking 
backwards. We spent 2 full years, the staff of the Intelligence 
Committee spent hundreds of hours, reviewed tens of thousands of 
documents, over 1,000 interviews, and they found that there was no 
misuse, no abuse of the intelligence process, no pressure on the 

  So we have a lot of things that we ought to be doing. We have a lot 
of work in the Intelligence Committee because we have to implement the 
recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. One of the key recommendations 
concerning intelligence in the 9/11 Commission report was to set up a 
national security post in the Department of Justice to coordinate 
between the FBI and the CIA. Regrettably, our colleagues on the other 
side of the aisle are holding up the appointment of the man who is 
supposed to fill that position to ensure that there is good information 
and good exchanges of information between the FBI as a law enforcement 
body and the intelligence agencies. And we have a lot of other things 
to do because there are still problems that we have to work out in the 
new structure of the Director of National Intelligence.
  I have been asking plaintively why we cannot look at the continuing 
threats, do oversight and deal with some of the questions and problems 
we have. The answer is we have to complete phase II, and phase II has 
had, again, hundreds and hundreds of hours of work by our staff, work 
that could have been used on other points. Regrettably, what we are 
hearing on the floor and what we are seeing in some of the reports 
coming out of the Intelligence Committee is an effort to politicize 
intelligence. I deeply regret the fact that so much of this has been 
misquoted in the report issued, the largely Democratic report issued 
from the intelligence community. There was a tremendous amount of 
cherry-picking of selected pieces of information that did not come from 
the National Intelligence Estimates, to say that statements by some 
administration officials were not based on sound evidence.
  We have learned a lot. We have learned a lot since we went into Iraq. 
We learned that our intelligence wasn't good, state-craft and trade-
craft were not properly executed. Where there were dissenting views, 
those dissenting views were not conveyed up the line to the 
policymakers. That was us and that was the administration. And we are 
trying to change that. We are trying to make sure that dissenting views 
are explored, that policymakers know if there is a division.
  Now, looking back with hindsight, we could say that many of the 
statements made here on the floor and made by the administration were 
not accurate. The question is, Were they based on the best National 
Intelligence Estimates at the time? We found out in phase I that they 
  The effort to do more declassification is very important. The 
chairman of the committee, Senator Roberts, Senator Wyden and I and the 
vice chairman have asked the Public Interest Declassification Board and 
the National Archives to look at and investigate what has been 
classified to see if more of it could be declassified. Because I, as 
most of my colleagues, want to have as much that is not sensitive or 
revealing sources and methods to be disclosed, so we can evaluate where 
we stand. But for this one, I understand full well the reason it is 
classified, and I am not going to say why. But when we disclose 
intelligence, we risk sources. Unfortunately, when we prosecuted the 
1993 World Trade Center bombers, the prosecution had to turn over a 
list of 260 names of potential suspects. They turned it over in that 
court proceeding and, subsequently, several years later in a raid in an 
African nation they found in the al-Qaida playbook the names of all 
these people. When we disclose who we are talking to, their names get 
disclosed. And regrettably, some of them have been murdered. But it is 
not just the individual source who is at risk.
  We have repeatedly chipped away at the confidence of our allies to 
work with us in the war on terror by disclosing sources and methods 
over the years. Friendly services are saying--and CIA leaders have told 
me directly--that our allies in the field are rethinking if and to what 
extent they can work with us because the Americans cannot keep a 
secret. This effort to declassify operational traffic involving 
overseas entities could devastate the confidence of our allies in 

[[Page S9600]]

with American intelligence and obliterate the confidence of American 
intelligence officials in the United States Congress, who will be 
taking their discrete communications among themselves and broadcasting 
it to the entire world.
  I can't think right now of a single more devastating action that will 
reverse what we have been trying to fix in the U.S. intelligence 
community than this, to say that if you share anything within the 
intelligence community or even with the Intelligence Committee, it is 
going to get out. People don't want to share the most sensitive 
intelligence when it could get out and not only disclose the 
information, but put at risk the sources and methods by which it is 
being obtained.
  For that reason, I regret that the minority leader has attempted to 
make a partisan battle out of something that did not have to do with 
the National Intelligence Estimate. It was not a final product of the 
Intelligence Committee. Therefore, it had no place in the effort to 
determine what kind of information got to the top policymakers in the 
  There were lots of conflicting pieces of information going through 
the chain. What we properly looked at was how those were handled and 
what they gave to policymakers. There is no evidence, no evidence, 
none, zero, zip, none--that this evidence was ever shared with the top 

