[Congressional Record: February 2, 2004 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
THE NEED FOR INTELLIGENCE REFORM
Mr. GRAHAM of Florida. Mr. President, as Chairman of the Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence during most of the 107th Congress, I
worked with colleagues from the House and Senate to accept the
responsibility of reviewing the horrific events that struck our
Nation's symbols of commerce and security on September 11, 2001,
claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. From New York City and
the Pentagon to a field in rural Pennsylvania, 9-11 demonstrated the
vulnerabilities of our free society.
But in my view, and after the careful review of the Intelligence
Committees, the most tragic aspect of this day never to be forgotten is
that it could have been prevented. Had our intelligence agencies been
better organized and more focused on the problem of international
terrorism--particularly Osama bin Laden--September 11th would have been
I also have concluded that, had the President and the Congress
initiated the reforms that our joint inquiry recommended, we might well
have avoided the embarrassment of the flawed intelligence on weapons of
mass destruction--or the misleading use of that intelligence--which
formed the basis of our war against Iraq.
Surely, the people of America would be safer today had these reforms
So today, and in remarks in the next 2 days, I would like to review
with my colleagues the conclusions of the House-Senate joint inquiry.
We have learned that intelligence failures played a central role in
the events of 9-11. Let me illustrate some of those failures:
The Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, was tracking two of the
hijackers and knew that they had been to a summit meeting of terrorists
in Malaysia in early January of 2000. However, the CIA failed to inform
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, the Federal Aviation
Administration, FAA, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS,
or Customs officials that these individuals were on their way to the
United States. The result is that when they arrived on a commercial
airliner in the United States in order to execute their dastardly plan,
they were welcomed into our country by unwitting entry agents.
These same two hijackers were living with an FBI asset, but the
informant failed to ask basic questions. Others in the FBI recognized
the danger of Islamic extremists using airplanes as weapons of mass
destruction, but their warnings were ignored by superiors. Still others
failed to understand the legal avenues available to them that may have
allowed available investigative techniques to be used to avert the 9-11
Current national security strategy demands more accurate intelligence
than ever before:
Terrorists must be found before their strikes. This will
require intelligence agents capable of penetrating their
cells to provide intelligence early enough to frustrate the
If preventive or pre-emptive military actions are to be a
central part of our national security strategy, to maintain
its credibility of those actions with the American people and
the world, will require the support of the most credible
If we are to frustrate the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, America must provide an intelligence capability
for all of those regions of the world which are suspect.
Now, as never before, intelligence matters.
In responding to the events of 9-11, Congress created a joint
committee consisting of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. A
bipartisan, bicameral panel of this type had never before been formed
in the 213 years of the U.S. Congress. Our effort reflected the unique
circumstances and the national unity we all felt in the immediate
aftermath of 9-11.
One of the principal reasons for conducting the inquiry in this way
was to give our recommendations the maximum credibility, above the
usual cries of partisanship that frequently taint the work of
congressional committees. The importance of our task cannot be
understated. We sought to identify the problems in the intelligence
community that allowed the 9-11 attacks to go undetected and propose
solutions to those problems.
In the end, we were successful in identifying the problems because we
all understood how much was at stake and that our enemy would not rest
while we attempted to fix our problems. We were less successful in
securing consideration of the solutions from the intelligence agencies,
the White House, and the Congress.
The fact that we conducted this bipartisan, bicameral inquiry and
submitted recommendations creates a new heightened level of
congressional responsibility. If the terrorists are successful in
another attack in the United States, the American people will demand to
know what the institutions of government learned from 9-11, and how the
intelligence agencies, the White House, and the Congress used that
knowledge to harden the United States against future terrorist attacks.
Congress was largely able to avoid accountability for 9-11. Mark my
words: There will be no avoidance of responsibility for the next
There will be no avoiding responsibility for the President. September
11, 2001, was a wake up call--it told us we had severe deficiencies in
our intelligence community. If 9-11 was a wake up call, the failure to
find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a report card on how far
we have come since 9-11 in correcting the problems in our intelligence
community. The grade we received on that report card is F. The
President and Congress have failed to initiate the reforms recommended
by a series of review panels and our bipartisan, bicameral joint
committee of inquiry.
