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Congressional Record: December 15, 2000 (Senate)
Page S11837-S11841


                       REMINISCENCE AND FAREWELL

  Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, on this last day of the 106th Congress I 
would ask to be allowed a moment of reminiscence and farewell.
  Come January 3--deo voluntus, as the Brothers used to teach us--I 
will have served four terms in the United States Senate, a near quarter 
century. In our long history only one other New Yorker, our beloved 
Jacob K. Javits, has served four terms. I had the fortune of joining 
the Finance Committee from the outset, and served for a period as 
chairman, the first New Yorker since before the Civil War. I was also, 
at one point, chair of Environment and Public Works. I have been on 
Rules and Administration for the longest while, and for a period was 
also on Foreign Relations. Senators will know that it would be most 
unusual for someone to serve on both Finance and Foreign Relations at 
the same time. An account of how this came about may be of interest.
  The elections of 1986 returned a Democratic majority to the Senate 
and the Democratic Steering Committee, of which I was then a member, 
began its biannual task of filling Democratic vacancies in the various 
standing committees. There are four ``Super A'' committees as we term 
them. In order of creation they are Foreign Relations, Finance, Armed 
Services and Appropriations. With the rarest exceptions, under our 
caucus rules a Senator may only serve on one of these four.
  There were three vacancies on Foreign Relations. In years past these 
would have been snapped up. Foreign Relations was a committee of great 
prestige and daunting tasks. Of a sudden however, no one seemed 
interested. The Senate was already experiencing what the eminent 
statesman James Schlesinger describes in the current issue of The 
National Interest as ``the loss of interest in foreign policy by the 
general public'' (p. 110). Two newly-elected Senators were more or less 
persuaded to take seats. At length the Steering Committee turned to me, 
as a former ambassador. I remained on Finance.
  And so I served six years under the chairmanship of the incomparable 
Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island. I treasure the experience--the signing 
and ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), the 
final days of the Cold War. But I continue to be puzzled and troubled 
by our inattention to foreign affairs. To be sure, the clearest 
achievement of this Congress has been in the field of foreign trade, 
with major enactments regarding Africa, the Caribbean, and China. 
These, however, have been the province of the Finance Committee, and it 
was with great difficulty and at most partial success did Chairman Bill 
Roth and I make the connection between world trade and world peace. 
This would have been self-evident at mid-century. I remark, and I 
believe there is a case, that any short list of events that led to the 
Second World War would include the aftermath of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff 
of 1930. Indeed, in the course of the ceremony at which the President 
signed the measure naming possible permanent normal trade relations 
with China in connection with its admission to the World Trade 
Organization, I observed that the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, which 
conceived the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and 
anticipated an international trade organization, opened on the day I 
joined the Navy. For certain there was no connection, but my point was 
simply that in the midst of war the Allies were looking to a lasting 
peace that might follow, and this very much included the absence of 
trade wars.
  But again, how to account for the falling-off of congressional 
involvement in foreign affairs. I offer the thought that the failure of 
our intelligence, in the large sense of term, to foresee--forsooth to 
conceive!--the collapse of the Soviet Union has brought forth a 
psychology of denial and avoidance. We would as soon not think too much 
about all, thank you very much.
  I have recounted elsewhere the 1992 hearings of the Foreign Relations 
Committee on the START I Treaty. Our superb negotiators had mastered 
every mind-numbing detail of this epic agreement. With one exception. 
They had negotiated the treaty with a sovereign nation, the Union of 
Soviet Socialist Republics. Now they brought to us a treaty signed with 
four quite different nations: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. 
When asked when this new set of signatories was agreed to, the 
Committee was informed that this had just recently taken place at a 
meeting in Lisbon. An observer might well have wondered if this was the 
scenario of a Humphrey Bogart movie. The negotiators were admirably 
frank. The Soviet Union had broken up in December 1991. Few, if any, at 
their ``end of the street'' had predicted the collapse. Let me correct 
the record: None had.

