Wyden Says Review of Rumsfeld Pre-War Congressional Testimony is Needed
Phase II Intelligence Report Indicates Administration Made Misleading Statements to Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - Working to ensure public accountability for the administration's rush into the Iraq War, US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called today for a review of Congressional testimony by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in light of new information in a report just released by the Intelligence Committee.
"This is stunning," said Wyden. "The Secretary of Defense, testifying before Congress about whether or not ground forces would be strategically necessary in a war against Iraq, said that the Executive Branch ‘knew' something that it did not know."
Continued Wyden, "I do not think that this is a matter that Congress can afford to ignore and I hope that the Armed Services Committee will take a serious look at Secretary Rumsfeld's statements."
The full report is available on the Committee website at: http://intelligence.senate.gov/080605/phase2a.pdf
The text of Senator Wyden's statement is below:
"I think one of the most glaring examples is detailed on pages 47 and 48 of our report. This is a statement that I think my friend Chairman Levin will want to review.
"In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in October 2002, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's testified that of the WMD facilities that he knew about, many were not vulnerable to airstrikes because they were "underground and deeply buried." We found that this statement was not supported by the intelligence that was available at the time.
"Many analysts suspected that Saddam had deeply-buried WMD facilities, but no intelligence agency claimed to know their location, and no intelligence agency even expressed certainty that they existed.
"Barely two months after Rumsfeld gave this apparently inaccurate testimony to the Armed Services Committee, the National Intelligence Council prepared a report on this topic, in response to a specific request from Rumsfeld himself. This report said that "all of the military and regime-associated [underground facilities] that we have identified thus far are vulnerable to conventional, precision-guided, penetrating munitions because they are not deeply buried."
"This is stunning: the Secretary of Defense, testifying before Congress about whether or not ground forces would be strategically necessary in a war against Iraq, said that the Executive Branch "knew" something that it did not know.
"The intelligence available at the time made this clear, and two months later a report prepared specifically for Secretary Rumsfeld directly contradicted what he told the Committee. As far as I know, neither Rumsfeld nor anyone else from his office made any attempt to contact the Committee and correct the public record, and the result was that Congress and the American people were misled on a question of the utmost importance. I do not think that this is a matter that Congress can afford to ignore and I hope that the Armed Services Committee will take a serious look at Secretary Rumsfeld's statements."