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really appreciative of you bringing up the point about the families and the personnel. It reminds me, you know, if you destroy General Rommel's tank but General Rommel isn't in it, you haven't really helped yourself much at all.
This issue came up yesterday with Secretary Rumsfeld because, very correctly so, he says, our goal should be disarmament. And, my question is, I made the comment that, even so, if we completely disarm them but the scientific base of knowledge is still there, we still have a problem.
Dr. Kay, when he was here a week or two ago, said that he wished he had had the ability to issue green cards. And, my question of him was, “Well, I wonder why we didn't give him that issue, the ability to take a willing scientist and family members out of the country permanently if they choose not only to get more reliable information but that would be one less scientist to work in the program.” So, I appreciate you saying something about it.
Mr. Milhollin, today's Post-I don't know if you saw this article. It has got pictures of what is referred to as aluminum parts, but the headline is “Evidence on Iraq challenged. Experts question if tubes were meant for weapons program”.
The only question I want to ask—the last line says, according to their source here, "Government experts on nuclear technology who dissented from the Bush administration's view told him they were expected to remain silent.”
Now, as a scientist and coming out of an academic environment-I am a family doctor, generally—if somebody reports information to me, I expect to hear if there is dissenting views. How do you respond to that general—I am not asking about these aluminum tubes, but
Dr. MILHOLLIN. I think that
Mr. SNYDER. Does it concern you, if this is accurate, that experts in the area of nuclear technology, according to this press report, were advised to remain silent? When they say “remain silent”, that means don't tell Members of Congress that you disagree with the majority view. Does that concern you if government is giving that kind of order to our nuclear experts?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. I think certainly I have always recommended a transparency in all cases, and particularly with respect to export controls. I think our whole export control process should be transparent, and I should be able to find out what the Commerce Department is approving. The rest of the world doesn't agree with me.
But, with respect to shutting people up, I mean, I am not an expert in that, but I don't see why the committee couldn't require that more than one view be given to it. It seems to me only fair that, by the nature of these cases, you are looking at only a certain amount of evidence and you are being required to draw an inference from that evidence. So, I think it is perfectly appropriate for the committee to want to know more about the evidence and want to know more about the analytical process so you can make up your own mind who is more credible.
Mr. SNYDER. Seems like we should not have to read that there are dissenting views in the newspaper.
Mr. Chair, if I might, I want to make a comment about the committee hearings. I appreciate you scheduling these hearings. I appreciate you stepping forward in the absence of Chairman Stump in his difficulty with his illness. But, I don't remember if it was you or Mr. Skelton who referred to the aggressive schedule of briefings. In my view, we have not had an aggressive schedule of briefings. I mean, for several weeks prior to the August recess, you know, I was watching what happened on the Senate side because they were having briefings on this or reading press reports about it.
We now are in, apparently, on about a two-day workweek here where we go home or are going home at 3:00 today, and I am going to stay around because Mr. Spratt is holding-has arranged an informal briefing tomorrow on Iraq, but then we are coming back Tuesday night for votes. We are now down to the last two or three weeks of the session. I think it is going to be very difficult to have, "An aggressive schedule of briefings."
I have great respect for these two men, and the topic of export controls is a very important one. But, that is not the question that is on Members' minds right now. I had dinner with about ten Members last night. I ran into people. What I hear people say in meetings this morning, they are saying "We need more information.” My questions aren't being answered.
You know, this morning at the hearing when we were at our maximum we had less than a third of the members here. The majority of subcommittee chairs and ranking members were not here.
It is not because this topic isn't important. It is an important topic, and I appreciate both of your work in it, but it is not the question that is on people's minds. We have a resolution apparently coming from the White House today that very likely will lead to men and women in uniform going into harm's way. That is the issue that is on people's minds, and I would hope that we will have an aggressive schedule of briefings.
I know that I am told we have Richard Perle and Ms. Matthews scheduled for next week. I would like to see us have both open and closed briefings with some of the former high-ranking military officials that are publicly saying things.
