CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Tenet Addresses Senate Committee
Aired February 12, 2003 - 10:12 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to begin this morning with the release of that new audiotape that was said to contain a military strategy coming directly from Osama bin Laden for the people of Iraq. Now, the advice on this tape calls for trenches and urban warfare for U.S. troops.
Now, interestingly, these tapes stop short of supporting Saddam Hussein directly, but it tells Arab countries that traditionally supported America that Muslims are the real target of the U.S.
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OSAMA BIN LADEN (through translator): People in Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan, Saudi, and Yemen, it is no secret that this crusade targets the Muslims. Whether the socialist party and Saddam stay or go, for those Muslims, especially in Iraq, have to prepare themselves for jihad.
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HARRIS: Now, for a closer look at this call to arms, we begin with David Ensor. He's our national security correspondent, checking in for us now from Washington where he's been listening to these hearings underway on Capitol Hill -- David.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, this tape will obviously be one of the major topics at the hearing that is going on behind me with George Tenet and Admiral Jacoby. There is a great deal of concern about it in Washington and about whether or not this is a signal of major terrorism to come, as previous tapes from Osama bin Laden have been.
Symptomatic of the situation now in Washington, this hearing got started late, and the chairman came late because one of the major bridges across the Potomac was blocked by police. There were -- there was fear there might be a package under one of the bridges. It turned out to be nothing, but that gives you a sense of the feeling of jitters in this city, and it's even affecting the hearings on Capitol Hill. And you have a full deck of Democrats downstairs, a few are Republicans -- clearly there are going to be some fairly tough of the CIA director today we got the flavor of that a little bit from the ranking Democrat today, Senator Levin. Here's what he said.
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SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: There can be little doubt that Osama bin Laden would like to see the United States and Britain attack Iraq. Keeping the world community together through the U.N. Security Council is exactly what Osama bin Laden doesn't want to see. All of us want Saddam Hussein to be disarmed. The best way to accomplish the goal of disarming Saddam Hussein without war is if the United Nations speaks with one voice relative to Iraq.
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ENSOR: And in that connection, Senator Levin said that he wants to see the CIA give all the evidence, any evidence it might have of weapons of mass destruction or connections to al Qaeda on the part of Iraq, to the U.N. arms inspectors. He argues not all of that has been done, and we'll probably see some to-and-fro on that with George Tenet today -- Leon.
HARRIS: All right. Good deal. We'll let you get back to that hearing, because we want to hear a report from you on what is going on there. David Ensor on Capitol Hill, thanks David.
Now, the Bush administration says that the tape echoes their warning that Iraq and al Qaeda could be forming a new alliance of evil. Well, Ben Venzke is a terrorism analyst with a deep knowledge of intelligence, Middle Eastern policy, and Osama bin Laden. In fact, he's the man who wrote the book, his latest book out now is "The al Qaeda Threat: An Analytical Guide to al Qaeda's Tactics and Targets."
Venzke also developed the manual used by police, paramedics, and the military around the world to respond to chemical and biological attacks, and he joins us this afternoon -- I should say, this morning from Washington. Good to see you again, Ben.
BEN VENZKE, TERRORISM ANALYST: Good to be here.
HARRIS: First of all, let me ask you: you have heard this tape, and you know quite well Osama bin Laden's tactics, his voice and everything. Are you convinced this is his tape?
VENZKE: Yes. Everything I've heard, in looking at the translations and listening to the audio, it does seem to be very consistent with all of the other audiotapes, as well as videotapes that have been released. All right, then. Considering what you know about his tactics, then, why would he release a tape like that right now, a tape that would seem to be basically urging the U.S. -- urging war to actually take place in Iraq, and urging the Iraqi people to fight back?
VENZKE: Well, there's a couple of things here. There has been a consistent release of messages by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, other key al Qaeda members. Just in 2002 there were about 60 such public communications. So there's been a regular pattern. This year, this is about the eighth one this year. The first, however, by Osama bin Laden. This fits perfectly with his constant attempt to try and cast this as a crusader war against all of the Muslims around the world. It helps him with recruiting, it helps him with fund-raising, and it helps him sort of change the opinion of the conflict to rally support for his cause. HARRIS: So you don't read this as an endorsement of Saddam Hussein -- I'm sorry -- yes, of Saddam Hussein? As a matter of fact, what Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday is that he says that this tape shows that Osama is in a partnership with Iraq. Do you interpret this that way?
