[Congressional Record: September 8, 2006 (Senate)]
[Page S9243-S9246]                      


  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, today the Senate Select Committee on 
Intelligence has released to the public two of the five sections of our 
long-promised report on how intelligence was used by policymakers in 
the lead-up to the war in Iraq. This phase II report builds on the 
committee's July 2003 phase I report on the intelligence community's 
very substantial mistakes regarding weapons of mass destruction in 
Iraq. Fundamentally, these reports are about accountability. They are 
about identifying the mistakes that led us to war and making sure those 
mistakes never happen again, so far as we can do so.
  Let me share some important excerpts from the report which reflect 
both my own views and the views of all of my Democratic colleagues on 
the committee.
  The committee's investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq has 
revealed that the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq was 
fundamentally misleading.
  Prior to the war, administration officials repeatedly characterized 
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs in more conclusive and 
threatening terms than were substantiated by the underlying 
intelligence assessments. Analytical assessments of the intelligence 
community that were not in line with the more strident administration 
view on alleged Iraqi links to al-Qaida and the 9/11 plot were ignored 
and were denigrated by senior policymakers. Most disturbingly, the 
administration, in its zeal to promote public opinion in the United 
States before toppling Saddam Hussein, pursued a deceptive strategy 
prior to the war of using intelligence reporting that the intelligence 
community warned was uncorroborated, unreliable, and, in critical 
instances, fabricated.
  The committee has uncovered information in its investigation which 
shows that the administration ignored warnings prior to the war about 
the veracity of the intelligence trumpeted publicly to support its case 
that Iraq was an imminent threat to the security of the United States.
  Some of the false information used to support the invasion of Iraq 
was provided by the Iraqi National Congress, the INC, an organization 
which our intelligence agencies had cautioned repeatedly was penetrated 
by hostile intelligence services and would use its relationship with 
the United States to promote its own agenda to overthrow Saddam 
Hussein. The committee's investigation concluded that the INC attempted 
to influence U.S. policy on Iraq by providing false information through 
Iraqi defectors directed at convincing the United States that Iraq 
possessed weapons of mass destruction and had links to terrorists.
  The committee also found the July 2002 decision by the National 
Security Council directing that the renewed funding of the INC 
contract--the Iraqi National Congress, the Chalabi operation--be put 
under Pentagon management was ill advised given the counterintelligence 
concerns of the CIA and warnings of financial mismanagement from the 
State Department.
  Repeated prewar statements by administration officials sought to 
connect Iraq and al-Qaida in ways the underlying intelligence simply 
did not support.
  The administration's--this is key--the administration's repeated 
allegations of the past, present, and future relationship between al-
Qaida and Iraq exploited the deep sense of insecurity among Americans 
in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, leading a large 
majority of Americans to believe, contrary to the intelligence 
assessments at the time, that Iraq had a role in the 9/11 terrorist 
  The administration sought and succeeded in creating the impression 
that al-Qaida and Iraq worked in concert and presented a single unified 
threat to the United States of America. The committee's investigation 
revealed something completely different.
  The committee found that there was no credible information that Iraq 
was complicit or had foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks or any 
other al-Qaida strike anywhere. The committee also found that Iraq did 
not provide chemical or biological weapons training or any material or 
operational support to al-Qaida prior to the war.
  Furthermore, no evidence was found of any meeting between al-Qaida 
and the Iraq regime before the war, other than a single meeting that 
took place years earlier in 1995, in fact, in the Sudan. That meeting 
was at a fairly low level, and that meeting did not lead to any 
operational cooperation at all. Osama was there, but the Iraqi 
representative was at a low level.
  Key pieces of evidence used by the administration asserting links 
between Iraq and al-Qaida were a report of a meeting in Prague between 
9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer and a 
claim that Iraq provided chemical and biological weapons training to 
al-Qaida in the late 1990s. The committee report demonstrates that the 
prewar statements of the Vice President of the United States that the 
Prague meeting had been ``pretty well confirmed'' and that the 9/11 
hijacker Mohamed Atta--again the Vice President's words--``in fact'' 
met with Iraqi intelligence services in 2001 were not substantiated by 
the intelligence assessment at the time the statements were made by the 
Vice President. Likewise, the statement by National Security Adviser 
Rice that

[[Page S9244]]

