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Transcript: Day Two of Rice Testimony

BIDEN: That was his comment.

Secondly, he said, "You know, if I used them," I forget exactly the phrase, "you'd blow me away."

And thirdly, he said, "They weren't much value to me." And guess -- and then he went on to say, "And now I can have American oil companies in here pumping the oil out of the ground."

_____Rice Hearings_____
Transcript: Day Two Testimony
Excerpts: Day 1 Testimony
Transcript: Post's Kessler on Rice

I asked why (inaudible) why he wanted American oil companies. And he made an analogy to the French, he said, "You make a deal with the French, they say 90-10 and they take 95." He said, "The Americans, you say 50-50, they only take 50." Most candid guy I ever spoke with.

RICE: Well, the Libyan example is a good example.

Let me turn very briefly to the question of lessons learned.

I said yesterday, Senator, we've made a lot of decisions in this period of time, some of them have been good, some of them have not been good. Some of them have been bad decisions, I'm sure.

I know enough about history to stand back and to recognize that you judge decisions not at the moment, but in how it all adds up. And I -- that's just strongly the way that I feel about big historical changes.

I'm being as straightforward with you as I possibly can.

BIDEN: I appreciate that.

RICE: And that's how I see it.

BIDEN: It's a little bit like I told my daughter, I have no doubt -- when she was 18 -- I have no doubt -- 16 -- I have no doubt by the time she was 30 years old, she would be a beautiful, intelligent, well-educated, happy lady. I just wondered how much pain there was going to be between then and 30.

(LAUGHTER)

RICE: I understand that.

BIDEN: I'm talking about pain here.

RICE: Well, I'm afraid in difficult historical circumstances, there's going to be a lot of it and a lot of sacrifice.

I don't have a 16-year-old daughter to refer to, but I will tell you that I think the analogy is apt because it's how Iraq turns out that really ultimately matters.

If I could just say one thing, though, about lessons learned. And that is, I spoke yesterday about the important work that we've been doing on the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization -- I think that's a lesson learned.

We didn't have the right skills, the right capacity to deal with a reconstruction effort of this kind. And we are going to face these again even if it's not after war, and I certainly hope that it will not be.

RICE: We're going to face it in places like Liberia, places like Sudan.

BIDEN: All we want to know is how are you going to face it with the $15 billion that's sitting out there now you haven't spent and, you know, you don't know what to do with it?

RICE: We do know what to do with it, Senator. And that's...

BIDEN: You want to tell us? It'd be good. Tell us.

RICE: That spending is accelerating and I'll be glad to give you a full accounting of it the next time I see you.

BIDEN: God bless you.

And by the way, my daughter's 23. She thinks I'm handsome and smart again. All is well.

RICE: All is well.

(LAUGHTER)

(UNKNOWN): And she's right.

(UNKNOWN): You better straighten her out.

BIDEN: Thanks, pal.

(UNKNOWN): Now, I've got one at 27 and I'm still going through a lot of pain.

COLEMAN: Two comments, Dr. Rice, one, with all the talk about the foreign policy goals, the things that impact my constituents most and I was surprised my first years as a senator. I probably spent more time on immigration issues and child adoption than any other issue in my state office. So I just want to raise that.

And probably, by the way, the most satisfying portion of what I do to unite families. You have a program called Adjudicate Orphan Status First. It's a pilot project.

I would just urge you to take a look at expanding it. We do wonderful things to bring families together and it's really important stuff that we don't talk about much.

And I just have to join in the conversation here. I am sympathetic to some of my colleagues' concern about finding common ground. I join with some of my colleagues believing that we need to find more common ground with Venezuela. I think we have to figure out a way to do that.

But I have to agree with you and appreciate your response in separating Venezuela from Iran, a country that's calling for the destruction of Israel, that's supporting terrorism, that no freedom of religion, abysmal human rights record, pursuit of nuclear weapons.

COLEMAN: Just in Iraq, talking to Allawi, concern about interfering with what's going on in Iraq.

And I will say, Dr. Rice, for this senator, the idea of finding common ground with Iran and the mullahs makes me sick. There is a separation there, and I believe it's important for some of us to keep our eye on that difference between Iran and Venezuela.

