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Threats to US Security

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And even though we finished third in rankings, we'll be there next year. (Laughter.)

Gentlemen, as all of you know, a main focus of my work over on the House side over the last two years has been on the issue of information sharing. And I don't want to get into any of that now because I'm going to continue to pound this issue with you every time we get together.

Bob, I see you've got—I know you're putting this bulletin out every week. I think that's a major step in the right direction. I hope it's not old news by the time it gets down to the state and local level. There is still a feeling out there, I will tell you, among local law enforcement officials about some hesitancy on the part of your field officers to dialogue with them on a regular basis, and we've still got some overcoming to do there. But I commend you on making the effort to—to let's make this dialogue more open.

The other comment I want to make before I get to my question, I—George, you alluded to this in your statement with reference to the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. I felt like that was the weakest part of the argument that Secretary Powell was going to be able to make last week, and I was, frankly, pleased to see that he came forward as much as he did with these Zarqawi pronouncement. Your statement today with respect to the Egyptian jihadists who are operating openly in Iraq, I think it just adds to the evidence there that there is a direct link between not just al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein but the entire terrorist community and Saddam Hussein. I think that that particular issue, in and of itself, is going to be the most sensitive issue that we've got to deal with because we know that those weapons are right there, we know that the terrorist community is there. Do they have their hands on these weapons, and are they going to use them? I think that's something that frankly I'm going to want to talk with you a little bit more about this afternoon.

I want to ask you a question, though, that I get asked at home. And I hope you can all comment on this. That is, once again, as Senator Warner alluded earlier to the statements that were made in the paper again today by some of our colleagues in the other parts of the world, heads of other countries, relative to their not being convinced there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There are—they're obviously not on board with the full force that our president is. I know our president is right. We all know our president is right. We all know that there is a relationship in the intelligence community between each of your organizations and your counterpart in France, in Germany, in Russia, in every other country. Is there something we know that they don't know? Are we not sharing information with them? Why would these countries not be as strong as we are, because the evidence is almost overwhelming? And if there is some lack of information sharing there, we need to know that. And I'd appreciate the comment of each of you on that issue.

SEN. CHAMBLISS: So, the answer to the question is that the information that we have has been freely and openly disseminated with our supposed allies around the free world?

SEN. CHAMBLISS: Has there been any attitude or you notice any hesitation on the part of any of those countries with respect to the information that we've given them?

SEN. CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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