Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, there is nothing new about political rhetoric that reinvents history, particularly in an election year. There is nothing new about 20-20 hindsight, or selective memory. I am saddened, however, that several of my distinguished colleagues--most notably Senator Gore--have chosen to reinvent the recent history of the Middle East and our relations with Iraq.
For example, Senator Gore has said in his speech to the Center for National Policy that the Bush administration made a `heroic assumption * * * that Iraq would suddenly and completely change its ways out of fear of economic and political sanctions.'
The fact is that the United States sought to moderate Iraqi activity over time by using a mix of limited incentives and strong disincentives. The fact is that we were correct to try, and the fact that we did try was a major factor that later made it possible to assemble a victorious U.N. coalition.
Our relations with Iraq have never been easy. At the same time, we have never been able to ignore the fact that Iraq plays a critical role in the balance of power in the gulf, and in a region with nearly 60 percent of the world's proven oil reserves.
No American President or senior foreign policy official, operating in the diplomatic and strategic climate of the 1980's could ignore the need to avoid having Iran or Iraq dominate the gulf. No President or official could avoid trying to moderate Iraqi behavior, or trying to persuade Saddam Hussein that he would gain more from peaceful relations with the West and southern gulf States than from confrontation, radicalism, and aggression.
This policy had universal support within the Arab world at the time, and had this support down to the final hours before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Kuwait strongly and consistently supported it. So did moderate states like Egypt. So did every European power, so did virtually every American expert on the Middle East.
There is also nothing secret about the fact the United States followed this policy. No one has ever denied that we provided Iraq with economic and political support during the latter phases of the Iran-Iraq war in an effort to prevent Iran from winning and dominating the gulf.
In fact, there was a broad bipartisan consensus behind this policy. There was no stealth in the U.S. naval intervention in the gulf. We debated and approved Operation Earnest Will. Our intelligence committees reviewed and concurred with our activities in the region.
No one seriously challenged our policy of trying to move Iraq toward moderation during the Iran-Iraq War or in the months between the August 1988 cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq War and the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Senator Gore, Senator Wirth, Senator Leahy--among others--forget these facts in their speeches attacking President Bush.
Certainly Senator Gore forgets them when he makes an incredible accusation like charging that, `He (President Bush) is the one who started the fire.'
We all know that Saddam Hussein started the fire. We all know that it was George Bush that put it out. And, we all know that many on the opposite of the aisle opposed his efforts to do so, and voted against them.
Sentor Gore and his colleagues show an equally convenient degree of amnesia when they selectively use the result of months of effort by the Democratic Party to find every single case in which the United States provided aid to Iraq, transferred dual capable technology, or made a hard choice between condemning Iraq and trying to moderate it.
They assemble these facts, and no other facts, to try to make it look like the United States was supplying Iraq with massive amounts of arms, and with the technology necessary for proliferation. They try to create a history where President Bush appears to have tolerated terrorism or Saddam's worst excesses.
Mr. President, there is only one way to fully refute what Senator Gore, Representative Gonzalez, and other Democrats have put into their speeches and the Congressional Record. We would have to do what any honest and reputable historian would have done in place of their attacks on President Bush. We would have put the incidents that Senator Gore lists in the full context of all the actions taken by the United States during the period from 1982 to August, 1990.
We would have to publish the record of all the efforts we made to halt proliferation, and halt terrorism. We would have to list all of the efforts of the executive branch to
halt technology transfer. We would have to mention the fact that it was a joint British-American sting operation that uncovered key supergun equipment transfers.
We would have to mention that Iraq's most critical efforts to acquire chemical weapons technology from the United States failed. We would have to trace the true record of support for the terrorist movements Senator Gore mentions, little of which have anything to do with Iraq.
If we paid any attention to the full record, and to the true history of events, we would never see a record that remotely justifies Senator Gore's statement that President Bush's `poor judgment, moral blindness, and bungling polices led directly to a war that should never have taken place.'
Instead, we would see a record that is already well documented in book after book on modern Iraqi politics, the Iran-Iraq war, and the events that led up to the gulf war.
We would see a clear and consistent effort to moderate Iraq. We would see a clear and consistent effort to work with our allies in halting the transfer of technology that could give Iraq weapons of mass destruction. We would see U.S. policies that had the broad support of Members of both the Senate and the House.
It is my hope that as the media examines what Senator Gore has said, they too will examine the full record. It is my hope that they will look through the Congressional Record and see how many prescient Democrats disagreed with the efforts to moderate Iraq and check Iran, and how many still failed to understand how serious the situation was when we voted on authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq after it invaded Kuwait.
I also hope they will examine the record contained in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency data on arms transfers to Iraq during the period before the gulf war, and in the work of Richard F. Grimmett of the Congressional Research Service on such arms transfers, when they examine the credibility of a statement like Senator Gore's claim that `our sons and daughters were to be sent to risk their lives facing a threat that had been built up through U.S. technology and U.S. tax dollars.'
Mr. President, Saddam Hussein built up his military machine with $100 billion of his own money, and money lent
him by his neighbors during the Iran-Iraq War. The impact of any U.S. origin technology and weapons was at most negligible.
If the media and my colleagues look at the most recent ACDA document, and examine arms transfers to Iraq during the period Senator Gore made so much of, they are going to find that Iraq imported some 22.75 billion dollars' worth of arms during 1985-89. They are also going to find out that even if we accept the strange premise that every dual use item the United States exported to Iraq was actually used for military purposes, their total value does not add up to one-hundredth of 1 percent of those arms transfers.
In spite of some Democrat efforts to trivialize history, the United States played no meaningful role in arming Iraq. It provided no meaningful dual capable technology or arms transfers during any time before 1985, and none between 1985-89.
It was Russia that provided 13 billion dollars' worth of arms, other Warsaw Pact States that provided $2.9 billion, the People's Republic of China that provided $1.6 billion, France that provided $1.7 billion, Britain that provided $20 million, Germany that provided $90 million, other European states that provided $1.5 billion, other Middle Eastern states that provided $420 million, Latin America that provided $1.3 billion, and other states that provided $200 million.
