Congressional Record: February 16, 2005 (Senate)
Page S1445-S1448                       

                       INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to the consideration of S. 384, which the clerk will report by 
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 384) to extend the existence of the Nazi War 
     Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency 
     Working Group for 2 years.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 90 
minutes of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their 
designees. Who seeks recognition?
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to add the 
following members as original cosponsors of S. 384: Senators Coleman, 
Collins, and Santorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I rise this morning to urge support for S. 
384, a bill that would extend a very important law; that is, the Nazi 
War Crimes Disclosure Act. This act launched a mission of discovery, 
and what we have learned from this bill has been extremely disturbing. 
It has been necessary that we learn what we have learned from this 
  I will take a few moments to talk about the act's specific merits, 
but before I do that, there are some people I will thank. First, I 
thank the majority leader and his staff for allowing us time today on 
the Senate floor to debate this measure. I also thank Judiciary 
Chairman Arlen Specter for agreeing some time ago to schedule a hearing 
about our bill. It was not necessary to hold the hearing, but it was 
important that he schedule it. It was his strong support for our 
efforts that allowed us to move so quickly on this issue. Senator 
Specter gave a strong push to all involved to resolve their differences 
and to move forward so we could be in the position that we are today. I 
thank him for his leadership and for his support.
  In 1998, Congress first passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, 
which our friend and colleague the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 
and I introduced, along with my friend Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, 
who introduced it in the House.
  The purpose of this law was to make public previously classified 
information about a terrible part of history, the history of Nazi 
persecution and also the relationship of the U.S. Government to the 
Nazi war criminals in the aftermath of World War II and during the Cold 
  The bill provided that we would disclose, within the constraints of 
national security, the information we had about these Nazi war 
criminals. Undeniably, the Nazi era was one of the darkest chapters in 
human existence and there is a natural tendency not to even want to 
think or talk about it. Congress passed the Nazi war crimes law because 
we understood that we owe it to all those who suffered and died in the 
death camps. We also owe it to their families to bring the whole truth 
to light.
  The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act has been in effect since 1998, and 
it has resulted in a tremendous amount of information. These results 
have been produced primarily through the good efforts of a group called 
the Interagency Working Group, also known as the IWG, which was created 
by that law. By statute, the IWG includes the director of the Holocaust 
Museum, the historian of the Department of State, the Archivist of the 
United States, representatives from the CIA, FBI, Department of 
Justice, specifically the Office of Special Investigations, the 
Department of Defense, and three outside appointees, known as public 
members, who are Elizabeth Holtzman, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Thomas 
  The IWG also includes a number of professional historians and 
archivists, who, along with the public members and the other IWG 
members, took on the task of locating, identifying, and recommending 
documents for declassification, of course always provided as long as 
the declassification posed no threat to national security.
  At this point I think it is important to offer thanks to all the 
members of the IWG for their years of hard work on this project. The 
staff, including the archivists and historians, has done remarkable 
work and has helped to produce a tremendous amount of research on this 
critical project. In particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the 
public members of the IWG--Elizabeth Holtzman, Richard Ben-Veniste and 
Thomas Baer--who have worked without compensation and spent literally 
hundreds and hundreds of hours of their own time on this effort. We 
give them our thanks. They have contributed mightily to the knowledge 
of this terrible era in world history.
  Once the IWG was created, it worked closely with the CIA, the FBI, 
the NSA, the Army, and a number of other agencies to examine and 
evaluate an enormous number of documents. In fact, since 1998, the 
Interagency Working Group has coordinated the single largest 
specifically focused declassification effort in American history. In 
its first year of operation alone, the IWG screened so many documents 
for possible declassification and uncovered so much work to do that 
Congress extended its life in 2001, under the leadership of Senator 
Feinstein, and then again with my sponsorship in 2004.
  At this point, over 100 million documents have been screened for 
possible relevancy, and over 8 million documents have been declassified 
and used to create a book titled, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis. This 
book, which I have right here, now provides us with 15 chapters of 
insight into the Holocaust and the post-World War II era--insight into 
what U.S. Government officials knew and when they knew it. It makes for 
absolutely fascinating reading. We can be assured that, as more 
documents are uncovered and as historians have the opportunity to study 
what has already been uncovered, there will be more articles published, 
more interpretation, more understanding of history.
  When I came to the floor almost 7 years ago to introduce and help 
pass the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, I brought with me several 
aerial U.S. intelligence photographs taken in 1944 of Auschwitz. In the 
photographs, which were discovered by photo analysts from the CIA in 
1978, prisoners were being led into gas chambers. This confirmed that 
our government knew that these atrocities were occurring. What else did 
they know? At that time, we could not be sure.
  Now, however, due in great part to this law, we are much closer to 
answering that question. The book has contributed to our understanding 
of history--much more so than we ever hoped. Let me tell just a couple 
of the many stories this research has uncovered.
  Let me tell a couple of the many stories that this research has 
uncovered so far.
  For example, the historians were able to examine a range of documents 
produced by Gonzalo Montt, the Chilean consul in Prague during the 
early 1940s. Montt was a Nazi sympathizer and, as such, appears to have 
had significant access to Nazi plans regarding ``the Jewish problem'' 
and how the regime was planning to address it--and that plan involved 
moving the Jews into ghettos, expropriating their assets, and 
eventually eradicating the Jewish population.
  British intelligence got access to many of Montt's dispatches to his 
home government and provided them to the United States as early as 
March 1942. Under the law, the IWG recommended that these documents be 
declassified, and our government agreed. These documents show that 
certain officials in our government had some evidence of Nazi 
intentions toward the Jews at least 6 months earlier than had 
previously been known.
  Further, as the authors, themselves, say, these documents show again 

