Senate Democrats

Reid: President Must Assure Congress Of Strategy To Address Iran Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Harry Reid sent the following letter to the President and issued the following statement in light of new developments regarding Iran and the release of the IAEA’s latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities:

“I am troubled by recent steps by Iran – detention of respected foreign scholars, continued pursuit of technologies suitable for nuclear weapons development and support for violence in Iraq.  I am also concerned that, for far too long, the Bush Administration’s Iran policy has been adrift and unable to deliver results that enhance America’s security and address these issues.

“My colleagues and I have sent a letter to the President asking him to take an important step forward in assuring Congress that he has an effective strategy in place for addressing the challenge of Iran by sending Congress a report and new national intelligence estimates on Iran.  Congress needs to have greater confidence that the Administration is not mismanaging Iran policy as it has mismanaged its Iraq policy.”

The text of the letter sent by Senate Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Biden, and Intelligence Committee Chairman Rockefeller, and the text of the law requiring a presidential report and new intelligence assessments, follows.

May 22, 2007

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:           

We respectfully call your attention to an unfulfilled provision of law that would greatly enhance Congressional oversight of U.S. policy on Iran. 

As you know, Section 1213 of the fiscal year 2007 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 109-364) requires you to provide Congress with an unclassified and classified report on your policy objectives and strategy regarding Iran.  Congress expects that the Section 1213 report will address questions that have been raised about the role in your strategy of U.S. diplomatic, financial, intelligence, military and other activities, and development, public diplomacy, democracy, education, cultural and other programs relating to Iran.

Section 1213 also requires the Director of National Intelligence to submit to the Congress updated and comprehensive national intelligence estimates (NIEs) on Iran, in both classified and unclassified form, and we understand that several Iran-related NIEs that should address this requirement are nearing completion. 

There is great interest in the Senate in ensuring an effective US policy addressing the challenge of Iran.  Since the January 2007 deadline in law for filing these reports has long passed, we would appreciate an estimate from you on the expected completion dates for these reports.  Rigorous oversight by Congress is an essential part of crafting effective national security policy, and receiving and reviewing these reports as soon as possible is important to accomplishing this task. We look forward to your update, and in the upcoming months, we hope we can work together on crafting an effective policy response to this important foreign policy challenge.  

Sincerely,

Harry Reid 
Carl Levin
Joseph R. Biden Jr. 
John D. Rockefeller IV

P.L. 109-364
JOHN WARNER NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION
ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007
CONFERENCE REPORT (109-702)
TO ACCOMPANY
H.R. 5122

SEC. 1213.

(a) Submittal to Congress of Updated National Intelligence Estimate 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 is 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 that period as required by that paragraph, the Director shall (before the end of that period) submit to 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 sources and 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.

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