RICE: Thank you.

LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Coleman.

Senator Feingold?

FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Dr. Rice, thanks for this further opportunity to speak with you.

I'm struck by the conversation you just had with Senator Biden with regard to Iraq, in part because I think if people are watching this hearing they would think that we've been in great disagreement about foreign policy ever since 9/11.

That's not what really happened. We were all quite unified with regard to the fight against terrorism, trying to figure out this challenge, up until the time that serious disagreements occurred with regard to whether Iraq really was part of that effort or to what extent it was.

So I want to return, in that spirit, to the item that I started with yesterday: Secretary Rumsfeld's interesting comments in his memo that there was no consensus within the national security community of the United States about how to even measure success in the fight against terrorism.

You and I had an exchange about this yesterday, where you talked about some of the places, geographically, where it's much harder for the terrorist network to operate. I talked about my concern that I think they actually are able to operate in other places, North Africa. And we went back and forth on that.

But, fundamentally, I'd like to have you say a little bit about how do we measure success. Not a list of things we've done, but how do we measure how well the terrorists are doing? How do we know whether they're picking up steam in terms of picking up recruits and gathering more help around the world or not? How do we measure this thing?

I think that's one of the most important things that perhaps we could come together on and start discussing again once we get through this serious disagreement on Iraq.

RICE: It's a very interesting question, Senator, and it's a hard question.

As you know, when you're measuring any social phenomenon, you are usually without hard tools to do it. That's one of the lessons of social science. If you're measuring scientific phenomena, you have hard tools to do it. If you're measuring human phenomena, how do you measure how well a young person is developing? These are human phenomena, they are hard to measure.

One of the hardest things about this is this is a very shadowy network whose numbers are hard to count. It's important and difficult to know what is a hardcore terrorist who is committed to the jihad and would never be reformable in any way, versus somebody who might just be attracted to the philosophy because they're jobless or hopeless or whatever and might be brought back into the fold.

RICE: That's the kind of important question for which we, frankly, don't have a measurement, and I don't think we're going to. I think we're going to see this in broader strokes.

We can measure with good intelligence issues like how well we think they're doing on funding. We can measure something like that -- imperfectly because we're dependent on what intelligence we can learn about that.

We can measure imperfectly when we take down some of their leadership, whether they seem to be able to replace that leadership.

We can measure imperfection whether we think they are able to carry through on threats that we believe they have issued. But again, imperfectly.

What we're going to be able to measure -- and I would resist trying to measure -- is how we're doing in empowering moderate Islam against radical Islam because that is an historical process that is going to have its ups and downs.

But in time, when you have a Pakistan coming back from the brink of extremism or you have an Indonesia carrying out a democratic election in which the role of terrorism and Islam was actually a fairly minor issue, you have to say we are making some progress.

How much? I can't tell you. But we're making some progress.

What I keep my eye on is how is moderate Islam doing. When I'm asked, what future am I looking for, I'm looking for a future in which the regions of the world that we're concerned about, whether it is North Africa or East Africa or the Middle East or Southeast Asia, that moderate Islam is winning. It's winning in governments. It's winning in rhetoric. It's winning in educational programs.

But the impact of that is going to be a while before we see it.

FEINGOLD: I appreciate that answer. I recognize how imperfect it is. And I do think a lot of it has to do with how moderate Islam is doing.

FEINGOLD: But let me just give you an example from Algeria, where, of course, they've gone through this horrendous period of terrorism and they're coming out of it. And we had a dinner with civil society people last week in Algeria, said, "Now, what about the young people here? Are they likely to return, to be attracted to a radical, violent Islam or not?"

And the sense was that they probably wouldn't because it was so horrible, but perhaps if economic opportunity didn't improve, that it could happen.

I'm not so sure that it can't be measured more than we're doing. I'm not so sure that we can't identify these trends in a more serious way than we are. And I think it would be very valuable information.

Let me turn to one other question. I'd like you to explain how, if you could, the president's emergency plan for AIDS relief will help build infrastructural capacity in Africa, particularly in the area of training health care practitioners, especially community health workers, and discouraging the medical brain drain?

