The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Cooksey). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 7, 1997, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Weldon] is recognized for 30 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I take out this final special order today before we adjourn for the weekend to call attention to a piece of legislation that I introduced today along with 104 of our colleagues. H.R. 2786, known as Impact '97, is the Iranian Missile Protection Act of 1997, a very important piece of legislation not just for the security of Americans, but for the security of our American allies, for the security of Israel, for the security of 25,000, at least 25,000 of our troops who are currently serving around Iran in various theaters including the Balkans.
Mr. Speaker, this bill is strongly bipartisan. In fact, it has 85 Republicans and 20 Democrats. Out of the Committee on National Security's membership, the bill has 29 Republicans who have cosponsored it and 15 Democrats. The cosponsors include the chairman of the Committee on National Security, chairman of the Committee on International Relations, chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. It includes members of the leadership. It includes key Democrats who are critical on defense issues, like the ranking Democrat of the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on National Security, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Murtha] and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks]. These Members share the same concerns as I and that is that we have a threat that is emerging that could cause serious problems not just for our troops, but for our allies and friends approximately 12 months from now.
What is that threat, Mr. Speaker? Why do we need this legislation? Why must it be put on a fast track? Mr. Speaker, we have been told by this administration repeatedly that in the intelligence briefings that have been provided to us in the Congress we have no reason to worry about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, especially those involving medium and long-range missiles.
The intelligence community, just a year ago, issued an upgraded intelligence estimate that basically told Members of Congress and the public that we have no reason to fear a threat for our safety for at least 15 years. That intelligence estimate which we soundly criticized a year ago has now been recognized to have had political overtones placed upon it. We were also told, Mr. Speaker, that we would have no regional threats to the security of our troops in the foreseeable future and that we would, in fact, be able to put into place systems that would be able to respond to those threats that we saw emerging in the near term.
All of that changed, Mr. Speaker, this past summer. It changed because the Israeli intelligence community was able to gain information that documented that factions in Russia, the Russian space agency and several Russian constitutes and scientists had, in fact, been working cooperatively with Iranian scientists and technologies to give Iran a missile technology that they can now deploy anywhere beyond 12 months from this date. Which means that even though the intelligence community was telling Members of Congress that we did not expect to see a threat emerge for 4 or 5 or perhaps 10 or 15 years, Israel was able to examine through their intelligence community actually they have copies of contracts that were signed between key Iranian agencies and key Russian agencies that now have indicated to us that Iran can deploy a system within 1 year.
Now let us look at what that means in terms of the region, Mr. Speaker. Iran is the red area in the center of this map, which covers all of Europe and most of Asia and part of Africa. Iran currently does not now have a missile system except for the type that was used in Desert Storm, the SCUD missile system. This technology is considered primitive at best, even though it was the cause of the largest loss of life in Desert Storm when that Iraqi SCUD went into that barracks where young Americans were sleeping, killing a number of our young military personnel. That is the sophistication that Iraq and Iran have had up until now in terms of missile technology. And even though it is rather crude and does not have sophisticated guidance systems built into it, it still kills people.
The largest loss of life involving American troops was caused by a SCUD missile coming into those barracks because we did not have technology to shoot that missile down during Desert Storm when our backs were against the wall. And when the Israeli people were very fearful of the threats and the missiles that were being lobbed into their country, we deployed a variation of the Patriot system. The Patriot system was not designed to take out the missiles. In fact, it was designed to shoot down aircraft. But because we had no system to put into place, we had to use a varying of the Patriot, put systems in Israel and into countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to try to give us some limited protection against the SCUD missiles that Iraq would launch.
We put those systems in place, Mr. Speaker. But as the record shows, the Patriot systems were only partially effective. In fact, some estimations show that the Patriot was only 40 or 50 percent effective in taking out SCUD missiles. So many of those SCUD's got through.
But we are not talking about the SCUD missile now, Mr. Speaker. We are talking about a system that Iran has developed or is developing with the cooperation from Russia. Russia has very sophisticated missile systems: long-range, medium-range systems with very capable guidance mechanisms built in. The intelligence data that we now have, which has been declassified because it is being reported in the media in a widespread way and which I am going to refer to. I am not referring to any classified briefings. I am only referring to what is being reported in the media.