VENZKE: Well, if we look at just this tape, and set aside the information that Colin Powell presented before the Security Council at the U.N., just looking at this tape, absolutely not. In fact, Osama bin Laden goes so far as to say that, Well, if Saddam falls from power, then -- in essence, So what?
What he is showing his allegiance and alliance with is the Iraqi people, the Muslims, the Arabs in Iraq. That's who he is showing his connection to, not to the Baath Party.
HARRIS: As a matter of fact, he calls the party, and he calls the leadership in Baghdad infidels themselves. And it seems as though -- he says, pretty much, in this transcript that I have read here quite a bit this morning, that if Muslims are to choose between fighting against a crusading force or against an infidel Muslim, then choose the crusader first. Are you suspicious then, at all, in the timing of this, and are you curious at all about how it is that -- or maybe why the administration decided to go ahead and go public with this? After all, they have been telling us for so long now, not to even air any tapes or any messages like this that may come from Osama bin Laden because perhaps there might be some hidden messages in there for his cells around the world?
VENZKE: Well, I think that the timing -- al Qaeda clearly pays extensive attention to how what they say is covered in the media. In actuality, they reorganized how they release messages and communicate and have been more consistent in the themes that they are carrying in their messaging since last fall.
In terms of the U.S. administration and Colin Powell's remarks yesterday, my understanding -- and this could be wrong, is that there was a mix-up in timing where actually Colin Powell believed that the tape would have already been airing on Al-Jazeera and there was some confusion there. But this had been released, and was in circulation as early as the night before within jihadi circles.
HARRIS: All right. Finally, then, real quickly, with that in mind, after hearing this message and reading it, do you believe there was a hidden message in this somehow, some way for a cell around the world?
VENZKE: Bin Laden himself has addressed this in talking about coded messages, and said it's sort of laughable when there's things like FedEx and e-mail and telephone calls and stuff like that. You can't rule it out, but al Qaeda clearly has numerous other methods with which they can communicate, aside from trying to put something in a public pronouncement.
HARRIS: All right. Ben, thanks for hustling your way into the studio today. We appreciate that. We called you on last-minute notice this morning.
VENZKE: Not a problem.
HARRIS: Appreciate it, Ben. No doubt we'll talk with you about this some more in the future. Ben Venzke.
VENZKE: Thank you.
HARRIS: Heidi, over to you.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go ahead now to the executive mansion where Senior White House Correspondent John King is at his post -- good morning to you, John. What are you hearing from the administration about these tapes?
HARRIS: Well, Heidi, good morning to you. We just finished the morning meeting with Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, and he continues to make the case, despite some skepticism being aired here Washington and elsewhere around the world that these tape prove a partnership between Osama bin Laden and the Iraqi government. Many say they read this tape as an effort by Osama bin Laden to forge an alliance with the Iraqi people.
Osama bin Laden in the past and in this tape is critical of the Iraqi government, but Ari Fleischer, the White House Press Secretary saying -- quote -- "this is the nightmare many have worried about," meaning an alliance between a terrorist group and a regime that is believed to have weapons of mass destruction. Ari Fleischer went on to say, "the world cannot afford to be in denial."
So it is clear now that as the administration tries to win support at the United Nations for military confrontation with Iraq, the administration will seize on this tape as proof that it raises the specter of what the administration has long warned about, the possibility that Saddam Hussein would share chemical or biological or other weapons with a terrorist group that clearly has designs on more attacks on the United States, more attacks on friendly governments in the Middle East, and more attacks on U.S. interests overseas. Very clear the administration seizing on this tape to try to strengthen its case for military confrontation with Iraq -- Heidi.
H. COLLINS: All right. John, so what happens next at this point?
KING: Well, what happens next is you have the continuing salesmanship, if you will, of the administration on Capitol Hill, as you see in those hearings today, and the much more difficult task of trying to win over support at the NATO alliance, and more importantly in the view of the Bush administration, at the Security Council.
The president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, traveled to New York yesterday in what we are told was a tough meeting with Hans Blix, the chief inspector. She said that his report on Friday to the United Nations should lay out the facts, and the facts as the White House sees them, is that Iraq is simply not cooperating, not coming anywhere close to meeting the test of the previous U.N. Security Council resolution.