     for many Americans and Britons inside and outside of 
     government, the central, overriding concern during 1939-1945 
     was the war, itself--not the barbaric policies that 
     accompanied it.

  Our job in Congress, at least in passing the law, was not to judge 
history. That is up to historians. That is up to the people who read 
it. That will be up to us, later on. As these documents come out, we 
can begin to judge it.

[[Page S1446]]

  The point is, though, to make this information available, to let the 
truth come out, whatever that truth is. Let these raw documents come 
out to let people make judgments based on those documents. Let 
historians view it. Let historians argue about them. But to get those 
documents out in front of the historians and, ultimately, in front of 
the American people and in front of the world.
  We learn from history. We learn from the truth. What this bill is 
about is getting out the truth.
  Other documents showed other details. For example, in a chapter 
written by Professor Norman J.W. Goda, a professor at Ohio University, 
the book details how the German government, in coordination with a 
number of U.S. and European banks, worked together to funnel money 
illegally expropriated from the accounts of German Jewish nationals 
back to Germany. Although the details are somewhat complex, in essence, 
the German government used these expropriated assets to lure a prior 
generation of German immigrants back to Germany from the United States 
and, essentially, invest in the German war effort.
  A large U.S. bank was intimately involved in this scheme, and 
profited greatly from it. The scheme was discovered in late 1940 by the 
FBI, and it began a lengthy investigation. Rather than shut down the 
operation, the Bureau surveilled the many participants and eventually 
did arrest a large number of them. At some point during the 
investigation, the bank, itself, did cooperate with the investigation 
and was never prosecuted in order to protect FBI and Army intelligence 
sources. Until this project began, this story had never fully been 
  As this book shows and those stories illustrate, this project has 
been a great success, and the IWG has been very effective at their 
task--but the law is due to expire at the end of March and the IWG 
needs more time. Unfortunately, during the course of the last year, the 
IWG and the CIA have had several ongoing disagreements about the 
correct interpretation of the law and what type of disclosure the law 
  After a great deal of effort, the parties have finally come to a 
common understanding of what the law requires. Specifically, it is now 
understood that the law was drafted broadly, so that as much 
information as possible may be released--both about specific Nazi war 
crimes and also about the relationship the U.S. Government had with 
Nazi war criminals in the post World War II and Cold War era.
  With this understanding going forward, the various parties who 
comprise the IWG agree that there is a need for some more time to 
conclude their important work, and I agree, as well. Accordingly, 
yesterday I introduced, along with Senators Feinstein and Cornyn, 
legislation that will extend the life of the IWG for 2 additional 
years, until March 2007. Both the IWG and the CIA agree that 2 years is 
a reasonable amount of time for the extension, and I agree.
  I hope and expect that well within those 2 years, the IWG, working 
closely with the CIA, will be able to examine the remaining documents 
and release the important information that still lays within the files 
of the CIA--unexamined by the public until now. We have come a long way 
and told a large part of the story, and it is time to finish the job.
  Finally, I would like to note for the record the contributions of the 
many people who have helped us to get to where we are today. Once 
again, Senator Specter, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was 
instrumental in putting the power of the Judiciary Committee behind our 
effort to move this issue quickly. I also would like to thank Senator 
Leahy, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, who has been a 
leader on this issue since the beginning, along with our co-sponsors on 
the Committee, Senator Feinstein and Senator Cornyn.
  In the House of Representatives, as I mentioned earlier, 
Representative Carolyn Maloney has been my counterpart and the leader 
on this issue since the beginning. I look forward to working with 
