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Bush Misrepresents Kerry’s Position on Intelligence Funding

[ While I am no apologist for John Kerry, it is worth countering the false Bush claims about Kerry’s voting record on defense and intelligence. Even Republican Senator John McCain, who is supporting Bush, defended Kerry’s voting record on defense. –doclalor ]

Bush Misrepresents Kerry’s Position on Intelligence Funding

Posted on the DBunker section of John Kerry’s website by Peter Daou on March 16, 2004

BUSH FICTION: In 1995, John Kerry proposed “deeply irresponsible” cuts in intelligence spending that “gutted” intelligence funding.

FACT: The so-called “deeply irresponsible cuts” mentioned by Bush “represented about the same amount Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), then chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Senate that same day he wanted cut from the intelligence spending bill based on an unspent, secret fund that had been accumulated by one intelligence agency “without informing the Pentagon, CIA or Congress,” according to The Washington Post.

The truth is, the cuts passed by voice vote with no opposition, including such radical “left-wingers” as Republicans Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott, Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum and Don Nickles. The so-called “cuts” then became law, without a single Republican complaining about the measure for the nine years prior to the 2004 Presidential campaign. Fred Kaplan, writing for Slate, makes this point: “Kerry’s proposal would not have cut a single intelligence program.” What the Republicans don’t want you to know is that John Kerry has supported $200 billion in intelligence funding over the past seven years – a 50 percent increase since 1996.

On March 9th, in a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, George Tenet said that the one percent reduction would not gut the intelligence capabilities:

DAYTON: I’d just like clarify one point that was made earlier by Senator Cornyn. You have a budget that’s obviously classified, but the reference to the contemplated or conceptualized $1.5 billion, I think as then Senator Cornyn acknowledged, was a $300 million reduction in the budget or the proposed budget or the increases in the budget for each of five years. But 1 percent, if that’s the approximate number, based on published reports, reduction in your budget overall for each of the five years, would that, quote,/unquote “gut your agency and your intelligence-gathering capabilities”? As far as I know, that wasn’t specified, but would a 1 percent — hypothetically, would a 1 percent, say, reduction in your budget for each of five years, quote/unquote, “gut your agency and its intelligence-gathering capabilities”?

TENET: Let me say that in the mid-’90s, it wouldn’t have been helpful.

DAYTON: Would it have “gut” in that — would it have “gut” in that vernacular?

TENET: Sir, obviously no $300 million cut is going to “gut” your intelligence capabilities.

DAYTON: Thank you.
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Kerry votes supporting intelligence funding:

FY03 Intel Authorization $39.3-$41.3 Billion*
[2002, Unanimous Senate Voice Vote 9/25/02]

FY02 Intel Authorization $33 Billion*
[2001, Unanimous Senate Voice Vote 12/13/01]

FY01 Intel Authorization $29.5-$31.5 Billion*
[2000, Unanimous Senate Voice Vote 12/6/00]

FY00 Intel Authorization $29-$30 Billion*
[1999, Unanimous Senate Voice Vote 11/19/1999]

FY99 Intel Authorization $29.0 Billion*
[1998, Unanimous Senate Voice Vote 10/8/98]

FY98 Intel Authorization $26.7 Billion*
[1997, Senate Roll Call Vote #109]

FY97 Intel Authorization $26.6 Billion*
[1996, Unanimous Senate Voice Vote 9/25/96]

* [Authorization levels are classified. Levels are an estimate based upon the Center for Defense Information Terrorism Project, Intelligence Funding and the War on Terror, http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/intel-funding.cfm]

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