The White House hoping, shortly after that Friday presentation, that it can convince the council, despite the skepticism we see now, to adopt a new resolution that declares that Iraq is continuing to be in material breach of its commitments. The administration would take that as the green light for military confrontation.
H. COLLINS: John King live at the White House this morning. Thanks, John.
HARRIS: Well, let's go back now to those hearings on Capitol Hill. It could be that this tape now, this whole subject could come up in the questioning now of CIA Director George Tenet. You see there Virginia's John Warner. The senator there is now beginning the questions. This is in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), CHAIRMAN: ... U-2 surveillance and other things. What are the risks associated with added time being given? And I mean significant added time to the inspection process.
TENET: Sir, it's my judgment that if you have a process perceived under the circumstances that i have just talked about to you with no compliance of what is expected, the expectation on our part is, his capabilities will continue to grow. His clandestine procurement networks will continue to operate. He will continue to hide and deceive. So I'm not very sanguine about where we are in terms of how he has calculated. He can wait us out and the games that he has been playing in this regard. So that would be my judgment today.
WARNER: There's also the option for Iraq to allow quantities of the weapons of mass destruction, biological, chemical, to find their way into the international terrorists. Am I not correct?
WARNER: ... transported elsewhere in the world.
TENET: Sir, those are always possibilities. We have been very careful about the case we have made and what we have talked about with poisons network. While it may be operating out of no man's land, there's certainly an individual who has been in Baghdad who is supported by a group of individuals who remain in Baghdad, who facilitate not only this network, which there have been a large number of arrests in European countries, but also these individuals in Baghdad have their own plots that they may be pursuing.
So I want to be religious and careful about the evidence that we have and what our concerns are. But certainly how chemical and biological weapons may find their way into other people's hands and terrorist groups is an ongoing concern that we are watching very carefully.
WARNER: Yesterday the intelligence committee met. As a member of that committee, I put this question to you and you gave an answer. And I think it's important that same question and answer be put in today's record. There's been allegations by some world leaders that they do not think Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.
In the event -- and there's no decision yet -- that force must be used by this nation and other nations willing to work with us, and in the aftermath of the battle, when the world (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and go in and examine the sites and so forth, is it your professional judgment that there will be clearly found caches of weapons of mass destruction to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he had them?
Is it your professional judgment that there will be clearly found caches of weapons of mass destruction to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he had them?
TENET: Sir, I believe that we will. I think that when you listened to Secretary Powell's statement to the United Nations you noted a specific intercept that told operational units to ensure that the word "nerve agents" never appeared...
H. COLLINS: We are going to interrupt CIA Director George Tenet, who you see there, before the Senate Armed Services hearing...
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HARRIS: And we are going to go right back to those hearings on Capitol Hill, the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. They're now questioning CIA Director George Tenet. And earlier, he was getting some rather friendly questioning from Senator John Warner of Virginia. Now, the exact opposite case there with Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. Let's listen in.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: I want yesterday's testimony to be put in the record...
WARNER: Without objection.
LEVIN: ... because of the difference, the clear difference between what was stated yesterday and what has been acknowledged today.
I want to talk to you about the value of U-2 flights. Do we support giving the inspectors what they've asked for in terms of U-2 flights?
TENET: Yes, sir, I believe we do.
LEVIN: Even though Saddam isn't cooperative?
TENET: Yes, sir, I think U-2 flights are important, but he's denied -- it's my understanding he's denied UNMOVIC the ability, and we'll see (UNINTELLIGIBLE), to fly these flights.
LEVIN: Indeed, he has not agreed to those U-2 flights as of at least a couple days ago, and we've acquiesced in that.
The United Nations, including us, have never adopted the resolution which Senator Clinton and I have suggested to Mr. Powell that the U.N. tell Saddam, "It's not up to you whether we have useful U-2 flights. That's up to us, the United Nations. We're flying. You attack those U-2s, you are attacking the United Nations." Why shouldn't we do that?
TENET: Sir, I think there's an important question here about whether you're going to fly a U-2 and put a pilot at risk in an environment that is not permissive and that he does not agree to, and I don't think that's an insignificant consideration.
LEVIN: It is a very significant issue, and the underlying issue is much more significant. We're going to put hundreds of thousands of American troops at risk if we attack Saddam and with some huge long- term consequences, as well as the short-term ones that Admiral Jacoby has outlined. That would be done according to the administration even without a U.N. authorized use of force.