  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I had the honor to serve on the Senate 
intelligence subcommittee for 4 years. It is an awesome assignment. 
That committee can suck up more time from a Senator's schedule than any 
other assignment I can think of. I easily spent half of my time in 
committee in the Senate Intelligence Committee room, and I am almost 
certain that I didn't attend half of their meetings. There were so many 
meetings. The information is voluminous. It is cloaked in initials and 
references which take the longest time to understand. I will honestly 
tell you by the end of my 4 years I had come to understand more and 
more about the intelligence community and come to understand more and 
more about what to look for and listen for. So my hat is off to all of 
my colleagues in the Senate, Democrat and Republican, who serve on this 
committee. It is a massive assignment, and they have a massive 
responsibility--to measure the efficacy of our intelligence operations 
as well as their reports.
  I can't think of another committee in Congress--I might say the Armed 
Services Committee is close--that has such an awesome responsibility. I 
want to preface my remarks by saluting all of the members of the 
Intelligence Committee for giving their time to this effort.
  But I will tell you, there is no more frustrating assignment in 
Congress either because you will sit there for hour after weary hour, 
day after weary day, week after week, and month after month listening 
to all of this information, being sworn not to repeat a word of it--
imagine. The only questions you can ask are in the room. The only 
statements you can make are in the room. It is classified information. 
We wouldn't want to risk the life of a single American or ally or 
someone helping our cause, so we are extra careful.
  I lived through this as we made the momentous and historic decision 4 
years ago to go to war in Iraq. After sitting there for months, 
listening to the experts within the Bush administration talk about what 
they knew about Iraq, I drew my own conclusions from what they said. 
And I would walk outside that committee room stunned to hear the public 
statements that were being made in direct contradiction.
  Elected officials and appointed officials in this administration were 
saying things about Iraq and its threat to the United States which were 
inconsistent with the information being given to us in the Senate 
Intelligence Committee. Yet, being sworn to secrecy, I could not say a 
word. It was a frustrating situation.
  I reached the conclusion that the information within the room was 
more compelling than the headlines outside the room. I joined 22 of my 
colleagues in the Senate in voting against the authorization to go to 
war. And our subsequent investigation found that those inside the room 
knew a lot more than the politicians outside the room because we found 
no weapons of mass destruction, we found no nuclear weapons, we found 
no connection between al-Qaida the terrorist group responsible for 9/
11--and Saddam Hussein. We found no evidence to support the notion that 
somehow nuclear materials were coming in from Africa to Iraq.
  Despite statements made by the President in the State of the Union 
Address, none of that was found. So we knew, after our invasion, after 
careful investigation, that the statements made to the American people 
were wrong. The American people were misled. The American people were 
deceived. So the Senate Intelligence Committee set out to try to get to 
the bottom of it.
  The first phase of its investigation was to find out what happened at 
the intelligence agencies. If they had conflicting information, how did 
this occur? I happened to be on the committee when this report was 
made. It was an important disclosure that, in fact, our intelligence 
agencies had let us down. Their information was not reliable, was not 
sound, and many times misled a lot of people. That is a fact.
  But phase II of this investigation by the Senate Intelligence 
Committee was going to really talk about whether these public 
disclosures were made and whether they, in fact, misled the American 
people. It took almost 2\1/2\ years for that to be prepared, 2\1/2\ 
years, despite repeated promises by the chairman of the Senate 
Intelligence Committee that it would be a priority item and be taken 
care of. It is unfortunate that it took so long. It is unfortunate that 
the Democratic leader, Senator Reid of Nevada, had to threaten a closed 
session of the Senate to force this issue, to finally come up with the 
phase II report.
  But it is a good thing he did because the phase II report, which was 
publicized last week for all of America, in unclassified form, in 
public form, made it clear. The report concluded the administration 
relied on known fabricators and liars, including the infamous Ahmed 
Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress to justify the war. Chalabi and 
others fed the administration consistently false information about 
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons.
  Members of the intelligence community had warned that this Ahmed 
Chalabi, the darling of many people in this administration, was, in 
fact, a fraud. Despite this, despite this fact, this man was invited to 
sit in an honored place at the President's State of the Union Address.
  He was unreliable. His organization was not only not trustworthy, it 
was penetrated by the Iranians, who sadly do not share many, if any, of 
our values.
  But the administration still eagerly embraced this source, this 
unreliable, untrustworthy source. Some of the information that he gave 
found its way into one of the most important documents our Government 
issues, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. That is a 
compilation of all the gathered intelligence from all the different 
reliable sources of our Government and other places, to try to have an 
accurate picture of the situation before a military invasion, before we 
risk the first American life. And the lies and fabrications and 
distortions of this man were part of that National Intelligence 
  In fact, some of his testimony found its way into statements made by 
our former Secretary of State Colin Powell before the United Nations to 
try to justify to the world our invasion. That presentation marked a 
low point in what I consider an otherwise highly distinguished career 
of service by General Powell.
  The committee report which we saw last week spells out the 
misinformation from Chalabi and others that was used to justify the 
war. It shows clearly there was no connection, none, between Saddam 
Hussein and al-Qaida. That is now a bipartisan conclusion. It is 
published. It has been verified from intelligence sources. The debate 
over that question should now officially end.

