Senate Democrats

Senators Reid, Levin, Biden and Rockefeller Write to President Bush

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Carl Levin, Joseph Biden Jr. and John D. Rockefeller IV sent a letter to the President in light of new developments regarding Iran and the release of the IAEA’s latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities.

Senator Reid said:

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.

Here is 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:

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.

You can read the text of the law requiring a presidential report and new intelligence assessments by going here.