Thursday, June 09, 2005


The following is an exerpt from a Q and A session that followed a speech given by U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. Friday, March 12, 2004 entitled Iraq: Intelligence, Facts, and Fantasies Source The Senator is introduced as..."one of the leading Republican voices on national security and foreign policy, and he is the chair of the Senate Policy Committee. He is also in the Senate National Security Working Group, and sits on the Finance, Judiciary, and Energy Committees as well. He is at the forefront of pretty much all of the foreign policy debates swirling around on [Capitol] Hill today, including Iraq."
Exerpt:
QUESTIONER: I'm Robert Livingston from the German Historical Institute. Senator, in the interest of rational discourses that you want, let me introduce a subject that's hardly ever discussed, and that is [the] liaison with foreign intelligence services. And I've got two parts of that question.The first one: Dr. [David] Kay at one point testified that, because of personnel cuts at the CIA in the late 1970s, it became too dependent on foreign intelligence liaisons for its information. And Mr. Tenet, at one of his many testimonies, said the two decisive pieces of information for him, that convinced him prior to the Iraq war, both--both of those came from foreign intelligence services. So my first part of my question to you is: have we become too dependent on foreign intelligence services? The second part is more specific of a link to Israel. Now, if there's one country that targeted Iraq for decades with intelligence work it's Israel, and the Mossad [Israeli intelligence service] has a very high reputation. Has your committee looked into how effective [the] liaison with the Israeli intelligence service was prior to the Iraq war?

KYL: That second question is a darn good question, and since I've now been off the committee for about a year I can't speak for what has been done in--since the time that I was gone, and I don't recall ever specifically looking at the relationship with Mossad. I suspect that had we--that had I made a specific inquiry to that effect, I could have learned a lot from our intelligence agencies. I suspect what they would have told me is that the Mossad's intelligence in the Middle East is very good, probably better than almost any other country. And then this melds into your first question. We--and my answer has two parts. We have had an extraordinarily good relationship even with those countries that did not support our effort in Iraq. And I speak of countries like Germany specifically and France and other countries that weren't totally supportive in a diplomatic way, but who have continued to support us with their intelligence gathering and with their law enforcement activities, which has been a big part of rolling the terrorists out--the Hamburg cell, for example. Now, it hasn't always been perfect, but our own intelligence and law enforcement cooperation hasn't all been perfect, either. But we have, to an extraordinary degree, had great cooperation with virtually every liaison--every other intelligence service with whom we've worked that I know. But I also believe and agree with the statement you made, that we have become far too dependent on the cocktail circuit, on liaison services, and on other, easier forms of collection. And in the war on terror, you can't rely on satellites and you can't just go to cocktail parties with lower-level embassy personnel trying to recruit other lower-level--[chuckles]--embassy personnel from other countries and figure out anything about terrorists. You�ve got to figure out a way to get into the countries involved and get involved in those networks. It's very, very difficult. But in the '70s and in the '80s and in the '90s, we did not devote sufficient resources to that problem. We didn't have a mindset to do so. And therefore, when this whole thing broke, we were woefully ill-prepared.

...So, yes we do--the answer to the question is [that] we rely on that liaison too much. But it is also true that we have benefited a great deal from it.

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This is not surprising, I know. It does further illustrate an indelible connection between Mossad intel on the ground in Iraq and our own people. "You've got to figure out a way to get into the countries involved and get involved in those networks. It's very, very difficult." Not for Mossad.

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