Congressional Record: February 3, 2004 (Senate)
Page S391-S393


  Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I think we need to respond to some of what 
has been said here this morning because the implication is very 
disturbing. It is not just that some of the intelligence of the United 
States--and by the way, all of the other intelligence agencies around 
the world might not have been totally accurate--but that somebody might 
have been misleading us. That is the charge. That is the implication. 
It leads to this notion we could not trust the President to look into 
what might have been wrong with the intelligence, that there is a 
``shadow of suspicion'' here.
  Well, the shadow of suspicion is being cast by our colleagues on the 
other side by the innuendo that is throughout the comments they have 
been making here this morning and that we have read elsewhere. I think 
that is a very bad thing. Especially when our troops are fighting 
abroad trying to win this war on terror, to suggest that not only is 
the intelligence we are gathering not entirely accurate but that there 
were deliberate attempts by people in the administration to mislead the 
American people, and to mislead the Congress, that, I think, is what is 
very disturbing.

  What are some of the strains of that? I heard one of them on the 
radio this morning: Well, Vice President Cheney went down to the CIA 
and talked to them. He must have been trying to intimidate them to come 
up with some preordained conclusion to sort of cook the books a little 
  There is no evidence of that whatsoever. David Kay has discounted 
that as a possibility. Nobody from the intelligence agencies, under 
questioning, has suggested that was the case.
  Indeed, the question is, if the Vice President had not gone down to 
the intelligence agencies and asked the tough questions of the CIA 
people, and said, are you sure you are correct about this, then our 
friends on the other side would be complaining the administration did 
not even bother to doublecheck the information. So when politics are 
involved, you cannot win. But I do not think we should allow these 
suspicions from the political side of things to dictate the kind of 
action we take.
  Another question: Secretary Powell went to the CIA. I think he spent 
something like 3 days with them, with these people going over and over 
and over the evidence, saying: Are you absolutely certain of this? And 
remember, before he made his presentation to the United Nations, he 
took some of the material out, some of the material he did not think 
was verifiable, that they could not nail down well enough. He wanted to 
make sure what he took to the United Nations was solid.
  The Vice President and the Secretary of State are not the only people 
who have been involved. We have intelligence from other countries, such 
as the Israelis, the British. We have the United Nations itself, and 
the inspectors who came back with their reports.
  At the end of the day, the reason why the international community 
passed resolutions asking for Saddam Hussein to comply with his 
commitment to come clean on what he had was because the whole world 
thought he had these weapons of mass destruction.
  Now, since then, we have not been able to find everything. We have 
found some things. But one of the things we have not found are the 
chemical artillery shell warheads. We thought those were going to be 
used against our troops. Every day the war occurred, we were briefed on 
the so-called red line, the point at which we thought the Iraqis were 
going to shoot artillery shells with chemical weapons at our troops. 
Our troops had to put on all the heavy equipment in order to try to 
fight through that if, in fact, the attack occurred, and there was some 
surprise when it did not occur. We had to, of course, bomb the 
warehouses we thought it was in. We bombed the artillery pieces. We 
sent millions of leaflets to the commanders saying: Don't you dare fire 
chemical weapons at our troops or we will take you before the criminal 
court when this is all done. We disrupted their command and control, 
and we thought that is what prevented them from firing those artillery 
shells. But the point is, we thought they had them. We thought they 
were going to be used against our troops.
  This was not a matter of the President or the Vice President or 
anybody in the administration trying to mislead anybody. Maybe the 
intelligence was not entirely accurate, but I urge my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle, in conducting this debate, to try to do it 
from the higher plain, not from the suspicion that the President of the 
United States is trying to deliberately mislead the American people, 
but to acknowledge maybe there was something wrong with part of our 
intelligence and that is worth looking into.
  That is precisely what the President has said he wants to have done 
because obviously he is just as concerned about this as anybody else 
is. It is for that reason he has asked for an investigation into the 
intelligence to find out whether it was correct, if it wasn't, why not, 
and what can we do about that in the future.
  I urge my colleagues, in conducting this debate, let's do so from a 
higher plain than one in which we sow the seeds of politics and blame 
and suspicion, as has been done around here. We can conduct this debate 
on a much higher plain than that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I believe I have 5 minutes under the 
unanimous consent agreement.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.
  Mr. LOTT. I thank Senator Kyl and Senator Reid for making sure we 
have this time. I, too, think we need to sober up a little bit and look 
at the facts of what is involved.
  First, it is an election year. Politics will come into play in 
everything we do. I don't mean that necessarily critically of us or 
either side. It is a fact. I suspect that it is having a hand in what 
we are seeing now.
  Secondly, the fact is, we do have some problems with our intelligence 
community. It is not new. It didn't come up over the last 10 months or 
the last 10 years. It probably goes back to the mid-1970s when we had 
the Pike and the Church commissions that forced changes in the 
intelligence community from which we have never quite recovered. That 
is when we started getting away from human intelligence and relying on 
satellites and computers and technology. That is a big problem.
  We can go back and point to things we didn't know or information we 
should have had back in the 1980s and 1990s that we didn't have. For us 
to take a look at our intelligence community and ask questions about 
why they have not done some things or they have gotten some things 
wrong is perfectly legitimate. The most important question should be, 
what are we going to do about it? Instead of pointing the finger of 
blame, trying to put some scalp on the wall and say: We nailed somebody 
because this information may not have been completely accurate, we 
should ask: What did we know? Did we need to know more? Were there 
inaccuracies? If so, what were they, and what are we going to do about 
it? Do we need to completely reconstruct our intelligence community?