In fact, Mr. President, Senator Gore would have much more credibility if he blamed Argentina, Chile, and Brazil for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, rather than President Bush. These states were comparatively small suppliers to Iraq, but what they supplied was far more arms than the United States did.
Similarly, Richard Grimmett's latest study of conventional arms transfers shows that the same trends existed after the Iran-Iraq War. If you examine the data in CRS documents 92-577F and 91-578F, you find that Iraq imported 8.9 billion dollars' worth of arms between 1988 and 1991. None of these arms came from the United States. Instead, $4.1 billion came from Russia, $1 billion from China, $1.1 billion from major West European countries, $1.7 billion from other European countries, and $1 billion from countries other than the United States.
It is totally and absolutely absurd to imply that the limited transfers of dual capable equipment from the United States, and limited amounts of United States aid played a significant role in Iraq's arms buildup.
The record is clear that they did not, and this becomes even more clear the moment you examine the more detailed information on the weapons holdings of Iraq contained in the annual Military Balance of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Look at the 1989-90 edition of this document, which shows Iraq's arms holdings before the invasion of Kuwait. These data have been informally reviewed by DIA, but there is not one American-made weapon or major item of equipment listed for any of Iraq's military services.
Similarly, look at the Middle East Military Balance of the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies. The 1989-90 edition of this document also shows that every weapon in Iraq's order of battle--which contained hundreds of thousands of weapons--came from other countries.
The same situation affects the long series of charges that the United States provided equipment that aided Iraq in developing missiles and weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that some such equipment was smuggled from the United States and that Iraq did use some dual-use equipment.
It is a sad fact of life that no export control system is perfect. It is a commercial fact of life that when dual use equipment is readily available in uncontrolled form from other countries, there is little point in denying U.S. exports.
But, Mr. President, I invite anyone who is possibly interested and every Member of this body to read through the United Nations inspection reports on Iraq. It is not the United States that provides Iraq with missiles. It is not the United States that created Iraq's chemical weapons industry. It is not the United States that provided the key equipment and facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons.
It was the United States that was taking the lead in creating the Missile Technology Control Regime, that advocated strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, that was deeply involved in strengthening the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Australia Group, that sought a meaningful Chemical Weapons Convention, and sought to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. It was the United States that helped develop a steadily more effective multilateral export control system.
Speaking personally, I have long advocated that both President Bush and the Congress take far stronger measures regarding proliferation. I have fought hard for such legislation, and I have strongly encouraged President Bush, Secretary Baker, and Secretary Cheney to do even more than they have.
It is simply ridiculous, however, to take a few memos and cases out of context and to imply we played a major role in Iraq's proliferation or that the Bush administration was soft on proliferation. This is simply politically motivated nonsense, and the U.N. inspection reports, and studies on proliferation by groups like the Carnegie Foundation, make it clear that this is the case.
In fact, I would be most interested to hear Senator Gore explain why his speech before the Center for National Policy does not cite a single U.N. source, UNSCOM inspection, IAEA inspection or report, or any major study on proliferation, or contain a single word that puts the size of any United States transfers to Iraq in context.
I would like to know what real evidence he had that anything like 40 percent of the equipment used in the SAAD 16 facility came from the United States, and how he can explain the apparent gap between the sources he cites and the information the United Nations has disclosed.
I would like him to explain how he could forget to list the critical items we did deny, like high temperature furnaces. How he could forget that it was the United States and Britain that worked together early in 1990 to stop the sale of nuclear triggers and catch Iraq in the act.
I would like him to explain how he could neglect to ask how many items we did deny Iraq. How he could ignore the fact that we denied export licenses for some 362 items that could have contributed to Iraq's military programs.
I would like him to list the so-called dual capable items he mentions and indicate how many items like trucks and out-of-date, low-performance computers--that are easily available from other countries--are on this list. I would like him to explain whether he realizes that the total contract value of such items during 1985-90 was $1.5 billion, and that $1 billion of this total involved trucks which were never shipped to Iraq.
He might also want to explain the justification for several of the statements in his speech. For example, he says that:
U.S. taxpayers are now stuck with paying the bill for $1.9 billion President Bush gave to Saddam Hussein, even though top administration officials were repeatedly told Saddam was using our dollars to buy weapons technology.
The fact is that the United States did not give one single dollar to Saddam. The $1.9 billion was given to American
grain exporters to compensate them for grain sold to Iraq after United Nations sanctions were placed on Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait.
Senator Gore might explain why he said that the Bush administration had conducted, `An ongoing effort to hide the facts from the American people * * *.' Why he did not mention that his speech was based on the selective use of literally thousands of documents that the administration provided to Senator Gore and his colleagues, at a cost of tens of thousands of man-hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At the same time, he might want to explain for the record the practical problems of trying to conduct any effort to moderate Iraq if the United States had not taken Iraq off of the list of terrorist states. Senator Gore might want to discuss the practical problems inherent in keeping Iraq on the terrorist list, and describe how he would have dealt with the situation in a way different from President Bush.
He might want to trace the actual history of Iraqi support for terrorism, and note that this support dropped sharply as the result of the negotiations with the United States that led to Iraq being dropped from the list. He might note that Iraq was only dropped after it agreed to sever its relations with Abu Nidal, and that his organization was expelled from Baghdad in 1983.
He might provide a chronology of the various messages the United States sent protesting Iraqi involvement in terrorism whenever this occurred during the 1980's. He might note that the Bush administration requested a reexamination of Iraq's role in terrorism in the spring of 1990, when it received reports that Abu Nidal had been allowed to reopen an organization in Baghdad, and that the Department asked for another intelligence assessment that summer.
If Senator Gore does not provide such data, I would encourage the media to start asking some very probing historical and factual questions in these areas. I would also urge them to check the record, and remind Senator Gore that the Iran-Iraq War was a very close contest, and that Iran was still in the midst of an offensive that threatened Iraq as late as February of 1988. I urge the Senator to check the record and ask how the United States could have dealt with Iraq in any way that did not involve the Iraqi military-industrial complex or the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization.
