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Friday, March 12, 2004
John Kerry's intelligence record
With the end of the Cold War, some in the Clinton White House and the Democrat-controlled Congress saw the opportunity in the 1990s to sharply curtail spending on one of their least favorite government organizations: the Central Intelligence Agency. ... Operatives were discouraged from recruiting those whose backgrounds included unsavory aspects such as human rights violations. Such individuals are, by their very nature, the types who have close-in access to the plans and intentions of international terrorist movements, criminal enterprises and dictatorial regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein. U.S. intelligence capabilities atrophied seriously.

Where was the junior senator from Massachusetts? Serving as a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1993 to 2000, John Kerry had direct oversight for every facet of the U.S. intelligence community. Did he fight the cuts in intelligence spending or the restraints on U.S. intelligence operatives?

Far from it. In fact, he was leading the way to make deep and devastating cuts.

Kerry's antipathy to the U.S. intelligence community dates back to his first unsuccessful run for Congress in 1970, when Kerry promised to ``almost eliminate CIA activity'' if elected. Nearly 20 years later, in 1997, Kerry questioned his colleagues in the Congress, ``Now that [Cold War] struggle is over, why is it that our vast intelligence apparatus continues to grow?'' During his 19 years in the Congress, John Kerry proposed or supported cuts in intelligence spending reaching into the billions.
Kerry, like many other Democrats, now complains that U.S. intelligence has been inadequate to meet the challenges of the war on terrorism and Iraq. The Bush administration did indeed inherit a demoralized and downsized intelligence community, but if John Kerry wants to criticize those shortcomings, he should first account for his own record.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has made the most sweeping reforms in intelligence in decades. Budgets are up, recruitment of key capabilities is up, morale is up and U.S. intelligence operatives are leading in new and innovative ways to try to keep America safe from terrorism.

It would be irresponsible to guarantee that the nation will ever be completely safe. But because of President Bush's leadership, we are certainly safer as a result of his support for a revitalized, well-funded and more effective U.S. intelligence community. And, as the record shows, all without the support of the junior senator from Massachusetts.

--Tampa Tribune

Posted by Rob Bernard on Friday, March 12, 2004 at 6:09 PM in Politics/Government

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