This failure of the President and the Congress has contributed to yet
another intelligence failure.
What troubles me more than the President's unwillingness to make the
necessary changes is his unwillingness to even admit that our Nation
has a problem. Just last week, the President responded to questions
about the inaccuracies of his statements about Iraq's WMD capability by
saying he has ``great confidence in our intelligence community.'' How
can he have great confidence in our intelligence community after it has
been proven confused before September 11 and completely wrong on the
threat posed by Iraq?
The expected appointment by the President of a commission to review
the intelligence on which the war in Iraq was predicated is not an
excuse to delay reform of America's intelligence community. Rather, I
am concerned that it appears as though the goal is simply to avoid
political accountability and embarrassment. America continues to be in
a state of denial. A White House aide was quoted over the weekend as
saying, ``We cannot afford another one of those''--referring to the
public outcry after the misstatement of intelligence in the 2003 State
of the Union speech.
It has now been more than a year since the joint inquiry made its
recommendations. This is a good time to review the progress made in
implementing those recommendations and to identify critical areas of
reform that have not yet been addressed. Unfortunately, this is not
going to be a report card that we would like to show to our parents--or
to our voters. There has been little accomplished with regard to most
of the recommendations.
The joint inquiry report made nineteen recommendations for reform.
Today I would like to discuss those recommendations that fall into the
category of specific actions to combat terrorism.
In speeches on Tuesday and Wednesday, I will deal with those that
involve intelligence community reform and those that deal with the FBI
and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process.
Of the nineteen recommendations, there are six that contain specific
actions to combat terrorism. Recommendation No. 2 directs ``the
National Security Council to expedite their efforts to examine and
revamp existing intelligence priorities.'' It further directs the
President to ``take action to ensure that clear, consistent, and
current priorities are established and enforced throughout the
Intelligence Community. Once established, these priorities should be
reviewed and updated on at least an annual basis to ensure that the
allocation of Intelligence Community resources reflects and effectively
addresses the continually evolving threat environment. Finally, the
establishment of Intelligence Community priorities, and the
justification for such priorities, should be reported to the House and
Senate Intelligence Committees on an annual basis.''
It was very clear from the work of the joint inquiry that the
intelligence community had not adapted or changed its intelligence
priorities to reflect the changing nature of the world. While some
modifications had been made since the end of the Cold War, our
intelligence priorities remained states like Russia, China, Iran and
Iraq. In spite of the fact that George Tenet, the Director of Central
Intelligence, had declared war on al-Qaida in 1998, al-Qaida was not at
or even near the top of the intelligence priority list on September 11,
2001. Only on September 12, 2001, did al-Qaida become priority number
It was also clear from our investigation that there was no formal
process for regularly updating and reviewing intelligence priorities to
ensure that they reflected changes in the security environment.
Bureaucratic inertia worked to keep old priorities on the list long
after they should have dropped down in favor of emerging threats. While
George Tenet may have recognized that non-state actors like al-Qaida
needed more attention, this was not widely known or accepted throughout
the Intelligence Community that he heads. When asked if he was aware
that George Tenet had declared war on al-Qaida in 1998, a former
director of the National Security Agency, NSA, our Nation's electronic
eavesdropping agency, responded that yes, he was aware that George
Tenet had said that, but he did not think it applied to him or his
A formal process that was clearly understood throughout our
government would have prevented some of the problems we identified. One
example involves the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, a pilotless
drone capable of long-duration flight and armed with high resolution
cameras and an ability to fire missiles at targets on the ground. The
Predator has proven to be one of the most effective intelligence
collection assets we have in the war on terror. Unfortunately, it took
far too long to build the Predator because of internal disputes in the
administration. This type of aircraft was not a priority for the Air
Force and its production was therefore delayed several months. The lack
of established and accepted intelligence priorities was a major cause
of the delay in fielding the Predator.
This issue of setting new priorities was also raised by the National
Commission on National Security in the 21st Century, also known as the
Hart-Rudman Commission. This Commission, which issued its final report
in February of 2001, included a recommendation that ``the President
order the setting of national intelligence priorities through National
Security Council guidance to the Director of Central Intelligence.''
