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Rep. Waters Responds to Declassified NIE Report

July 30, 2009
Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) released the following statement on the declassified summary of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which stated that the Iraq war is impeding the war on terrorism and making the United States and the rest of the world less safe:

"Yesterday, the President authorized the release of a declassified summary of April's NIE report in an attempt to extinguish the political fires created by its disclosure.  However, releasing the summary failed to extinguish those fires and raises additional questions about the President's decision to go to war and his claim that we are winning the war terror.  In clear terms, the NIE states that it is the unanimous opinion of all 16 US intelligence agencies that the US occupation of Iraq is the primary motivator behind Islamic radicals seeking to harm the United States, its interests and its allies."

"The summary is another repudiation of the President's policies in Iraq.  The President went to war under false pretenses – there were no weapons of mass destruction and there were no ties to al Qaeda, but President's decision to go to war has provided al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups new opportunities to recruit members.  I have said consistently said that this war is providing a new recruiting tool for al Qaeda a conclusion which is supported by the NIE; it said the 'Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.'" 

"The war in Iraq was not necessary for the security of the United States but rather it was the President's choice.  To reflect that fact, as well as the NIE report, the House should vote on my bill H Res 990, which declares that the original authorization for use of force in Iraq is outdated and that a new authorization should be debated and voted on.  My resolution will permit Congress to finally develop a coherent policy that will allow us to successfully bring our troops home." 

"The summary notes that jihadists ‘will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets…' – as they did with the bombing of trains in Madrid and buses in London  Yet, the Iraq war has cost us upwards of $370 billion and has prevented us from securing our nation.  Rather than fighting a war against a country that had nothing to do with the 9-11 terrorist attacks, we should be working to secure our ports, hire and train border agents and purchase machines that will screen 100% of air cargo.  Currently, serious efforts to fund programs that will protect our nation are being drastically underfunded leaving our nation vulnerable to attack.  If terrorists attempted to exploit any of these weaknesses would be devastating." 

"The Iraq war has also distracted the Administration from hunting down Osama bin Laden.  It appears that the President's relationship with Pakistani President Musharraf has impeded our ability to enter Pakistan and the border region where Osama bin Laden is thought to be hiding out.  President Bush barely muttered a word when Pakistan signed a peace accord with pro-Taliban forces in the areas bordering Afghanistan, agreeing to withdraw its troops from the region in return for the fighters' pledge to stop attacks inside Pakistan.  Why isn't President Bush doing more to capture the person ultimately responsible for the worst terrorist attacks on American soil?  The President has failed to fulfill the primary duty of his job – to keep Americans safe."