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REP. HYDE: The committee will come to order. And we will begin the second panel. And I take great pleasure in welcoming John R. Bolton, the undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Bolton was senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, and has spent many years in public service. From 1989 to 1993, he was assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State. And from '85 to '89, he was assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice. Mr. Bolton has also served as general counsel and assistant administrator for Program and Policy Coordination at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
We certainly welcome you, Mr. Bolton. And I know of the deep complexity of the subject matter, so it would be kind of difficult to restrain -- confine your remarks to five minutes, so do the best you can, and with the understanding that your full statement will be made a part of the record. And please proceed.
JOHN R. BOLTON
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
U.S. Department of State
MR. BOLTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here today. And I will try and summarize my remarks, as you suggest.
On May 31st, in Krakow, Poland, President Bush announced a new effort to combat weapons of mass destruction called the Proliferation Security Initiative. Our goal is to work with other concerned states to develop new means to disrupt the proliferation trade at sea, in the air and on land. The initiative reflects the need for a more dynamic, active approach to the global proliferation problem. It envisions partnerships of states working in concert, employing their national capabilities to develop a broad range of legal, diplomatic, economic, military and other tools to interdict threatening shipments of WMD and missile-related equipment and technologies.
To jump-start this initiative, we have begun working with several close allies and friends to expand our ability to stop and seize suspected WMD transfers. Over time, we will extend this partnership as broadly as possible to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our enemies. We aim ultimately not just to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, but also to eliminate or roll back such weapons from rogue states and terrorist groups that already possess them or are close to doing so.
While we stress peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the proliferation threat, as President Bush has said repeatedly, we rule out no options. To do so would give the proliferators the safe haven they do not deserve, and pose a risk to our innocent civilian population and those of our friends and allies.
Mr. Chairman, in the statement I treat at some length the three axis of evil countries; first, in the case of Iraq, where we are actively following up the terms of Resolution 1441 and devoting substantial resources toward ensuring Iraq's full disarmament.
We have developed a comprehensive approach to identifying, assessing and eliminating Iraq's WMD program and delivery systems and to ensuring productive, peaceful employment for Iraq's scientists and technicians. This effort is based on three initial activities: First, interviewing and obtaining cooperation from key Iraqi personnel; second, accessing, assessing and exploiting a number of sensitive sites; and third, obtaining and exploiting documents, computer hard drives and so on.
We have recently begun deploying the Iraq Survey Group, a significant expansion of our hunt for Iraqi WMD capabilities, composed of some 1,400 people from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. And we are anticipating that their activities will bear fruit. And I'd be happy to talk about that more in the question program.
On Iran, we have seen for some time indications of a clandestine effort to develop nuclear weapons. The United States and its allies expressed concerns this weekend at the Evian G-8 summit about Iran's covert nuclear weapons program, stating, and I quote, "We will not ignore the proliferation implications of Iran's advanced nuclear programs, and that we offer our strongest support a comprehensive IAEA examination of the country's nuclear program." The world has put Iran on notice that it must stop pursuing nuclear weapons.
One unmistakable indicator of military intent is the secrecy and lack of transparency surrounding Iran's nuclear activity. Iran did not disclose its uranium enrichment facility or its heavy water production facility to the IAEA until construction was so far along that an opposition group made them public. Iran has a long history of denying the IAEA full access to its nuclear program, and continues to refuse to accept the IAEA's strengthened safeguard Additional Protocol, despite calls by IAEA Director-General ElBaradei and many others to do so.
Another troublesome indicator of the true nature of the Iranian nuclear program is that the cover stories put forward for the development of a nuclear fuel cycle and for individual facilities are simply not credible. For example, Iran is making an enormous investment in facilities to mine, process and enrich uranium, and says it needs to make its own reactor fuel because it cannot count on foreign supplies. But for the next decade, Iran will have, at most, a single-power reactor, and Russia has committed itself to supply all the fuel for the lifetime of that reactor. In addition, Iran does not have enough indigenous uranium resources to fuel even one reactor over its lifetime. So, we are being asked to believe that Iran is building uranium-enrichment capacity to make fuel for reactors that do not exist from uranium Iran does not have.
Iran would have us believe it is building a massive uranium enrichment facility without having tested centrifuge machines and building a heavy water production plant with no evident use for the product. The more credible explanation is that Iran is building the infrastructure to produce highly enriched uranium in centrifuges and plutonium in a heavy-water-moderated reactor.
Finally, there is Iran's claim that it is building massive and expensive nuclear fuel cycle facilities to meet future electricity needs, while preserving oil and gas for export.
Mr. Chairman, I have two charts I'd just like to show you. I wish I had -- I could put them up on your screen, but two charts that we'll distribute copies to the committee. Both these charts were prepared by our colleagues at the Department of Energy, and it shows quadrillions of British thermal units of energy available to Iran from its indigenous energy supply. You can see 520 quadrillion Btu of oil, 829 quadrillion Btus of gas, and 6 quadrillion Btus of uranium. Of course, this is a country that floats on a sea of gas and oil, with a minimum amount of uranium, completely belying the claims that Iran is developing a nuclear fuel cycle in order to allow it to preserve its oil and natural gas. The facts simply do not support that.
Second. Again, this is a chart supplied by our colleagues at the Department of Energy. Iran, unlike the United States and most other sophisticated oil and gas developers, flares or vents natural gas that is produced in association with oil drilling, which is both wasteful economically and environmentally hazardous as well. This is the amount of billion cubic feet per year of natural gas that is vented or flared in Iran. And you can see it's roughly 4,000 billion cubic feet for the most current figures we have.
The total production from the Bushehr nuclear power plant now under construction is only 1,000 megawatts of capacity per year. So that if you look at this in comparison, Iran right now is wasting, by venting or flaring, four times the natural gas -- natural gas equivalent to four times the capacity of the Bushehr fuel plant.