Unfortunately, at the time the Joint Inquiry issued its report almost
2 full years after the Hart-Rudman Commission had made its
recommendation sufficient progress had not been made in setting
national intelligence priorities. Therefore, we included a
recommendation on this point. Our investigation determined that the
failure to have clear, consistent and current intelligence priorities
that were understood by the entire intelligence community was a
significant contributing factor to the failure of intelligence on 9-11.
Since the joint inquiry issued its report, some progress has been
made in establishing a systematic process for establishing intelligence
priorities. However, it is not clear that these priorities are being
communicated to the domestic intelligence agencies responsible for our
security here at home.
Recommendation No. 3 focuses its directive on the counter terrorism
components of the intelligence, military, law enforcement, and homeland
security agencies, which will be key in counter terrorism. This
recommendation directs the National Security Council to ``prepare, for
the President's approval, a U.S. government-wide strategy for combating
terrorism, both at home and abroad, including the growing terrorism
threat posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
There should be an intelligence component of this strategy that
identifies domestic and foreign based threat levels, programs, plans
and budgets to address the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and al-
Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other international terrorist groups. The
strategy should include specific efforts to improve human intelligence,
better utilize technology to analyze and share data, enhance domestic
intelligence, maximize the effective use of covert action, which is
action taken by the United States Government where the role of the
United States is hidden, develop programs to deal with terrorist
financing, and facilitate the ability of CIA and military special
operations forces to conduct joint operations against terrorist
The joint inquiry found that there was no commonly agreed-upon
approach among the federal agencies for dealing with terrorism. Each
agency or department seemed to have its own ideas about fighting
terrorism, and they were all independent actors. Success in the war on
terror will require a coherent, coordinated effort that can only be
accomplished by having everyone work toward a common goal outlined in a
national strategy. Prior to 9-11, the CIA was trying, albeit
unsuccessfully, to penetrate foreign terrorist organizations and
disrupt their operations. Unfortunately at the FBI, fighting the war on
terror meant calculating the threat by counting the number of known
terrorists, not how many were estimated to have been placed in American
communities. The FBI was waiting for acts of terror to occur and then
trying to arrest and convict the guilty party.
The need for a national strategy to combat terrorism has been the
subject of several other commission reports. The Gilmore Commission,
also known as the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response
Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, in
its second report in December of 2000, recommended that ``the next
President should develop and present to the Congress a national
strategy for combating terrorism within one year of assuming office.''
The broad recommendation to develop a national strategy, as well as
what should be included as specific components of that strategy, is
broadly supported by virtually everyone who has analyzed our
In addition to the recommendation of the Gilmore Commission calling
for a national strategy to combat terrorism, other commissions have
made recommendations that are consistent with the full joint inquiry
recommendation on developing a national strategy. For instance, the
Hart-Rudman Commission, the Gilmore Commission, and the Bremer
Commission, also known as the National Commission on Terrorism, in its
report of June 2000, all made recommendations calling for improving and
intensifying our human intelligence efforts with respect to terrorism.
We should remember that until the hijackers stood up on those four
airplanes and took control, it was as if their plot had been
undetected. It was as if their conspiracy represented no violations of
American laws or regulations. Good intelligence is our principle line
of defense against these types of terrorist plots. Only by penetrating
these organizations and by bringing together all available raw
intelligence into cohesive analytical products will we ever be able to
feel confident that we can avoid future tragedies. That is the only way
we will get the timely, accurate intelligence that is required to
disrupt sophisticated modern terrorist organizations like al-Qaida.
Improving our human intelligence capability must be Job Number One in
responding to global terrorists.
Penetrating these organizations will require a new, more aggressive
human intelligence capability. Osama and his cohorts are unlikely to
turn up at an embassy cocktail party. We must be capable of getting
human sources close to the leaders of these organizations. John Walker
Lindh was a misguided California college student who became a member of
al-Qaida and even met Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately, John Walker Lindh
did not work for the CIA.
The Bremer Commission includes a recommendation to increase funding
for technology development to exploit terrorist communications, and
devotes an entire section to improving efforts to attack terrorist
financing. The Gilmore Commission recommends improving technological
applications to enhance analysis and dissemination, as well as
improving domestic intelligence collection.