``there are a lot of tantalizing meetings'' between Iraq and ``people 
who were involved in 9/11'' was clearly false based upon what was known 
prior to the war.
  The committee's investigation revealed no postwar information 
indicating that Iraq considered using al-Qaida or any other terrorist 
group to attack the United States. The committee investigation 
concluded that, in fact, Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaida and 
viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime and to him 
personally, refusing all requests from al-Qaida to provide material or 
any kind of operational support. Postwar findings indicate that Saddam 
Hussein refused all al-Qaida overtures for material or operational 
support and, in fact, issued a general order that Iraq should not deal 
with al-Qaida. In addition, Saddam viewed al-Zarqawi, who was present 
in Baghdad only from May to November of 2002, as an outlaw. Saddam 
regarded Zarqawi as an outlaw and attempted unsuccessfully to locate 
him and capture him. Again, he failed.
  During the buildup to war, the intelligence community was placed 
under pressure to support the administration's position that there was 
a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. This is particularly distressing. 
This pressure took the form of policymakers repetitively tasking 
analysts to review, to reconsider, to revise their analytical 
judgments, or simply asking the same question again and again.
  Many participants involved with the preparation of prewar 
intelligence felt at the time that the decision had been made to go to 
war by the administration early on--in fact, many months before 
Congress was asked to authorize the use of force. The committee 
investigation revealed evidence that this prewar pressure to conform to 
administration policy demands may have led to the co-option of the 
intelligence community.
  The committee's two-phased investigation has been significantly 
limited, I must say, by the majority's refusal to examine issues and 
documents relative to our inquiry when the issues and documents came 
close to the White House.
  While a quarter of the committee's INC report is devoted to a lengthy 
examination of the CIA's relationship with the INC in the early and 
mid-1990s, the committee majority voted down requests by the minority 
to investigate the flow of intelligence information from the INC that 
circumvented the intelligence community and went directly to the White 
House and to Pentagon policy officials in the lead-up to the war.
  Finally, the committee's inquiry has been hampered by the decision to 
deal with five phase II tasks as separate inquiries, which they are 
not, and complete the report on a piecemeal basis rather than a unified 
whole. This has been distressing to those of us in the minority.
  The chairman suspended the committee investigation into the Pentagon 
policy office--we associate the name Doug Fife with that--over 2 years 
ago, rejected any investigation, oversight--whatever you will--into the 
Pentagon policy office despite evidence presented in the committee's 
phase I report that the office attempted to shape the CIA's terrorism 
analysis, and when it failed, prepared an alternative intelligence 
analysis for policy officials designed to denigrate the CIA's analysis 
for not embracing a link between Iraq and al-Qaida and the 9/11 
terrorist attacks. It is my belief that the committee can complete its 
remaining work on phase II of its Iraq inquiry in a manner that is 
complete, objective, and expeditious. It should not have taken nearly 3 
years to reach the point where we are now.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan is recognized.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be able to 
proceed as in morning business for 25 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. We are in morning business. Without objection, 
it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. I understand it is for 10 minutes unless we get unanimous 
consent for more time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the Senator is recognized 
for 25 minutes.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, let me begin by thanking the Senator from 
West Virginia for the leadership he has shown on this matter and so 
many other matters--on every matter he has touched on, in fact, on 
intelligence and in his other work in this body.
  Today the Senate Intelligence Committee is releasing two of five 
parts of phase II of the committee's inquiry into prewar intelligence. 
One of the two reports released today looks at what we learned after 
the attack on Iraq about the accuracy of prewar intelligence regarding 
links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. Today's report is a 
devastating indictment of the Bush administration's unrelenting, 
misleading, and deceptive attempts to convince the American people that 
Saddam Hussein was linked with al-Qaida, the perpetrators of the 9/11 
  The President said Wednesday, just this week, that:

       One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to 
     the war on terror.

  Well, that shouldn't surprise anybody. The President's decision to 
ignore intelligence community assessments prior to the Iraq war and to 
make repeated public statements that gave the misleading impression 
that Saddam Hussein's regime was connected to the terrorists who 
attacked us on 9/11 cost him any credibility he may have had on this 
  President Bush said Saddam and al-Qaida were allies--his words. And 

       You can't distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam when you 
     talk about the war on terror.