The intelligence community, as reported by the media now, shows that within 12 months Iran will have a system that will initially have a capability of approximately 800 miles and eventually will have a capacity to go as far as 1,200 miles around Iran in terms of hitting its target. When we look at these areas that are colored in blue and green, we get a sense of the potential impact of these medium-range missiles, which we expect Iran will have as early as 1 year from this date.
That means, Mr. Speaker, that parts of Europe now become threatened by Iran. That means now that at least 25,000 of our troops who are stationed in this area now become potential targets of Iranian missiles. That now means that all of our allies in this region in the Middle East and beyond now can become threatened by Iranian medium-range missiles.
Why is this so significant, Mr. Speaker? Because having Iran have this kind of capability could potentially upset the balance of power in the Middle East. If Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and the other Arab nations who are not our friends think that Iran has a capability that we cannot shoot down, that could upset the balance.
Now, how sophisticated are these missiles that Iran is going to be developing? Well, the Russian SS-4 system, which is the technology being transferred to Iran and has been under transfer for the past several years, is a very capable medium-range missile.
Now the question becomes, is it accurate? Can it hit the spot where it is intended to go? The point is, it really does not matter. If you are shooting off missiles, it does not matter if you hit this part of the city or that part of the city, you are still going to kill people. But let us look at whether or not the Iranians also have sophistication in terms of guidance.
Mr. Speaker, in front of the American people today I hold up two devices. These were manufactured in Russia. These were not manufactured in the United States. This is a gyroscope, Mr. Speaker. And this is an accelerometer. These two devices, which look to be brand new, were taken off of an SS-N-18, which is a very capable missile, medium- to long-range missile, that Russia has thousands of that had been aimed for years at American cities and carried on board their submarines.
Where did I get these two devices with the Russian markings on them indicating where they were built and what missile they were taken from? Mr. Speaker, these devices were intercepted by intelligence officials from Israel and Jordan as they were being transferred from Russia to Iraq. These devices were intercepted 2 years ago.
I was there January the month after the Washington Post ran the story about the transfer of these guidance systems. Because together they are the guidance system for missiles. They make missiles extremely accurate so they can pinpoint the most populated areas of cities and can do the most destruction when they are launched. When I was in Moscow, I met with our Ambassador, Ambassador Pickering. I said to him a month after the Washington Post story ran, `Mr. Ambassador, what was the response of Russia when you asked them about the accelerometers and the gyroscopes?' He said, `Congressman Weldon, I have not asked them yet.' I said, `Why? This happened 6 months ago.' He said, `That has to come from Washington.'
I came back to Washington, Mr. Speaker. And at the end of January, I wrote President Clinton and I said, `Mr. President, why have you not personally asked the Russians about the transfer of these devices? Because that is illegal. It is a violation of an arms control agreement, an agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime.' The President wrote back to me in April, Mr. Speaker. And guess what he said. He said, `Congressman Weldon, we don't have enough evidence that this transfer of technology took place.'
Mr. Speaker, these are the devices. We knew about
their existence. We saw their existence. In fact, Mr. Speaker, there were 120 sets of these devices, each of them manufactured in Russia, and all of them transferred into this particular place, to Iraq.
Now, the question is not whether they were transferred legally or whether they were transferred illegally. Arms control agreements do not make a difference. A country that is a signatory to an arms control agreement certifies to the other nations in that agreement that they will prevent the transfer of technology.
So, in this case, the transfer of these devices was clearly and blatantly a violation of an international arms control agreement. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this was the seventh time Russia violated the missile technology control regime. In each of the seven instances, similar to the transfer of these devices to Iraq, this administration imposed no sanctions on Russia. They either said, we did not have enough information, we could not fully verify it, or we chose not to impose sanctions.
Now, we wonder why Iran and Iraq are getting the capability to kill our troops and to kill and injure our friends. It is because of the policy direction of this administration and not being tough enough in enforcing arms control agreements.
Mr. Speaker, besides these devices, there were two other transfers of accelerometers and gyroscopes from Russia to Iraq. Iraq tried to hide them in the Tigris River Basin. They were found. And they are a part of the 120 sets that we know now were attempted to be transferred that we, in fact, have physically in the hands of people who are our allies and friends.
The point is, Mr. Speaker, if Iraq was able to get these kinds of very sophisticated guidance devices, we can bet our bottom dollar Iran has the same capability. Because, unlike Iraq, we have evidence that Russia and Iran have been cooperating on this new medium-range missile that they are going to deploy 12 to 18 months from now.