In the course of the work I have done in this committee, you have a lot of wonderful conversations with people in countries, especially Africa, and some heartbreaking ones. And I find one of the most heartbreaking to be my conversation to Botswana, with the president of that country, President Mogae, who was acknowledging that they had a 40 percent AIDS rate and that they were trying to deal with it, but whenever they'd get some local health care workers trained, they were poached by American health care entities or European health care entities, and they couldn't keep the very people that were trying to deal with this situation.

So while implementing partners all adhere to a set of principles regarding hiring local staff to ensure that we don't siphon resources away from the domestic health care infrastructure, making our efforts, in the end, unsustainable if we don't do that.

RICE: Again, a very important point.

And the whole concept, especially of the part of the emergency plan that is for the 15 most affected, is to focus not just on the delivery of services -- which is important in itself, the cure -- the treatments, 2 million, preventing 7 million, giving access to information and care for 10 million, those are all very important goals.

But the design of the program has also been to worry about the delivery mechanism for that care, to use a tiered approach so that you have clinics in the cities that can do that, or hospitals in the cities.

RICE: But that you also build capacity in the village in some of these places even using motorcycle riders to get the care out, people who've been trained to administer or help administer the drugs so that you're improving the health care delivery system as well.

And that really was the innovation that came about through studying and working with, for instance, the Ugandans, who have a very effective system of delivery.

It is also the case, of course, that if you improve the delivery system for AIDS, you improve the health care system delivery for other things as well: malaria, tuberculosis are part of the program, but others as well. If you improve mother-to-child transmission delivery, you improve OB/GYN care. You improve neonatal care and so forth.

And so I think it's really -- probably one of the most important aspects of the emergency plan, would be not just to focus on the treatment itself, although that's extremely important, but what we're doing for the health care delivery system.

I hadn't thought much about the problem of well-trained health care workers being siphoned off but we'll go back and give that some thought.

FEINGOLD: I would appreciate that.

LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Feingold.

Senator Hagel?

HAGEL: No questions.

LUGAR: Senator Hagel passes.

Senator Boxer?

BOXER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for being so fair.

Thank you, Dr. Rice, for answering our questions.

Mr. Chairman, and my ranking member, I'm going to use my time this morning to lay out the rest of my concerns.

BOXER: And then, when we get a chance to vote, I'm going to put all my concerns back into context again.

Dr. Rice, clearing the air and, as Senator Biden said, starting from a fresh page here would have been wonderful. We haven't had that.

And the reason I think it is so important to place into the record some of your past statements is because your administration has named several countries in the axis of evil. We don't know what your plans are. We haven't been able to flesh them out.

I think Senator Biden has been trying to push you on the Iran situation.

We don't have an exit strategy for Iraq that we can tell because you insist there's 120,000 in the Iraqi forces. But yet, being pressed by several senators here yesterday, you still won't say how many of them really are trained.

So we've got problems here. At least, I have problems here. So forgive me if I continue along the lines of yesterday.

Now, Dr. Rice and colleagues, our country is united in waging war on those responsible for 9/11 and eliminating the Al Qaida network. That is why I find it so troubling that the Bush administration used the fear of terror to make the war against Iraq appear to be part of the response to 9/11.

And, Dr. Rice, as I said, you were involved in that effort. You were the face on television, as was pointed out yesterday.

You tell us that you were giving the president confidential advice, but you didn't shrink from talking straight to the American people.

Now, I don't know one American who wants Saddam Hussein to see the light of day. So that's not the point. I don't know of one American who wanted Slobodan Milosevic to see the light of day.

BOXER: And guess what? And you know this: 1,300-plus American soldiers didn't have to die to get rid of Slobodan Milosevic and 10,000 didn't have to get wounded. So there are issues surrounding this.

Now, on September 25th, '02, you said in an interview with Margaret Warner on PBS, "We clearly know that there were in the past and have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of Al Qaida going back for actually quite a long time." And you went on to say, "And there are some Al Qaida personnel who found refuge in Baghdad."

Now, that statement and others by administration officials assert there was a long-standing operational alliance between Iraq and Al Qaida. We know the truth is otherwise. We know it. And I'll show you again the State Department document signed off by President Bush in October 2001, one month after 9/11, showing absolutely no operational cells in Saddam Hussein-controlled Iraq.