In response to the good work done by the Gilmore Commission and the
recommendation of our Joint Inquiry, a national strategy to combat
terrorism was issued by the Bush Administration in February of 2003. It
is difficult to understand how a President who claims that defeating
terrorism is the principle mission of his presidency took 17 months to
produce a strategy to accomplish that mission. And even the strategy
that was produced is inadequate when it comes to defining the
intelligence components of that strategy. Instead, it calls on the
intelligence community to review its capabilities and make
recommendations for improvement. Why would it take 17 months to task
the intelligence community to do such an assessment?
The strategy that was produced after this long delay does not meet
the requirements published in the recommendation of the joint inquiry.
The Bush administration's strategy is not so much a strategy as a list
of objectives. What is lacking is clear guidance on how we can achieve
these objectives. What is also lacking is a level of specificity that
will allow all agencies in our government to work towards this common
set of priorities and goals through the common strategy.
Recommendation No. 4 calls for the establishment of a National
Intelligence Officer for Terrorism on the National Intelligence
Council. The National Intelligence Council works directly for the
Director of Central Intelligence and is responsible for providing
coordinated analysis of foreign policy issues for the President and
other senior policymakers. To date, no such position has been
established. The lack of a central coordinator for terrorism analysis
has been a continuing shortcoming in the Intelligence Community. While
there are some outstanding individuals doing analysis on terrorism in
several of the intelligence community's component organizations, there
is no single focal point for policymakers to direct analytical requests
A more recent example of the need for an NIO for Terrorism is the
debate over Iraq's connection to al-Qaida. While the CIA consistently
reported that they had uncovered no reliable evidence of any links
between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, others in the government--
particularly at the Defense Department and the White House--made
repeated statements about a solid link. Implementing this
recommendation would give us a point of ultimate accountability.
The joint inquiry found that there was some confusion as to who to go
to with intelligence queries on terrorism, and there was no arbiter
within the community to help reconcile various approaches or
conflicting analyses of terrorism. We found too much mis-communication
and an inability to identify who was responsible with regard to
terrorism analysis. There was no individual who could coordinate a
National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism, something that may have
helped bring the seriousness of the threat posed by al-Qaida to members
of the intelligence community outside of CIA. A National Intelligence
Estimate is the highest level of intelligence analysis produced by the
intelligence community and represents the best estimate of the entire
Without the establishment of this position, there is also a lack of
outreach to academia and the private sector on terrorism issues,
something that is needed in this critical fight. We have national
intelligence officers for each geographic region as well as several
crosscutting issues, such as conventional military issues, strategic
and nuclear programs, and economics and global issues. It is a sign of
the continuing lack of organizational restructuring to deal with the
terrorist threat that we still have no national intelligence officer
for terrorism, yet we have one for economics. This should not be very
hard to do, yet one full year after issuing our recommendations it has
not been done.
Recommendation No. 18 of the joint inquiry report calls on Congress
and the administration to ensure the full development within the
Department of Homeland Security of an effective all-source terrorism
information fusion center. This center should have full access to all
terrorism related intelligence and data, participate in the
intelligence requirements process, and ``integrate intelligence
information to identify and assess the nature and scope of terrorist
threats to the United States in light of actual and potential
One example of an intelligence fusion center that functions
effectively is the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West,
Florida. This organization fuses intelligence information from a wide
variety of sources in a single facility which is jointly manned by
military, law enforcement, intelligence and foreign government
officials. What makes this organization particularly effective is that
it is able to directly control operational activity to respond
immediately to the intelligence it gathers. If it identifies a ship
traveling toward the United States that it believes is carrying illegal
narcotics, it can direct a Coast Guard vessel to intercept and search
The failure to bring together all the available intelligence on
terrorism and to analyze it in a way that is most useful in preventing
attacks was most evident in our inquiry. The FBI had smart agents
working in field offices throughout the country who identified
troubling trends, such as an unusual interest in flight training among
some foreign visitors. Unfortunately, the FBI was not organized in a
way that allowed all intelligence on terrorism to go to a central
location so that it could
be analyzed as a whole. That problem was compounded by the fact that
there was little to no information sharing between the FBI, responsible
for counter-terrorism within the United States, and the CIA,
responsible for foreign intelligence collection outside the United
States of America. Too much fell through the cracks.