Mr. President, I do not want to belabor this issue at more length, but I do request unanimous consent that a detailed comparison of the various charges Senator Gore has made and the actual historical record be printed in the Congressional Record after my statement.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bingaman). Without objection, it is so ordered.
(See exhibit 1.)
Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, let me close by reminding my colleagues that we all know the real reason for this sudden revision of history. It is because they have a candidate with no proven credentials in foreign policy or national security. It is because the American people realize that we still live in a threatening and uncertain world, and may well remember this in November. There is an old saying that truth is the first casualty in war. My distinguished colleagues from the other side of the aisle are now proving that history is the first casualty of politics.
The documentation on U.S. policy toward Iraq during the 1980s and in 1990, including NSD 26, show that the internal and external efforts of the Reagan and Bush Administration were consistent. Both were seeking to block the expansion of the sort of Islamic fundamentalism personified by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, and to cultivate Iraq as a force for regional moderation and stability.
During the 1980s, Khomeini's disciples had sought to overthrow regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. They were well entrenched in Lebanon and most likely had a hand in the assassination of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat.
After the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam was on good terms with moderate governments in the region, particularly Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. There were solid indications that he was more anxious to rebuild his economic base than to seek new military adventures.
The United States never `coddled' Saddam Hussein. We attempted a measured approach of incentives and disincentives to seek to moderate Iraqi behavior.
Indeed, our policy was so firm at the time that our Arab allies--including Kuwait--cautioned us about its harshness.
The fact that the United States and other countries were ultimately unable to restrain Saddam does not mean that it was the wrong policy to try.
Today it is easy to take for granted the remarkable U.S. success in mobilizing Arab states against Iraq. But had the United States pursued a more aggressive strategy toward Iraq before the invasion, it would have had a tough time rallying support for its efforts in the Gulf and elsewhere.
2. Human rights
The United States was among the foremost critics of Iraqi human rights practices throughout the 1980s. Our annual human rights reports gave an accurate picture of the abysmal Iraqi record of brutality and torture.
We denounced Iraq's human rights record and sought international condemnations of Iraq.
Although our Embassy in Baghdad was severely limited in its ability to gather information, we sought to document Iraqi practices, and took the lead in the International Human Rights Commission in seeking a formal resolution condemning Iraq.
However, that does not mean that human rights was the only factor prudent policymakers had to consider in shaping a policy toward Iraq consistent with both vital American interests and American values. Other competing considerations had to be carefully balanced and weighed, including the security of our friends in the area and the importance of Gulf oil supplies for the world economy.
This argued for a strong U.S. effort to influence the conduct of the state which emerged at the end of the 1980s as the dominant military power in the region.
3. Intelligence sharing
The U.S.-Iraqi intelligence relationship took place primarily from 1982 until 1989. The exchange was implemented in the context of seeking to prevent Iran from winning the Persian Gulf War.
Between August 1988 (the time of the ceasefire) and October 1989, there were limited exchanges with Iraq on the Iranian military situation.
Military intelligence sharing with Iraq ended in October 1989, almost one year before Iraq invaded Kuwait.
There was limited civilian liaison relationship through the first part of 1990.
4. Iraq's sponsorship of terrorism
Throughout the 1970s, Iraq was one of the principal sponsors of Palestinian and other international terrorism, as a leader of the so-called `rejection front' of states opposed to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and any Arab-Israeli negotiations. The Department designated Iraq as one of the original state sponsors of terrorism in December 1979 following passage of the Export Administration Act.
After the start of the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s, Iraq's support for international terrorism dropped sharply.
In 1982, after Iraq promised that it would sever its relationship with the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) and it significantly reduced its support for terrorism, Iraq was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The ANO was expelled from Baghdad in 1983.
We continued to use the leverage our relationship with Iraq gave us to work to reduce Iraq's support for terrorist groups during the 1980s. Indeed, our stiff messages plus Iraq's need for a relationship with the U.S. and the West acted to restrain Iraqi behavior during this period.
While Iraq's record was far from perfect, there was significant progress. Our annual reports to Congress gave an accurate picture of the situation: progress, but no complete clean bill of health.
In the spring of 1990, the Department received reports that the ANO had been allowed to reopen an office in Baghdad, and the Department asked the intelligence community to asses the new situation to determine whether Iraq should be placed on the terrorist list. While the assessment confirmed that Baghdad was expanding contacts with radical Palestinian groups, providing safehaven to terrorists, and killing Iraqi dissidents, the assessment contained no smoking gun.
The Department asked for an additional assessment in early August 1990.
It was clear that after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Baghdad's interest in securing the support of radical Palestinians and using terrorism against its enemies outweighed its concern about respectability in the international community.
Indeed, it appeared that the factors which had kept Iraq from using terrorism to attack Western and specifically American targets throughout the 1980s were no longer present.
We therefore placed Iraq back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
5. CCC program for Iraq
The CCC program guaranteed purchases by Iraq of U.S. agricultural commodities. Iraq never received money under the CCC program. Instead, because of the CCC program, Iraq paid out money to U.S. agricultural exporters, rather than to those of other countries.
Approximately 90 percent of the $5 billion in credit guarantees extended to Iraq between 1983 and 1990 for the purchase of U.S. agricultural exports was provided prior to fiscal year 1990 and received broad support among members of Congress and by American farmers and commodity groups.
The only approval by the Bush Administration of CCC guarantees for Iraq came in November 1989, more than eight months before Iraq invaded Kuwait.
At this time, CCC extended only one tranche of $500 million in credit guarantees to Iraq.
Of this $500 million, over 20 percent of it did not become effective because of the Gulf War.
Despite Congressional criticism that Iraq was not sufficiently creditworthy to be included in the CCC program, Iraq met all of its financial obligations under the program and made all payments for commodities purchased right up to the point that the U.S. Government froze Iraqi assets in August 1990.
Accordingly, from November 1989 to August 1990, CCC extended $392 million in guarantees to Iraq, while Iraq actually made hard currency payments for U.S. commodities of $847 million. This reduced CCC's exposure with regard to Iraq by $455 million.