What we're suggesting is that the U-2 flights be authorized by the U.N. And when you talk to Mr. Blix, as I have, the chance that Saddam Hussein will attack a U-2 when he knows that by doing that he is attacking the United Nations is so slim compared to the risks involved in war that for us to focus on the risk of a U-2 flight without Saddam's agreement, rather than the importance of imposing the U.N. will on Saddam Hussein. It is incredible to me that we have acquiesce in Saddam Hussein's veto of U-2 flights, which you acknowledge will be helpful or could be helpful to the inspectors.
HARRIS: And while we keep an eye on this hearing right now...
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(INTERRUPTED BY LIVE EVENT)
H. COLLINS: We want to go back to the Senate armed services hearing with CIA Director George Tenet. He is right now being questioned by Senator Ted Kennedy, asking George Tenet whether or not people should, in fact, be storing up water and possibly food and hunkering down due to the latest terror threats. So let's go back and listen in to that.
SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: ... as the efforts that they are making to mobilize the international community and the military in order to engage in a war in Iraq?
TENET: Sir, I can only answer that from where I sit and what I see and what I do every day. And I can tell you that there is on our part and the people we support, an enormous amount of attention being paid to al Qaeda and this threat every day in a very considered and considerable manner.
KENNEDY: This is what Mr. -- yesterday, Mr. Mueller reported: The al Qaeda network will remain for the foreseeable future the most imminent and serious threat facing this country. The organization maintains the ability and the intent to inflict significant casualties in the United States with little warning.
Al Qaeda has developed a support infrastructure inside the U.S. that will allow the network to mount another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, multiple scale attacks against off-targets, banks, shopping centers, supermarkets, apparent apartment buildings, schools, universities, poisoning water and water supplies.
And then al Qaeda will probably continue to favor spectacular facts that meet several criteria, I -- symbolic value, mass casualties, severe damage to the U.S. economy, the maximum psychological trauma.
And then it over finally it gets into: Baghdad has the capability and we presume the will to use biological, chemical or radiological weapons against U.S. domestic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the event of a U.S. invasion, in the event of a U.S. invasion.
And then it continues along: Our particular concern -- this is the head of the FBI -- our particular concern is that Saddam may supply -- may supply -- al Qaeda with biological, chemical or radiological material before -- may supply it before or during a war with U.S. to avenge the fall of his regime.
The best testimony that we have from the head of the FBI is the greatest risk to American service men is either before, during a war with the U.S., the fall of the regime. And Baghdad has the capability to provide -- will use the biological, chemical against the U.S. domestic targets in the event of a U.S. invasion.
Let me get back to you. You were very, very clear what you thought was the imminent threat to the United States, the president did, it was stated a year ago. And I think for most Americans believe particularly what they've heard in the very recent times that this is where it's at. And your reaction (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
TENET: Sir, let me just take a few minutes because you raised a number of important points. Let me put this poisons and gas thing in some context because aren't -- there are 116 people in jail in France, in Spain, in Italy and in Great Britain who received training and guidance out of a network run by an individual who is sitting in Baghdad today and supported by two dozen of his associates.
Now, that is something important for the American people to also understand. Iraq has provided a safe haven in a permissive environment for these people to operate. And the other things that are very compelling to us are -- just so I can close the loop on this issue is, we also know from very reliable information that there's been some transfers, training in chemical and biologicals from the Iraqis to al Qaeda. So we're already in this mix in a way that's very, very important for us to worry about how far it goes, how deep it is is a subject that we'll continue to entertain.
KENNEDY: All right. Just on that point, here we have North Korea that has provided technology and weapons to countries that are directly supporting terrorism; North Korea has in terms of Iran, in terms of Syria, in terms of other countries have definitely done that. They are on the verge, they may very well have two nuclear weapons. We don't have to get into that. But there is no question that they're going to be producing weapons-grade plutonium, which can be made into nuclear weapons within the next few weeks. They have provided the weapons to nations which have supported terrorism.
We don't need another review. We don't need another study. We know that they've done that. Why isn't that a crisis? You refuse to call it a crisis. Why isn't that a crisis? And can you give the assurance to the American people that that is getting as much focus and attention as the mobilization in terms of the military for...
TENET: Sir, if I could answer?