  The bipartisan report released today directly contradicts that 
linkage which the President has consistently made in his effort to 
build public support for his Iraq policy.
  The bipartisan committee report finds that the prewar intelligence 
assessments were right when the intelligence community said Saddam and 
al-Qaida were independent actors who were far from being natural 
partners. The report finds that prewar intelligence assessments were 
right when they expressed consistent doubts that a meeting occurred 
between 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and a senior Iraqi intelligence 
official in Prague prior to September 11. Our report finds that prewar 
intelligence assessments were right when they said there was no 
credible reporting on al-Qaida operatives being trained in Iraq. Those 
were the two principal arguments which were used prior to the war to 
support the alleged linkage between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.
  The accurate prewar intelligence assessments didn't stop the 
administration from making many false and misleading statements trying 
to link Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida. In his September 5 presentation 
to the United Nations, Secretary Powell said:

       Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu 
     Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin 
     Laden, and his al-Qaida lieutenant.

  After the war, in June of 2004, the President said that al-Zarqawi, 
the terrorist leader recently killed in Iraq, was the best evidence of 
a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida. And to this day--to this day--
these statements have not stopped.
  Just 2 weeks ago, the President said in a press conference that 
Saddam Hussein ``had relations with Zarqawi.'' Our Intelligence 
Committee report demonstrates that statement made 2 weeks ago by the 
President was false. The committee report discloses, for the first 
time, the CIA's October 2005 assessment that Saddam's regime:

       Did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye 
     towards Zarqawi and his associates.

  The President's statement made just 2 weeks ago is flatout false.
  The drumbeat of misleading administration statements alleging 
Saddam's links to al-Qaida was unrelenting in the lead-up to the Iraq 
war which began in March of 2003.
  On September 25, 2002, the President said:

       Al-Qaida hides. Saddam doesn't, but the danger is that they 
     work in concert. The danger is that al-Qaida becomes an 
     extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity 
     to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world.

  And then he said:

       You can't distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam when you 
     talk about the war on terror.

  The next day, in September of 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld said:

       We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al-
     Qaida's leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who would help 
     them acquire weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

[[Page S9245]]

  On October 14, 2002, the President said:

       This is a man--Saddam is a man that we know has had 
     connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, 
     would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army.

  On January 30, 2003, Vice President Cheney said:

       Saddam's regime aids and protects terrorists, including 
     members of al-Qaida. He could decide secretly to provide 
     weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us. 
     And as the President said on Tuesday it would just take one 
     vial, one canister, one crate to bring a day of horror to our 
     Nation unlike any we have ever known.

  On February 6, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz said:

       And, worst of all, his connections with terrorists which go 
     back decades and which started some 10 years ago with al-
     Qaida are growing every day.

  What the administration and the President and other administration 
officials did not say was what the intelligence community was saying 
about this crucial issue because it would have undermined their march 
to war and it would have refuted their main argument for attacking 
Iraq: that Iraq was linked to the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.
  What was the CIA saying? What was the intelligence community saying 
before the war? In June of 2002, the CIA said that:

       Our assessment of al-Qaida's ties to Iraq rests on a body 
     of fragmented, conflicting reporting from sources of varying 

  That same report of the CIA said:

       The ties between Saddam and bin Laden appear much like 
     those between rival intelligence services.

  And the Defense Intelligence Agency stated in a July 2002 assessment, 
being declassified for this first time in this report:

       Compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation 
     between the government of Iraq and al-Qaida has not been 

  So these two then-classified assessments preceded the President's 
statements that ``You can't distinguish between Iraq and al-Qaida'' and 
that, in his view, Saddam would love to use al-Qaida as a ``forward 
  Then the CIA assessed in January 2003, still before the war, that 
``Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are far from being natural 
partners'' and that Saddam has ``viewed Islamic extremists operating 
inside Iraq as a threat.''
  The CIA assessed in January of 2003 that Saddam viewed al-Qaida with 
``deep suspicion'' and stated that:

       The relationship between Saddam and bin Laden appears to 
     more closely resemble that of two independent actors trying 
     to exploit each other.