Shortly after the U.S. Attorney's office in Atlanta initiated its investigation of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) in August 1989, the Department of Agriculture reached an agreement with BNL that BNL would not participate in the CCC Program.
Accordingly, BNL was not involved in any of the guarantees extended in November 1989 for the Iraqi purchase of U.S. agriculture exports.
We are not aware of any intelligence indicating that Iraq diverted any of the $5 billion in CCC guarantees for military purposes.
No investigation to date--by the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta or by any federal agencies--has established a diversion to third countries of commodities sold to
Iraq or Iraqi misuse of the CCC program to purchase military weapons.
Any possible diversions would have played only a minor role in Iraq's arms build-up, because Iraq earned $120 billion in oil sales during the 1980s and ran its overall foreign debt to $88 billion. Thus, if any diversions occurred, they would have accounted for a miniscule share of Iraqi's military purchases.
The October 13, 1989 memorandum, to which certain members of Congress and the media have repeatedly referred, merely speculates about allegations on Iraq's use of CCC guarantees. The allegations at issue in that memorandum have not, to date, been established.
6. Control of exports to Iraq
U.S. export control policy toward Iraq was tougher than that of any other industrial country, and to our knowledge tougher than that of any country except for Israel and Iran.
Both the Reagan and the Bush Administrations followed a strict policy of denying the export of weapons or weapon systems to Iraq.
Since the creation of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 1987, we denied all license applications for export to Iraq of any goods or technology controlled by the MTCR.
The United States has had a longstanding policy of no nuclear cooperation with Iraq. No exports were approved for nuclear reactors, uranium enrichment, or plutonium reprocessing equipment or related technology. The policy also applied to nuclear-related dual-use exports.
Licenses for all chemical and biological weapons agents on the U.S. munitions list have been denied to Iraq. Starting in 1984, a growing list of chemical precursors was controlled, with a specific policy of denial to Iraq. No items listed by the Australia Group have ever been approved for export to Iraq.
The media has erroneously reported that in 1987 we licensed the sale of missile countermeasures systems for Saddam's presidential aircraft and helicopters. No such licenses were ever approved or issued.
Our U.S. export control policy tightened as Saddam's irresponsibility and refusal to moderate his policies became clearer. We actively pushed throughout 1990 for tougher multilateral controls on Iraq.
The United States had approved $1.5 billion for dual-use exports deemed not of concern for conventional or non-conventional military reasons.
Most of these licenses were for low-level commuters, heavy duty trucks, and the like.
The Administration has generally tried to allow benign sales of dual-use equipment in order to allow U.S. companies a more equal opportunity in the marketplace.
Only about $500 million of these items were actually shipped.
The 40 UNSCOM and IAEA inspections conducted since the Gulf War are confirming that U.S. export controls worked.
The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs used scant U.S. material, with the vast bulk of components and equipment having originated in the Soviet Union, China, and Western Europe.
Most of the limited amount of U.S. equipment UNSCOM and IAEA have encountered--mostly computers--was either stolen from Kuwait or purchased by third countries and diverted to Iraq.
UNSCOM and IAEA have uncovered no evidence that items on the U.S. munitions list were used in Iraqi WMD programs.
Given the very limited nature of U.S.-licensed high-tech exports to Iraq, cutting off even these exports would not have affected Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.
The Administration was spending a sufficiently tough message to Saddam that he directly complained to us in July 1990 that `there is nothing left for us to buy from America . . . only wheat. Because every time we want to buy something, they say it is forbidden.'
7. An alleged `cover-up'
The suggestion that the Administration has sought to `cover up' its policy toward Iraq is nonsense.
Few U.S. Government policies have been so carefully and so extensively examined by the Congress and by the media as this one.
The State Department has provided to the Congress several thousand pages of documents at a cost of over several hundred thousand dollars in employee hours. Other agencies have provided large quantities of documents as well.
The Administration has turned over these documents without once asserting executive privilege. That is precisely how members of Congress have the very materials that have been selectively leaked to the press.
The Department of Justice has conducted the investigation and prosecution of the BNL matter in accordance with the standard practices and procedures followed in all criminal cases, without interference by any other agency or department.
When members of the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs knowingly and without authorization disclosed classified materials, the Administration determined, in accordance with its obligations under Executive Order 12356, not to permit further release of classified documents to that Committee until it received appropriate assurances regarding the storage and protection of such materials.
There are, after all, 535 members of Congress and thousands of Congressional staffers, and it is an intolerable situation if each of these individuals on his own can judge that documents are worthy of being declassified and placed into the Congressional Record. There are established procedures for the declassification of documents which the House Banking Committee must follow.
However, the Administration is in no way inhibiting Congress' ability to examine all relevant documents. Failing assurances from the Chairman of the House Banking Committee on the safe keeping of classified materials, the Administration is prepared to make available documents to the Speaker of the House or to members or committees that he might designate.
1. Charge: obstruction of justice
A lawyer from the White House Counsel's office made phone calls to the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta and thereby improperly intervened in a criminal investigation and sought to obstruct justice.
The calls in question took place in November 1989 and were for an entirely proper and, indeed, laudatory purpose.
It was at this time that the Administration was considering whether to extend any further CCC credit guarantees to Iraq. In order to ensure that Iraq was not in any way abusing the CCC program, a lawyer from the White house called the U.S. Attorney to see if anything in the investigation of the BNL scandal had indicated a reason why the Government should not extend CCC credit guarantees to Iraq.
The U.S. Attorney stated that the investigation had not indicated any reason not to go forward with the CCC program.
Accordingly, contrary to allegations that the White House was seeking to obstruct justice, it was undertaking a `due diligence' search as to whether there were any reasons not to provide CCC credit guarantees to Iraq.
To this day, no investigation--by the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta or by any federal agencies--have established a diversion to third countries of commodities sold to Iraq or Iraqi misuse of the CCC program to purchase military weapons.
Moreover, promptly after the U.S. Attorney's office in Atlanta initiated its investigation of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) in August 1989, the Department of Agriculture reached an agreement with BNL that BNL would not participate in the CCC program.
Accordingly, BNL was not involved in any of the CCC guarantees extended in November 1989 for the Iraqi purchase of U.S. agricultural exports.
