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Senators reflect on 9/11; Roberts criticizes Phase II report on Iraq intelligence

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9/11 Anniversary[(KC Star commentary) SEN. SAM BROWNBACK ON THE WAR ON TERROR:][1] We have been relatively successful in bringing the fight to the terrorists wherever they emerge. Afghanistan and Iraq are only the most obvious cases where we have fought the terrorists head-on and eliminated direct threats to America. The men and women of our armed forces defend our values with great courage, and we will continue to depend on their skills and dedication as the war on terrorism continues. But we cannot ask them to fight in perpetuity. While they give battle to terrorists already committed to violence, we must fight the ideology that inspires new terrorists to replace those we eliminate.[(Salina Journal) Five years later:][2] Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., says too often ordinary information gets classified. "I've always thought too many materials in the government are classified," Brownback said. "It's almost just a precautionary effort that everybody classifies everything, even though a lot of the classified material I've seen I look at and wonder, 'Why on Earth is that classified?' " When the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks issued its report on 9-11, large sections were blacked out. Even (Sen. Pat) Roberts complained recently about the administration's penchant for secrecy, saying that he would not tolerate that kind of editing of the report his committee plans to release next month. "I want to issue a very serious warning here," he said in a press release last month. "As chairman, I have been disappointed by this administration's unwillingness to declassify material contained in these reports; material which I believe better informs the public, but that does not -- I repeat, does not -- jeopardize intelligence operations, sources and methods. [(Lawrence Journal-World) Roberts delivers insider's view of the War on Terror:][3] "I found out later that exactly the same time I was driving behind the Capitol was exactly the same time that Flight 93 would have crashed into the Capitol," Roberts said. "So I owe my life to the heroes of Flight 93 who said, 'Let's roll.'" Less than two years later, in March 2003, Roberts became chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - and has spent most of his tenure riding a whirlwind of controversies and debates over the Patriot Act, "warrantless wiretapping," the use of torture and the mistaken evidence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Audio of full interview is at this site.[(Topeka Capital-Journal) Roberts: America safer:][4] Today on the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, Americans should feel more confident about the federal government's efforts to prevent terrorism, said Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "If there is a silver lining to that world intelligence failure is that we're working in much better cooperation with our allies to detect and deter and stop terrorist attacks," Sen. Pat Roberts said Saturday in an interview at the Kansas State Fair.Pat Roberts[(New York Times) C.I.A. Said to Find No Hussein Link to Terror Chief:][5] The Central Intelligence Agency last fall repudiated the claim that there were prewar ties between Saddam Hussein's government and an operative of Al Qaeda, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to a report issued Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The disclosure undercuts continuing assertions by the Bush administration that such ties existed, and that they provided evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Republican-controlled committee, in a second report, also sharply criticized the administration for its reliance on the Iraqi National Congress during the prelude to the war in Iraq. ... A set of conclusions that included criticism of the administration's ties with the Iraqi National Congress was opposed by several Republicans on the panel, including Mr. Roberts, but was approved with the support of two Republicans, Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska, and Olympia Snowe, of Maine, along with all seven Democrats. Senator Roberts even took the unusual step of disavowing the conclusions about the role played by the Iraqi National Congress, saying that they were "misleading and are not supported by the facts."... The report said other mistaken information about Iraq's biological program had been provided by a source linked to the Iraqi National Congress, and it said the intelligence agencies' use of the information had "constituted a serious error.'' The dissenting opinion, signed by Mr. Roberts and four other Republican members of the committee, minimized the role played by Mr. Chalabi's group. "Information from the I.N.C. and I.N.C.-affiliated defectors was not widely used in intelligence community products and played little role in the intelligence community's judgments about Iraq's W.M.D. programs," the Republicans said. [Here is a Washington Post's story on the topic.][6] [Here is another Washington Post story on the topic.][7] [Here is LA Times coverage.][8] [The actual report can be found here.][9] [Pat Roberts press release: Chairman Roberts Comments on Democrat Additional Views to Phase II Report][10] [Pat Roberts press release: Senate Intelligence Committee Releases Two "Phase II" Reports of the Committees' Inquiry on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq][11][(Washington Post) Bill Would Ease CIA Interrogation Limits:][12] To many of President Bush's allies, it is time to free intelligence officials from "legislative purgatory" and get the CIA back in the business of effective interrogations of suspected terrorists. That chance could come this week if the Senate takes up a White House proposal limiting the punishable offenses that CIA interrogators may face when questioning "high-value" terrorist suspects. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is expected to begin debate on the bill as early as Tuesday. Through omissions and legal definitions, the proposal could authorize harsh techniques that critics contend potentially violate the Geneva Conventions, which govern the treatment of war prisoners. These methods include hypothermia, stress positions and "waterboarding," a practice of simulated drowning. ... "We're interviewing, not interrogating," said Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Roberts, R-Kan., said in a recent interview that he believes intelligence officials are frozen in a type of "legislative purgatory." He said that keeps them from wanting to "walk up to the line, as has been the case before where we got 50 percent of our intelligence on what the terrorists were doing."State fair[(Hutch News) Drought relief funds primary topic at forum:][13] Three of Kansas' Congressmen and the Senate Committee on Agriculture chairman covered topics from disaster assistance for droughts to the next Farm Bill on Saturday at the Kansas State Fair's Gottschalk Park. After some early morning rains, a decent-sized crowd turned out, with more tuning in on WIBW 580-AM radio to hear U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, along with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][14] [1]: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/opinion/15488317.htm [2]: http://www.saljournal.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=8379&format=html [3]: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/sep/11/roberts_delivers_insiders_view_war_terror/?city_local [4]: http://cjonline.com/stories/091106/kan_roberts.shtml [5]: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/09/world/middleeast/09intel.html?_r=1&oref=slogin [6]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/08/AR2006090801719.html [7]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/08/AR2006090800777.html [8]: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-intel9sep09,1,6093972.story [9]: http://intelligence.senate.gov/ [10]: http://roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=8e4db35c-802a-23ad-427f-601af063827d [11]: http://roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=8e48e11b-802a-23ad-4b40-d9575d7c1fb4 [12]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/09/AR2006090900419.html/ [13]: http://www.yahoo.com/ [14]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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