This recommendation was directly supported by the legislation, passed
by Congress and signed by the President, that established the
Department of Homeland Security. That legislation authorized an
intelligence component in the new Department to do exactly as was
recommended by the joint inquiry, including the requirement that this
new intelligence component have full access to available intelligence
information. Senators Shelby, Lieberman, and Thompson deserve
particular credit for their efforts to ensure that the new Department
of Homeland Security have a robust intelligence organization. The
intelligence component of the Department of Homeland Security was
envisioned to be the one place where our domestic vulnerabilities are
evaluated and mapped against all threats to the homeland. The idea was
that the threats could come from a variety of sources, not just
terrorists, and one agency needed to be responsible for having the
entire picture on its radar screen.
Unfortunately, the administration has chosen to gut the intelligence
function at the Department of Homeland Security. The position of
director of intelligence for the new department has been vacant for
much of the time the department has been in existence. This is
indicative of the lack of attention and significance it is given. The
staff is totally inadequate for the mission outlined in the legislation
that established the department.
Instead, the administration has chosen to create a new organization
at the CIA called the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, TTIC. While
this new organization may address some of the problems that we have
identified, it does not meet the requirements set out in the
legislative authorization, nor does it meet the criteria set out in the
Joint Inquiry recommendation.
Finally, I would like to address Recommendation No. 19 of the joint
inquiry report. This recommendation calls on ``the intelligence
community, and particularly the FBI and CIA, to aggressively address
the possibility that foreign governments are providing support to or
are involved in terrorist activity targeting the United States and U.S.
interests. The FBI and CIA should aggressively and thoroughly pursue
related matters developed through this Joint Inquiry that have been
referred to them for further investigation.''
Mr. President, this may be the most important--and at the same time,
the most troubling recommendation. Significant evidence of foreign
government involvement in the 9-11 attacks was uncovered by the joint
It is incomprehensible why this administration has refused to
aggressively pursue the leads that our inquiry developed. One example
of the failure to pursue leads that point to foreign government
involvement is the refusal of the FBI to aggressively follow the money
trail that flowed from officials of a foreign government to at least
some of the terrorists. In spite of being provided evidence by our
committee, the FBI and the administration refused to use all the law
enforcement tools at their disposal to follow the money trail. Why
would the administration not use all of its available powers to track
this money? In addition, the question of whether other terrorists were
getting similar support was not pursued. Therefore the extent of the
involvement of the foreign government has never been fully
investigated. Recent press reports indicate that there is even more
suspicious activity than was known at the time we issued our report.
Another example of the failure to aggressively pursue the sources of
foreign support of terrorism is reported on Page A14 of today's
Washington Post. A panel which was established by the United Nations to
pursue sources of support of al-Qaida has been disbanded. Our
government joined with Russia and Chile to sponsor a resolution at the
United Nations that disbanded the panel investigating al-Qaida's
We are talking about the possible involvement of foreign governments
in the 9-11 attacks. If a government was involved in those attacks, we
should leave no stone unturned to identify the extent of that
involvement and hold those responsible accountable. There should be no
sanctuary from justice for those involved with terrorists, no matter
who might be embarrassed by such revelations.
I wish I could be more specific in discussing the involvement of
foreign governments in the 9-11 plot. Unfortunately, the administration
will not allow me to do so. After 7 months of effort to de-classify the
report that we filed on December 20, 2002, the CIA, the FBI and other
agencies decided to keep significant portions secret. In particular,
there are 27 pages that were virtually completely censored. These are
pages 396 through 422 from Part Four of the report, which is entitled,
``Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive
National Security Matters.''
This censorship is troubling for a number of reasons. First, it
reduces the information available to the public about some of the most
important government actions--or to be more accurate, inactions--prior
to September 11. Second, it precludes the American people from asking
their government legitimate questions, such as:
Was there a reason that some, but not all, of the
terrorists were receiving foreign support while they were in
the United States?
Or is it not more likely that they were all receiving
What evidence do we have that the infrastructure of support
that existed prior to 9-11 has been dismantled?
Or is it not more likely that such an infrastructure is
still in place for the next generation of terrorists?
How many trained operatives of al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and
other international terrorist organizations are there inside
the United States of America?