Wes Clark has written in the op-eds in the London Times and made multiple speeches. General Žinni has had some very prominent comments. General Scowcroft—these are people who are patriots who are asking questions about the topic. I think it could be helpful to have people of their caliber who have differing views both in the closed session, but also in open session, so that the American people might hear these former officers and their exchange with the Armed Services Committee; and, frankly, I think we are running out of time. But
Mr. HUNTER. Let me I thank my friend. Let me just comment.
First, if you wanted to hear the dissenting view, it has been on the tubes, it has been presented. The fact that there is one very candidly to the committee—and I will be happy to talk to you in a classified setting about that, those dissenting views.
Mr. SNYDER. You are talking about the aluminum tubes.
Mr. HUNTER. Also, what the Post has said, that people were told to shut up, either wasn't carried out because they didn't or it is not true. I would be the last person to say-malign the Washington Post, but I think you used the word—you said they were expected to not voice their opinions, and you paraphrased that as "they were advised”.
Mr. SNYDER. The line from the news I just read, the press report, told they were expected
Mr. HUNTER. Well, expected doesn't say somebody told them not to say anything. Does that mean that they received—they didn't get the invitation to the golf game of the week or somebody didn't invite them to lunch or does it mean somebody actually said “Don't say your opposing view."
But, if you want to be informed on the opposing view, the fact that opposing views existed that were briefed to this committee, talk to me a little later.
Second, we have had—we are doing these hearings as often as we possibly can. We were the first committee to have the Secretary. We have now had two classified briefings. We are going to have another one. In fact, our goal is to have every single member of the House
Incidently, every single member of the House was invited to the last classified briefing, not just the committee. Eighty-three members appeared. Our goal is to see to it that every single member of the House has multiple opportunities to come and get a classified briefing.
Now, with respect to all the personalities that are out there who have views, we want to get as many of them in as possible. We have been working to get General Clark. That was recommended by the minority side, by Mr. Skelton and by Mr. Spratt, that we get General Clark in; and I think that is an excellent recommendation. We are trying to get him.
Sobut, last, to go to the relevance of this testimony, this testimony may be more important in my mind than the classified testimony we have heard or even the testimony of the Secretary yesterday, because the real question of what we do is largely juxtaposed against the issue of the effectiveness of inspections. Do inspections work? And, that was obvious from Mr. Spratt's—the thrust of Mr. Spratt's questions. How intense would the inspections have to be? What kind of duration? How could you make them work? Because inspections, obviously, are an alternative to military action.
So, Dr. Hamza—the insight of Dr. Hamza as a person who was helping to lead the nuclear weapon program of Iraq and his description of how he and his colleagues successfully evaded and avoided detection and how they continued the nuclear weapons program even while our inspections were going on and while Mr. Spratt was holding up these trophies of what they found—again, I was reminded of what we see in the San Diego papers all the time, which is the trophies of the big cocaine busts that are made on the border, and then we get inside information that shows us that, actually, for every pound that was busted and held up for the news conference there were ten pounds that went through. His explanation of how these inspections were successfully derailed, I think, goes to the heart of whether we accept inspections as a viable alternative to military action.
So, I mean, I think we all have a candid and a straightforward and a sincere interest in whether or not these things work. So, his
testimony has been right on point. I wish every Member of the House could hear it.
I would be happy to yield to my friend.
Mr. SNYDER. I think as I talk to members, Mr. Chairman and I don't want to belabor this—but in terms of the topics chosen, a lot of the testimony here today, the discussion was on the export controls, which I don't think is on people's mind. I think there are other questions out there. You are absolutely correct. Do inspections work or not, and how could they work, and will we achieve the goal of disarmament?
We had Dr. Kay and his colleague here a couple weeks ago. But, I think more common questions I am hearing from members are issues about if there was military action what would it look like, what would be the ramifications on the war on terrorism, what would be the potential cost in American lives and lives of allies, those kinds of questions that we have not addressed yet.
