-- Senator Criticizes Democrats for Using Committee to Score Election-Year Points --
Contact:Shana Marchio (202) 224-0309 Charles Chamberlayne (202) 224-7627 Thursday, June 5, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today admonished Democrats for playing politics with the final reports on prewar Iraq intelligence to score election-year points.
“It is ironic that the Democrats would knowingly distort and misrepresent the Committee’s findings and the intelligence in an effort to prove that the Administration distorted and mischaracterized the intelligence,” said Bond.
Today, the final sections of the Phase II report on prewar intelligence were released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Bond pointed out that the partisan report not only violates the Committee’s nonpartisan principles but also rejects the conclusions unanimously reached in previous reports.
In July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Iraq report, adopted by a unanimous vote, makes clear that flawed intelligence – not Administration deception – was the basis for policy maker’s statements and decisions. The report released today completely ignores this key finding.
Bond also called attention to the Democrats’ hypocrisy in excluding any of their own statements in this final report. Democrats in the Senate examined the same intelligence as the Bush Administration, and they too characterized Iraq as a growing and dangerous threat to the United States. Bond pointed to the public record, which is replete with examples of statements by Democrat Senators making the same characterizations regarding Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and links to terrorism.
Key problems with the report include:
The minority was entirely cut out of the process and that the report was written solely by Democratic staffers – For example, Republican amendments, including those of the Vice Chairman, were not even given a vote;
The Democratic staff who authored the report twisted policy makers’ statements and cherry picked intelligence in order to reach their misleading conclusions, often leaving out pertinent intelligence;
The report does not review any statements of Democrats, only Republican administration officials;
The Democratic staff did not seek to interview those whom they accuse;
The Rome report violates the Democrats’ own criteria for the Phase II report and should have been excluded.
Bond stressed that this type of partisan gamesmanship is beneath the Senate Intelligence Committee and takes away from the important national security issues the Committee should be focused on. Congress has failed to pass a terrorist surveillance bill, or intelligence authorization act, both of which are critical to improving the intelligence community. These failures are a result of injecting partisan politics into the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, emphasized Bond. With this final Phase II report now complete, Bond concluded that it is critical the Senate Intelligence attempts to move forward in a nonpartisan manner.