Representative Maloney and with Chairman Davis, Chairman Sensenbrenner 
and Chairman Hoekstra to help move this legislation in the House.
  Of course, I also must recognize the commitment, dedication, and 
vision of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He spent countless 
hours involved in this issue. He knew how important this was to 
deepening our understanding of history. He appreciated the value of 
uncovering this information and what it would mean to those who 
suffered through the Holocaust and their families.
  I also must mention that the CIA, of course, has played a critical 
role in resolving this dispute and moving forward toward the completion 
of this project. I'd like to thank former DCI George Tenet for his 
efforts in that regard and, in particular, mention current DCI Porter 
Goss, who, as a Congressman from Florida, was a cosponsor of the 
original legislation in the House. Again, as I noted earlier, the 
members and staff of the IWG, including the public members, deserve our 
special thanks.
  I should mention again the efforts of leadership and Floor staff, 
particularly Sharon Soderstrom and Laura Dove, for helping to move this 
legislation so quickly and make sure we had the opportunity to consider 
it prior to the expiration of the IWG next month.
  Finally, on a personal note, I thank the staffs of all of the Members 
who have played such a large role on this issue. In particular, I would 
like to recognize the contributions of my former Judiciary Committee 
Staff Director Louis Dupart. Louis was a critical part of the team that 
helped us turn this idea into law back in 1998. Even though he is no 
longer working in the Senate, he has never stopped working to help 
promote this legislation and the effective implementation of the law. 
His ongoing efforts have been crucial to the success of our efforts 
here today.
  Again I urge my colleagues to vote for this important and timely 
legislation to extend our efforts to finally and fully open our files 
regarding this horrific period in history and give the victims of the 
Nazi era and their families as complete an accounting as possible. We 
owe them no less.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am a strong supporter of this bill, and I 
am pleased to again work with Senator DeWine to help ensure that our 
government discloses what it knows about Nazi war criminals and their 
counterparts in the Japanese Imperial Government.
  We passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in 1998, and I had the 
opportunity to work on the bill in the Judiciary Committee. The act 
required U.S. Government agencies to disclose documents in its 
possession that related to Nazi war criminals and was later expanded to 
cover the Japanese Government. Congress took care to respect legitimate 
national security concerns, including exemptions to allow agencies to 
withhold documents under a variety of circumstances, provided they 
reported such withholding promptly to the relevant committees.
  The act also established the Interagency Working Group, IWG, to study 
and report on the documents held by government agencies. Through no 
fault of its own, the IWG has not been able to complete its work, and 
the legislation before us today would extend its life for an additional 
2 years.
  President Clinton instructed agencies to comply fully and rapidly 
with the act. Most have done so. The Central Intelligence Agency, 
however, has until recently insisted on a cramped interpretation of the 
statute that did not accord with congressional intent. The CIA's 
approach if left unquestioned would have denied researchers and the 
American people a complete accounting of U.S. Government information 
about Nazi war criminals.
  The plain reading of the act says that if the CIA, or any other 
agency, possesses documents relating to war criminals, all such 
documents must be disclosed unless a specific statutory exemption 
applies. I understand that the FBI, the Army, and other agencies 
covered by the law adopted that interpretation. The CIA, however, took 
the position that it must disclose only those documents directly 
relating to the individual's criminality.
  In recent weeks, however, under the continued prodding of Senator 
DeWine and the public members of the IWG, the CIA has agreed to revise 
its interpretation of the law and provide the IWG with the additional 
documentation it has sought. Richard Ben-