2. Charge: lying about U.S. assistance
Because the CIA issued a report on November 6, 1989 indicating that Iraq was using BNL loans to purchase military-related technology, the President lied when he asserted that the Administration `did not know' of diversions of U.S. assistance by Iraq for the purchase of weapons.
The critics are deliberately and improperly merging the charges against BNL with allegations about the misuse of U.S. assistance (the CCC program).
Any wrongdoing by BNL does not implicate the U.S. Government unless the U.S. Government in some way knowingly participated in that wrongdoing.
The U.S. Government did not participate--knowingly or otherwise--in any activities of BNL, and once allegations about BNL were raised, the U.S. Government made certain that BNL no longer took assignment of any CCC credit guarantees.
In short, the effort by critics to taint the Administration with the activities of BNL are misleading and incorrect. The Administration never dealt directly with BNL, the substantial majority of BNL's loans to Iraq were unrelated to the CCC program, the Administration excluded BNL from any participation in the CCC program once there was the first indication of any wrongdoing, and no money has been paid to BNL by the U.S. Government for claims under the CCC program.
3. Charge: knowingly assisting Iraq obtain weapons
Because 1985 Department of Defense memos indicated that Saddam Hussein was not trustworthy and was probably seeking to develop nuclear weapons, the Administration knowingly assisted Saddam by continuing to provide CCC credit guarantees and by licensing dual-use exports.
While the United States sought to provide incentives to Iraq to moderate its behavior, the U.S. Government was also well aware of Iraq's regional ambitions and actively took steps to prevent weapons or weapons systems from being transferred to Iraq.
At the same time that the U.S. Government approved CCC credit guarantees for Iraq--which was the only form of U.S. assistance--the U.S. Government's export control policy toward Iraq was tougher than that of any other industrial country.
Both the Reagan and the Bush Administrations followed a strict policy of denying the export of weapons or weapons systems to Iraq.
Since the creation of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 1987, we have denied all license applications for export to Iraq of goods or technology controlled by the MTCR.
The United States did not approve any exports for nuclear reactors, uranium enrichment, or plutonium reprocessing equipment or related technology to Iraq. This policy of denial also applied to nuclear-related dual-use exports.
Licenses for all chemical and biological weapons agents on the U.S. munitions list have been denied to Iraq. Starting in 1984, a growing list of chemical precursors was controlled, with a specific policy of denial to Iraq.
Our U.S. export control policy tightened as Saddam's irresponsibility and refusal to moderate his policies became clearer. We actively pushed throughout 1990 for tougher multilateral controls on Iraq.
Only about $500 million of the $1.5 billion licensed for dual-use exports (deemed not of concern for conventional or non-conventional military reasons) were actually shipped to Iraq.
The 40 UNSCOM and IAEA inspections conducted since the Gulf War have confirmed that U.S. export controls worked.
The Administration was sending such a tough message to Saddam that he directly complained to us in July 1990 that `there was nothing left for us to buy from America . . . only wheat. Because every time we want to buy something, they say it is forbidden.'
4. Charge: Iraq's lack of creditworthiness
The Administration improperly approved CCC credit guarantees for Iraq in November 1989 despite Iraq's lack of creditworthiness.
Despite criticism that Iraq was not sufficiently creditworthy to be included in the CCC program, Iraq met all of its financial obligations under the program and made all payments for commodities purchased right up to the point that the U.S. Government froze Iraqi assets in August 1990.
It is wrong to say that Iraq `defaulted' on CCC credit guarantees; the decision by the U.S. Government to freeze Iraqi assets led Iraq to halt further payments under the CCC program.
Moreover, during the period from November 1989 to August 1990, Iraq actually made hard currency payments under the CCC program of $847 million while receiving only $392 in credit guarantees. This reduced CCC's exposure with regard to Iraq by $455 million.
In light of the affirmation in U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 of Iraq's continued liability for outstanding debts, as well as our own freezing of Iraqi assets, the Administration intends to assert claims against Iraq for debts owed to the United States.
5. Charge: Iraq policy was a failure
The President's policy toward Iraq, rather than being his greatest foreign policy success, was his greatest foreign policy blunder.
Resonable people can argue as to whether the Administration was late in confronting Saddam Hussein. But it certainly confronted Saddam earlier and more powerfully than its critics in the Congress.
The very individuals now criticizing the Administration's policy toward Iraq were much too accommodating even after it was clear to the world just what a monster Saddam was and once it was time to go to war.
If the Administration had followed the policy of its critics in late 1990 and early 1991, Saddam would still have his vast military arsenal and nuclear weapons program intact, and Kuwait would still be occupied by Iraq.
Today it is easy to take for granted the remarkable U.S. success in mobilizing Arab states against Iraq. But had the United States pursued a more aggressive strategy toward Iraq before the invasion, it would have had a thought time rallying support for its efforts in the Gulf and elsewhere.
As it turned out, the fact that the United States had followed a measured policy toward Iraq, rather than having sought unilaterally to isolate the Iraqis, proved to be a critical factor in our ability to assemble a coalition--which included Arab countries--to expel Saddam from Kuwait and, ultimately, to devastate his military capabilities.
Moreover, had the Administration spurned Saddam in late 1988 and early 1989, moderate Arabs and current critics would have claimed that U.S. policy had pushed Saddam into a corner from which he had to lash out.
The world is a much safer place today because of the successful conduct by this country of the Gulf War. The outcome may only seem imperfect when measured against the impossible ideal of creating a democratic regime in Iraq.
The purpose of the multilateral coalition was to force Iraq to leave Kuwait and, when it refused, to eject it forcibly.
It was never an objective of the multilateral coalition--and it would not have been realistic then or now--to change the internal structure of Iraq, to rearrange political alignments, or to create a democracy there.
While these are all lofty goals for Iraq or for other troubled areas of the world, they are simply not within the capabilities of the United States or other countries, and are not the appropriate standard for measuring the enormous success of the Gulf War.
U.S. export control policy on Iraq was tougher than any other industrialized country had in place, and tougher than any country's except Israel and Iran.