[[Page S392]]

Do we need to make some changes at the head of some of these agencies? 
I don't know yet. But that should be our approach because we are going 
to need our intelligence community. We need it this very day.
  Senator Kyl was making the point. Our troops are in the field today 
all over the world, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are 
working with the intelligence community today to try to make sure they 
know what is going on and what is happening, what the threats are. We 
don't want to undermine them. At the same time, if we are going to make 
improvements or changes, the sooner we can do it, the better.
  The other thing is, what did we know. It is almost as if there were 
no weapons of mass destruction. We knew they had weapons of mass 
destruction--chemical, biological. They tried to get nuclear 
capability. We know they killed their own people. They used chemical 
weapons on the Iranians. I was talking to a constituent this morning 
who was in Bazra back in the early 1990s, who talked about how simple 
it was to produce chlorine gas. Yet if you looked at the plant, you 
could be told, this is just a plastics plant. But it is very simple to 
make chlorine gas. It is very toxic, and that was what was used, I 
believe, against the Iranians. So we know they had these weapons of 
mass destruction.
  Did they dismantle them, destroy them? Where did they destroy them? 
Why did Saddam Hussein give out bad information? Was he being lied to? 
Yes. Was he lying to the world community? Yes. There are all kinds of 
problems or questions such as that.
  Did they move these weapons to Syria, Iran? We know they had them. 
That is a fact. We still don't know exactly what happened to them, and 
that is a danger.
  What are we going to do about it? Let's become a government of 
commissions. It is really easy. Pass it off to a commission--the base-
closure procedure, the 9/11 investigation, Social Security, 
intelligence. Let the Congress just say: We know nothing; we see 
nothing; we hear nothing. Let's let somebody else do it.
  By the way, I have watched these commissions. Just because you have 
Republicans and Democrats, are you going to call them independent? How 
about an independent commission set up by the President that might have 
people who weren't clearly Republican or Democrat? How about experts on 
intelligence, people who have been at the CIA and the FBI, people who 
are not identified in the political area? If you want a real 
independent commission, that might be the way to do it.
  I have another question: Why don't we do our own work? What do we 
have the intelligence committee for? The more I am on there, the more I 
think maybe we should not have it the way it is presently constituted. 
We are not going to wait for the Senate Intelligence Committee to put 
out its report. We are not going to wait on the House, bipartisan, 
Select Intelligence Committee to put out its report. No, we are going 
to rush pellmell and create a commission before we even see the report.
  I suspect the report from the Senate Intelligence Committee is going 
to be more aggressive than a lot of people might think. I think we are 
going to ask a lot of legitimate questions. How about letting the Iraqi 
survey team, the group that is out there still looking, do their work. 
But, no, it is a political year. We are going to use this to question 
all kinds of people.
  The President got information on which he relied. The Senate got 
information it relied on. If there was inaccurate information, we ought 
to find out why and determine what we are going to do about it. We need 
to back off a little bit because we are dealing with people's lives. 
How we act in the intelligence area is going to be very important in 
the next few months.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. CHAMBLISS. I thank the Senator from Arizona and the Senator from 
Mississippi for including me in this time because this is the most 
critical issue, obviously, facing not just the administration but the 
American public today. It is an issue which has already been adequately 
addressed, but it is not a new issue.
  The fact of failures within the intelligence community is not 
