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Second specific comment would be that the legislation got stronger as it progressed through Congress, and the strongest version, the version that most adapted to protect our national security, is the version that finally came out of this committee. So, if Congress is going to pass anything, it should pass the version of the bill this committee put together.
The next--the most desirable outcome would be to pass nothing. The second would be to pass the version of the bill that this committee put out. The third would be to pass the version of the bill that the House International Relations Committee put out. And, I think, the unacceptable alternative would be to pass the Senate bill as it was enacted.
So, that is my advice.
We are joined by Congressman Simmons who is I consider him to be a national asset because he has a member of the committee who has a great background in intelligence, and I know he is got some questions. So, Mr. Simmons, you are recognized.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and I apologize for being detained.
Listening to the testimony this morning and then reading the testimony reminded me of Casey Stengel's comment, “Deja vu all over again”.
I had the opportunity to serve my country abroad about 30 years ago in a location in the Far East where a weaponization program appeared to be taking place. I was assigned to the embassy there, and one of my duties was to be the Export Transactions Officer, to review exports from the standpoint of whether they contributed to nuclear proliferation.
During my three-year tour there, I encountered many of the things that have been raised here today with regard to Iraq. I encountered that one of the greatest suppliers of technology and resources was the United States of America. I also encountered that European countries—the Netherlands, France, Germany and others—were also suppliers; and that while we were trying to implement a nuclear proliferation or nonproliferation pre-regime, our own country and our allies were contributing to the problem that we faced. When inspectors came into the country to look for evidence of the program and the weaponization, they would end up going to sanitized sites.
I think the doctor very pointedly testified that when these activities occur in a country, they will do everything in their power to keep them from the eyes of a curious world.
In my experience, very strong diplomatic pressures were brought to bear which effectively curtailed this program, at least at the time I was involved; and the difference then and now is that we have a country where perhaps diplomatic pressures from the United States alone are not enough. So, my question to you is, are there diplomatic or export opportunities that we can exploit, either ourselves or through the United Nations, through the IAEA or other organizations, that we can take advantage of now over the short-term that would be steps short of surgical strikes or in fact introducing forces into the country? Are there opportunities like that that we should be focusing on?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. My impression is that we are doing our best already, given the intelligence that we are receiving. That is, we have, as you know, an ongoing program of trying to detect shipments, intervene, convince the manufacturer, the middleman, the shippers not to go through with it. I think the public in general doesn't recognize how important good intelligence is. Without good intelligence this process doesn't work, and we also can't even estimate what effect these imports are having in Iraq.
One of our big problems now is that the administration is putting out lists of things, which are sourced to the open media. We would expect more than that for the amount of money we are spending for intelligence. So, these opportunities are going to continue to come up.
I would say that the battleground is shifting to some extent from Western Europe, which was the big problem before the Gulf War, now to Eastern Europe. The newly free countries, former members of the east bloc, are the targets for Iraq's procurement activities, at least in the missile domain.
I, myself, know of several instances in which Iraq tried to buy missile parts that are prohibited to it by U.N. resolutions during the 1990s after the prohibition came into effect. I am not aware that these were picked up by our intelligence agencies. The U.N. inspectors found them because they were going through indictments in Iraq.
I would also say that I think we, the United States, should not be reluctant to embarrass suppliers in the media who break the rules. One of our problems in Iraq before the war was that Germany was exporting a tremendous amount of technology and we were reluctant to embarrass the Germans in public. I think if we had decided to embarrass them sooner, Iraq would have received much less.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank you for that response.
I guess my opinion on that subject is very clear: I would far prefer to embarrass a country engaged in activities that are adverse not only to us but to the peace and stability of the region than to have American sons and daughters die in a conflict where the weapons in many respects aimed against them have been purchased from our allies and from companies within our own United States of America. I mean, ultimately, as Americans, we commit our most precious resource to the defense of our Nation, and it is not money, and it is not technology. It is our sons and daughters.
Dr. MILHOLLIN. I have spoken to companies about this over the years. What they fear most is being linked to the spilling of American blood in the media. They don't really fear our government or our government's investigators, our government as prosecutors as much as they fear public exposure. So, I think that is one of the great weapons we have that we should be willing to use more often.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank you for those responses.
I would also like to publicly thank Dr. Hamza for the courage that he has shown in speaking out on these issues. I know from my own experience that that kind of courage can be risky, dangerous, in fact. I am sure that grows out of a deep conviction in his own heart and in his own mind, and I thank him for those convictions and for that courage.
This is not an easy business. The stakes are high and sometimes sovereign nations look adversely at people who speak out on these issues. So, I thank him for his courage.
I thank the chairman for having this hearing. I look forward to joining with the chairman on all of his recommendations so that we can begin the process of stopping some of the transactions that are taking place and we can begin to address this very critical aspect of this problem for which a military response is not necessary. A diplomatic response and maybe even a public media response could be very helpful.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman; and I think an excellent point pursuant to your testimony that came out was that this is an era, it is a new era. It is an era of terrorists with high technology, and we need to have a regime in place--an export control regime that addresses that challenge. And, right now, we have an antiquated regime that doesn't address the challenge and, basically, as a substitute, simply opens the floodgate for technology to spill out. So I look forward to working with the gentleman from Connecticut.
Again, I think we all regard you as a real national asset here because you are one of the few guys who has an intelligence background, and on this committee I think that is a very important asset. I thank you.
I want to thank the ranking member, too, Mr. Skelton, for his hard work.
We are going to move forward and try to have more hearings on this very important issue as the weeks go by. We are going to run them back to back as often as we can, and our goal is to try to see to it that every single member of the House has at least one classified briefing on this and has several opportunities to come to hearings at different times. Because everyone has a difficult schedule.
But also, Mr. Milhollin and Dr. Hamza, thank you for your testimony today. I think we need to address this need for a new technology control regime soon, and I hope the administration understands that, that this is a new era, and, hopefully, we can work together.
So, don't run out of here when we get finished with you here today, Mr. Milhollin. We need some more advice from you. We would like to talk to you a little bit more about your thoughts on where we go in the near future here.
And, Dr. Hamza, thank you so much for giving us an insight which is invaluable. There is nothing like having somebody who was inside the program telling us what was happening. I think especially on the issue of inspections, you have been very—your testimony very much complements that, the U.N. inspectors who appeared here a couple of days ago and also some of the information we received in our classified briefing. Thank you.
Thanks to everyone and thanks to our great staff for helping to put this hearing on.
With that theoh, I have to ask, also, unanimous consent that Senator Kyl's statement be included in the record. So without objection we will include that statement in the records, also. He has some very cogent remarks on this issue. We appreciate that.
[The prepared statement of Senator Kyl can be found in the Appendix on page 234.)