  That 2003 classified report was issued 1 day before the Vice 
President stated to the American public that Saddam's regime:

       Aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-

  The misleading statements by administration officials didn't stop 
there. The Intelligence Committee report recounts the story of the 
alleged meeting between Mohamed Atta and the Iraqi intelligence officer 
in Prague. In the fall of 2001, the Czech intelligence service provided 
the CIA with reporting based on a single source who stated that Atta 
met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April of 2001.
  On December 9, 2001, Vice President Cheney was asked about the report 
on ``Meet the Press.'' The Vice President said:

       It has been pretty well confirmed that he--

  The 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta--

     did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official with 
     the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, 
     several months before the attack.

  On March 24, 2002, the Vice President told ``Meet the Press'':

       We discovered, and it has since been public, the allegation 
     that one of the lead hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had, in fact, 
     met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague.

  But the Intelligence Committee report released today cites a June 
2002 CIA paper that said:

       Reporting is contradictory on hijacker Mohammed Atta's 
     alleged trip to Prague and meeting with an Iraqi intelligence 
     officer and we have not verified his travels.

  The Intelligence Committee report released today declassifies, for 
the first time, a July 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency paper that 

       Mohammed Atta reportedly was identified by an asset, not an 
     officer, of a Czech service, only after Atta's picture was 
     widely circulated in the media after the attacks, 
     approximately five months after the alleged meeting occurred.

  And that:

       There is no photographic, immigration, or other documentary 
     evidence indicating that Atta was in the Czech Republic 
     during the time frame of the meeting.

  Two months later, in September 2002, the CIA published its assessment 
that ``evidence casts doubt'' on the possibility that the meeting had 
occurred and that:

       The CIA and FBI have reviewed the reporting available so 
     far and they are unable to confirm that Atta met al-Ani in 

  None of those assessments stopped the Vice President from continuing 
to suggest that the report of the meeting was evidence that Saddam's 
regime was linked to the 9/11 attack.
  On September 8, 2002, in a ``Meet the Press'' interview, the Vice 
President said that the CIA considered the report of the meeting 
credible, although again, that same month, the CIA said there was 
evidence that cast doubt on it having occurred.
  In January 2003, the CIA published an assessment stating that:

       A CIA and FBI review of intelligence and open-source 
     reporting leads us to question the information provided by 
     the Czech service source who claimed that Atta met al-Ani.

  The January 2003 paper stated that the CIA was ``increasingly 
skeptical''--increasingly skeptical--``that Atta traveled to Prague in 
2001 or met with the IIS officer, al-Ani,'' and that ``the most 
reliable reporting to date casts doubt on this possibility.''
  But the Vice President was undeterred by the CIA's skepticism. On 
September 14, 2003, 8 months after the CIA said that the most reliable 
reporting cast doubt on the possibility of a meeting between Atta and 
the Iraqi intelligence officer, Vice President Cheney was still citing 
as this having possibly occurred.
  On January 14, 2004, a full year after the CIA expressed serious 
doubts about the meeting and the fact that not a shred of evidence had 
been found to support the claim of a meeting, the Vice President told 
the Rocky Mountain News that the Atta meeting was ``the one that 
possibly tied the two together to 9/11.''
  Six months later, on June 17, 2004, the Vice President was asked 
whether Iraq was involved in 9/11. The Vice President said, ``We don't 
know. . . . We had one report, this was the famous report on the Czech 
intelligence service, and we've never been able to confirm it or knock 
it down. We just don't know.''
  The Vice President may not have ``known,'' but the intelligence 
community sure as heck did not believe, and did not believe for a long 
time before the Vice President's statement, that the meeting took 
  The intelligence assessments contained in the Intelligence 
Committee's unclassified report are an indictment of the 
administration's unrelenting and misleading attempts to link Saddam 
Hussein to 9/11. But portions of the report which the intelligence 
community leaders have determined to keep from public view provide some 
of the most damaging evidence of this administration's falsehoods and 
  Among what remains classified, and therefore covered up, includes 
deeply disturbing information. Much of the information redacted from 
the public report does not jeopardize any intelligence source or method 
but serves effectively to cover up certain highly offensive activities. 
Even the partially released picture is plenty bleak, about the 
administration's use of falsehoods and distortions to build public 
support for the war. But the public is entitled to the full picture. 
Unless this report is further declassified, they won't get it. While 
the battle is waged to declassify those covered-up portions of the 
report--unless, of course, those portions truly disclose intelligence 
sources or methods, every Senator should read the classified version of 
this report. It is available to every Senator, and I urge every Senator 
to read the classified version of this report and reach his own 
conclusion about what I and Senator Rockefeller have said about the 
portions of this report that remain classified and unavailable to the 
  In addition to trying to create the impression that Iraq was 
connected to the 9/11 attackers, the administration also claimed that 
Iraq had provided al-