About $300 million in U.S.-controlled exports were licensed and shipped between 1985 and August 1990.
This Administration had been seeking stronger multilateral controls in the various non-proliferation force, and was moving forward on the EPCI initiative (with specific targeting on Iraq when the invasion occurred.
Congress has criticized:
high tech exports permitted because Iraq was not subject to U.S. counterterrorism controls;
blocking of an alleged Kloske effort in early 1990 to toughen U.S. high tech controls;
Administration opposition to legislation embargoing U.S. high tech exports;
several specific munitions list exports; and
lack of US demarches to our allies concerning their arms sales to Iraq.
2. U.S. licensing policy
a. Munitions: U.S. policy was to deny exports to Iraq of all defense goods and services.
Between 1983 and 1989, 12 exceptions were made, valued at $3.28 million. Ten licenses were for various pieces of electronic communications equipment valued at $3.27 million. Several members of Congress have been briefed on why we and DOD permitted these sales.
In 1984 one license was issued to Saddam's son Quzsy. While visiting the U.S. Quzsy ordered 18 firearms; we permitted the export of two revolvers and one pistol (collector items).
The press erroneously reported that around 1957 we licensed the sale of missile countermeasures systems for Saddam's presidential aircraft and helicopters. No such license was ever approved or issued. However, we would have permitted the export of one of our less-advanced systems, in accordance with US policy to protect heads of state.
b. Missile Tech: Since the creation of the Missile Technology Control Regime in 1987, no license applications for any MTCR items (missiles, major subsystems, and components, to include dual-use) have been approved for export to Iraq.
c. Nuclear: The US had a longstanding policy of no nuclear cooperation with Iraq. Only rare exceptions for exports of low technology dual-use items for health and safety projects were permitted.
US policy supported benign trade by limited approval of dual-use commodities (not technologies) to non-nuclear end-users for non-nuclear end use. Very strict review criteria were applied in an effort to ensure that items of significance for nuclear purposes were not approved and that approved exports would not be misused. By early 1990, even more stringent export review criteria were being applied owing to increasing concerns about Iraqi activities.
d. CBW: Licenses for all chemical and biological weapons agents (ie., nerve/gas or biological weapons) on the US munitions list have been denied since before 1980.
Starting in 1984, a growing list of chemical dual-use precursors was controlled, with a policy of denial to Iraq when there was reason to believe such items would be used for CBW purposes. No items, once listed by the Australia Group, have ever been approved for export to Iraq. In February 1989, an additional list of chemicals were added to the US control list, and none has been approved for export to Iraq since.
Prior to 1989, Commerce granted 18 licenses for the sale of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These sales were, as far as we knew, for normal civilian uses in developing vaccines and related work. The end-user in some cases was the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, later identified as associated with Iraq's BW program. In 1985, the Centers for Disease Control made three shipments of the rare West Nile Fever Virus to Iraq for `research on viruses'.
e. Counter-Terrorism: Up to 1982, Iraq was subject to anti-terrorism controls on dual-use exports. These involved foreign policy review for civil aircraft (to any end-user) and other COCOM-controlled items when destined for the military and valued at over $7 million. Such items were not embargoed, and could be approved if consistent with US foreign policy.
After 1982, most of these items remained subject to other control programs administered by Commerce (dual-use items remained under control for national security, nuclear, regional stability, and human rights purposes). Licenses were permitted after 1985 for $1.5 billion in exports, with about $500 million actually shipped.
Congressional legislation in the late 80's would have embargoed all COCOM-controlled exports to Iraq.
3. 1989-1990 Iraq-specific efforts
Iraq became the focus of US non-proliferation efforts in 1989. The efforts were multifaceted, and included improving controls in the multilateral force, intel-sharing on Iraqi programs, and a new initiative targeting CBW and missile projects (EPCI).
President issues NSR-17 directing a review of US nonproliferation policy; Sept. 26, the President requests a study of CW initiatives, including export controls. Options papers focus on Iraq.
US demarche on Sweden and Switzerland re sale of equipment that could be useful for producing biological weapons.
Non-proliferation consultations held with the Soviet Union, US addressed Iraqi missile and chemical weapons programs and the need for controls.
Australia Group partners briefed by US on Iraqi proliferation activities and agreement achieved to expand the AG control lists.
Continuation of US demarches to potential suppliers of nuclear-related trade with Iraq concerning Iraqi procurement interests and the need for extreme caution.
MTCR partners briefed by the US on the 12/5/89 Iraqi missile launch, and on the need to express their concerns to Iraq (as had been done by the US).
Non-Proliferation PCC asked DOC to review controls on missile-related items to ensure their adequacy.
US demarches in February to all Australia Group members urging vigilence against Iraqi CW precursor procurement efforts.
Followed by extensive briefing at the June AG meeting concerning Iraqi capabilities and procurement activities. Agreement was reached at the meeting to a list of additional precursor controls.
US demarches in February to MTCR partners and other supplier countries on the Iraqi missile program, to include warning and description of the clandestine Iraqi procurement network.
Followed by repeated demarches to Mauritania and others concerning Mauritania's agreement to provide Iraq with a missile test site.
Also, at the July MTCR meeting, the US shared more detailed intel on the program, and urged extreme caution on dual-use exports with possible missile applications. Partners agreed to US proposal to strengthen the MTCR control lists.
Beginning in February, US demarches to 23 supplier countries concerning Iraqi attempts to acquire specific dual-use technologies useful in uranium enrichment, and about the dangers posed by Iraqi procurement efforts.
Followed arrests of Iraqis in the UK and additional indictments in the US for attempts to export military electric components illegally from the US.
Beginning in March, options papers on enhancing proliferation controls were prepared and vetted inter-agency by State.
The need to enhance existing commodity controls with project-specific controls cited, as the problem of low-tech exports was explored.
April 16 Deputies meeting tasked the Non-Proliferation PCC to develop and implement an initiative addressing Iraq's nonconventional weapons proliferation. State stressed the need for effective action, to include multilateral action.