something newly discovered. We knew following 9/11 that there were 
deficiencies within our intelligence community that probably allowed 
September 11 to happen. What have we done since that time?
  As the Senator from Mississippi said: It was time to step up to the 
plate after 9/11, fix the problems. That is what we did in a bipartisan 
way, and we have done that since that point in time.
  Now we are moving into an election year, and we are seeing sniping 
for political reasons and not solving problems for the right reasons. 
The problem continues to be out there, the problem of deficiencies 
within the intelligence community. It is not new. It is the same 
problem. It is a little bit different area.
  We, as Members of this body and as Members of the House of 
Representatives, have an obligation to the American people to find out 
what went wrong. But let's not politicize it. Let's figure out what was 
wrong. By the way, when you look at the deficiencies in our 
intelligence community and you try to point the finger at them, you 
can't stop there. If you are going to point it at our intelligence 
community, what about the French intelligence community that believed 
exactly the same thing as our intel community? What about the German 
community, the British community? Every intelligence agency in the 
world had the same information and the same facts that we had.
  Our President was presented with the facts that every other head of 
state was presented, but it was the Americans who were the target of 
the bad guys around the world. It was the Americans who were the 
victims on September 11 and were the potential victims thereafter. Our 
President exercised good, sound judgment based upon the information 
that he had and based upon the information that every other head of 
state had.
  We can talk about the fact that we ought not to politicize the 
commission but we have, in fact, politicized the issue. There is a 
major, fundamental difference in trying to say that intelligence was 
faulty and at the same time trying to intimate that this administration 
exercised misleading acts. That is something entirely different, and 
that is an issue that we can debate long and hard. But it is simply not 
a fact substantiated by any of the evidence. Whereas the fact that 
Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction had been 
substantiated time and time again since 1992, as the Senator from 
Mississippi delineated. It has been substantiated by intelligence 
communities from every other country in the world up until the time the 
Iraqi conflict began. There was no misleading on the part of this 
administration based upon the facts with which they were presented.
  Let me address one item in particular that the Senator from Illinois 
stated. He and I both serve on the Intelligence Committee. This issue 
relative to the UAVs and the possible--I emphasize ``possible''--use by 
Saddam Hussein of UAVs to distribute biological weapons being an issue:
  He knows good and well that we received information that indicated it 
was a possibility. We don't know for sure that was their intention, but 
we know good and well that it was a possibility.
  So we could go down the line item by item with each of the statements 
that have been made. I will go back and conclude with what the Senator 
from Mississippi said. We can argue and take 10 minutes on each side to 
discuss this, but what the American people expect is leadership. What 
this administration is exhibiting is leadership. This body ought to do 
the same. We ought to exercise leadership to the American people 
because that is what we were sent here to do. We could come together 
and say we know what happened; now let's find the answer; let's figure 
out what the solution is to the problem at hand within our intelligence 
community in a bipartisan way, and nobody disputes that is the way we 
ought to act.
  I say what we need to do is quit debating the issue and move forward 
now with finding out what the problem was, and let's do what is in the 
best interest of the American people, and that is continue to work hard 
to make America a safe place.

[[Page S393]]

  I yield the floor.