[[Page S9246]]

Qaida with training in poisons and gases. For instance, in a speech on 
October 2002, the President said, ``We've learned that Iraq has trained 
al-Qaida members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.''
  In February, 2003, the President said, ``Iraq has also provided al-
Qaida with chemical and biological weapons training.''
  In March of 2003, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said 
there was a ``very strong link to training al-Qaida in chemical and 
biological weapons techniques, we know from a detainee that--the head 
of training for al-Qaida, that they sought help in developing chemical 
and biological weapons because they weren't doing very well on their 
own. They sought it in Iraq. They received the help.''
  Those statements were based on representations of Ibn al Shaykh al-
Libi, a detained senior al-Qaida operative. But what the administration 
hid was the fact that the Defense Intelligence Agency did not believe 
al-Libi's statement. In February 2002, a year before the President 
claimed that Iraq ``provided al-Qaida with chemical and biological 
weapons training,'' the DIA assessed that al-Libi ``is more likely . . 
. intentionally misleading the debriefers.''
  Nor did the administration disclose a second DIA assessment in 
February of 2002 that said, ``Iraq is unlikely to have provided bin 
Ladin any useful CB knowledge or assistance,'' or DIA's April 2000 
assessment that there was no credible reporting on al-Qaida training 
``anywhere'' in Iraq.
  The administration's statements also flew in the face of the CIA's 
January 2003 assessment that al-Libi was not in a position to know 
whether training had taken place.
  So here is what we have. The President still says that Saddam had a 
relationship with Zarqawi. The Senate Intelligence Committee found that 
the intelligence community, in 2005, concluded that ``the regime did 
not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye towards 
  The President said that Saddam and al Qaida were ``allies.'' The 
intelligence community found that intelligence shows that Saddam 
Hussein ``viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime,'' and, 
indeed, as postwar intelligence shows, he, Saddam, ``refused all 
requests from al-Qaida to provide material or operational support.''

  The Vice President called the claim that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta 
met with the Iraqi intelligence officer ``credible'' and ``pretty much 
confirmed,'' but the Intelligence Committee report finds that the 
intelligence shows ``no such meeting occurred.''
  The President said that Iraq provided training in poisons and gases 
to al-Qaida, but the Intelligence Committee finds that postwar 
intelligence supports prewar assessments that there was no credible 
reporting on al-Qaida training ``anywhere'' in Iraq and that the 
terrorist who made the claim of training was ``likely intentionally 
misleading his debriefers'' when he said that Iraq had provided poisons 
and gases training.
  But the administration's efforts to create the false impression that 
Iraq and al-Qaida were linked didn't stop with just statements. One of 
the most significant disclosures of the Intelligence Committee report 
is the account of the administration's successful efforts to obtain the 
support of CIA Director George Tenet to help them make that false case. 
The events were of major significance. They go to the heart of the 
administration's case for war on the eve of a congressional vote on 
whether to authorize that war. Here is what happened.
  On October 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati, the President 
represented that linkage existed between Saddam and terrorist groups. 
He said that ``Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a 
biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or an individual 
  But on that very day, October 7, 2002, in a letter to Intelligence 
Committee Chairman Bob Graham, the CIA declassified at the request of 
the committee the CIA assessment that it would be an ``extreme step'' 
for Saddam Hussein to assist Islamic terrorists in conducting a 
weapons-of-mass-destruction attack against the United States and that 
the likelihood of Saddam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction if 
he did not feel threatened by an attack was ``low.''
  When made public, the CIA assessment would have undercut the 
President's case. Something had to be done. So on October 8, 2002, the 
Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, issued a statement that 
``there is no inconsistency between our view of Saddam's growing threat 
and the view expressed by the President in his speech.''
  The Tenet statement was aimed at damage control and it undercut the 
CIA's own crucial assessment at a critical moment. The New York Times 
quoted Tenet prominently in a major story on October 9.
  We called Tenet before the Intelligence Committee a month and a half 
ago, on July 26, 2006. In his testimony, quoted in the Intelligence 
Committee's report, Mr. Tenet admitted that perhaps there was an 
inconsistency between the President's statement and the CIA's 
assessment. Mr. Tenet said he issued his statement denying the 
inconsistency after policymakers expressed concern about the CIA's 
assessment, as expressed in the declassified October 7 letter. Again, 
that letter saying that it would be an extreme step for Saddam to 
assist Islamic terrorists in conducting a weapons-of-mass destruction 
  I ask for an additional 3 minutes, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEVIN. Tenet admitted to the intelligence subcommittee that the 
policymakers wanted him to ``say something about not being inconsistent 
with what the President had said.'' Tenet complied.
  Tenet acknowledged to the committee, in his July 26, 2006, testimony, 
that issuing the statement was ``the wrong thing to do.''
  It was much more than that. It was a shocking abdication of a CIA 
Director's duty not to act as a shill for any administration or its 
policies. Director Tenet issued that statement at the behest of the 
administration on the eve of the Congress's debate on the resolution 
authorizing the use of force in Iraq. The use of the Director of 
Central Intelligence by the administration to contradict his own 
agency's assessment in order to support a policy goal of the 
administration is reprehensible, and it seriously damaged the 
credibility of the CIA.
  Mr. President, I thank the Chair for its indulgence and I yield the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who seeks recognition?