[[Page S1447]]

Veniste, Elizabeth Holtzman, and Tom Baer, the public members, deserve 
our thanks for their persistent efforts to uncover the whole truth 
about the criminals of World War II that is contained in U.S. 
Government files.
  In addition to providing additional information, the CIA must also 
comply with its obligation under the act to report to the Senate 
Judiciary Committee and the House Government Reform Committee whenever 
it invokes an exemption to avoid disclosing documents. Seven years 
after enactment, we have yet to receive any such report from the CIA, 
even as it declined to disclose a number of documents sought by the 

  The enactment of this law was an important victory for openness in 
government, and it is critical that all agencies offer full compliance. 
I have been a strong supporter of the Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, 
throughout my service in the Senate, and in fact worked to ensure that 
the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act would not inadvertently reduce 
agencies' ordinary obligations under FOIA.
  The actions of this body today are a welcome departure from our 
sometimes complacent attitude toward secrecy. Indeed, I believe this 
Congress has been all too willing to accept the secretive ways of the 
Bush administration. The Bush White House has conducted its 
policymaking behind closed doors to an unprecedented degree, from the 
energy task force to the construction of the legal regime that would 
govern the war on terror. When we have sought to exercise our oversight 
responsibilities, we have frequently been stonewalled.
  This stonewalling is most apparent in the administration's refusal to 
disclose information about the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq, 
and Guantanamo Bay. Nearly 10 months after the world learned of the 
atrocities at Abu Ghraib, those of us in the Congress who strongly 
believe that oversight and accountability are paramount to restoring 
America's reputation as a human rights leader remain stymied in our 
efforts to learn the full truth about how this administration's 
policies trickled down from offices in Washington to cellblocks in Abu 
  We know that the CIA is reluctant to provide documents related to 
Nazi war criminals that are 50 years old and older. How can we expect 
the same agency to willingly disclose information that might implicate 
its own agents for recent violations of international law? The 
administration contends that the prisoner abuse scandal has been fully 
investigated, yet we continue to learn about new abuses in the press. 
Several reports, including a recent article by Jane Mayer in The New 
Yorker, detail the CIA's use of extraordinary rendition to transfer 
terrorism suspects in U.S. custody to the custody of countries where 
they are likely to be tortured, a practice expressly prohibited by 
international law. Other recent reports describe how female 
interrogators at Guantanamo repeatedly used sexually suggestive tactics 
to try to humiliate Muslim prisoners. To fully understand this sad 
chapter in our Nation's history, there needs to be an independent 
investigation of the actions of those involved, from the people who 
committed abuses to the officials who set these policies in motion.
  Even without an independent investigation, we know the genesis of 
this scandal began in Washington, not Abu Ghraib. Based on flawed legal 
reasoning that was contrary to the advice of the State Department and 
military lawyers, the President determined more than 3 years ago that 
suspected members of al-Qaida were not entitled to any protections 
under the Geneva Conventions. Unfortunately, this decision traveled 
down the chain of command and led to the abuses we have seen in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.
  The President's decision to deny suspected terrorists Geneva 
Conventions protections is particularly relevant as we discuss the Nazi 
War Crimes Act. It was in August 1949, in response to the Nazi 
atrocities committed during World War II, that the international 
community adopted the Geneva Convention on Rules of War. The United 
States and most other nations of the world ratified the Conventions to 
ensure that, even in times of war, all nations would be bound by the 
rule of law. More than fifty years later, we must now investigate our 
Nation's failure to remain committed to these laws.
  Finally, as we discuss the commission of war crimes from the World 
War II era, I would like to note the passage in December of the Anti-
Atrocity Alien Deportation Act, which was included in the National 
