FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2005
CONTACT: Wendy Morigi
AT PRESS CONFERENCE, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE VICE-CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER
(Please note that the letter delivered this morning to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is attached, as well as a chart outlining the progress to date on Phase II.)
Washington, DC— At a morning press conference with Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the importance of having a thorough and expeditious Phase II report, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the following remarks:
“For the three Senators standing up here, there is nothing more important than the issue we’re going to discuss today.
“Today, we are sending a letter to Majority Leader Frist and Minority Leader Reid that sets forth our expectation that the Phase II investigation will be thorough, as promised by the Chairman, and that the Committee findings in all five areas of inquiry will be released as promptly as possible.
“As we state in the letter, ‘We cannot allow the long delay in proceeding forward with Phase II to compromise the quality of our investigation.’
“We are also urging the Chairman to immediately appoint his 3 members of the task force if he has not already done so and to commit to completing the report before the Senate adjourns.
“At its core, this is about accountability -- Congressional accountability and White House accountability.
“Congress has a fundamental, constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight – that’s what checks and balances are all about – and on this question, we have utterly failed.
“Now, after 20 months since the committee agreed to undertake Phase II – we are finally going to dig into the serious issues of how this administration used or misused intelligence in making the case for going to war.
“As the committee charged with oversight of the Executive Branch, it is our responsibility to answer questions related to the full range of intelligence issues and that includes the collection, analysis, dissemination, and USE – let me repeat – USE of intelligence.
“The Closed Session of the Senate on Tuesday was an historic day. It accomplished more in 2 hours than all of our efforts over the past 20 months.
“Following this agreement, Chairman Roberts has laid out an ambitious schedule for us next week in advance of November 14th when we are to report on the status of Phase II.
“It is worth noting that just 10 days earlier the Chairman had released a committee schedule through the end of the year that did not contain one meeting on Phase II.
“Our goal in the coming days and weeks is to finally answer critical questions about how the Bush Administration used or misused intelligence to assemble its case for war against Iraq.
“We need to determine whether senior Administration officials ignored intelligence products that were contrary to their views and whether they embraced intelligence that was manufactured or not credible.
“In short, we must finally answer the fundamental question of whether intelligence analysis was manipulated, shaped or exaggerated in any way.
“I am prepared to work as hard as necessary next week so that we can report significant progress on November 14.
“But, let me make this perfectly clear, we should in no way rush to complete this investigation in a manner that would comprise the quality of our work.
“We cannot forget what this is all about. This is about the gravest decision any president can ever make -- taking the country to war.
“We have lost over 2000 of our men and women. Over 15,000 of our soldiers are wounded. We have spent over $200 billion to sustain this war to date.
“We owe the American people a full and honest accountability of the intelligence that was used to make the case for going to war.”
CALLS FOR THOROUGH, CREDIBLE, AND PROMPT PHASE II REPORT