So that means, Mr. Speaker, that these missiles which will now be able to hit any city in any part of Israel, which now will be able to take out any of the installations where our 25,000 troops are stationed that any of our allies in this region are currently located, that this missile will be able to cause severe destruction.
The problem, Mr. Speaker, is a simple one. We will not have a system in place to take out this missile. I repeat, Mr. Speaker. As the chairman of the House National Security Research Committee, which oversees all the funding for defensive systems to protect against this threat, we will have no system to take out these missiles, not 12 months from now and probably not 18 or even 24 months from now.
The American people are justified in asking the question: Why, if we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on offensive and defensive military programs, why then 12 months from now will we not have a system that can shoot down these Iranian missiles that were built with Russian and Chinese technology?
The answer is, Mr. Speaker, that this administration, while basically putting forth a good public story about its commitment to theater missile defense, has not in fact been aggressive in pushing for deployment of these systems.
We have a number of options. We have a Navy option called the Navy upper and lower tier systems, which are under development with Navy and Army, called THAAD, theater high altitude area defense system, under development. We have another system, a variation of the Patriot, called PAC-3, which has more capability than the earlier version of the Patriot that was used in Desert Storm.
Israel, likewise, is working on a system entitled the Arrow. The Arrow system is similar to the Patriot and will have a capability but not quite the capability to take out the speed and the length in terms of distance of the Iranian missile that we expect to be deployed as early as 12 months from now.
So unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, as we look to meet this threat, the fact is that we will not have a system ready to be deployed 12 months from now. So if Iran does what the media reports that in fact they will be able to do, and that is deploy this system, we will have a window of vulnerability. That window of vulnerability could last 6 months. It could last 12 months. It could last 2 years. We will have a period of time, beginning sometime in late 1998, where Iran will be capable of deploying a system that we will not be able to take out if in fact they should use that system.
Now, let us remember back to the largest loss of life in Desert Storm. It was that SCUD missile that Saddam used against our troops in Saudi Arabia, the largest loss of life in Desert Storm. Iran has threatened to use both offensive chemical and biological weapons, as well as nuclear weapons on both Israel and on America. One year from now, under a current estimate that has been established in terms of Iran's program, they could have a medium-range missile that could hit Israel, any of our troops in that theater, or our allies. The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that it could well contain either a biological or a chemical weapon and quite possibly, and we have not yet determined this, quite possibly a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Speaker, this administration has not done enough. What our bill does is it says that this is a priority that this country has to address today, not 12 months from now, not 16 months from now, but today. If we are going to be prepared to deal with the threat that we see emerging 1 year from now, then the development and deployment has to begin in 1997.
What does our bill do? Our bill, Mr. Speaker, takes assets that we now have and increases funding in ways that can give us enhancements and improvements. Let me give my colleagues an example. Our bill takes the Patriot system, which has very serious limitations on what it can defend against.
The Patriot system initially in Desert Storm could only impact an area the size of this small green circle, very limited. I cannot give the distance in terms of miles because that is classified, but I can give the approximate detail percentagewise of the impact area. The Patriot itself was very limited in what it could defend against, which is why it was not really successful in Desert Storm. By putting into place immediately additional radar systems, additional early warning systems, and by putting additional batteries and early sensors for the PAC-3 system, we can expand the coverage area by the area in the blue.
So that Members can see, Mr. Speaker, that we can take a system that we have available today and we can enhance it and improve its capability significantly, both in terms of distance and in terms of circumference, by putting in additional enhancements now. Our bill provides the dollars to do just that, to allow us to put into place additional radar, additional coordination of interoperability, additional C3I in terms of interactive communications in command and control of these systems, and in doing so we get an enhanced capability that 12 months from now we can deploy.
In addition to the Patriot system, we provide additional funding for the THAAD program. Mr. Speaker, THAAD is a system that has still not been proven. It is being developed by the Army. The premise of THAAD is that it is a land-based unit that the Army can take wherever it goes and it can protect those troops in that theater. So if our troops are assigned in the Middle East, we can put a THAAD battery there and it will provide areawide protection for all of our troops so that we never have another barracks loss of life like we had in Saudi Arabia.
