Record: December 15, 2000 (Senate)
REMINISCENCE AND FAREWELL
Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, on this last day of the 106th Congress I
ask to be allowed a moment of reminiscence and farewell.
Come January 3--deo voluntus, as the Brothers used to teach us--I
have served four terms in the United States
Senate, a near quarter
In our long history only one other New Yorker, our beloved
K. Javits, has served four terms. I had the fortune of joining
Finance Committee from the outset, and served for a period as
the first New Yorker since before the Civil War. I was also,
one point, chair of Environment and Public Works. I have been on
and Administration for the longest while, and for a period was
on Foreign Relations. Senators will know that it would be most
for someone to serve on both Finance and Foreign Relations at
same time. An account of how this came about may be of interest.
The elections of 1986 returned a Democratic majority to the Senate
the Democratic Steering Committee, of which I was then a member,
its biannual task of filling Democratic vacancies in the various
committees. There are four ``Super A'' committees as we term
In order of creation they are Foreign Relations, Finance, Armed
and Appropriations. With the rarest exceptions, under our
rules a Senator may only serve on one of these four.
There were three vacancies on Foreign Relations. In years past these
have been snapped up. Foreign Relations was a committee of great
and daunting tasks. Of a sudden however, no one seemed
The Senate was already experiencing what the eminent
James Schlesinger describes in the current issue of The
Interest as ``the loss of interest in foreign policy by the
public'' (p. 110). Two newly-elected Senators were more or less
to take seats. At length the Steering Committee turned to me,
a former ambassador. I remained on Finance.
And so I served six years under the chairmanship of the incomparable
Pell of Rhode
I treasure the experience--the signing
ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the
days of the Cold War. But I continue to be puzzled and troubled
our inattention to foreign affairs. To be sure, the clearest
of this Congress has been in the field of foreign trade,
major enactments regarding Africa, the Caribbean, and China.
however, have been the province of the Finance Committee, and it
with great difficulty and at most partial success did Chairman Bill
and I make the connection between world trade and world peace.
would have been self-evident at mid-century. I remark, and I
there is a case, that any short list of events that led to the
World War would include the aftermath of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff
1930. Indeed, in the course of the ceremony at which the President
the measure naming possible permanent normal trade relations
in connection with its admission to the World Trade
I observed that the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, which
the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and
an international trade organization, opened on the day I
the Navy. For certain there was no connection, but my point was
that in the midst of war the Allies were looking to a lasting
that might follow, and this very much included the absence of
But again, how to account for the falling-off of congressional
in foreign affairs. I offer the thought that the failure of
intelligence, in the large sense of term, to foresee--forsooth to
collapse of the Soviet
brought forth a
of denial and avoidance. We would as soon not think too much
all, thank you very much.
I have recounted elsewhere the 1992 hearings of the Foreign Relations
on the START I Treaty. Our superb negotiators had mastered
mind-numbing detail of this epic agreement. With one exception.
had negotiated the treaty with a sovereign nation, the Union of
Republics. Now they brought
to us a treaty signed with
quite different nations: Russia,
asked when this new set of signatories was agreed to, the
was informed that this had just recently taken place at a
in Lisbon. An observer might well
have wondered if this was the
of a Humphrey Bogart movie. The negotiators were admirably
The Soviet Union had broken up in December 1991. Few, if any, at
``end of the street'' had predicted the collapse. Let me correct
record: None had.
As to the record, I would cite the 1991 article in Foreign Affairs by
estimable Stansfield Turner. The Admiral had served as Director of
Intelligence and knew the record. He was blunt, as an admiral
I cite a passage in Secrecy:
[Turner wrote,] ``We should not gloss over the enormity of this
to forecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis. We know now
there were many Soviet academics, economists and political
other than those officially presented to us by the Soviet
who understood long before 1980 that the Soviet economic
was broken and that it was only a matter of time before someone
to try and repair it, as had Khrushchev. Yet I never heard a
from the CIA, or the intelligence arms of the departments of
or state, that numerous Soviets recognized a growing systemic
problem.'' Turner acknowledged the ``revisionist rumblings''
that the CIA had in fact seen the collapse coming, but he
them: ``If some individual CIA analysts were more prescient
the corporate view, their ideas were filtered out in the
process; and it is the corporate view that counts because
is what reaches the president and his advisors. On this one, the
view missed by a mile. Why were so many of us insensitive to
Just as striking is the experience of General George Lee Butler,
of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) from 1990 to 1994.
to cite from Secrecy.
