(Text: Clinton letter to House, Senate leaders)  (680)

(The following letter from President Clinton to the speaker of the House

of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate was released

June 28 by the White House.)

Commencing at approximately 4:22 p.m. (EST) on June 26, 1993, at my

direction, U.S. naval forces launched a Tomahawk cruise missile strike on

the Iraqi Intelligence Service's (IIS) principal command and control

complex in Baghdad.  This facility is the headquarters for the IIS, which

planned the failed attempt to assassinate former President Bush during his

visit to Kuwait in April of this year.  This U.S. military action was

completed upon impact of the missiles on target at approximately 6 p.m.


Operating under the U.S. Central Command, two U.S. Navy surface ships

launched a total of 23 precision-guided Tomahawk missiles in this

coordinated strike upon the key facilities in the IIS compound.  The USS

PETERSON (DD 969) launched 14 missiles from its position in the Red Sea,

while the USS CHANCELLORSVILLE (CG 62) in the Arabian Gulf launched nine

missiles.  The timing of this operation, with missiles striking at

approximately 2:00 a.m. local Iraqi time, was chosen carefully so as to

minimize risks to innocent civilians.  Initial reports indicate that heavy

damage was inflicted on the complex.  Regrettably, there were some

collateral civilian casualties.

I ordered this military response only after I considered the results of a

1horough and independent investigation by U.S. intelligence and law

enforcement agencies.  The reports by Attorney General Reno and Director of

Central Intelligence Woolsey provided compelling evidence that the

operation that threatened the life of President Bush in Kuwait City in

April was directed and pursued by the Iraqi Intelligence Service and that

the government of Iraq bore direct responsibility for this effort.

The government of Iraq acted unlawfully in attempting to carry out Saddam

Hussein's threats against former President Bush because of actions he took

as president.  The evidence of the government of Iraq's violence and

terrorism demonstrates that Iraq poses a continuing threat to U.S.

nationals and shows utter disregard for the will of the international

community as expressed in Security Council Resolutions and the U.N.

Charter.  Based on the government of Iraq's pattern of disregard for

international law, I concluded that there was no reasonable prospect that

new diplomatic initiatives or economic measures could influence the current

government of Iraq to cease planning future attacks against the United


Consequently, in the exercise of our inherent right of self-defense as

recognized in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter and pursuant to my

constitutional authority with respect to the conduct of foreign relations

and as commander in chief, I ordered a military strike that directly

targeted a facility of Iraqi intelligence implicated in the plot against

the former chief executive.  In accordance with Article 51 of the U.N.

Charter, this action was reported immediately to the Security Council on

June 26.  On June 27, Ambassador Albright provided evidence of Iraq's

assassination attempts to the U.N. Security Council, which had been

convened in emergency session at our request.

I am certain that you share my sincere hope that the limited and

proportionate action taken by the U.S. government will frustrate and help

deter and prempt future unlawful actions on the part of the government of

Iraq.  Nonetheless, in the event that Iraqi violence, aggression, or

state-sponsored terrorism against the United States continues, I will

direct such additional measures in our exercise of the right of

self-defense as may be necessary and appropriate to protect U.S. citizens.

I remain committed to ensuring that the Congress is kept fully informed

regarding significant employments of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Accordingly, I

am providing this report on the U.S. military actions of June 26,

consistent with the War Powers Resolution.  I appreciate your thoughts and

continued support as we address these important concerns.