What are the skills and capabilities of these operatives?
What was the scale and skills of Iraqi operatives inside
the United States prior to the war in Iraq and at the current
What was the comparative threat to the people of the United
States of Iraq and the trained agents of international
terrorists placed inside our country?
Has the number, skill set, funding or ability to avoid
disclosure of international terrorist operatives within the
United States of America been enhanced by support from
How professional and aggressive have been the efforts of
agencies such as the FBI and the CIA in answering those
And, how was the information that our government might have
had prior to September 11th utilized after September 11th to
enhance the security of our homeland and American interests
Unfortunately, almost 2\1/2\ years after the tragedy, the
administration and the Congress--in the main--have not initiated the
reforms necessary to reduce the chances of another 9-11. Given the
seriousness of that situation, some of what was withheld from this
report bordered on the absurd. For examples of the absurdity, some of
the information censored from these pages actually appears in other
parts of the report. Let me cite three examples.
First, much of the censored information about Omar al-Bayoumi is
available on pages 173-175. Mr. Bayoumi was an employee of the Saudi
Civil Aviation Authority and a suspected Saudi intelligence agent based
in California. He had extensive contacts with two of the Saudi
hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. The same day that
Bayoumi picked up the hijackers at a restaurant in Los Angeles, he had
attended a prior meeting at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Bayoumi
co-signed a lease for the two hijackers, paid their first month's rent,
hosted a welcome party for them, helped them get driver's licenses and
flight school applications. He also introduced them to others who
served as their translator and in other support roles.
Second, much of the censored information about Osama Bassnan, another
Saudi national who was a neighbor of the two hijackers in San Diego,
which appears on pages 175 through 177.
Third, much of the information about a San Diego business manager
which was censored also appears on pages 179 and 180.
I would note that the declassified sections of the report point out
that, despite public assurances from U.S. officials that Saudi Arabia
has cooperated in counter terrorism efforts, the Joint Inquiry received
testimony that Saudi officials in fact ``had been uncooperative and
often did not act on information implicating Saudi nationals.''
What this indicates is that in the months following the release of
our recommendation that the administration ``aggressively'' address the
foreign government involvement in 9-11, the Bush administration not
only failed to pursue and investigate foreign government involvement,
the administration misused the classification process to protect the
foreign governments that may have been involved in 9-11. There is no
reason for the Bush administration to continue to shield make-believe
allies who are supporting, either directly or indirectly, terrorists
who want to kill Americans.
The recommendations we have made here are consistent with
recommendations made by other bodies that have been formed to analyze
our intelligence structure over the last decade. The political reality
is that there is a broad agreement that these reforms need to be made,
yet there is institutional resistance that has been too great to
Congress has assumed responsibility for reform of the intelligence
community. Now is the time to act so that we might receive the
appreciation of the American people for reducing the likelihood of
another tragedy like 9-11. The consequence of inaction will be
legitimate, strong and unavoidable criticism should we be struck again.
If 9-11 was not a big enough shock wave to overcome the resistance to
change, what will it take?
I ask unanimous consent that The Washington Post article ``U.N.
Dissolves Panel Monitoring Al Qaeda'' be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
U.N. Dissolves Panel Monitoring Al Qaeda
group had criticized security council
(By Colum Lynch)
United Nations.--The U.N. Security Council quietly
dissolved a high-profile independent U.N. panel last month
that was established more than 2\1/2\ years ago to prevent
the al Qaeda terrorist network from financing its war against
the United States and its allies, U.S. and U.N. officials
The move comes six weeks after the panel, headed by
Michael Chandler of Britain, concluded in a stinging report
that a number of Security Council sanctions against al Qaeda
had failed to constrain the terrorist network.
But Security Council members have denied the move was
retribution for the panel's conclusions, saying that the
quality of the group's work was uneven and that the group had
outlived its usefulness.
The 15-nation council on Friday adopted a new resolution
sponsored by the United States, Russia and Chile that would
replace Chandler's panel with what they say will be a more
professional body. The new panel is expected to keep
monitoring the global war against terrorism but would be
subject to closer Security Council coordination and
The dispute underscores the challenge of managing an
international counterterrorism operation through an
organization whose 191 members are frequently criticized for
failing to cooperate. It also reflects growing frustration
among members that sanctions have done little to interrupt
the flow of money and arms to al Qaeda.
