In Defense Spending Bill, Congress requires new intelligence reports on Iran and North Korea, requires President to establish new North Korea Policy Czar
Washington, DC — In the fiscal year 2007 defense authorization act that passed the House and Senate late last week, two little-noticed provisions signaled that Congress intends in coming months to exert tighter scrutiny of the Administration’s policies on Iran and North Korea. Senate Democrats today said the passage of two key pieces of legislation on Iran and North Korea included in the final conference report of H.R. 5122, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, would begin to address significant national security policy failures of the Bush Administration regarding two countries that Bush had once deemed part of an Axis of Evil.
Praising the passage of these two key pieces of legislation, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said, “Each day, Americans learn more information about the way this Administration manipulated information to sell a flawed case for an Iraq war to the American people. Our troops and our taxpayers are paying the price for this mismanagement. Looking ahead, it is crucial that Congress hold the Bush Administration accountable for its words and deeds as we work to solve the challenges of Iran and North Korea.”
Section 1213, sponsored by Senator Reid and 6 other Senate Democrats, seeks to ensure that the Bush Administration is prevented from making the same mistakes it made in selling a flawed case for war in Iraq as the Bush Administration increases its public and private diplomatic efforts with Iran. The legislation requires the President to provide Congress with a report on his strategy regarding Iran, and the Director of National Intelligence to submit to the Congress an updated and comprehensive national intelligence estimate on Iran.
Section 1211, sponsored by Reid, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Joe Biden, and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Democrat Carl Levin, is legislation that amounts to a Congressional vote of “no confidence” in the Bush Administration’s North Korea policy. This legislation requires the President to appoint a new senior North Korea Policy Coordinator to conduct a comprehensive review of our nation’s approach to North Korea, including matters related to security and human rights, and make recommendations about how the US might improve its policy. The legislation also requires the President to report to Congress twice a year with the latest U.S. government and intelligence community assessments about the growing North Korea nuclear and missile programs.
On North Korea, Senator Biden said, “Over four years after the President said that North Korea was part of the axis of evil, it has an estimated 400 percent more fissile material. The failure of the Administration adequately to address this threat is unacceptable.” Reid said, “After Republicans tossed aside the Agreed Framework, which successfully froze North Korea’s plutonium production for eight years, President Bush has not done what is necessary to halt the growing North Korean nuclear threat. This legislation compels the President to change course and take the necessary steps to keep America safe.”
Senator Levin asserted, “Our legislation aims to force the administration to develop a coordinated strategy towards the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear programs and to implement it with the full force of the President’s authority. It also requires regular updated intelligence assessments to Congress, so that members of Congress and the American people can have a fair, open dialogue with the Administration about U.S. policy towards North Korea.”
Most independent experts assess the challenges of Iran and North Korea have become worse on the watch of the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. A recent report by the Institute for Science and International Security calculates that North Korea will have enough material to manufacture between 8 and 17 nuclear weapons by 2008. Earlier this year, Paul R. Pillar, a former national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, said the U.S. is now in an “inherently weaker” position to deal with Iran. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has also bungled diplomatic efforts to check these dangerous regimes.
The full texts of both provisions are attached. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.
SEC. 1213. INTELLIGENCE ON IRAN.
(A) SUBMITTAL TO CONGRESS OF UPDATED NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT ON IRAN.–
(1) SUBMITTAL REQUIRED.–The Director of National Intelligence shall submit to Congress an updated, comprehensive National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Such National Intelligence Estimate shall be submitted as soon as practicable, but not later than the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) NOTICE REGARDING SUBMITTAL.–If before the end of the 90-day period specified in paragraph (1) the Director determines that the National Intelligence Estimate required by that paragraph cannot be submitted by the end of the period as required by that paragraph, the Director shall (before the end of that period) submit to the Congress a report setting forth–
(A) the reasons why the National Intelligence Estimate cannot be submitted by the end of such 90-day period; and
(B) an estimated date for the submittal of the National Intelligence Estimate.
(3) FORM.–The National Intelligence Estimate under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in classified form. Consistent with the protection of intelligence methods, an unclassified summary of the key judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate should be submitted.
(B) PRESIDENTIAL REPORT ON POLICY OBJECTIVES AND UNITED STATES STRATEGY REGARDING IRAN.–
(1) REPORT REQUIRED.–As soon as is practicable, but not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to Congress a report on–
(A) the objectives of United States policy on Iran; and
(B) the strategy for achieving those objectives.
(2) FORM.–The report under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form with a classified annex, as appropriate;
(3) ELEMENTS.–The report submitted under paragraph (1) shall–
(A) address the role of diplomacy, incentives, sanctions, other punitive measures and incentives, and other programs and activities relating to Iran for which funds are provided by Congress; and
(B) summarize United States contingency planning regarding the range of possible United States military actions in support of United States policy objectives with respect to Iran.
SEC. 1211. NORTH KOREA.
(a) Coordinator of Policy on North Korea.–
(1) APPOINTMENT REQUIRED.–Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall appoint a senior presidential coordinator of United States policy on North Korea.
(2) DESIGNATION.–The individual appointed under paragraph (1) may be known as the “North Korea Policy Coordinator” (in this subsection referred to as the “Coordinator)”.
(3) DUTIES.–The Coordinator shall–
(A) conduct a full and complete interagency review of United States policy toward North Korea;
(B) consult with foreign governments, including the parties to the Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula;
(C) provide policy direction and leadership for negotiations with North Korea relating to nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other security matters.
(4) REPORT.–Not later than 90 days after the date of the appointment of an individual as Coordinator under paragraph (1), the Coordinator shall submit to the President and Congress an unclassified report, with a classified annex if necessary, on the actions undertaken under paragraph (3). The report shall set forth–
(A) the results of the review under paragraph (3)(A); and
(B) any other matter on North Korea that the Coordinator considers appropriate.
(5) TERMINATION.–The position under this subsection shall terminate no later than December 31, 2011.
(b) Semiannual Reports on Nuclear and Missile Programs of North Korea.–
(1) REPORT REQUIRED.–Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter for fiscal years 2007 and 2008, the President shall submit to Congress an unclassified report, with a classified annex as appropriate, on the nuclear program and the missile program of North Korea.
(2) MATTERS TO BE INCLUDED.–Each report under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
(A) The most current national intelligence estimate on the nuclear program and the missile program of North Korea and, consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods, an unclassified summary of the key judgments in that estimate.
(B) The most current unclassified United States Government assessment, stated as a range if necessary, of–
(i) the number of nuclear weapons possessed by North Korea; and
(ii) the amount of nuclear material suitable for weapons use produced by North Korea by plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment
(C) Any other matter relating to the nuclear program or missile program of North Korea that the President considers appropriate.