The presidential election of 2004 may be just as close as the presidential election of 2000. Once again, the outcome could be determined by a handful of votes in a single state.
Yet, the stakes in this election are enormous. While the vote margin between President Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry may turn out to be small, the differences in where they intend to take the country are vast.
Kerry is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. But he has labored in this campaign–and especially at the Democratic National Convention in Boston–to hide his true beliefs and obscure his record.
In “The Case Against Kerry,” HUMAN EVENTS sets the record straight, unmasking the plain truth of what John Kerry has done in two decades in the U.S. Senate.
In the 1990s, John Kerry repeatedly advocated cutting funding for the U.S. intelligence community, and voted for such cuts in the U.S. Senate. Immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks–in a typical flip-flop–Kerry posed as a critic of weak intelligence gathering.
“And the tragedy is, at the moment, that the single most important weapon for the United States of America is intelligence,” said Kerry on the Sept. 23, 2001, edition of CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It’s the single most important weapon in this particular war, unlike other wars where it was overwhelming force or air force or something. And we are weakest, frankly, in that particular area. So it’s going to take us time to be able to build up here to do this properly.”
Yet, today, Kerry criticizes President Bush for his management of the nation’s intelligence services and attacks him for “providing less than one-third of the funds our intelligence services requested for key counter-terrorism programs.”
In the decade prior to Sept. 11, 2001, even while serving on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1993-2001), Kerry was anything but an advocate of a strong and well-funded intelligence community.
According to official records, he missed 76% of the committee’s public meetings during this period. In 1994, the year after the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, he failed to attend a single public meeting of the committee. Most significantly, he failed to attend the committee’s June 8, 2000, hearing at which the National Commission on Terrorism delivered its report on terrorist threats facing the United States. His attendance record for closed-door Intelligence Committee meetings has not been released.
Kerry’s campaign ham-handedly tried to burnish his credentials by claiming that Kerry was “the former vice chairman” of the Intelligence Committee.” But it turned out that was Sen. Bob Kerrey (D.-Neb.).
The Kerry campaign also challenged President Bush to say whether he had read the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq before taking the country to war in Iraq. While this NIE was specifically produced for the U.S. Senate at the request of the Senate (the President had his own intelligence reports on Iraq), it turned out that Kerry himself had not read it before voting to authorize war. “Along with other senators, he was briefed on the contents of the N.I.E. by [CIA Director] George Tenet and other administration intelligence officials,” a Kerry spokesman later conceded.
Kerry has anchored his own party’s far-left on intelligence issues. In 1994, he proposed cutting the intelligence budget by $6 billion across the board. After the Senate rejected this proposal by a 20-to-75 vote, Kerry introduced legislation the following year seeking to cut $1.5 billion from the intelligence budget. He could not find a single co-sponsor for this bill, however, and it never came up for a vote.
Then-Senate Intelligence Chairman Dennis DeConcini, an Arizona Democrat, led the opposition to Kerry’s 1994 proposal to cut the intelligence budget by $6 billion. On the Senate floor, DeConcini said: “Mr. President, the Kerry amendment includes a $1 billion cut in fiscal year 1994 and $5 billion over the next five years from intelligence activities…Last year I was able to put the votes together in the Intelligence Committee for a $1.2 billion reduction in fiscal year 1994 intelligence spending. The Senate appropriators cut an additional $100 million from the President’s intelligence request….I continue to believe today that last year’s intelligence cut was as deep as the intelligence community can withstand during its post Cold-War transition….We still face the possibility that U.S. military forces might be deployed around the globe to accomplish a variety of missions….We no longer seem immune from acts of terrorism in the United States and the scourge of narcotics has hardly abated.”
Kerry dissented, believing intelligence could safely be cut even more deeply than President Clinton and the Democratic Senate leadership believed.
Kerry is now waffling on the Patriot Act, which tore down the bureaucratic wall that prevented FBI agents who are investigating criminal acts by terrorists in the United States from reviewing information gathered under warrants issued for counter-intelligence investigations. Kerry voted for the Patriot Act, but now says it compromises “civil liberties.”
|Cut $6 Billion from Intelligence Budget||FOR:HR 3759, Vote #39, 2/10/94.|
|Cut $1.5 Billion from Intelligence Budget||FOR:Sponsored and introduced S 1290, to ‘Reduce the Intelligence budget by $300 million in each of fiscal years 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 9/29/95.’|
|Cut $80 Million from FBI Budget||FOR:HR 2076, Vote #480, 9/29/95.|
|Publicize U.S. Intelligence Budget||FOR:S 1301, Vote #367, 11/10/93.|
|Patriot Act||FOR/AGAINST:Voted for S 3162, Vote #313, 10/25/01; Vows to strip law of key provisions before reauthorizing.|
“Kerry wants ‘to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care.'”
Feb. 18, 1970
“Mr. President, today I am introducing a bill to cut almost $45 billion from the federal deficit over the next five years. This proposal would achieve a radical reduction in the deficit without touching entitlements and without resorting to gimmicks. It would do so merely by cutting programs that are clearly pork-barrel boondoggles.”
plan that included cutting
$6 billion from the intelligence
budget over five years,
Feb. 3, 1994
“I know that this bill, in and of itself, won’t balance the budget, but it is one senator’s commonsense effort to answer the question, ‘If you really want to cut the budget, what would you cut and how would you do it?'”
for the adoption of his
bill that included cutting
$300 million from
the intelligence budget,
Sept. 29, 1995
“And the tragedy is, at the moment, that the single most important weapon for the United States of America is intelligence.” “It’s the single most important weapon in this particular war, unlike other wars where it was overwhelming force or air force or something. And we are weakest, frankly, in that particular area. So it’s going to take us time to be able to build up here to do this properly.”
CBS’s “Face The Nation,”
Sept. 23, 2001
“There are several provisions in the Patriot Act: the sneak-and-peek searches, the roving wiretap, the library pieces, a couple of those, that ought to be changed. We can change them. And at the end of this year, it dies anyway, unless it’s renewed by the United States Senate, because they put a sunset provision in it. And so, if I’m President, I will not allow it to go through with those provisions that have been most disturbing to an awful lot of Americans with respect to civil liberties.”
Campaign speech in
April 13, 2004
“As President, I will strengthen our intelligence capability so that we can more effectively prevent, not just respond to, another terrorist attack.”
July 16, 2004