As the one responsible for drafting the overall U.S.
Butler had studied the Soviet Union with an intensity and
matched by few others in the West. He had studied the footage of
military parades and the Kremlin, had scrutinized the deployments
Soviet missiles and other armaments: ``In all, he thought of the
Union as a fearsome garrison state seeking global domination and
for certain conflict with the West. The only reasonable
for the United States, he told colleagues, was to keep
of American nuclear weapons at the ready so that if war broke
Washington could destroy as much of the Soviet nuclear arsenal as
It was the harrowing but hallowed logic of nuclear
But Butler began having doubts about this picture, upon
so much of U.S. foreign policy was based, by the time of his
visit to the Soviet Union, on December 4, 1988.
When he landed at
Airport, on the outskirts of Moscow, he thought at first
the uneven, pockmarked runway was an open field. The taxiways were
covered with snow from a storm two days earlier, and dozens of
runway lights were broken. Riding into downtown Moscow in an
motorcade, Butler noticed the roads were ragged, the massive
buildings crumbling. He was astonished when the gearshift in
car snapped off in his driver's hand. After pouring over thousands
satellite photos and thirty years' worth of classified reports,
had expected to find a modern, functional industrialized
what he found instead was ``severe economic deprivation.''
more telling was ``the sense of defeat in the eyes of the people.
. . It all came crashing home to me that I really had been dealing
a caricature all those years.''
General Butler was right. More than he might have known. This fall
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski estimated that the
of ``Russia is one-tenth the size of America
and its industrial
is about three times older than the OECD average.'' The
has dropped from 151 million in 1990 to 146 million in 1999.
mortality is devastating. Far from overwhelming the West, it is
as to whether Russia can maintain a presence east of the
Mountains. If you consider that the empire of the Czars once
to San Francisco we can judge the calamity brought about by
years of Marxist-Leninism.
And yet we did not judge. To say again, the United
no sense of what was coming, not the least preparation for the
In 1919, John Reed, a Harvard graduate, and later a Soviet agent
Ten Days that Shook the World, his celebrated account of the
Revolution, as it would come to be known, in October 1917. In
time these events acquired mythic dimension for intellectuals and
the world over. At Harvard, Daniel Bell would patiently guide
through the facts that there were two Russian Revolutions; the
democratic, the second in effect totalitarian. But this was lost
all but a few.
It would appear that the Soviet collapse was so sudden, we were so
for it, that we really have yet to absorb the magnitude of
event. It was, after all, the largest peaceful revolution in
Not a drop of blood was shed as a five hundred year old empire
up into some twelve nations, Azerbaijan, Armenia,
Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz
Uzbekistan and Ukraine, whilst formerly independent
absorbed into the Soviet Bloc, Poland,
the Czech Republic,
Latvia, Estonia et al., regained their independence. In the
there has been no book, no movie, no posters, no legend.
To the contrary, weak Russia grows steadily weaker--possibly to the
of instability, as shown in the miserable events in Chechnya. We
a government of former agents of the intelligence services and the
police. We see continued efforts at increasing armament. Witness
sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk. We see the return of the
flag. We see little engagement with the West, much less the East
China looms with perhaps ten times the population and far more
And the United States? Apart from a few perfunctory measures, and one
the Nunn-Lugar program, almost no response. To the contrary,
this moment we have, as we must assume, some 6,000 nuclear weapons
on Russia, a number disproportionate at the height of the Cold
and near to lunacy in the aftermath. When, as Senator Lugar
the Russian defense budget has declined to $5 billion a
What is more, other than the highest echelon of the Pentagon, no
some elements of the intelligence community, possibly the
of State, no American knows what the targeting plan is. In
Members of Congress, possibly with very few exceptions, do
know. Are they refused information? Just recently, our esteemed
J. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska, wrote the Secretary of
Defense, William S. Cohen, a former colleague of
ours, to set forth the
of this insane situation.