  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, could I ask the distinguished Senator from 
Illinois a question? On what page is there a bipartisan statement that 
there was no connection between al-Qaida and Iraq?

[[Page S9601]]

  Mr. DURBIN. I will get the page reference and give it to you in a 
  Mr. BOND. Because we also found in there a reference that there was a 
meeting and two contacts.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, if I might? I do control the time?
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator controls the time.
  Mr. DURBIN. I will get the page reference for the Senator. I would 
like to continue my remarks, if I may.
  The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee reached these 
conclusions but this report, especially the public version, doesn't go 
as far as it might. As the vice chairman, the distinguished Senator 
from West Virginia, and other colleagues wrote in their additional 

       The committee's phase II investigation has been 
     significantly limited by the majority's refusal to examine 
     issues and documents relevant to our inquiry when the issues 
     and documents came close to the White House.

  The point that is being made today, and has been debated back and 
forth, is how much of this document that has not been released to the 
public, should be released.
  As you can see, several pages, many pages, are blacked out. 
Information is blacked out. The official word is ``redacted.'' So this 
debate has gone back and forth about how much should have been 
redacted, how much should have been released. I will not get into the 
specifics because I wouldn't want to disclose anything that I should 
not. But I will say the Senator from Nevada asked by his motion, his 
amendment, that we consider opening at least one or two pages of this 
report that reflect directly on statements made by the Bush 
  The other side, Senator Bond and others, have suggested that we 
should not ask these questions, that we are looking in the rearview 
mirror about things that happened a long time ago.
  I view this quite a bit differently than my colleague from Missouri. 
What we are talking about are statements and justifications made by 
this administration to justify the invasion of a country, to justify a 
war. I believe the greatest breach of trust in a democracy is when the 
leaders mislead the people, and the worst of these is when the people 
are misled into a war. I can think of nothing worse.
  To ask specific questions about the nature of how we were misled into 
this war is certainly not ancient history, unworthy of comment or 
review. It goes to the heart of who we are and what we are as a 
  So many of us listened, startled by statements made by Vice President 
Cheney on ``Meet The Press'' last Sunday. Scarcely 2 days after the 
report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Vice President 
Cheney and other members of the administration made statements directly 
contradicted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report that 
had just been released. Let me be specific.
  First, if I could, the chart with the ``Meet the Press'' show, Mr. 
Russert asked the Vice President, `` . . . and the meeting with Atta 
did not occur?''
  Vice President Cheney said, ``We don't know.''
  This was an important meeting. It was a meeting that was suggested 
had occurred by the Vice President and others involving Mohamed Atta, 
the leader of the 19 who were responsible for the attack on September 
11, a meeting which supposedly occurred in Prague. Mr. Russert is 
asking: Did it or did it not occur?
  Vice President Cheney says, ``We don't know.'' He said that as of 
last Sunday.
  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report says, ``No such 
meeting occurred.''
  That is not the only reference. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 
``CNN Late Edition,'' same day, said:

       We know that Zarqawi . . . ran a poisonous network in Iraq.

  The Senate Intelligence Committee report says the following, ``the 
regime''--in Iraq--``did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn 
a blind eye towards Zarqawi.''
  Then, just yesterday or the day before, September 12, Tony Snow the 
President's Press Secretary, said ``there was a relationship between 
Saddam and Zarqawi,'' directly contradicting this report.
  This, sadly, is a pattern which is unacceptable. For the leaders in 
this administration--the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and 
the President's Press Secretary--to continue to mislead the American 
people about facts they now know are not true is unacceptable. If we 
are going to move forward in this country effectively, on a bipartisan 
basis, it has to be based on truth and honesty. As members of this 
administration continue to misrepresent the justification for the war 
on Iraq and the circumstances in Iraq, is it any wonder that a majority 
of the American people are now raising serious questions about their 
competence and judgment when it comes to these important foreign policy 
decisions? That is the reason for this moment on the floor today, this 
time that we have taken from the business of the Senate, because it 
really goes to the heart of the issue here. It goes to the heart of the 
issue which the American people are consumed with as they realize that 
2,679 of our brave soldiers have now died in Iraq and 19,000 are 
seriously injured.
  This morning, Senator Obama and I had a town meeting. We do each 
Thursday morning here. And one of those soldiers, blinded and severely 
injured in Iraq, came to visit with us. He was there with his wonderful 
and brave wife who stood by his side, and other soldiers, doing his 
best to get back on his feet and put his life back together.
  That is what this debate is about. This isn't a waste of time over 
politics. It is a question about the foreign policy of this Nation, the 
protection of this Nation, and most importantly whether it is time to 
move in a new direction.
  The Vice President of the United States said in the course of his 
appearance on ``Meet the Press'' when he was asked about the invasion 
of Iraq:

       It was the right thing to do, and if we had to do it over 
     again we would do exactly the same thing.