Chandler criticized the decision, saying it would undercut
the United Nations' capacity to combat al Qaeda. He suggested
that his panel's demise was a result of pressure from
influential U.N. members who had been singled out in his
reports for failing to take adequate measures to combat al
``A number of people were uncomfortable with our last
report,'' Chandler said. He said that the Security Council
was sending the wrong message and that one of the ``key
elements'' of a successful counterterrorism strategy is ``a
strong independent monitoring group.''
Chandler's five-member panel--the monitoring group on al
Qaeda--was established in July 2001 to ensure compliance with
an arms embargo against the Taliban and a freeze on its
financial assets for harboring Osma bin Laden. The mission's
mandate was expanded after the Taliban fell in January 2002,
granting it broad powers to monitor international compliance
with a U.N. financial, travel and arms ban.
Chandler's reports have provided periodic snapshots of the
international campaign against terrorism, often highlighting
failings in governments' responses to the al Qaeda threat. In
August 2002, after a lull in al Qaeda activities, Chandler
provided a prescient forecast of the network's resurgence.
``Al Qaeda is by all accounts `fit and well' and poised to
strike,'' the report warned. It was followed by deadly
strikes in Bali, Indonesia; Casablanca, Morroco; and Saudi
``The group functioned very well, providing hard-hitting
reports to the Security Council which painted a picture of
what was really going on,'' said Victor Comras, a former
State Department official who helped write the Dec. 2 report.
``I am at a loss to understand why the United States is one
of the main players in redrafting the new resolution and
allowing the monitoring group to lapse,'' he added. ``The
United States was the greatest beneficiary of the monitoring
group because it gave them a lever to name and shame''
countries that failed to combat terrorists.
One U.S. official said that last thing the United States
wants is to ``muzzle'' the United Nations. But he said that
although Chandler's panel was effective ``at getting
headlines,'' his propensity for antagonizing member states
could ultimately undermine U.S. efforts to harness the United
Nation's support in its anti-terror campaign. Chandler's
group ``did a good job,'' said James B. Cunningham, the
deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. ``But we are
trying to make the committee more effective.''
Some U.S. and U.N. diplomats said Chandler needlessly
alienated potential allies and constituents at the United
Nations, including some in the United States. Chandler's 2002
report irked Bush administration officials by casting doubt
on the success of the U.S.-led effort to block al Qaeda
financing. The Bush administration also challenged the
veracity of Chandler's assertion in an earlier report that
the Treasury Department had ignored warnings from SunTrust
Banks that a key plotter in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks had previously transferred large sums of money to an
account at a Florida bank branch.
Chandler infuriated officials from Liechtenstein, Italy and
Switzerland with the Dec. 2 report that illustrated how two
U.N.-designated terrorist financiers. Youssef Nada and Ahmed
Idris Nasreddin, lived, traveled and operated multimillion-
dollar businesses in their countries in violation of U.N.
Liechtenstein's U.N. ambassador, Christian Wenaweser, one
of Chandler's sharpest critics, complained that the Chandler
investigation was shoddy and that he failed to adequately
acknowledge his government's role in helping build the case
against two alleged terrorist financiers. ``We don't question
the usefulness of the monitoring group. Quite the contrary.
But they have to have a clear mandate and guidelines on how
they should and shouldn't do their work,'' Wenaweser said.
``They didn't bother to verify basic facts; they got some
things wrong. Travel dates. Spelling of names. Some of the
stuff was silly.''
Chile's U.N. ambassador, Heraldo Munoz, the U.N. terrorism
committee's chairman, said the new eight-member panel--called
the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team--would
give ``more teeth'' to U.N. anti-terror efforts by
strengthening the committee's expertise in finance and border
controls, and improving its capacity to analyze terrorist
``I would like a monitoring team that is efficient, that is
independent and that can closely collaborate with the
committee,'' Munoz said.
Mr. GRAHAM of Florida. Thank you, Mr. President.
I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. GREGG. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. GREGG. I ask unanimous consent I be allowed to speak for up to 20
minutes in morning business.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.