On July 25, Secretary Baker wrote to Mosbacher requesting the imposition of new US controls, with primary emphasis on Iraq. This initiative became EPCI.
June and July discussions with the Soviets, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Romanians and Yugoslavians concerning the need for effective controls, and Iraqi proliferation threat was specifically highlighted.
Soviets endorsed the MTCR guidelines at the June Summit, and were asked to use their influence with Iraq to halt its missile and CBW programs.
4. Overall U.S. export policy
a. U.S. export control policy was tough. The U.S. was the world's toughest industrialized country on arms and on the non-proliferation front. Recall, coalition forces did not encounter a single U.S. export.
The U.S. had a policy of denial for all defense goods and services.
The U.S. denied all goods or technology controlled for missile proliferation reasons.
The U.S. denied all exports that were deemed of possible nuclear significance.
The U.S. denied all CW precursors listed by the Australia Group. Its controls on other items of possible CBW concern increasingly stiffened, and were specifically aimed at Iraq.
b. U.S. control policy tightened as Saddam's irresponsibility and refusal to moderate his policies became clearer.
The U.S. actively pushed via the non-proliferation force for tougher multilateral controls on Iraq. It approached all its partners, the Soviets and the Eastern Europeans concerning Iraqi procurement efforts and the need for greater vigilance.
A supplemental control initiative (EPCI) better targeting Iraqi CBW and missile projects was tasked and developed by July, 1990.
5. Why $1.5 billion in sensitive exports were approved
These approvals were for dual-use exports deemed not of concern for conventional or nonconventional military reasons. Most of these licenses were for low-level computers, heavy duty trucks, and the like.
The Bush Administration generally tried to allow benign sales of dual-use equipment, to allow U.S. workers a more equal opportunity in the marketplace.
Only about $500 million were actually shipped, equal to the value of the licenses that were not approved.
The UNSCOM and IAEA inspections conducted since the war are confirming that US export controls worked. The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs used scant US material (the vast bulk of the components and equipment found originated in western Europe). And what little has been found appears to have been illegally exported.
6. Charges that the administration opposed congressional efforts to toughen U.S. controls
The legislation in question would have embargoed U.S. exports of dual-use items controlled by COCOM.
Benign commercial exports would have been precluded, and the real problem not addressed. The need, which the Administration was pursuing, was more effective controls--both U.S. and multinational--targeted on Iraqi proliferation projects.
7. Charges that the administration should have been sending a tougher message
The U.S. message was such that Arab League Ambassadors, led by Ambassador Saud Nasser of Kuwait, on May 18, 1990, expressed deep concern to U/S Kimmit about the `U.S. campaigns against Iraq'.
In July, Saddam complained that `There is nothing left for us to buy from America . . . only wheat. Because every time we want to buy something, they say it is forbidden. I am afraid that one day you will say, `You are going to make gunpowder out of wheat.'
8. Kloske wanted tougher controls, but WH and State blocked
To the contrary, the U.S. was looking at how its proliferation controls could be made more effective. This initiative was specifically tasked to the PCC on Nonproliferation at the April 16 Deputies Committee meeting. Interagency discussions then led to the proposal included in the Baker letter of July 25.
9. Charges that the U.S. was soft on arms selling munitions items to Saddam and ignoring sales by our partners
The primary supplier was the Soviet Union. China and France were also suppliers of weapons systems. The U.S. was not.
After the Iraq-Iran war, when it became apparent Iraq was developing nonconventional weapons, we undertook a series of initiatives to curtail foreign sales of sensitive items to Iraqi projects.
This included non-proliferation consultations with the Soviets, the U.S. urging Soviet missile and CBW precursor controls towards Iraq, and the use of Soviet influence on Saddam's proliferation efforts.
About 40 UNSCOM and IAEA inspections to date have uncovered scant information about US-origin equipment used in Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction programs.
Based on the very limited amount of U.S. material that UNSCOM or IAEA have seen in Iraq, we can say with confidence that U.S. export controls worked.
Most of the limited amount of U.S. equipment UNSCOM and IAEA have encountered--mostly computers--was either stolen from Kuwait or apparently was purchased by third countries and diverted to Iraq.
UNSCOM and IAEA have uncovered no evidence that items on the U.S. Munitions List, licensed by the State Department, were used in Iraqi WMD programs.
The U.S. law enforcement community continues to investigate the possibility that U.S. firms illegally exported to Iraq.
Given the very limited nature of U.S.-licensed high-tech exports to Iraq, cutting off even these exports would not have affected its weapons of mass destruction programs.
The Iraqis came to realize that the U.S. high-tech market was virtually closed to them, causing them to seek other suppliers.
Saddam, in July of 1990, stated publicly that `there is nothing left for us to buy from America . . . only wheat . . . I am afraid that one day you will say `you are going to make gunpowder out of wheat'.'
UNSCOM's comprehensive inspections have uncovered massive non-U.S. complicity in Iraq's WMD effort. The vast bulk of components and equipment found at Iraqi faciliities originated in Western Europe, principally in Germany.
1. `Jim Baker signed off on a memo admitting that the opposite (of the President's statements) was true in fact'.
Baker signed off on a memorandum culminating some six months of effort to strengthen U.S. export controls on missile and chemical weapons-related items--which were already the toughest in the world. This effort resulted in the Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative.
It was no secret that Iraq was seeking--and indeed had used--weapons of mass destruction. The Administration repeatedly condemned Iraq's use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war and against its own Kurdish population. Iraq's pursuit of missile and nuclear capabilities were also well known.
2. `Baker knew that the Administration had been selling Saddam Hussein the wherewithal to make ballistic missile systems, chemical weapons, biological and nuclear weapons.'
The Administration wasn't selling Saddam anything that could possibly have provided such wherewithal. Even Cong. Gejdenson's charges address export licensing decisions, not an Administration policy to provide assistance to Iraq. Nor was the Administration financing, facilitating, or cooperating in any way with Iraq's mass destruction weapons program.
Rather, Baker knew that the Administration had:
(a) the toughest nonproliferation controls in the world;
(b) the lead internationally on taking steps to crack down on Iraq's proliferation activities;
(c) decided to strengthen our unilateral controls even though this would cost US jobs.
