Congressional Record: January 28, 2004 (Senate)
Page S311-S312


  Mr. NELSON of Florida. Mr. President, I express my appreciation to 
the Senator from North Dakota for the case that he has made, which has 
been very disturbing to us as two Senators, because the information we 
have received over the last several days causes us not only to scratch 
our heads but to shake our heads--that the intelligence we received in 
the secure rooms of this Capitol complex was either so faulty that we 
are in a considerable degree of vulnerability, that we are not getting 
accurate information upon which to defend this country, or that the 
information that was presented to us was faulty not because of the 
sources of that information and the analysis but there was some 
suggestion of coloring that information to reach a certain conclusion.
  I think this is far beyond Republicans and Democrats. This is about 
defense of the homeland. This is about America. Just because this has 
come up in January of an election year, with Dr. Kay coming forth and 
telling us today in the Armed Services Committee that he concluded this 
last November, then it is sure time for us to get some answers for the 
protection of this country and its people.
  I want to take this occasion to inform the Senate of specific 
information that I was given, which turns out not to be true. I was one 
of 77 Senators who voted for the resolution in October of 2002 to 
authorize the expenditure of funds for the President to engage in an 
attack on Iraq. I voted for it. I want to tell you some specific 
information that I received that had a great deal of bearing on my 
conclusion to vote for that resolution. There were other factors, but 
this information was very convincing to me that there was an imminent 
peril to the interests of the United States.
  I, along with nearly every Senator in this Chamber, in that secure 
room of this Capitol complex, was not only told there were weapons of 
mass destruction--specifically chemical and biological--but I was 
looked at straight in the face and told that Saddam Hussein had the 
means of delivering those biological and chemical weapons of mass 
destruction by unmanned drones, called UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles. 
Further, I was looked at straight in the face and told that UAVs could 
be launched from ships off the Atlantic coast to attack eastern 
seaboard cities of the United States.
  Is it any wonder that I concluded there was an imminent peril to the 
United States? The first public disclosure of that information occurred 
perhaps a couple of weeks later, when the information was told to us. 
It was prior to the vote on the resolution and it was in a highly 
classified setting in a secure room. But the first public disclosure of 
that information was when the President addressed the Nation on TV. He 
said that Saddam Hussein possessed UAVs.
  Later, the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his presentation to 
the United Nations, in a very dramatic and effective presentation, 
expanded that and suggested the possibility that UAVs could be launched 
against the homeland, having been transported out of Iraq. The 
information was made public, but it was made public after we had 
already voted on the resolution, and at the time there was nothing to 
contradict that.
  We now know, after the fact and on the basis of Dr. Kay's testimony 
today in the Senate Armed Services Committee, that the information was 
false; and not only that there were not weapons of mass destruction--
chemical and biological--but there was no fleet of UAVs, unmanned 
aerial vehicles, nor was there any capability of putting UAVs on ships 
and transporting them to the Atlantic coast and launching them at U.S. 
cities on the eastern seaboard.
  I am upset that the degree of specificity I was given a year and a 
half ago, prior to my vote, was not only inaccurate; it was patently 
false. I want some further explanations.
  Now, what I have found after the fact--and I presented this to Dr. 
Kay this morning in the Senate Armed Services Committee--is there was a 
vigorous dispute within the intelligence community as to what the CIA 
had concluded was accurate about those UAVs and about their ability to 
be used elsewhere outside of Iraq. Not only was it in vigorous dispute, 
there was an outright denial that the information was accurate. That 
was all within the intelligence community.
  But I didn't find that out before my vote. I wasn't told that. I 
wasn't told that there was a vigorous debate going on as to whether or 
not that was accurate information. I was given that information as if 
it were fact, and any reasonable person then would logically conclude 
that the interests of the United States and its people were in 
immediate jeopardy and peril. That has turned out not to be true.
  We need some answers, and I saw the ranking member of the Armed 
Services Committee ask the chairman for a further investigation into 
this matter. I heard the chairman say: I will take it under 
  I hope that is a positive sign and not a negative sign. We need to 
get to the bottom of this for the protection of our country. It is too 
bad this is coming up in the year 2004, which happens to coincide with 
the Presidential election, because people are going to immediately say 
this is partisan politics.
  The fact is, this is the politics of the protection of our country, 
and we need some answers. I don't want to be voting on war resolutions 
in the future based on information that is patently false when 
everybody is telling me, looking me eyeball to eyeball, that it is 
  I am hoping, as the Senator from North Dakota has suggested, that we 
have a convening of the appropriate intelligence officials in the 
secure room and that members of the intelligence community, as well as 
members of the administration, will come and explain, in addition to 
what Dr. Kay has explained on the public record--which is revealing 
enough in itself--what, in fact, happened and how we are going to 
correct the process and the analysis of information so that we never 
have this kind of miscalculation and misinformation again.
  Either the intelligence community's self-examination, its analysis 
was hugely faulty, or there were the hints at taking information and 
coloring it, called stacking the news and coming out with a conclusion 
that was wanted. I think we have to find out what happened.
  It is not a question of whether or not Saddam Hussein ought to be 
gone. Thank goodness he is gone. That probably had a very salutary 
effect on the United States in that part of the world, that the United 
States will back up its intentions with force. But when the United 
States makes decisions about a preemptive war, a war now that has 
claimed the lives of over 500 American men and women, then we have to 
have a much higher standard of accuracy of the information upon which 
we make the judgments to send America's finest on to the battlefield.
  I can tell you about all the soldiers from Florida who are now laid 
to rest. There are plenty of reasons I am raising these questions, but 
if for no other reason than to raise the questions for the mamas and 
the daddies and the spouses and the children of those soldiers. That is 
plenty justification enough. But the justification is much greater, and 
that is the justification of making sure we can protect ourselves in 
the future.
  In a war against terrorists, our defense is only going to be as good 
as the information we receive to stop the terrorists. We had a colossal 
failure of intelligence on September 11, 2 years ago. We can't afford 
that kind of failure again. Yet we have just found out that when we 
were given the reasons for going to war, that was faulty intelligence. 
America can't afford too many more of these, for the protection of 
ourselves and our loved ones.

[[Page S312]]

  This is something of considerable concern to me personally. I know it 
is of considerable concern to the rest of the Senate. I hope the 
majority leader of this Senate, Senator Frist, is going to listen to 
those of us in this Chamber who say that this request has nothing to do 
with politics. Let's get to the bottom of what is the truth and how we 
make sure that information in the future is true.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant journal clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.