OPENING STATEMENT
BY
JOHN CONYERS, JR.

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON LEGISLATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY
AN OVERSIGHT HEARING
ON
THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PATRIOT MISSILE IN THE GULF WAR
TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 1991

THIS HEARING WILL PRESENT THE RESULTS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE'S FIVE-MONTH INVESTIGATION INTO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PATRIOT MISSILE SYSTEM IN THE GULF WAR.

THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLEX AND FASCINATING. IT IS A STORY OF HOW WE PROJECTED WHAT WE WANTED TO BELIEVE ONTO THE TV SCREEN. IT'S ABOUT HOW A GOVERNMENT CAN MANIPULATE OUR UNDERSTANDING BY CONTROLLING INFORMATION AND MEDIA ACCESS. AND IT'S ABOUT HOW GOVERNMENT CAN MISUSE SECRECY AND CLASSIFICATION TO HIDE THE TRUTH.

DURING THE WAR WE ALL WATCHED THE TELEVISION IN AWE. WE THOUGHT WE SAW THE PATRIOT STREAKING SKYWARD, DESTROYING EVERY SCUD THAT CAME IN RANGE. WE SAW THE FIREBALLS. WE HEARD THE EXPLOSIONS. WE SAW THE JUBILATION OF THE TROOPS, AND WE HEARD THE PRIDE IN THE OFFICIALS' VOICES AS THEY ANNOUNCED DAY AFTER DAY, "SCUDS INTERCEPTED AND DESTROYED."

WE WERE - AND STILL ARE - PROUD OF THE TROOPS WHO PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE. WE WERE - AND STILL ARE - PROUD OF THE DEFENSE WORKERS WHO TOILED TO BUILD THE PATRIOT, SOME OF WHOM HAVE SINCE BEEN LAID OFF.

WE THOUGHT THE PATRIOT WAS NEAR PERFECT.

WE WERE WRONG.

AS SHERLOCK HOLMES SAID, "WE SEE BUT WE DO NOT OBSERVE." AS A RESULT OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE'S INVESTIGATION WE NOW HAVE A MUCH CLEARER PICTURE OF WHAT HAPPENED A YEAR AGO IN THE GULF WAR. IRONICALLY, THE MORE INFORMATION WE HAVE, THE LESS SUCCESSFUL THE PATRIOT SEEMS.

I CAN SUMMARIZE A FEW OF THE PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS OF THIS INVESTIGATION.

WE WILL NEVER HAVE THE FULL STORY OF THE PATRIOT UNLESS THE ARMY'S ANALYSIS IS DECLASSIFIED FOR ALL TO SEE. BUT WE KNOW ENOUGH TO WANT THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TO ORDER AN INDEPENDENT EVALUATION OF THIS ANALYSIS BY A GROUP THAT DOES NOT HAVE AN INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME.

I WROTE SECRETARY CHENEY SIX WEEKS AGO REQUESTING BOTH DECLASSIFICATION AND AN OBJECTIVE REVIEW. THE SECRETARY REFERRED MY LETTER TO THE ARMY. I HAVE NOT HAD A FORMAL REPLY, BUT HAVE BEEN TOLD INFORMALLY THAT THE ANSWER IS NO, AND NO.

I DO HOPE THE SECRETARY WILL RECONSIDER.

SOME EXPERTS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE PUBLIC VIDEO EVIDENCE REVEALS PROOF OF PATRIOT FAILURE. THIS SUBCOMMITTEE'S INVESTIGATION DID NOT LOOK FOR FAILURE, WE LOOKED FOR PROOF OF PATRIOT SUCCESS. WE LOOK FOR EVIDENCE THAT SOME OF THE 159 PATRIOTS LAUNCHED IN THE WAR DESTROYED SCUD WARHEADS. TODAY WE ARE GOING TO HEAR THE PRELIMINARY FINDINGS.

WITHOUT OBJECTION, I WILL SUBMIT A SUMMARY OF THESE FINDINGS FOR THE RECORD.

SUMMARY OF PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

THIS IS A COMPLEX AND CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE. MANY LIVES AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE AT STAKE. I ASK THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND AS WE PROCEED THROUGH THE TESTIMONY TODAY.

BUT LET US ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT IN FUTURE CONFLICTS, WE COULD UNNECESSARILY ENDANGER SOLDIERS' LIVES IF WE DEPLOY PATRIOT BASED ON OPTIMISTIC ASSESSMENTS OF ITS CAPABILITIES. IF AMERICAN SOLDIERS THINK THEY CAN DEPEND ON PATRIOT BATTALIONS DESTROYING 9 OUT OF 10 ENEMY MISSILES, WHEN THE ACTUAL DEFENSIVE CAPABILITIES MAY BE CLOSER TO 1 OUT OF 50, IT COULD BE A DISASTER.

IF WE KNOW THAT, BUT REFUSE TO ADMIT IT, THEN THE OFFENSE IS CRIMINAL. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING I INTEND TO ALLOW.

I NOW TURN TO DISTINGUISHED LEADER, MY FRIEND, THE GENTLEMAN FROM NEW YORK, THE HONORABLE FRANK HORTON. IN DOING SO, I NOTE THAT WE HAVE TRIED OUR BEST TO RESPOND TO ALL THE REQUESTS OF THE MINORITY FOR THIS HEARING. HOPEFULLY THE MINORITY MEMBERS FEEL THE SAME WAY.

STATEMENT OF THE CHAIRMAN
INTRODUCING THE WITNESSES

THIS HEARING HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO PROCEED STEP BY STEP THROUGH THE MAZE OF CONFLICTING CLAIMS AND TO ALLOW ALL SIDES A FAIR HEARING.

FIRST, SOME OF OUR CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS WILL REPORT THE RESULTS OF THEIR REVIEW OF THE ARMY'S EVALUATION. THIS EVALUATION HAS BEEN THE SOLE BASIS FOR CLAIMS OF PATRIOT SUCCESS UP UNTIL TODAY. MUCH OF THE DATA IN THAT ANALYSIS REMAINS CENTRAL TO THE ARMY'S UPDATED EVALUATION.

NEXT WE WILL HEAR A SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE FROM THE ISRAELI EXPERIENCE FROM ONE OF THAT COUNTRY'S RECOGNIZED DEFENSE EXPERTS.

THEN WE WILL EXAMINE CLAIMS THAT THE VIDEO RECORDINGS OF ATTEMPTED. PATRIOT INTERCEPTS CAN PROVIDE MEANINGFUL DATA. THESE CLAIMS WILL BE CHALLENGED BY TWO WITNESSES CHOSEN BY THE MINORITY AT THE SUGGESTION OF THE RAYTHEON COMPANY.

RAYTHEON COMPANY WILL THEN SPEAK FOR ITSELF, FOLLOWED BY A PRESENTATION BY THE ARMY OF THEIR LATEST ANALYSIS.