  Clearly, no lessons have been learned by this administration because 
we sent too few troops into a situation which was not clearly planned 
nor clearly explained to the American people. We sent them without the 
necessary equipment they needed to protect themselves. We shortchanged 
them in terms of the number of forces, equipment, and training they 
needed--and lives were lost.
  We now know, as well, that the justification for the war did not turn 
out to be true. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and we are 
there with 145,000 of our soldiers and marines risking their lives for 
America, even as we stand in the safety of this country today.
  I might say to the Senator from Missouri that I have just been handed 
by my staff a reference which he might want to consider: page 63 of the 
report which he signed. Page 63 said Saddam has ``viewed Islamic 
extremists operating inside of Iraq as a threat.''
  That statement is inconsistent with the conspiracy theory heard 
through some media channels that somehow Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida 
were in concert working toward the devastation which occurred on 9/11.
  I would suggest that there is more which I could go into and don't 
have the time at this moment. But the report makes it clear--and most 
everyone who has taken an objective view of this makes it clear--that 
to continue to suggest this relationship with al-Qaida is just plain 
  I am going to conclude because I think this is an important debate 
and one which should continue. It is one that continues in households 
across America, not just in the homes of families of soldiers, those 
anxious parents and loved ones praying for the safety of our men and 
women in uniform, but also in every other home across America that 
truly wants to be safe and wants to make sure that our men and women in 
uniform are protected, that we do everything in our power to make this 
a safe nation.
  We have offered amendments on the Senate floor to put the 9/11 
recommendations into law so we will be safe at home. Sadly, they were 
rejected on partisan rollcall. But I can only hope that soon we will 
return to the bipartisan spirit of 5 years ago when we worked together. 
It would be in the best interests of our country.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Missouri.

[[Page S9602]]

  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Illinois for 
calling my attention to page 63. I don't see the information there. It 
does, on page 65, talk about George Tenet saying the intelligence 
indicates that the two sides at various points discussed safe haven, 
training, and reciprocal nonaggression. And in the report there are 
three instances of contact cited between al-Qaida and the Iraqi 
  I also would just follow up on my statement that some of us in this 
body were misled by the inaccurate intelligence estimates presented to 
us by the community. For example, I see this classic statement:

       When you look at what Saddam Hussein has had at his 
     disposal in terms of chemical, biological and perhaps even 
     nuclear weapons, we cannot ignore the threat that he poses to 
     the region and the fact that he has fomented terrorism 
     throughout his reign.

  That was from Senator Dick Durbin on ``CNN Larry King Live,'' on 
December 21, 2001.
  But I think we want to get back to the port security bill. I have 
been asked by Leader Frist to pass along from a letter just received 
from CIA Director GEN Michael Hayden.
  General Hayden said:

       The amendment offered by Senator Reid, seeks to declassify 
     and make public CIA internal communications that include 
     personal commentary and judgment. We hold these kinds of 
     cables to the highest standard of secrecy within our 
     organization, and would only share them outside of CIA under 
     certain specific conditions.
       I provided this information over the objection of many of 
     my officers, after receiving assurances from the Chairman 
     that it would be treated as highly sensitive material. That 
     is why I am so disappointed that this amendment is being 
     considered at this time. In addition, I am deeply 
     disappointed that some have already characterized the cable's 
     contents in the media.

  He also talks about the information coming in from Chiefs of Station.
  He said:

       No COS has ever written one of these cables expecting it to 
     be made public, and no COS will use his channel again without 
     fearing it will become public, if Congress demands 

  He also said:

       Further . . . it contains pre-decisional executive branch 

  Finally, he said:

       Lastly, a critical way in which our Nation gathers 
     intelligence is with the support of our liaison partners. If 
     these partners fear that their support for CIA activities 
     will be made public, it will make them reluctant to cooperate 
     with my agency. This will, I assure you, curtail the 
     intelligence made available to the CIA and could create gaps 
     in the final intelligence made available to policymakers. I 
     ask your help in defeating this effort in the Senate, and for 
     your help in protecting both CIA's sources and methods as 
     well as our ability to work cooperatively with the Oversight 

  I yield the floor.