And second, most experts agree that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were far from being allies. In an interview on CNBC with Maria Bartiromo on March 24th, '03, Peter Bergen was asked if he saw any direct connection between Saddam and Osama. Mr. Bergen said, "Well, you know, I met bin Laden in '97 and I asked him at the end of the interview his opinion of Saddam, and he said, 'Well, Saddam is a bad Muslim and he took Kuwait for his own self-aggrandizement.'"

In November '01, the former head of the Saudi intelligence said, quote, "Iraq doesn't come very high in estimation of Osama bin Laden. He thinks of Hussein as an apostate, an infidel, or someone who is not worthy of being a fellow Muslim."

Third, you were contradicted by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, which stated in its report last summer that there was, quote, "no collaborative relation between Iraq and Al Qaida."

In fact, the 9/11 Commission report states that you received a memo on September 18th, '01, detailing what was known about the links between Al Qaida and Iraq. Let me read the 9/11 Commission's description of the memo you received.

They write: "The memo pointed out that bin Laden resented the secularism of Saddam Hussein's regime. Finally," the memo said, "there was no confirmed reporting on Saddam cooperating with bin Laden."

BOXER: So, you received a memo on September '01 clearly stating there was no link. The president himself was part of a State Department publication which said there were no Al Qaida in Iraq prior to 9/11. There's documented history of bin Laden's loathing of Saddam.

And in spite of this, you went on TV and told the American people there was a clear connection between Saddam and Al Qaida. Even the State Department was very clear that there were no such contacts.

So, it is very disturbing to think that in spite of everything, and all the information that you had, you continued to go out there and claim this contact and make the people feel that somehow going to war against Iraq was our response to 9/11.

Now, on the aluminum tubes, I'm not going to get into the back and forth with you on the aluminum tubes. But I'm going to lay this into the record because I think it's essential.

On September 8th -- first, I believe you tried to convince the American people that Iraq's purchase of aluminum tubes proved positively that they were going to build nuclear weapons. That's your statement about the mushroom cloud, which scared the heck out of every American.

On September 8th, '02, you were on CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer" and you made this statement: "We do know there have been shipments of going into Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that are really only suited to -- high-quality aluminum tubes that are only" -- I am reiterating what you said -- "really suited for a nuclear weapons program, centrifuge programs."

That unequivocal statement was wrong. You never mentioned to the American people that there was a major dispute about the tubes, even though our nation's leading nuclear experts in the Department of Energy in 2001 said the tubes were for small artillery rockets, not for nuclear weapons.

It is reported that one Energy Department analyst summed up this issue for the Senate Intelligence Committee saying, quote, "The tubes were so poorly suited for centrifuges that if Iraq truly wanted to use them this way, we should just give them the tubes," unquote.

This dispute among the CIA, the DIA, the Department of Energy, Department of State over the likely use of tubes was played out in front of this committee. And, Mr. Chairman, I remember it. I was there in that meeting. It was very contentious and we saw all sides of the issue.

This dispute was so well known that the Australian intelligence service wrote in a July 2002 assessment that the tubes evidence was, quote, "patchy and inconclusive."

Third, the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported on January 8th, '03, that the tubes were, quote, "not directly suitable for uranium enrichment and were consistent with making ordinary artillery rockets."

So, given the concerns raised by Department of Energy, Department of State, the Australians, the IAEA, you still failed to level with the American people on the subject of the aluminum tubes.

Even as recently as a few months ago, October 3rd, 2004, you had the opportunity to finally set the record straight.

BOXER: And as Senator Biden says, it's good to set the record straight. We've got to move on.

But when you we were asked by "This Week's" George Stephanopoulos about the tube controversy, you said, "There was dispute by only one agency, that's the State Department."

Now, that is not the truth. It's not the facts. And it is very, very troubling to me.

As Senator Biden said, we all make mistakes. God knows, I've made mine and I will make more. I apologize in advance to my constituents for the mistakes that I'll make.

But once all of the facts are out there, can't we just make sure that the truth is finally embedded into history without turning our backs on what the truth is?

So that's another area.

Now, I know my time is up. I can either wait till one more round or I can just finish up my last area of concern.