  As to the record, I would cite the 1991 article in Foreign Affairs by 
the estimable Stansfield Turner. The Admiral had served as Director of 
Central Intelligence and knew the record. He was blunt, as an admiral 
ought. I cite a passage in Secrecy:
  [Turner wrote,] ``We should not gloss over the enormity of this 
failure to forecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis. We know now 
that there were many Soviet academics, economists and political 
thinkers, other than those officially presented to us by the Soviet 
government, who understood long before 1980 that the Soviet economic 
system was broken and that it was only a matter of time before someone 
had to try and repair it, as had Khrushchev. Yet I never heard a 
suggestion from the CIA, or the intelligence arms of the departments of 
defense or state, that numerous Soviets recognized a growing systemic 
economic problem.'' Turner acknowledged the ``revisionist rumblings'' 
claiming that the CIA had in fact seen the collapse coming, but he 
dismissed them: ``If some individual CIA analysts were more prescient 
than the corporate view, their ideas were filtered out in the 
bureaucratic process; and it is the corporate view that counts because 
that is what reaches the president and his advisors. On this one, the 
corporate view missed by a mile. Why were so many of us insensitive to 
the inevitable?
  Just as striking is the experience of General George Lee Butler, 
Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) from 1990 to 1994. 
Again to cite from Secrecy.
  As the one responsible for drafting the overall U.S. strategy for 

[[Page S11838]]