TENET: It is a very serious problem. Jake Jacoby (ph), yesterday, called it a crisis. I called it a serious problem. Let's split the difference. North Korean behavior, they're proliferation activities, they're ballistic missile capabilities, all are very serious issues. They also must be dealt with. Policy-makers are trying to figure out an approach that deals with the Russians, the Chinese, the Japanese and the South Koreans. This is a very important issue.
We are unfortunately in an environment where we have three or four very tough things to do simultaneously. Each approach to each subject will be different for the policy-makers. You've highlighted something that must be dealt -- must be -- dealt with and that we are paying attention to and have to move on because it has serious consequences, as well, sir.
WARNER: Did you have adequate time to reply to that, in your judgment?
TENET: Yes, sir, I believe I did.
WARNER: All right. Thank you.
Senator from Maine?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Tenet, your testimony was that more than a third of the top al Qaeda leadership identified before the war has been either captured or killed.
TENET: Yes, ma'am.
S. COLLINS: Obviously and unfortunately that does not include Osama bin Laden. But do you believe that Osama bin Laden is still in active command of the al Qaeda network or have we been sufficiently successful that we have disrupted his ability to control the network?
TENET: Ma'am, I'd like to talk about all that in closed session with you.
S. COLLINS: You had mentioned that your analysts are just beginning their study of the tape that was released yesterday. Are there any preliminary indications that that tape was intended as a trigger or a signal to cells to attack?
TENET: Ma'am, I think that I would say the following to you. You know that in the previous two instances where he made tapes, on October 6 his remarks were made shortly before the French oil tanker, Limburg, the murder of the U.S. marine in Kuwait, and the Bali bombing; his 12 November statement was 12 days before the bombing in Kenya, the hotel in Kenya. So one of the things we're looking at is, he's obviously raising the confidence of his people. He's obviously exhorting them to do more. And whether this is a signal of impending attack or not is something we're looking at. I can only tell you what the history is.
What he said has often been followed by attacks, which I think corroborates everything that we're seeing in terms of raising the threat warning, in terms of the specific information that we had at our disposal last week.
S. COLLINS: Yesterday, there were media reports that our intelligence has detected the movement of Iraqi Scud launcher equipment next to mosques, that Saddam Hussein has moved explosives to southern Iraq near the oil fields and that he has positioned some of his military forces among civilian areas. Do those developments suggest that if war comes that Saddam is going to pursue a scorched- earth strategy? Do you believe that those developments are substantiated? If vice admiral would like to respond that would be fine, too.
LOWELL JACOBY, DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Senator, there's a pattern over a considerable number of years and it's being played out today. Saddam intermingling combatants in civilian population. It's part of the strategy to, you know, to blend and to use the term human shields is part of his approaches, and that continues.
The parts of the question having to do with current disposition of forces, I'd like to take on in closed session, if I could? And I can give you some specifics about where he is and some of the issues that are being presented.
S. COLLINS: That would be fine.
Mr. Tenet, I'm also troubled by press reports this week that the Iranian government intends to develop uranium mines in the southern part of its country. While Iranian officials have contended that this step has been undertaken to address civilian energy needs, I'm concerned about the implications for Iran's nuclear arms program. Could you please comment on that?
TENET: Yes, ma'am. We're concerned, as well. We're going to follow-up on all of that reporting. We have some very specific data for the classified session of specifically where the Iranian nuclear program is today, people who are supplying it may not be supplying it. There have been some improvements in Russian behavior in this regard. But all of this is of a piece and it comes back to my serious concern about how many countries are pursuing nuclear weapons, how many countries are developing an indigenous capability to do so, and the amount of foreign assistance that's available from foreign states and networks that really make this a formidable challenge when you lash it up to ballistic missile proliferation, whether it's medium or longer- range ballistic missile.
S. COLLINS: Has Iran been an impediment to the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan?
TENET: Well, I think you that in the diplomatic part of this when they went to Bonn and set this government up, I believe the record is the Iranians were quite helpful diplomatically in creating this government. I think that the Iranian -- every country on the border of Afghanistan naturally has its own agenda.
We initially in the conflict were concerned about Iranian assistance or safe haven or conduit to Taliban and al Qaeda remnants.
So remember, you've got two governments you are really dealing two faces in a country like Iran, the spiritual leader and then President Khatami and their control of different services often create different pictures of this government's activity inside Afghanistan. But your specific question, they are very cooperative in Bonn as near as I can tell.
S. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: We thank you.