The other point I would make is while I, you know, watch the Senate hearings and I can read op eds, to this point we have not had anyone before this committee, I don't think, that has expressed some of the concerns as expressed by General Zinni and General Clark. I know you are doing the best you can with these very abbreviated week schedules, but I think questions can be more fully aired if we have people who have differing views.
I appreciate you. I don't mean to belabor it.
Mr. HUNTER. Understand, my friend, I am going to try to get General Clark to be here. If you would like to have General Zinni, maybe we can get them both at the same time. I like to hear different points of view. I think it is necessary for this debate.
There have been discussions in closed session about—that go to potential military operations, but I think that it was pretty wise of the secretary not to talk about proposed military operations in open session.
At any rate, we really appreciate these two gentlemen being with us. I noticed our distinguished ranking member is here, Mr. Skelton. You have as much time as you wish, sir.
Mr. SKELTON. Just a comment-two things.
Number one, in some instances it has been difficult to get a minority person to come in on the short notice that we have had. Number two, we have inquiries in today to far more than those you named to see if they will testify, and some of them have indicated willingness to do so in closed hearing.
I think in some cases it would be excellent for the American people to hear them. But, we will do our best and continue to do our best. I am not sure if the gentleman knows of the extensive efforts we have made. But, as Harry Truman says, we have done our damnedest so far to get them; and we hope we can fulfill your expectations with people thinking on all sorts of sides of this very, very important and complex issue.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. And, Mr. Skelton, did you have any other questions that you wanted to ask the witnesses?
Mr. SKELTON. The only other question-I think that Dr. Hamza did answer it, but assume, Doctor, that the Saddam Hussein re
gime is removed. What do we do with the various scientists and engineers the day after?
Dr. HAMZA. That is a very good question, sir. Actually, Saddam already found an outlet for them. As a cover, he had to let them in to do some civilian work. So that when the inspector comes after them, they say, "We are not working on a weapons program. We are doing oil exploration or we are doing-building a refinery or we are building a power station.”
They built Iraq's power station, not the generators themselves, but the control rooms and such. They built telephone exchanges. Now, if you call Iraq in two rings, you get anybody you want in Iraq. Of course, this is to get Iraq ready, the communications system, in case of war so an order can go fast between towns and to the required personnel.
You have a very professional and very proven groups now which can be really used to rebuild Iraq. They already re uilt Iraq after the Gulf War. We had no communications system, no telephones, no power, no gas; and they got all that back in line. Get them back to do that. They could
The Iraq system is really right now run down. Iraq need huge effort to rebuild and reconstruct, and these people can do that. So, I think these scientists and engineers are already, because of the cover required for their work, are already in the civilian sector. They just can be made to do that full time instead of part time just for show and just to cover themselves against inspectors or against whoever comes looking for them.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. Milhollin, is there any other-having looked-you have looked at the Export Administration Act, the proposal that was put forth by the House Armed Services Committee and also by the International Relations—did you look at the International Relations Committee's product?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Yes, I did, but that has been some time ago.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Are there any–is there any advice that you would like to give us on those pieces of legislation?
I mean, we are moving into this it is interesting we are moving into this at a time when we are contemplating the passage of an Export Administration Act. At the same time, we are poised to have to spend a lot of American resources and risk American lives, perhaps, to eliminate the product of Western technology, some of it American technology, that passed under a previous regime. So my question is, having learned this difficult lesson, is there any advice that you would recommend with respect to this act? It can be general or specific.
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Well, first, general. I think my question-my answer earlier was that this really is historically obsolete, the law we are looking at. It was framed-it was negotiated, framed, debated, drafted before September 11th. We need to go back and start over. It doesn't fit the new period of history we are living in.
I think that if people of good faith and goodwill put their heads together in the next session of Congress, we can come up with an export control law that would be specifically designed to combat terrorism and that a majority of Congress could support.