Can I just finish it up?

LUGAR: Proceed.

BOXER: OK.

When you were making the case for the war in Iraq, one of the things that you said that, frankly, stunned me was that a reason to go was the Iranians were gassed by the Iraqis.

Now this is truly a horrific fact. That is right.

But, Dr. Rice, we all know the Iran-Iraq War took place between 1980 and 1988, and the United States knew -- they knew that Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. And it was appalling.

BOXER: Despite this fact -- despite this fact, I'm sure you're aware who traveled to Iraq to meet with Saddam Hussein one month after we became aware of this. It was Donald Rumsfeld. And Donald Rumsfeld tried to increase diplomatic relations with Saddam Hussein.

Iraq was a charter member of the terrorism list in 1979, put on there by Jimmy Carter. Do you know, and I'm sure you knew at the time you said this, that it was the United States who removed Iraq from our list of state sponsors of terrorism? And they didn't get put back on until 1990.

So, let's review. While Saddam was gassing the Iranians, a despicable act, Donald Rumsfeld and the Reagan administration reestablished U.S. relations with Iraq and refused to put Iran back on the terrorism list.

So, in '03, when you told the American people that Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against Iran was a justification for war, one of them that you gave, why didn't you tell them the full story?

Why didn't you mention that it was Rumsfeld who favored the normalization of relations with Iraq during a time when Saddam was using chemical weapons against Iran?

So, a reason you gave the American people for the war in Iraq, and the reason you believed it was worth American lives was the heinous gassing of the Iranians by Saddam in the '80s. This gassing was known to the American government at the time. The gassing did nothing to dissuade the American government from launching full diplomatic relations with Saddam. And America gave its seal of approval to Saddam Hussein by sending Special Envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Iraq when we had zero relations with Iran at that time.

So, to me, it's telling a half-truth to the American people. It's gaming the American people. And as someone who believes that we, again, owe the full story, it was very upsetting to me that you didn't put it into context.

Now, had you said, "You know, we were wrong. We were fooled," maybe it would have been better.

BOXER: But there's no mention anywhere.

So, I guess what I am saying, Mr. Chairman, these are my areas of deep concern. I've gone back through the records exhaustively because I knew, Dr. Rice -- and you saw it yesterday, you know, we can get into a give and take, and she's a very good debater and I'm a pretty good debater. And that's interesting.

But I think we need to see what the facts are and why I'm disturbed about this particular nomination. It isn't based on qualifications or intelligence or all the rest, because that's obvious. Wonderful, breaking the glass ceiling and all those beautiful things, which I am proud of. It's not about that.

It's about candor. It's about telling the full story. It's about seemingly not being willing to go with us, both sides of the aisle, because it was the same answer to Senator Chafee when he pressed you.

It seems to me a rigidness here, a lack of flexibility, which is so troubling to me. And most of all, going back into recent history, an unwillingness to give the American people the full story, because the mission, the zeal of selling the war was so important to Dr. Rice. That was her job.

And yet I feel -- and again, I know not everyone agrees with me at all in the country, but many do -- that this war and all of these horrific deaths and the wounded and all of that, is a direct result of not leveling with the American people.

Thank you.

LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Boxer.

RICE: Thank you.

I'll just -- I'll be brief.

Senator Boxer, let me respond to a couple of specific points very briefly and then to an overall point.

RICE: But I, first, need to go back to yesterday.

Senator Boxer, you mentioned the letter that we wrote concerning -- I just want to note, and I will want to note for the record, that you put up one provision, not all of the provisions.

BOXER: Yes, that's correct.

RICE: And it was a provision, of course, with which we would have had no difficulty, which was one that is enshrined in law, which is that we should not torture and so forth and so on.

But there were other provisions that you did not put up that was not fully in context what you presented yesterday.

BOXER: Dr. Rice, I agree with you completely. But your letter didn't say...

RICE: No, I understand that.

(CROSSTALK)

BOXER: The conferees could have kept that one provision.

RICE: Yes. We decided -- you're right -- not to try and parse.

But I just want to be clear that you did not put up the entire set of provisions.

BOXER: Of course, I didn't.

RICE: Yes.


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