Washington, DC – With the Senate Intelligence Committee today finally releasing a part of its Phase II report on Iraq prewar intelligence, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) delivered the following remarks on the Floor of the U.S. Senate. Though the Committee’s report only addresses 40% of the questions that the committee agreed to investigate about the Bush Administration’s case to go to war, the new report makes crystal clear the White House efforts to manipulate intelligence in Iraq and its effort to promote non-existent ties between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
Last year, Senator Reid sent the Senate into closed session to force the Republican Senate to jump-start this investigation and exercise its obligation to hold the White House accountable for misleading the American public. Today, Reid renewed his demand for a full inquiry into the Bush Administrations’ abuses of power, vowing not to tolerate mistakes that have left our nation bogged down in a civil war in Iraq, our military stretched thin, and our nation diverted from winning the war on terror. From holding the Bush Administration accountable to offering the tough and smart policies needed to finally secure America, Democrats are fighting to take this country in a new direction, with the real security the American people deserve.
The text of Senator Reid’s remarks, as prepared, is below.
Mr. President, at noon today, the Senate Intelligence Committee released reports that provide evidence of two things:
One, the Bush Administration¹s case for war in Iraq was fundamentally misleading and deceptive, and not supported by the underlying intelligence.
And two, 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 today¹s report, the Bush Administration desperately sought proof of a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden in order to shore up public assertions being made by the President, Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and other senior Administration officials. But from this report, we know these assertions directly contradicted the best assessments of our intelligence experts.
It is clear: the Administration knew or should have known that it was misleading America in its effort to make the case for a war in Iraq.
Just as significant, today¹s reports show America what you get with a Republican-led Congress.
You get the White House refusing to declassify information in this report that would embarrass them two months before a mid-term 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 distortions.
Nearly four years since the start of the Iraq war.
Two and a half 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 Republicans¹ stonewalling, 60 percent of the Intelligence Committee¹s investigation remains unfinished. And questions of how and why the Administration exaggerated and cherry picked intelligence to sell its case for war remains unanswered.
These are critically important questions for our troops and our security.
Authorizing the use of force and placing our citizens in harm¹s way is the most significant vote a member of Congress can take. It is essential we understand how this Administration skewed that decision in the run up to the war in Iraq, so we can take the steps necessary to ensure that these abuses are never repeated.
With 140,000 American troops serving bravely in the middle of a civil war in Iraq, bin Laden still at large and growing threats posed by North Korea and Iran, it is long past time this Rubberstamping Congress stood up to the Bush Administration and did its job.