Intelligence Reform Act. This law, which has already been employed to 
bring removal proceedings against a former Ethiopian government 
official who has been convicted of torture there, expands the grounds 
under which we can deport or deny entry to those who have engaged in 
war crimes and other serious violations of human rights abroad. I began 
introducing this bill in 1999, but it was only in 2004 that we were 
finally able to overcome the opposition of some House Judiciary 
Committee Republicans, with the great help of the lead sponsor of the 
House companion bill, Representative Mark Foley of Florida.
  I support the extension and full compliance with the Nazi War Crimes 
Disclosure Act.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today in support of legislation 
to authorize the extension of the Nazi War Crimes Records Disclosure 
Act and the Japanese Imperial Army Disclosure Act for an additional 2 
  In 1998, Congress passed the Nazi War Crimes Records Disclosure Act 
to ensure that the records of our national security and intelligence 
agencies related to the criminal activities of the Nazi regime could, 
after more than half a century, become public.
  During the 106th Congress, I introduced, and the President signed 
into law, the Japanese Imperial Army Disclosure Act which expanded the 
scope of the original statute to cover war crimes that occurred in the 
Pacific theater.
  That legislation was sought by a large number of Californians who 
believed that there was an effort to keep information about possible 
Japanese Imperial Army abuse of war prisoners from the public record.
  Indeed, both pieces of legislation were much needed because many of 
the records and documents regarding Germany's and Japan's wartime 
activities were classified and hidden in U.S. government archives and 
repositories. Even worse, according to some scholars, some of these 
records were being inadvertently destroyed.
  The statutes were designed to work through an Interagency working 
group which would ensure that the documents that needed to be 
declassified would be declassified, and that the process would occur in 
an orderly and expeditious manner.
  At the time, it was recognized that there could be circumstances 
where classification was still appropriate, so the best way for the 
working group to conduct its work was to do so in coordination with 
other agencies. What we did not recognize was the bureaucratic setbacks 
that the working group would encounter.
  The bottom line here is that the working group did its part and tried 
diligently to meet its deadline. Nevertheless, despite the group's best 
efforts, it appears that delay and confusion on the part of the CIA 
have obstructed its progress.
  As a result, the working group, through no fault of its own, was 
unable to complete this important work within the timetable that the 
legislation contemplated and now requires additional time to finish.
  I find this to be very unfortunate because the time has already long 
since passed for the full truth to come out.
  However, I have been assured that the intelligence community, in 
general, and the CIA, in particular, have a renewed understanding of 
the importance of this matter and will now work expeditiously with the 
working group until the work is completed.
  With the fast-thinning ranks of our brave American World War II 
veterans, it is all the more imperative that the truth comes out 
sooner, not later. Especially for those that were the victims of war 
crimes, there should be a full accounting of what happened so that old 
wounds have a chance to heal.
  We need to pass this legislation now so the working group can finish 
the work that it has started before it is too late. Our veterans gave 
and risked their lives for this country. The least we can do is provide 
them with the truth before they are all gone.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

[[Page S1448]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senators 
Leahy, Graham, and Allen be added as cosponsors to the bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I yield all time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has been yielded.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill (S. 384) was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, 
was read the third time, and passed, as follows:

                                 S. 384

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       Section 802(b)(1) of the Japanese Imperial Government 
     Disclosure Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-567; 114 Stat. 2865) 
     is amended by striking ``4 years'' and inserting ``6 years''.