The problem with THAAD is it is good technology, but we have not yet had an intercept in our test program. We are hoping that this first intercept will take place in the first quarter of 1998. In the bill that I have introduced today, Mr. Speaker, we set aside additional funding so that if and when we have that successful intercept for the THAAD program that we immediately make money available to not just buy one test unit but to buy two demonstration test units. One of the units would be tested here in the United States, as is currently planned. The second battery would be deployed to the Middle East to be a direct support system for our troops that are stationed in that area. So we would have two test batteries of the THAAD system deployed where it in fact in several years could take out an Iranian missile or any other missile fired at our troops.
The third option, Mr. Speaker, is called Navy Upper Tier. The Navy Upper Tier system uses our existing Aegis technology, our most sophisticated systems, on our submarines. This technology is several years away from being fully deployed. But by putting additional dollars into radar systems and enhancements, we think we can speed up the deployment of the Navy Upper Tier system by perhaps as much as 1 year, so that by the turn of the century or slightly thereafter, we will be able to use Navy Upper Tier as a major defensive program.
The fourth major system that benefits from our bill to provide us additional protection against the Iranian capability is what the Israelis are working on. Israel has been working with our missile defense organization on a program called Arrow. Arrow is a system developed in Israel with American technology help. This system will ultimately give Israel very capable protection against lower level missiles that are not fired from long distances. The problem is that if Iran develops a capability for this medium-range system, as we currently think it is doing, then this Arrow system will not be able to cover all of Israel to take out those missiles if, in fact, they are used. What we want to do, Mr. Speaker, in this legislation is provide additional funds so that Israel can both look at enhancing the Arrow Program as well as providing additional Arrow missiles for test purposes.
In this legislation, Mr. Speaker, Impact 97, we have four very specific actions that we take to give us a capability within 12 to 18 months to deal with the threat that we think is going to be in place, a threat that jeopardizes not just our friends but also American troops and American citizens. Now, the President has said repeatedly and the administration has said repeatedly that theater missile defense is its top priority. If that be the case, Mr. Speaker, then we should have no problem in getting the administration to work with us in these systems. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
Three weeks ago, I met with Gen. Les Lyles, who heads up the ballistic missile defense organization and who is the point person for the President. He said, `Congressman Weldon, I want to work with you and I want to provide good solid information on which you can base your bill.' Three weeks later, Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to say I have had no concrete data provided from General Lyles' office. Why? Because the Secretary of Defense and the Budget Office of the Department of Defense does not want to cooperate in giving us in the Congress realistic numbers upon which we can make our suggestions for additional dollar allocations to meet this threat. We have had to go to people in a private way, who are in the administration, who do not want to be named, and we have had to go to former directors in the agency to have them give us the dollar amounts and the direction as to where we should put additional resources to meet this threat.
Mr. Speaker, that is just unacceptable. This administration, which has said repeatedly that theater missile defense is our top priority, has again not been supportive of this Congress' attempt in a bipartisan way to deal with the threats that we see emerging. In spite of their lack of cooperation, we have put together a bill that we think is fairly realistic.
On Wednesday of next week, Mr. Speaker, I will chair a congressional hearing that will focus on the Iranian threat, that will focus on what Iran is now doing, that will focus on Iran's capabilities but will also look at what our response will be; namely, Impact 97, our bill to protect our people, our troops, and Israel and our friends from the threat of medium-range missiles and the potential devastation that they can cause on America and our friends and our allies.
Mr. Speaker, it is my hope that in this process, we will convince the administration to join with us, since this President has said repeatedly that this is, in fact, his highest priority. But unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, time and time again this administration has said one thing while doing the opposite.
It was this administration and this President who pounded his fist on the table in front of APAC's national convention and told the Israeli supporters that he was for a program called THEL. What he failed to tell those people was he tried to zero out funding for the testing for THEL for 3 consecutive years. It was the Congress, Democrats and Republicans in the Congress, who kept that program alive.
Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. I yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for yielding. I would simply like to rise as, I think, the most recent cosponsor of the gentleman's legislation to congratulate him. I believe this will go a long way toward addressing a number of our concerns. Technology transfer, as he and I were discussing earlier, is a very important way of stepping up our national ballistic missile defense system. I would simply like to congratulate my friend and encourage him wholeheartedly to proceed.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. I thank my good friend and colleague from California [Mr. Dreier] for stopping by and sharing his thoughts and thank him for his support. He was the 104th cosponsor, we now have 105. One hundred and five Democrats and Republicans, Mr. Speaker, have challenged this administration on their top priority, theater missile defense, in 1 week. I started this bill on Monday. Today I introduced the bill with 105 cosponsors, 20 Democrats, 85 Republicans, who are as concerned as the Israeli Minister of Defense, who this week is in Washington, Minister Mordecai, who has said publicly that if the United States does not respond Israel will have to take preemptive action to protect its people.