There are signs that an open debate concerning nuclear weapons may be
In The Washington Post recently, we learn of the response to a
by Stephen M. Younger, associate director of Los Alamos
Laboratory and head of its nuclear weapons work, proposing a
reduction in the number of massive weapons now in our arsenal in
of smaller devices intended to deal with much smaller engagements
those envisioned during the Cold War. The Post reports that we now
some 7,982 warheads linked to nine different delivery systems,
SLBMs and bombers. These are scheduled to decline to 3,500, half
Trident II submarines, under the Start II agreement. Younger argues
still fewer are needed. Any one of which would wipe out any large
on earth. It appears that other experts believe that a few dozen
several hundred of today's high-yield warheads would suffice to
the standoff with Russia or China. There is, perhaps more
the matter of nuclear weapons in what are for some reason
called Third World nations, a relic of Cold War usage. Nuclear
has settled into the South Asian subcontinent. The prospect
an ``Islamic Bomb'' will migrate westwards from Pakistan is real
It may be happening at this moment. The more then do we need
debate. The more urgent then is Senator Kerrey's assertion that
be involved. His profound observation that ``Sometimes secrecy
its opposite; less safety and security.''
I have remarked on how little notice has been taken of the Russian
of 1989-91. By contrast, the ``information revolution'' has
a fixture of our vocabulary and our pronouncements on the widest
of subjects, and at times would seem to dominate political
It might do well to make a connection as Francis Fukuyama
in the current issue of Commentary. In his review of a new book by
Gilder with the suggestive title Telecom: How Infinite Bandwidth
Revolutionize Our World, Fukuyama makes the connection.
Why, then, do those convinced that the revolution is already
shake their heads so sadly at those of us who ``just don't
it?'' True, people want to feel good about themselves, and it helps
believe that one is contributing to some higher social purpose while
self-enrichment. But it must also be conceded that the
revolution really does have more going for it
previous advances in, say, steam or internal combustion (or, one
than the coming revolution in biotechnology).
The mechanization of production in the 19th and early 20th centuries
large-scale organization, routinization, uniformity, and
Many of the great works of imagination that accompanied
process, from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times to Aldous Huxley's
New World, depicted individuals subsumed by huge machines, often
a political nature. Not so the information revolution, which usually
excessively large scale, distributes information and hence
to much larger groups of people, and rewards intelligence, risk,
and education rather than obedience and regimentation.
would not wish to push this too far, it is probably no accident
the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes did not survive
transition into the information age.
Is it possible to hope that we might give some serious thought to the
connection? And to ask ourselves just how we measure up in
That said, is it not extraordinary and worrying that of a sudden we
ourselves in a state of great agitation concerning security
all across our government, from our nuclear laboratories at
to embassies abroad to the topmost reaches of government? The late
Nelson described it as ``spy panic.'' In the process the
emerges that our national security will be compromised to a
unimaginable by mere espionage. The possibility is that we could
degrade the most important institutions of foreign and
policy--our capacity for invention and innovation--through our
Take the matter of the loss, and evident return in clouded
of two hard drives containing sensitive nuclear
from the Nuclear Energy Search Team at Los Alamos National
This June, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson asked two of
wisest statesmen, the Honorable Howard H. Baker, Jr., and the
Lee H. Hamilton, to enquire into the matter. Here are the Key
of their report of September 25th.
While it is unclear what happened to the missing hard drives at Los
National Laboratory, it is clear that there was a security lapse
that the consequences of the loss of the data on the hard drives
be extremely damaging to the national security.