[Congressional Record: September 8, 2006 (Senate)]
[Page S9246-S9247]                     


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, at noon today, the Senate Intelligence 
Committee released a report that proved evidence of two things: first, 
the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq was fundamentally 
misleading and deceptive and not supported by the underlying 
intelligence; second, the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence 
Committee continues to put the political interests of the Bush White 
House ahead of the security of the American people.
  According to today's report, the Bush administration desperately 
sought to prove a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden in 
order to shore up public assertions being made by the President, the 
Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, and other senior 
administration officials. But from this report which was made public 
today, at noon, we know these assertions directly contradicted the best 
assessments of our intelligence experts. In

[[Page S9247]]

short, the facts were not there to show any connection between Osama 
bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
  It is clear: The administration knew or should have known it was 
misleading America in its effort to make the case for a war in Iraq.
  Just as significant, today's report shows America what you get with a 
Republican-led Congress. What do you get? You get the White House 
refusing to declassify information. And you find that in this report. 
You find that the White House refuses to declassify information that 
would embarrass them 2 months before a midterm election. And you get a 
Republican-led committee that is perfectly willing to bow down to the 
White House and keep the American people in the dark about its mistakes 
and its distortions.
  Nearly 4 years since the war started in Iraq, 2\1/2\ years after the 
Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee was pressured into 
starting this investigation, and nearly a year after Democrats sent the 
Senate into closed session to discuss the Republicans' stonewalling, 60 
percent of the Intelligence Committee's investigation still is 
unfinished, and questions as to how and why the administration 
exaggerated and cherry-picked intelligence to sell its case for war 
remain unanswered.
  These are critically, crucially important questions for our troops 
and our security. Authorizing the use of force and placing our citizens 
in harm's way is the most significant vote a Member of Congress can 
make, and it is essential we understand how this administration skewed 
that decision in the runup to the war in Iraq so we can take the steps 
necessary to ensure these abuses are never repeated. That is why you 
have to complete the work of the Intelligence Committee.
  With 140,000 American troops serving bravely in the middle of a civil 
war in Iraq, bin Laden still at large, and a growing threat posed by 
North Korea and Iran, it is long past time this rubberstamping 
Republican Congress stood up to the Bush administration and did its 
job, did its job of being a separate and equal branch of Government.
  The problem during the 6 years of President Bush's administration is 
that the Constitution has not been what it should be, not the checks 
and balances, not three separate, equal branches of Government. It is 
no mystery why there have been no vetoes--because the President has 
gotten everything he has wanted, with the exception of stem cell. Other 
than that, the Republican Congress has given him everything he has 
  We have had no congressional oversight. We have had committees not 
doing their work, as indicated by the Intelligence Committee today.
  I do extend my congratulations to the entire committee. They do very 
valuable work for this country in dealing with the most sensitive 
issues America has to deal with; that is, intelligence operations of 
this country. I am glad we have gotten 40 percent of the work that has 
been so long overdue. I look forward, in the weeks ahead, to getting 
the remaining 60 percent. I doubt it will happen before the elections, 
but it should.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will please call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Warner). Without objection, it is so