I have reached this decision after watching portions of the hearings, after reviewing editorials and articles both in support of and in opposition to the nomination, and after talking with certain members of the Intelligence Committee, some who will vote to confirm and some who will not.
I am aware of the questions concerning Mr. Gates' knowledge, or nonknowledge, of the Iran-Contra diversions. I am, in fact, willing to accept the fact that he might not have had specific detailed knowledge of the operation. But, I am not willing to accept the proposition that he could not have had suspicions. And, I am unwilling to concede that he should not have known. He was there. He has, we understand, a superb analytical mind. He knows, we are told, the inner workings of the Agency. If that is true, then if he didn't know, he should have.
I am also troubled by the charges of politicization of intelligence. We all know that individuals bring their own views, their own backgrounds, even their own prejudices to analysis. We know that in the period in question, there were, in fact, differing views on what was happening not only in the Soviet Union but also in other parts of the world. Yet, it is the responsibility of the intelligence community to give us their best and most objective analysis. The danger when they give us a political judgment and not a factual understanding is that we will, indeed, make the wrong policy choices.
I would have reservations about the nomination on the basis of these two issues alone, but they are not my primary reason for deciding to oppose the nomination.
August 1991 rendered 45 years of U.S. foreign policy to background status. It signaled a watershed for our Nation and for the world. The resulting new world disorder, as one of our colleagues terms it, is going to require new insights, new understandings and new approaches. I do not believe Robert Gates is the person to lead the Central Intelligence Agency into this new period of history.
To lead a CIA of the future, surely we can do better than a product of the past. Surely, we can do better than turn to a man with baggage from a recent foreign policy debacle. Surely, we can do better than a man whose dedication to objective analysis is in question. Surely, we send the wrong signal not only to the American people--who already wonder about their Government--but also to the world--where we must continue to lead--if we insist on continuing to wrap ourselves in the past.
It is a sign of this administration's dearth of foresight and lack of vision of the new world order, or disorder, that it wants--and wants the U.S. Senate to agree to--a nomination which could have been better, should have been better for the last decade of this century.
I understand that Robert Gates has an extensive background in the intelligence community. I understand that he has a brilliant mind. I understand that he has served this administration and previous ones well.
But, those are not necessarily the qualifications which will make for good intelligence in the years ahead. We need now as the Director of Central Intelligence, not the person who has been a man for all seasons for the policies of the 1980's, but a man for all times for the 1990's and beyond.