war, Butler had studied the Soviet Union with an intensity and level of 
detail matched by few others in the West. He had studied the footage of 
the military parades and the Kremlin, had scrutinized the deployments 
of Soviet missiles and other armaments: ``In all, he thought of the 
Soviet Union as a fearsome garrison state seeking global domination and 
preparing for certain conflict with the West. The only reasonable 
posture for the United States, he told colleagues, was to keep 
thousands of American nuclear weapons at the ready so that if war broke 
out, Washington could destroy as much of the Soviet nuclear arsenal as 
possible. It was the harrowing but hallowed logic of nuclear 
deterrence.'' But Butler began having doubts about this picture, upon 
which so much of U.S. foreign policy was based, by the time of his 
first visit to the Soviet Union, on December 4, 1988. When he landed at 
Sheremetyevo Airport, on the outskirts of Moscow, he thought at first 
that the uneven, pockmarked runway was an open field. The taxiways were 
still covered with snow from a storm two days earlier, and dozens of 
the runway lights were broken. Riding into downtown Moscow in an 
official motorcade, Butler noticed the roads were ragged, the massive 
government buildings crumbling. He was astonished when the gearshift in 
his car snapped off in his driver's hand. After pouring over thousands 
of satellite photos and thirty years' worth of classified reports, 
Butler had expected to find a modern, functional industrialized 
country; what he found instead was ``severe economic deprivation.'' 
Even 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 
with a caricature all those years.''
  General Butler was right. More than he might have known. This fall 
former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski estimated that the 
economy of ``Russia is one-tenth the size of America and its industrial 
plant is about three times older than the OECD average.'' The 
population has dropped from 151 million in 1990 to 146 million in 1999. 
Infant mortality is devastating. Far from overwhelming the West, it is 
problematic as to whether Russia can maintain a presence east of the 
Ural Mountains. If you consider that the empire of the Czars once 
extended to San Francisco we can judge the calamity brought about by 
sixty-some years of Marxist-Leninism.
  And yet we did not judge. To say again, the United States government 
had no sense of what was coming, not the least preparation for the 
implosion of 1991.
  In 1919, John Reed, a Harvard graduate, and later a Soviet agent 
wrote Ten Days that Shook the World, his celebrated account of the 
Russian Revolution, as it would come to be known, in October 1917. In 
no time these events acquired mythic dimension for intellectuals and 
others the world over. At Harvard, Daniel Bell would patiently guide 
students through the facts that there were two Russian Revolutions; the 
first democratic, the second in effect totalitarian. But this was lost 
on all but a few.
  It would appear that the Soviet collapse was so sudden, we were so 
unprepared for it, that we really have yet to absorb the magnitude of 
the event. It was, after all, the largest peaceful revolution in 
history. Not a drop of blood was shed as a five hundred year old empire 
broke up into some twelve nations, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, 
Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, 
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, whilst formerly independent 
nations absorbed into the Soviet Bloc, Poland, the Czech Republic, 
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia et al., regained their independence. In the 
aftermath there has been no book, no movie, no posters, no legend.
  To the contrary, weak Russia grows steadily weaker--possibly to the 
point of instability, as shown in the miserable events in Chechnya. We 
see a government of former agents of the intelligence services and the 
secret police. We see continued efforts at increasing armament. Witness 
the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk. We see the return of the 
red flag. We see little engagement with the West, much less the East 
where China looms with perhaps ten times the population and far more 