Among the known consequences of the hard-drive incident, the most
is the devastating effect on the morale and productivity of
which plays a critical national-security role for the Nation.
The current negative climate is incompatible with the performance of
science. A perfect security system at a national laboratory is of
use if the laboratory can no longer generate the cutting-edge
that needs to be protected from improper disclosure.
It is critical to reverse the demoralization at LANL before it
undermines the ability of that institution both to continue to
its vital contributions to our national security, and to protect
sensitive national-security information that is critical to the
of its responsibilities.
Urgent action should be taken to ensure that Los Alamos National
gets back to work in a reformed security structure that will
the work there to be successfully sustained over the long term.
Almost alone among commentators, Lars-Erik Nelson pursued the matter,
the interviews Senator Baker and Representative Hamilton had
They now report that ``the combined effects of the Wen Ho Lee affair,
recent fire at [Los Alamos] and the continuing swirl around the
episode have devastated morale and productivity at [Los
The employees we met expressed fear and deep concern over the . . .
crime-scene tape in their workspace, the interrogation of their
by . . . federal prosecutors before a grand jury and the
of some of their colleagues to taking a second mortgage on their
to pay for attorney fees.
There is no denying that Lee and whoever misplaced the computer
committed serious breaches of security. But the resulting threat
our safety is only theoretical; the damage to morale, productivity
recruitment is real.
Employees were furious at being forced to take routine lie-detector
a requirement imposed on them by a panicky Secretary of Energy.
Obviously, there is a need for security in government. A Los Alamos
gave Baker and Hamilton an obvious, easy solution.
it will be the one most likely to be adopted: ``The
and most secure way to do work is not to do any work at all.''
In the course of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government
(of which more later), a Commission member, then-Director of
Intelligence John M. Deutch, revealed to the American people
extraordinary work of the VENONA project, an enterprise of the Army
Agency during and after World War II. During the war the
began to copy KGB traffic from and to the United States. On
December 20, 1946, Meredith K. Gardner--I am happy to say still with
buoyant and brilliant as ever--``broke'' the first. Dated 2
1944, it was a list of the principal nuclear scientists at Los
Bethe, Bohr, Fermi, Newman, Rossi, Kistiakowsky, Segre, Taylor,
Compton, Lawrence and so on. The Soviets knew, and in time
essentials of the early atom bomb. But what they could not do,
to slow down or deter the work of these great men, who would take
further into the age of the hydrogen bomb. Next, their successors to
more mind-bending feats. The Soviets could not stop them. Would it
be the final triumph of the defunct Cold War if we stopped them
Do not dismiss this thought. If you happen to know a professor of
enquire as to how many ``post-docs'' are interested in weapons
given the present atmosphere. To work at one-third the salary
elsewhere, and take lie detector tests.
And then there is intelligence. Nelson quotes a ``former top
official'' who told him, ``If you're not taking secrets
you're not doing your job.'' And yet here we are harassing John
Deutch, a scientist of the greatest achievement, a public servant of
ability for--working at home after dinner. Would it be too far-
to ask when will the next Provost of the Massachusetts
of Technology choose to leave the banks of the Charles River
the swamps of the Potomac?
Now I don't doubt that, as opposed to an intelligence official, there
ambassadors who don't take their work home at night. Over the years
United States has created a number of postings with just that
But these are few. The great, overwhelming number of our
and their embassy associates are exceptional persons who
gone in harm's way to serve their country. I was ambassador to
at the time our ambassador to Sudan and an aide were abducted
a reception by Islamic terrorists, spirited away and murdered.
days later the Egyptian envoy in New Delhi asked to see me. He had
message from then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to tell me that
intelligence sources reported I would be next. It is a not
occurrence. But nothing so common as taking work home, or
in a--usually heavily armored--embassy limousine. Ask any
ambassador to Israel. Our embassy in Tel Aviv is an hour's drive
the capital in Jerusalem. The drive up and back is routinely used
dictate memoranda of conversation, type them on a laptop. Whatever.
