[Congressional Record: December 11, 2007 (Senate)]
[Page S15084-S15085]


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I wish to speak this morning about another 
issue that concerns not just Democrats but members of both parties and 
our entire country. It is often said that a man has nothing but his 
reputation, his honor, and his integrity. I believe that to be the 
case. This is true not just for men but for countries.
  In a thousand years, in a hundred years, when historians write the 
story of these early days of America, they will, of course, write about 
our great cities, our military and, of course, our economy. But the 
real story will be of a young Nation, unique among its global peers, 
because it has stood for liberty and justice, not just with words but 
with deeds. The true measure of America is our moral authority. Over 
the past 7 years, that authority has been significantly damaged: the 
war in Iraq that did not have to be waged; a CIA agent exposed to harm 
for telling the truth, Valerie Plame; a Justice Department in shambles 
with Attorney General Gonzales; the treatment of prisoners held up to 
no standard except the daily whims of a few people, Abu Ghraib, water 
torture. But now the word is that the CIA destroyed tapes from some of 
these interrogations. It has been acknowledged that the interrogations 
were by using water torture, something that originated in 1492 by Queen 
Isabella and King Ferdinand in the Inquisition. Here it is hundreds and 
hundreds of years later, and great America has reverted to what took 
place in the Inquisition.
  The damage to our moral authority will matter to history books, but, 
more importantly, it matters right now. It puts our troops at greater 
risk if captured, impairs our relationship with nations that ought to 
be our allies, it impedes our ability to fight an effective war on 
terror, it creates terrorists.
  This latest news of destroyed tapes raises far more questions than we 
have answers. For example, who is responsible for destroying these 
tapes? Why? Was something being covered up? The possibility of 
obstruction of justice is very real. The American people deserve a full 
accounting for what took place and answers for all of these questions.
  Will that eradicate what has gone on over the last 7 years? Of course 
not. But it will help. Chairman Rockefeller has launched an 
investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee. I am happy that the 
Intelligence Committee has been working on a bipartisan basis. That is 
good. Senator Bond

[[Page S15085]]

has been working with Senator Rockefeller, and they have done what has 
been good work. There has been very little infighting between them.
  The Attorney General of the United States, newly selected, has said 
he will launch an inquiry. We will see what this inquiry will be. I 
expect both the Intelligence Committee and the Attorney General of the 
United States to investigate aggressively the answers to questions 
regarding this coverup.
  But the CIA, the Justice Department, the Bush White House, every 
American should know that if these investigations encounter resistance 
or are unable to find the truth, I will not hesitate to add my voice to 
those calling for a special counsel. For example, this weekend, Joe 
Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, called for a 
special prosecutor. He may be right. I am willing to wait and see what 
develops before I join in that call.
  We must take every step necessary to protect our country's integrity 
and defend this country's great moral responsibility and authority that 
we have.