The senator from West Virginia?
SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, a transcript of the bin Laden case has been available for at least 24 hours. Secretary of State Powell mentioned it yesterday morning. This nation is at a heightened level of terrorist threat. We don't have the luxury of time to analyze the bin Laden case today. Surely you have completed at least a preliminary analysis of the case. What conclusions have you drawn thus far? And please be as brief as you can, because my time is short.
TENET: As I said, I believe the tape represents and exhortation to his followers. I believe he is trying to raise their confidence. And we know from previous tapes that previous tapes occurred roughly prior to previous attacks that have recently occurred. So the surface is very concerning to us. And whether there is any other operational signal in this tape or something we can glean at, we will work on and get back to you on, sir.
BYRD: Are there reports that the tape has evidence of a connection between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein credible? Let me repeat that. Are there reports that the tape is evident of a present and/or past connection between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein credible? TENET: Sir, what he says in the tape is unprecedented in terms of the way he expresses solidarity with Baghdad. And he just -- is interesting, he talks about fighting alongside Iraqi socialists who he has generally considered un-Islamic, to defeat the crusaders. We would be the crusaders. The Israelis would be the crusaders. So I'm trying to get underneath all of that to understand what all this allusion and symbolism is.
But on the surface -- and that's why I want to be precise when I come back to you -- on the surface, he appears to be making some kind of a linkage here, perhaps for his own purposes. Whether he is aligning himself with the Iraqi government, as it appears, or he is speaking to the Iraqi people, I just want to be very precise when I comment on this. But it's a bit alarming that he did it this way.
BYRD: And how do you feel about the reference to the word infidel as applied to the Iraqis?
TENET: Well, it goes back, I think, sir, to historical allusions that he has made about who is pure and who is not pure. Iraq has always been a more secular society. It's a distinction tat people have tried to make, particularly in the terrorism world, which I don't think very much of, to tell you the truth. I don't think these distinctions get blurred very, very easily. So again, I need a little bit of more time to do a little bit more work on that.
BYRD: How much more time do you need?
TENET: Oh, a day or two, sir.
BYRD: Who is the greatest threat, in your judgment, Mr. Director, to the United States today?
TENET: Well, sir, I...
BYRD: And who is the greatest threat looking at the situation, if you can, two years from now, three years from now, five years from now? Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, or Kim Jong Il?
TENET: Sir, I hope that two or five years from now, al Qaeda is a diminished threat to this country. And I hope that that's the case when I come back to you. Obviously today at this moment in time, we are worrying deeply about al Qaeda and what threat it poses to this country. In two to five years time, someone like a Saddam Hussein may have acquired a nuclear weapon, and all of his capabilities will be enhanced. And the relationship with these terrorist networks continue to develop, so they cause us concern.
Kim Jong Il obviously sir, is a present threat with his ballistic missile and weapons capability and proliferation potential. So you've got how you rack 'em and stack 'em is difficult, but you are dealing with, in terms of present and emerging and ongoing, three layers of people that are very difficult and of great concern to the American intelligence community.
BYRD: Does this concern, with respect to al Qaeda, permeate the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the current administration in your judgment?
TENET: Yes, sir, it does.
BYRD: I wonder then, out loud, why this administration did not support amendments that I offered with respect to the Omnibus Appropriation Bill that was reached in the past by the Senate, amendments that would have increased by, on the order of $5 billion, appropriations to deal with al Qaeda and homeland defense. I am wondering out loud, do you have anything you might wonder along with me about why the administration didn't support that $5 billion?
TENET: Well, sir, I really wonder. But I really don't know.
BYRD: OK, now, I then came back to $3 billion. I got the same support from this administration with respect to homeland security, $3 billion. The administration didn't support those amendments, they opposed it. Now...
TENET: I can only give you my optic. The administration has been enormously supportive, as has the appropriations committee of what we are doing and additional dollars you've recently provided us for overseas in the intelligence community and the FBI. So I don't know about the domestic side, sir.
BYRD: I didn't ask you about the other...
TENET: Yes, sir, I understand that.
BYRD: Mr. Director, in regard to Kim Jung Il, it seems to me that's a threat that's as imminent, or perhaps more so, directly to the United States than is Iraq. So if we say to our friends in this world, "If you're not with us...
HARRIS: And we're going to step away at this point from this presentation here at the Senate Armed Services Committee...
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