fall, the superbly qualified, many would say indispensable
to Israel, Martin S. Indyk, was stripped of his security
for just such actions. I cite Al Kamen's account in The
Just the other day, ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk was deep
the State Department doghouse for ``suspected violations'' of
regulations. His security clearance was suspended, so he
handle classified materials. He needed an escort while in the
Department building. The department's diplomatic security folks
him to stay in this country until their investigation was
At a White House briefing Monday, a reporter asked if Indyk could
as ambassador? Do we have a functioning ambassador?''
``Not at the moment,'' press secretary Jake Siewert said.
Allow me to cite a report by the redoubtable Jane Perlez, who was
recently reporting from Pyongyang on the psychotic security
in the capital of North Korea. Eerily similar antics were to
encountered on September 30, Ms. Perlez reported:
State Dept. Unfreezes Hundreds of Promotions After Delay for Security
Washington, Sept. 29.--A continuing security crackdown
the State Department led to the freezing of promotions for
more than 200 senior officials, pending a review of their
security records, department officials said today.
The director general of the Foreign Service, Marc Grossman,
said he was assessing the promotion files for security
before sending the promotions to the White House, which then
dispatches them to Congress for approval.
The release of the list was delayed after the suspension
the security clearance of one of the department's most senior
officials, Martin S. Indyk, ambassador to Israel, and a
sudden vigilance by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright,
who is under pressure from Congress on security problems.
This evening, the department said that ``under 10''
officials had been barred from promotions after Mr.
Grossman's review of 400 candidates. The nearly 400 people
included 200 midlevel officials, whose promotions were
released today after a weeklong delay.
As word of the latest action spread through the department,
an assistant secretary of state complained at a senior staff
meeting this week that management faced ``rage'' in the
building and increasingly demoralized employees, according to
several accounts of the session.
Others, as well as diplomats abroad, complained of a
poisonous atmosphere in the department created, in part, by
security officials who grilled junior Foreign Service
officers about their superiors. One senior official said the
obsession with security had created a ``monster'' out of the
bureau of diplomatic security, which Congress generously
finances to the detriment of other areas of the department.
In a yet more eerie analogy, one department employee
described the situation as a ``security jihad.''
It doesn't stop. It accelerates! Just this month The
Washington Post reported the resignation of senior diplomats,
the suspension of another, the firing of a further two over
J. Stapleton Roy, one of the nation's two most senior
foreign service officers and a three-time U.S. ambassador,
has resigned in protest after Secretary of State Madeleine K.
Albright suspended his deputy without pay and fired two other
long-time State Department officials over a missing top-
secret laptop computer. . . .
The departure of Roy and the reassignment of [Donald]
Keyser will rob the department of two of its top China
experts. The son of a missionary, Roy grew up in China,
returned to the United States to go to Princeton University,
then joined the foreign service. He later served as
ambassador to China, Indonesia and Singapore. Keyser had
served in Beijing three times, had been the State
Department's director of Chinese and Mongolian affairs, and
most recently held the rank of ambassador as a special
negotiator for conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and former
``That's a lot of brainpower suddenly removed from the
State Department,'' said William C. McCahill, a recently
retired foreign service officer who served as the deputy
chief of mission in Beijing. ``Keyser is a brilliant analyst
and a person of great intellectual honesty and rigor. Stape
is the kind of person you want in INR, someone who can think
beyond today and tomorrow, who can think beyond established
policy.''--The Washington Post, December 5, 2000.