From the beginning of the Bush Administration, we pressed other governments bilaterally and in all the multilateral non-proliferation groups to refrain from exporting to Iraq equipment and technology which could help development of weapons of mass destruction. The Administration also took the lead in successful multilateral efforts to upgrade international controls on non-proliferation related items.
Indeed, postwar UNSCOM/IAEA inspections of Iraq's weapons facilities demonstrate that U.S. export controls were effective. Virtually all of the equipment in Saddam's laboratories and weapons plants came from non-U.S. sources. The few U.S. items which were identified were either illegally exported (and subject to criminal investigation) or so low tech that they were not controlled under U.S. or other countries non-proliferation controls.
3. The 1990 State Department memo: Rep. Gejdenson charges that this memo demonstrates `shocking examples' of exports to Iraq.
The bacteria and fungal cultures were placed under control to Iraq in 1989. (Note that the State memo discusses cases from 1986-89. Previous licenses issued to Iraqi end-users reflect the fact that legal authority to control these items existed only to prevent diversion to the Soviet bloc. Note also that there are legitimate medical applications for some of the cultures exported.)
The other examples cited are items like low-level computers which are commonly used in the civilian sector, but could also be used for weapons purposes. Because of the relatively low level of technology involved, these items were not generally controlled to destinations like Iraq before 1991. The Administration however, was determined to prevent any U.S. exports--whatever their technological significance--from reaching end-users linked to WMD programs. To do so, we instituted the policy review which led to EPCI regulations which controlled any export going to CW or missile end uses, rather than a list of specific commodities. This State Dept document was part of that policy process, and indeed demonstrates that the Administration was addressing this very complex issue in a responsible way.
Even if all of these items were diverted to Iraq's WMD programs, the total contribution to Iraq's capabilities would have been minuscule. Keep in mind the vast scale of Iraq's program: billions of dollars in investment, hundreds of factories and research facilities, much of it imported from European suppliers. A handful of U.S.-origin computers and electronic instruments would not--and did not--make a difference to Saddam's capabilities.
4. Administration's own computer printout reveals 771 high tech sales were approved to Iraq.
Over two-thirds of the value of the licenses approved was for trucks. Most of the rest were for low-level computers, oil-drilling equipment, and other classic dual-use commodities which had genuine benign uses in Iraq, and were available to Iraq from every other foreign competitor in the world.
5. 162 of these had nuclear application and the legitimacy of the end users was only checked three times.
Adminsitration policy only permitted approval of dual-use commodities (not technologies) to non-nuclear end-users for non-nuclear end use. Very strict review criteria were applied in an effort to ensure that items of potential nuclear application were not approved and approved exports would not be misused. Any such approval required interagency--including DOD and ACDA--concensus. No other country had nuclear nonproliferation controls as tight.
By early 1990, even more stringent export review criteria were being applied owing to increasing concerns about Iraqi activities.
6. `Baker . . . resisted attempts to tighten controls on Iraq.'
Far from resisting efforts to tighten non-proliferation controls. Sec. Baker and the State Department took the lead in the interagency process in pushing for stronger controls covering Iraq and all other potential proliferators. The very memos cited by Rep. Gjedenson are evidence that State was the world's leader on this issue.
7. `Baker decided in July it was time to start covering for himself.'
The July memo reflects an ongoing policy initiative. Discussions of new controls had been ongoing since December, led by lower-level State Department officials, and with broad involvement by the interagency policy community.
Other memos referred to by Rep. Gejdenson demonstrate that throughout this period State was advocating and implementing active efforts with other countries--who were in fact the principal suppliers to Iraq's program--to tighten up on proliferation-related exports.
There was no need for a cover-up. We had the best track record of any government in the world.
8. DOD, DOC, State, and Energy knew that the US was selling Iraq nuclear components.
No nuclear components or any other nuclear items were ever approved to Iraq.
No nuclear cooperation of any sort was ever permitted. The only sales licensed were for low-level dual-use commodities to non-nuclear and users for non-nuclear end-uses.
9. At the April 16 Deputies Committee meeting, Kimmitt argued for business as usual with Saddam Hussein.
The documents, including those that Rep. Gejdenson has had access to, show that:
(a) The PCC on Nonproliferation was tasked to develop a strategy for further multilateral action on Iraqi proliferation activities, and to review proposals for tighter US and multilateral export controls;
(b) a paper was tasked concerning possible options for further action re our serious concerns over Saddam's human rights record, threats, and nuclear, chemical, and missile proliferation.
(c) State was in the lead concerning the need to take further steps to stop Saddam's proliferation campaign. State's point on proliferation controls was that though Iraq was our largest concern, we wished to take multilateral action concerning other proliferators as well.
10. Gejdenson: Within the last week, we have learned from the Commerce Department that of the 162 nuclear licenses granted, the legitimacy of the end user was only properly checked out 3 times.
We are not sure what the Congressman means by the phrase `not properly checked out'. Every expert license application received by the Department of Commerce is thoroughly reviewed. End-users are screened against lists of possible questionable end users. The Commerce Department also consults with other agencies and with the intelligence community. In some cases, in-country pre-license checks are conducted that further verify the bona fides of a particular transaction. When adverse information is uncovered, licenses are not approved.
11. Gejdenson: In his letter of July 25, 1990, to Commerce Secretary Mosbacher, Secretary Baker says: Quote `I have just had a memorandum forwarded to your Executive Secretary requesting that additional controls be placed on items that could contribute to Iraq's chemical and biological weapons and missile programs. Iraq's extraordinary aggressive weapons proliferation efforts make this situation urgent. I therefore ask that these controls be instituted as quickly as possible.' Signed Jim.
During the spring and summer of 1990, the Administration was actively examining ways to expand export controls toward Iraq in the light of new intelligence information about Iraqi proliferation activities. The memo from Secretary Baker spells out the Administration's decision to move ahead with those expanded controls. However, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, one week after the signing of the memo by Secretary Baker, resulted in a complete embargo of all sales to Iraq.
Mr. McCAIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. (Mr. Lautenberg). The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.