economic strength.
  And the United States? Apart from a few perfunctory measures, and one 
serious, the Nunn-Lugar program, almost no response. To the contrary, 
at this moment we have, as we must assume, some 6,000 nuclear weapons 
targeted on Russia, a number disproportionate at the height of the Cold 
War, and near to lunacy in the aftermath. When, as Senator Lugar 
estimates, the Russian defense budget has declined to $5 billion a 
  What is more, other than the highest echelon of the Pentagon, no 
doubt some elements of the intelligence community, possibly the 
Department of State, no American knows what the targeting plan is. In 
particular, Members of Congress, possibly with very few exceptions, do 
not know. Are they refused information? Just recently, our esteemed 
colleague, J. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska, wrote the Secretary of 
Defense, William S. Cohen, a former colleague of ours, to set forth the 
facts of this insane situation.
  There are signs that an open debate concerning nuclear weapons may be 
afoot. In The Washington Post recently, we learn of the response to a 
proposal by Stephen M. Younger, associate director of Los Alamos 
National Laboratory and head of its nuclear weapons work, proposing a 
great reduction in the number of massive weapons now in our arsenal in 
favor of smaller devices intended to deal with much smaller engagements 
than those envisioned during the Cold War. The Post reports that we now 
have some 7,982 warheads linked to nine different delivery systems, 
ICBMs, SLBMs and bombers. These are scheduled to decline to 3,500, half 
on Trident II submarines, under the Start II agreement. Younger argues 
that still fewer are needed. Any one of which would wipe out any large 
city on earth. It appears that other experts believe that a few dozen 
to several hundred of today's high-yield warheads would suffice to 
manage the standoff with Russia or China. There is, perhaps more 
urgently, the matter of nuclear weapons in what are for some reason 
still called Third World nations, a relic of Cold War usage. Nuclear 
standoff has settled into the South Asian subcontinent. The prospect 
that an ``Islamic Bomb'' will migrate westwards from Pakistan is real 
enough. It may be happening at this moment. The more then do we need 
open debate. The more urgent then is Senator Kerrey's assertion that 
Congress be involved. His profound observation that ``Sometimes secrecy 
produces its opposite; less safety and security.''
  I have remarked on how little notice has been taken of the Russian 
revolution of 1989-91. By contrast, the ``information revolution'' has 
become a fixture of our vocabulary and our pronouncements on the widest 
range of subjects, and at times would seem to dominate political 
discourse. It might do well to make a connection as Francis Fukuyama 
does in the current issue of Commentary. In his review of a new book by 
George Gilder with the suggestive title Telecom: How Infinite Bandwidth 
Will Revolutionize Our World, Fukuyama makes the connection.
  Why, then, do those convinced that the revolution is already 
triumphant shake their heads so sadly at those of us who ``just don't 
get it?'' True, people want to feel good about themselves, and it helps 
to believe that one is contributing to some higher social purpose while 
pursuing self-enrichment. But it must also be conceded that the 
information-technology revolution really does have more going for it 
than previous advances in, say, steam or internal combustion (or, one 
suspects, than the coming revolution in biotechnology).
  The mechanization of production in the 19th and early 20th centuries 
rewarded large-scale organization, routinization, uniformity, and 
centralization. Many of the great works of imagination that accompanied 
this process, from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times to Aldous Huxley's 
Brave New World, depicted individuals subsumed by huge machines, often 
of a political nature. Not so the information revolution, which usually 
punishes excessively large scale, distributes information and hence 
power to much larger groups of people, and rewards intelligence, risk, 
creativity and education rather than obedience and regimentation. 