With some hesitation I would call to mind the purge of the ``China
from the Department of State during the McCarthy era. As our
established with finality, there was indeed a Soviet attack
American diplomacy and nuclear development during and after World
II. There were early and major successes. The design of the first
bomb. But not much else, and for not much longer. The real
parallels are eerie--to American security came from the
of the intelligence community--then largely in the
share information with ``civilians.'' Specifically, documents
from the F.B.I. indicate that President Truman was never told
the Army Signals Security Agency's decryptions of Soviet cables
and after the war. He thought the whole business of Communist
was a ``red herring.'' In 1953 he termed Whittaker Chambers and
Bentley ``a crook and a louse.'' American diplomacy and the
of State in particular were for years haunted by charges
could readily have dealt with had they but known what their own
knew. And who issued the instruction that the President was
to be told? General Omar N. Bradley whom the President had made
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Admittedly it is hard to prove
negative.) But I was reassured by an article in the Summer edition of
the ``Bulletin'' of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence. In
Deputy CIA historian Michael Warner votes with the judgment I
earlier in my book ``Secrecy.''
What might it be that Secretary Albright needs to know today but has
been told? A generation hence we might learn. If, that is, the
secrecy regime goes unaltered.
For the moment, however, I have further distressing news for
Stapleton if he should have occasion to return to the
of State main building for one or another reason. I have
received a copy of a letter sent to David G. Carpenter, Assistant
of State for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Another
retired Ambassador, a statesman of large achievement and
reputation recently called at Main State, to use their term.
was frisked at the entrance. He was allowed into the building, but
an ``escort,'' who accompanied wherever he went. Including,
ambassador writes, ``the men's room.''
It is difficult not to agree with the Ambassador's assessment that
`escort' policy is insulting and totally out of proportion to any
enhancement of security.'' But then so is so much of security
as it has evolved over the past sixty years.
What is to be done? Surely we must search for a pattern in all this.
Commission proposed a simple, direct formation. Secrecy is a form
In the previous Congress, legislation was prepared to embody the
of the Commission recommendations. All classified materials
bear the name and position of the person assigning the
and the date, subject to review, that the classification
expire. It is not generally realized, but apart from atomic
under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and a few other areas
is no law stipulating what is to be classified Confidential,
Top Secret--and there are numerous higher designations. It is
a matter of judgement for anyone who has a rubber stamp handy.
bill was unanimously reported from the Committee on Governmental
under the fine chairmanship of Senator Fred Thompson, with the
support of the then-ranking Committee member, our revered John
But nothing came of it. The assorted government agencies,
if you like, simply smothered it. The bureaucracy triumphed
more. Thomas Jefferson's dictum that ``An informed citizenry is
to the functioning of a democratic society'' gave way before the
interests of bureaucracy.
I am pleased to report that this year's Intelligence Authorization
which is now at the White House awaiting President Clinton's
includes the Public Interest Declassification Act. The
establishes a nine-member ``Public Interest Declassification
of ``nationally recognized experts'' who will advise the
and pertinent executive branch agencies on which national
documents should be declassified first. Five members of the
will be appointed by the President and four members will be
by the Senate and the House.
The Board's main purpose will be to help determine declassification
This is especially important during a time of Congress'
slashing of the declassification budgets. In addition to the
systematic work required by President Clinton's Executive Order
the intelligence community is also required to process Freedom
Information Act requests, Privacy Act requests, and special searches
primarily by members of Congress and the administration.
There is a need to bring order to this increasingly chaotic process.
Board may just provide the necessary guidance and will help
how our finite declassification resources can best be
among all these competing demands.
My hope is that the Board will be a voice within the executive branch
restraint in matters of secrecy. I have tried to lay out the
dynamics which produce ever larger and more intrusive
regimes. I have sought to suggest how damaging this can be to
national security interests. But this is a modest achievement
the great hopes with which our Commission concluded its work. I
that rationality is but a weak foil to the irrational. In the end
shall need character as well as conviction. We need public persons
stature of George P. Shultz, who when in 1986 learned of plans to
giving lie detector tests for State Department employees, calmly
that the day that program began would be the day he submitted
resignation as Secretary of State. And so of course it
not begin. And yet with him gone, the bureaucratic imperative
so Mr. President, I conclude my remarks, thanking all my fellow
present and past for untold courtesies over these many years.