HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 23, 2004
Spending Billions on our Failed Intelligence Agencies
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation. Though I certainly recognize the legitimate national security role of our intelligence community, I have concerns about this authorization and the questionable role played by components of the intelligence community.
I am concerned about our history of secret regime changes carried out by our
intelligence apparatus. More often than not, we see many of the problems we face
today were created as a result of this unwise practice of forcibly changing
regimes in secret.
stories of such activities are numerous. In 1953 the CIA overthrew Mohammad
Mossadegh in Iran, installing the Shah as dictator. This led to increasing
anti-Americanism, the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, the kidnapping of
Americans, the establishment of a hard-line Islamic regime hostile to the United
States. In the 1980s the United States provided covert support to Saddam
Hussein’s Iraq in its war with Iran. Ten years later the United States went to
war against Saddam Hussein and then 11 years after that the United States went
to war again against Saddam’s Iraq. In the 1980s the United States provided
weapons and training to the Taliban and what later became Al-Qaeda in
Afghanistan as they sought to overthrow the communist government in power. Some
20 years later, that same Taliban and Osama bin Laden struck out against the
United States. The United States then went to war against that Taliban
also concerned about the efficacy of our intelligence community. The
intelligence budget seems to grow every year, but seldom do my colleagues ask
what exactly we are getting for our constituents’ money. It may be unfair that
we only hear about the intelligence community’s failures and shortcomings, but
we cannot help but be concerned over so many such failures in recent years.
Despite the tens of billions we spend on these myriad intelligence agencies, it
is impossible to ignore the failure of the intelligence community to detect and
prevent the September 11, 2001 attacks.
as we now see so clearly, our intelligence community failed completely to
accurately assess the nature of the Iraqi threat. We were told of weapons of
mass destruction capable of reaching the United States. This proved to be false.
We were told of Iraq’s relationship with Al-Qaeda. This proved to be false.
The intelligence community relied heavily - perhaps almost exclusively --on
Iraqi exile and convicted criminal Ahmad Chalabi to provide intelligence on Iraq
and most of it turned out to be incorrect, perhaps intentionally misleading. Now
we are told that Chalabi and his organization may have passed sensitive
intelligence to Iran. We have read reports of secret pseudo-agencies set up in
the Pentagon and elsewhere whose role appears to have been to politicize
intelligence in order to force pre-determined conclusions. This does not serve
the American people well. These are all by any measure grave failures, costing
us incalculably in human lives and dollars. Yet from what little we can know
about this bill, the solution is to fund more of the same. I would hope that we
might begin coming up with new approaches to our intelligence needs.
encourage my colleagues to reject this bill and instead begin looking for new
ways to strengthen the legitimate functions of our intelligence community so as
to better protect the borders and citizens of the United States.