Skip to comments.What did Congress know? and Why didn't they tell us? Intelligence Hearings from YR2000
Posted on 05/19/2002 8:32:45 AM PDT by TomGuy
|RICHARD C. SHELBY, Alabama, Chairman
RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
JON KYL, Arizona
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
ORRIN G. HATCH, Utah
PAT ROBERTS, Kansas
WAYNE ALLARD, Colorado
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi, Ex Officio
RICHARD H. BRYAN, Nevada, Vice Chairman
BOB GRAHAM, Florida
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
MAX BAUCUS, Montana
CHARLES S. ROBB, Virginia
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
CARL LEVIN, Michigan
CONNIE MACK, Florida
THOMAS A. DASCHLE, South Dakota, Ex Officio
|BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
TOM LANTOS, California
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
|ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
|CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PETER T. KING, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
MARSHALL ``MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
MATT SALMON, Arizona
|STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
JIM DAVIS, Florida
TOM CAMPBELL, California
EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
BARBARA LEE, California
|PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
GEORGE RADANOVICH, California
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
In particular, we will focus on the most recent shift in the patterns of international terrorism to South Asia. This move away from the more traditional Middle East-based terrorist activity clearly deserves our attention and careful policy analysis. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright noted that the shift of the center of gravity for international terrorism has been eastward, toward Afghanistan in Southwest Asia.
Afghanistan has emerged as a safe haven for master terrorists like Usama bin Laden and his radical supporters. We have on display today the State Department's wanted posters for bin Laden, offering a $5 million reward for his capture.
After a year of requesting to see State Department documents on Afghan policy, and I would remind the Committee that I have stated that I believe there is a covert policy by this Administration, a shameful covert policy of supporting the Taliban, the State Department after many, many months--actually years of prodding--finally began giving me documents, Mr. Chairman.
In the assessment of those documents, I have found nothing to persuade me that I was wrong in my criticism. I might add, however, that there have been no documents provided to me even after all of these years of requesting it. There have been no documents concerning the time period of the formation of the Taliban. Again, I would hope the State Department gets the message that I expect to see all of those documents. The documents that I have read, Mr. Chairman, indicate that the State Department time and again has had as its position that they have no quarrel or that it would give them no heartburn to have the Taliban in power, this during the time period when the Taliban was struggling to take over Afghanistan.
Although the Administration has denied supporting the Taliban, it is clear that they discouraged all of the anti- Taliban supporters from supporting the efforts in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban, even so much as when the Taliban was ripe for being defeated on the ground in Afghanistan.
Bill Richardson and Karl Inderfurth, high ranking members of this Administration, personally visited the region in order to discourage the Taliban's opposition from attacking the Taliban when they were vulnerable, and then going to neighboring countries to cutoff any type of military assistance to the Taliban, this at a time when Pakistan was heavily resupplying and rearming the Taliban. What did this lead to? It led to the defeat of all the Taliban's major enemies except for one, Commander Masood in the north, and left the Taliban the supreme power in Afghanistan. So when we hear today about terrorism and crocodile tears from this Administration, let us remember this Administration is responsible for the Taliban.
This Administration has acted in a way that has kept the Taliban in power. One last note. Many people here understand that I have been in Afghanistan on numerous occasions and have close ties to people there, and let me just say that some of my sources of information inform me of where bin Laden was. They told me they knew and could tell people where bin Laden could be located, and it took me three tries before this Administration responded to someone who obviously has personal contacts in Afghanistan to even investigate that there might be someone who could give them the information. And when my informant was actually contacted, he said that the people who contacted him were half hearted and did not follow through, did not appear to be all that interested, appeared to be forced to be talking to him.
Mr. Chairman, we are concerned about terrorism. We are concerned about the Taliban because we believe in human life and human dignity. The worst terrorist acts of the Taliban are committed against the women of their own society, and let us not forget that. But none of the terrorism which we will hear about today by Mr. bin Laden or others would be taking place with Afghanistan as their home base if it were not for the policies of this Administration.
This Administration has had a policy concerning the Taliban which has created this terrorist mess, which I predicted in this body on numerous occasions 3 and 4 years ago.
Let me also say that I think that there has been a lack of purpose on the mayhem and anarchy coming out of Afghanistan. For many years now, we have held hearings to try to get the Administration to focus on the lack of policy, the lack of a strategy to try to bring resolution to what has happened there in Afghanistan. It seems to me that we are not dealing with the terror that is coming out of the region, given the fact that there has been a great call for a policy to try to do something about resolving the underlying problems that have given rise now to Afghanistan offering Usama bin Laden and others a place to do business, a place to prepare for the next round of terrorist activity. But this is a result of a lack of focus in our foreign policy in South Asia, and I hope that we can muster some attention and resolve in the future to develop a strategy to deal with Afghanistan.
I would remind the Committee that in October 1999, the Security Council of the United Nations unanimously passed U.N. Resolution 1267, which calls on the Taliban to hand over Usama bin Laden to a country where he can be brought to justice.
Everyone in this Committee has heard me time and again over the years say unless we did something Afghanistan was going to become a base for terrorism and drug dealing. Mr. Chairman, how many times did you hear me say that? This Administration either ignored that or are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Again, I am sorry Mr. Inderfurth is not here to defend himself, but let me state for the record at a time when the Taliban were vulnerable, the top person in this Administration, Mr. Inderfurth, and Bill Richardson personally went to Afghanistan and convinced the anti-Taliban forces not to go on the offensive. Furthermore, they convinced all of the anti-Taliban forces and their supporters, to disarm and to cease their flow of support for the anti-Taliban forces.
[To] Mr. Inderfurth; Mr. Bill Richardson, a good friend of mine, doing the bidding of this Administration, basically convinced the anti-Taliban's mentors to quit providing them the weapons they needed with some scheme that the Taliban were then going to lay down their arms, and immediately thereafter Pakistan started a massive shift of military supplies which resulted in the total defeat of the anti-Taliban forces. Now, this is either collusion or incompetence on the part of the State Department as far as this Congressman is concerned. The people will have to look at the record and determine that for themselves, and when this Congressman says this Administration has a covert policy of supporting the Taliban, I see examples of what I just described over and over and over again. I have read the documents you have given me, and the documents over and over again to me indicate that the State Department has been telling the Taliban, ``Hand this over, bin Laden, and we can deal with you.'' Now, I am not going to quote because it is secret information. None of the documents I have seen, by the way, should have been classified, and let's get to those documents. Why haven't I been provided any documents about State Department analysis during the formation period of the Taliban and about whether or not the Taliban was a good force or a bad force? Why have none of those documents reached my desk after 2 years?
Additional links of interest:
STATE DEPARTMENT DOMESTIC SECURITY LAPSES AND STATUS OF OVERSEAS SECURITY ENHANCEMENTS . MAY 11 AND MAY 17, 2000
U.S. SECURITY CONCERNS IN ASIA . WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2000