Is that what we are getting to now, Mr. Speaker? We have to rely on our allies coming to our defense because we do not want to put the systems in place to protect the loss of life of our troops? Is that what we have degenerated into? A second-rate nation that is going to allow our kids to be killed first and then say we should do something? That is what happened, Mr. Speaker. When we lost those kids in Desert Storm, it was because we did not apply the resources where the need was greatest. This bill will prevent that from happening again. It will allow us to put the resources, very small resources, on the threat that is here and very nearly will be deployed by a nation that everyone in the world considers to be a rogue operative and that has threatened to annihilate the American people and our troops on a consistent and regular basis.
Mr. Speaker, let me just say in closing that the reason why I think we are where we are today is a threefold reason. First of all, this administration has not enforced arms control agreements. I have given instances, seven times now with the MTCR, no sanctions imposed. With the case of China, accelerometers and gyroscopes going to Pakistan, no sanctions imposed. In the case of China, chemical and biological materials going to Iran, no sanctions imposed. What good are arms control agreements if we are not going to enforce them?
The second problem, Mr. Speaker, is the President has used the bully pulpit to lull the American people into a false sense of complacency. As I said on this floor many times before, this President 140 times has given speeches all over America, 3 times from this pulpit in the State of the Union Address where he has looked at the camera and said, `You can sleep well tonight because for the first time in 50 years, Russian missiles are no longer pointed at America's children.' As the Commander in Chief, he knows he cannot prove that, because Russia will not give us access to their targeting practices. He further knows that if he could prove that, you can retarget an ICBM in 30 seconds. But by saying that over and over again, 140 times on college campuses, in the well of the Congress, around the world, you create the feeling in America that we have nothing to worry about, there are no longer any threats, use of the bully pulpit in an extreme way just as wrong as some of my colleagues wanting to recreate Russia as an evil empire, which I do not believe.
The third reason why we are where we are today with Iran, Mr. Speaker, is because this administration has deliberately politicized and sanitized intelligence data. That is a pretty harsh statement. Can I back that up? Mr. Speaker, I will cite, not today with the lack of time, but I will cite for anyone who wants the information five specific instances where I can prove that this administration has deliberately taken intelligence data that is intent on giving the Congress an understanding of an emerging threat and this administration has either cut off the head of the messenger or has sanitized that information. Most recently last week we saw the announced early resignation and retirement of the director of our CIA Non-Proliferation Center, an outstanding professional who has given his life to allowing this country to understand emerging threats from proliferation activities of countries like North Korea, China, and Russia. Because of pressure that was felt on this individual and his job because of briefings he has given to Members of Congress and where he has given us information about technology transfer about China and Russia giving technology to rogue nations, he was basically put in such a terrible position that he took early retirement rather than face the prospect of having to fight his superiors in the White House and the State Department.
The second example. I heard about a briefing from a Russian expert at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory 2 years ago called Silver Bullets about emerging Russian technology. As the chairman of the House research committee on defense, I asked for that briefing. For 6 months, I was denied the briefing. During the 6 months, I got an anonymous letter in my office which I have kept. The anonymous letter was addressed to me, no return address, no signature. It said, `Congressman Weldon, please continue to ask for this brief.'
Mr. Speaker, we should never have to have the intelligence community anonymously ask us to be briefed on an issue as important as emerging technologies. Another example of this administration choking the information that we need to make intelligence decisions about the threats that are emerging around the world. Mr. Speaker, we need to understand that intelligence is designed to keep us informed on emerging threats.
A third example was the direct removal of Jay Stewart from his position as the person in charge of security for the Department of Energy intelligence operation monitoring Russian nuclear material. That case has been documented. Jay Stewart has been before my committee. Jay Stewart was removed from his position because he was saying things that people in the White House did not want to listen to. This is not America, Mr. Speaker. That is why we are where we are today. That is why Iran has a capability that is going to threaten America, threaten our troops and threaten our allies. I would encourage our colleagues to cosponsor Impact 97 so that we have the protection we need 12 months from now to defeat Iran in its effort to destabilize the entire world community.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you, and I thank the staff for bearing with me during this special order.