[[Page S11839]]

one would not wish to push this too far, it is probably no accident 
that the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes did not survive 
the transition into the information age.
  Is it possible to hope that we might give some serious thought to the 
possible connection? And to ask ourselves just how we measure up in 
this regard?
  That said, is it not extraordinary and worrying that of a sudden we 
find ourselves in a state of great agitation concerning security 
matters all across our government, from our nuclear laboratories at 
home to embassies abroad to the topmost reaches of government? The late 
Lars-Erik Nelson described it as ``spy panic.'' In the process the 
possibility emerges that our national security will be compromised to a 
degree unimaginable by mere espionage. The possibility is that we could 
grievously degrade the most important institutions of foreign and 
defense policy--our capacity for invention and innovation--through our 
own actions.

  Take the matter of the loss, and evident return in clouded 
circumstances of two hard drives containing sensitive nuclear 
information from the Nuclear Energy Search Team at Los Alamos National 
Laboratory. This June, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson asked two of 
our wisest statesmen, the Honorable Howard H. Baker, Jr., and the 
Honorable Lee H. Hamilton, to enquire into the matter. Here are the Key 
Findings of their report of September 25th.
  While it is unclear what happened to the missing hard drives at Los 
Alamos National Laboratory, it is clear that there was a security lapse 
and that the consequences of the loss of the data on the hard drives 
would be extremely damaging to the national security.
  Among the known consequences of the hard-drive incident, the most 
worrisome is the devastating effect on the morale and productivity of 
LANL, which plays a critical national-security role for the Nation.
  The current negative climate is incompatible with the performance of 
good science. A perfect security system at a national laboratory is of 
no use if the laboratory can no longer generate the cutting-edge 
technology that needs to be protected from improper disclosure.
  It is critical to reverse the demoralization at LANL before it 
further undermines the ability of that institution both to continue to 
make its vital contributions to our national security, and to protect 
the sensitive national-security information that is critical to the 
fulfillment of its responsibilities.
  Urgent action should be taken to ensure that Los Alamos National 
Laboratory gets back to work in a reformed security structure that will 
allow the work there to be successfully sustained over the long term.
  Almost alone among commentators, Lars-Erik Nelson pursued the matter, 
describing the interviews Senator Baker and Representative Hamilton had 
with lab personnel.
  They now report that ``the combined effects of the Wen Ho Lee affair, 
the recent fire at [Los Alamos] and the continuing swirl around the 
hard-drive episode have devastated morale and productivity at [Los 
  The employees we met expressed fear and deep concern over the . . . 
yellow crime-scene tape in their workspace, the interrogation of their 
colleagues by . . . federal prosecutors before a grand jury and the 
resort of some of their colleagues to taking a second mortgage on their 
homes to pay for attorney fees.
  There is no denying that Lee and whoever misplaced the computer 
drives committed serious breaches of security. But the resulting threat 
to our safety is only theoretical; the damage to morale, productivity 
and recruitment is real.
  Employees were furious at being forced to take routine lie-detector 
tests, a requirement imposed on them by a panicky Secretary of Energy. 
. . .
  Obviously, there is a need for security in government. A Los Alamos 
employee gave Baker and Hamilton an obvious, easy solution. 
Unfortunately, it will be the one most likely to be adopted: ``The 
safest 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 
Secrecy (of which more later), a Commission member, then-Director of 
Central Intelligence John M. Deutch, revealed to the American people 
the extraordinary work of the VENONA project, an enterprise of the Army 
Security Agency during and after World War II. During the war the 
agency 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 
us, buoyant and brilliant as ever--``broke'' the first. Dated 2 
December 1944, it was a list of the principal nuclear scientists at Los 
Alamos. Bethe, Bohr, Fermi, Newman, Rossi, Kistiakowsky, Segre, Taylor, 
Penney, Compton, Lawrence and so on. The Soviets knew, and in time 
stole essentials of the early atom bomb. But what they could not do, 
was to slow down or deter the work of these great men, who would take 
us further into the age of the hydrogen bomb. Next, their successors to 
yet more mind-bending feats. The Soviets could not stop them. Would it 
not 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 
physics, enquire as to how many ``post-docs'' are interested in weapons 
research, given the present atmosphere. To work at one-third the salary 
available elsewhere, and take lie detector tests.
  And then there is intelligence. Nelson quotes a ``former top 
intelligence official'' who told him, ``If you're not taking secrets 
home, you're not doing your job.'' And yet here we are harassing John 
M. Deutch, a scientist of the greatest achievement, a public servant of 
epic ability for--working at home after dinner. Would it be too far-
fetched to ask when will the next Provost of the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology choose to leave the banks of the Charles River 
for the swamps of the Potomac?
  Now I don't doubt that, as opposed to an intelligence official, there 
are ambassadors who don't take their work home at night. Over the years 
the United States has created a number of postings with just that 
attraction. But these are few. The great, overwhelming number of our 
ambassadors and their embassy associates are exceptional persons who 
have gone in harm's way to serve their country. I was ambassador to 
India at the time our ambassador to Sudan and an aide were abducted 
from a reception by Islamic terrorists, spirited away and murdered. 
Some days later the Egyptian envoy in New Delhi asked to see me. He had 
a message from then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to tell me that 
their intelligence sources reported I would be next. It is a not 
uncommon occurrence. But nothing so common as taking work home, or 
working in a--usually heavily armored--embassy limousine. Ask any 
former ambassador to Israel. Our embassy in Tel Aviv is an hour's drive 
from the capital in Jerusalem. The drive up and back is routinely used 
to dictate memoranda of conversation, type them on a laptop. Whatever. 
This fall, the superbly qualified, many would say indispensable 
ambassador to Israel, Martin S. Indyk, was stripped of his security 
clearances for just such actions. I cite Al Kamen's account in The 
Washington Post.
  Just the other day, ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk was deep 
into the State Department doghouse for ``suspected violations'' of 
security regulations. His security clearance was suspended, so he 
couldn't handle classified materials. He needed an escort while in the 
State Department building. The department's diplomatic security folks 
wanted him to stay in this country until their investigation was 
  At a White House briefing Monday, a reporter asked if Indyk could 
``function 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 
just recently reporting from Pyongyang on the psychotic security 
measures in the capital of North Korea. Eerily similar antics were to 
be encountered on September 30, Ms. Perlez reported:

 State Dept. Unfreezes Hundreds of Promotions After Delay for Security 

       Washington, Sept. 29.--A continuing security crackdown at 
     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 

[[Page S11840]]

     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 of 
     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 
     security matters.
       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 
     Soviet republics.
       ``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 
hands'' from the Department of State during the McCarthy era. As our 
Commission established with finality, there was indeed a Soviet attack 
on American diplomacy and nuclear development during and after World 
War II. There were early and major successes. The design of the first 
atom bomb. But not much else, and for not much longer. The real 
damage--the parallels are eerie--to American security came from the 
disinclination of the intelligence community--then largely in the 
Army--to share information with ``civilians.'' Specifically, documents 
obtained from the F.B.I. indicate that President Truman was never told 
of the Army Signals Security Agency's decryptions of Soviet cables 
during and after the war. He thought the whole business of Communist 
spying was a ``red herring.'' In 1953 he termed Whittaker Chambers and 
Elizabeth Bentley ``a crook and a louse.'' American diplomacy and the 
Department of State in particular were for years haunted by charges 
they could readily have dealt with had they but known what their own 
government knew. And who issued the instruction that the President was 
not to be told? General Omar N. Bradley whom the President had made 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Admittedly it is hard to prove 
a 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 
it, Deputy CIA historian Michael Warner votes with the judgment I 
offered earlier in my book ``Secrecy.''
  What might it be that Secretary Albright needs to know today but has 
not been told? A generation hence we might learn. If, that is, the 
current secrecy regime goes unaltered.
  For the moment, however, I have further distressing news for 
Ambassador Stapleton if he should have occasion to return to the 
Department of State main building for one or another reason. I have 
just received a copy of a letter sent to David G. Carpenter, Assistant 
Secretary of State for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Another 
recently retired Ambassador, a statesman of large achievement and 
impeccable reputation recently called at Main State, to use their term. 
He was frisked at the entrance. He was allowed into the building, but 
assigned an ``escort,'' who accompanied wherever he went. Including, 
the ambassador writes, ``the men's room.''
  It is difficult not to agree with the Ambassador's assessment that 
``the `escort' policy is insulting and totally out of proportion to any 
desired enhancement of security.'' But then so is so much of security 
policy as it has evolved over the past sixty years.
  What is to be done? Surely we must search for a pattern in all this. 
Our Commission proposed a simple, direct formation. Secrecy is a form 
of regulation.
  In the previous Congress, legislation was prepared to embody the 
essentials of the Commission recommendations. All classified materials 
would bear the name and position of the person assigning the 
classification and the date, subject to review, that the classification 
would expire. It is not generally realized, but apart from atomic 
matters, under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and a few other areas 
there is no law stipulating what is to be classified Confidential, 
Secret, Top Secret--and there are numerous higher designations. It is 
simply a matter of judgement for anyone who has a rubber stamp handy. 
Our bill was unanimously reported from the Committee on Governmental 
Affairs, under the fine chairmanship of Senator Fred Thompson, with the 
full support of the then-ranking Committee member, our revered John 
Glenn. But nothing came of it. The assorted government agencies, 
covertly if you like, simply smothered it. The bureaucracy triumphed 
once more. Thomas Jefferson's dictum that ``An informed citizenry is 
vital to the functioning of a democratic society'' gave way before the 
self-perpetuating interests of bureaucracy.
  I am pleased to report that this year's Intelligence Authorization 
bill, which is now at the White House awaiting President Clinton's 
signature, includes the Public Interest Declassification Act. The 
measure establishes a nine-member ``Public Interest Declassification 
Board'' of ``nationally recognized experts'' who will advise the 
President and pertinent executive branch agencies on which national 
security documents should be declassified first. Five members of the 
Board will be appointed by the President and four members will be 
appointed by the Senate and the House.
  The Board's main purpose will be to help determine declassification 
priorities. This is especially important during a time of Congress' 
continual slashing of the declassification budgets. In addition to the 
routine systematic work required by President Clinton's Executive Order 
12958, the intelligence community is also required to process Freedom 
of Information Act requests, Privacy Act requests, and special searches 
levied primarily by members of Congress and the administration.
  There is a need to bring order to this increasingly chaotic process. 
This Board may just provide the necessary guidance and will help 
determine how our finite declassification resources can best be 
allocated among all these competing demands.
  My hope is that the Board will be a voice within the executive branch 
urging restraint in matters of secrecy. I have tried to lay out the 
organizational dynamics which produce ever larger and more intrusive 
secrecy regimes. I have sought to suggest how damaging this can be to 
true national security interests. But this is a modest achievement 
given the great hopes with which our Commission concluded its work. I 
fear that rationality is but a weak foil to the irrational. In the end 
we shall need character as well as conviction. We need public persons 
the stature of George P. Shultz, who when in 1986 learned of plans to 
begin giving lie detector tests for State Department employees, calmly 
announced that the day that program began would be the day he submitted 
his resignation as Secretary of State. And so of course it

[[Page S11841]]

did not begin. And yet with him gone, the bureaucratic imperative 
  And so Mr. President, I conclude my remarks, thanking all my fellow 
Senators present and past for untold courtesies over these many years.


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