So if they were so concerned about losing their oil and natural gas, there would be ample ways to collect that and use it for their own economic development. Again, a clear indication that their economic rationale for developing a nuclear fuel cycle is simply made up. The conclusion is inescapable that Iran is pursuing its civil nuclear energy program not for peaceful and economic purposes but as a front for developing the capability to produce nuclear materials for nuclear weapons.
I might say also that one of our approaches to dealing with the problem of Iran is through diplomatic consultations, with special focus on Russia, the constructor and supplier of the fuel for the Bushehr reactor. We believe that following sustained high-level exchanges, Russia shares our concern about Iran's nuclear activities, joins us in supporting the IAEA's ongoing inspections, and wants Director General ElBaradei to make a full and unbiased report to the Board of Governors on what his inspectors in Iran have found.
And I would just say this morning Prime Minister Blair, briefing Parliament about the Evian summit of G-8 leaders, noted what the leaders said about the Iranian nuclear program and made public what we had already known, when he said, "President Putin made clear that Russia would suspend its exports of nuclear fuel to Iran until Iran signs the IAEA additional protocol," which is something that we had been pressing for and which President Putin had committed to us and, indeed, committed to the G-8 leaders at Evian.
On North Korea, whose nuclear weapons ambitions also present a grave threat to regional and global security and a major challenge to the international nonproliferation regime, the leaders addressed that at Evian over the weekend as well. And they said, and I will quote their conclusion on North Korea, "North Korea's uranium enrichment and plutonium programs and its failure to comply with its IAEA safeguards agreement undermine the nonproliferation regime and are a clear breach of North Korea's international obligations.
We strongly urge North Korea to visibly, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle any nuclear weapons programs, a fundamental step to facilitate a comprehensive and peaceful solution."
North Korea's claims and threats will not intimidate the United States. We are not going to pay for the elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, a program the North should never have begun in the first place. North Korea's statements are evidence that it continues to try to intimidate, even blackmail the international community into giving into its demands. We reject these statements, and particularly the intent behind them, in the strongest possible terms. We continue to insist that North Korea must terminate its nuclear weapons program completely, verifiably and irreversibly.
And there will be no inducements to get them to do so. Giving into nuclear blackmail will only encourage this behavior, not only in North Korea, but also in nuclear aspirants around the world. North Korea must understand that its efforts to pressure the United States and the international community into meeting its demands will not bear fruit. Indeed, resolution of the problem North Korea has created by its own pursuit of nuclear weapons can only come through verified elimination of its nuclear weapons program.
Now, Mr. Chairman, in my statement, I also go beyond the "axis of evil" to talk about Libya, Syria and Cuba, but if you will permit -- and Sudan -- if you'll permit, I'll skip over there to -- just to conclude with a brief statement further elaborating on some of the steps we're taking on the nonproliferation front.
And in addition to the traditional diplomatic efforts, I want to stress that economic penalties or sanctions are also an essential tool in a comprehensive nonproliferation strategy. The imposition or even the mere threat of sanctions can be a powerful lever for changing behavior, as few countries wish to be labeled publicly as irresponsible. Sanctions not only increase the costs to suppliers but also encourage foreign governments to take steps to adopt more responsible nonproliferation practices and ensure that entities within their borders do not contribute to WMD programs.
We have recently, for example, pursuant to Executive Order 12938, sanctioned one Chinese entity, the North China Industries Corporation, and the Iranian entity the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, because we had determined that both of these entities had materially contributed to the efforts of Iran to use, acquire, design, develop, produce and stockpile missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
Our perspective on sanctions is clear and simple. Companies around the world have a choice: trade in WMD materials with proliferators or trade with the United States, but not both. Where national controls fail and when companies make the wrong choices, there will be consequences. U.S. law requires it, and we are committed to enforcing these laws to their fullest extent.
As I mentioned, on May 31st, the president announced his Proliferation Security Initiative. And we are in the early stages of discussing with several close friends and allies this initiative to expand interdiction efforts related to WMD or missile-related shipments to and from countries of proliferation concern.
The So San episode in December of last year illustrates that proliferators are vulnerable to having their shipments interdicted by the U.S. and our allies. In the last two months, interception of aluminum tubes likely bound for North Korea's nuclear weapons program and a French and German combined effort to intercept sodium cyanide likely bound for North Korea's chemical weapons program are examples of recent interdiction successes.
Although indirectly related to North Korea's WMD program, the seizure of the Pong Su last month as it tried to deliver heroin off the coast of Australia is another example of the importance of interdiction efforts. Criminal efforts by the North Koreans to obtain hard currency should be of no surprise. As we close off proliferation networks, we inevitably will intercept related criminal activity and overlapping smuggling rings.
Congressional support and commitment to resources for these efforts will be essential.
Mr. Chairman, perhaps I can just stop there. I appreciate the opportunity to summarize the remarks, and I'd be delighted to try and address any questions the committee may have.
REP. HYDE: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. And I want to thank Mr. Bereuter for his usual excellent job as chairman while I was away. And I would like to continue his protocol of a brief question, and real questions, not statements. And that gives everyone an opportunity to ask questions of our witness.
So, first, Mr. Royce of California.
REP. EDWARD R. ROYCE (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Secretary Bolton. I think the concept of intercepting ships and planes suspected of carrying shipments of nuclear and chemical and biological cargo is a very sound one. I would urge the administration to also look at interception of these ships when they are carrying North Korean drugs, these drug ships, because, as you pointed out, one of the ways in which North Korea got the hard currency in order to do the nuclear program was through their missile shipments. And that's a major focus of your efforts here.
And one of the other sources, oddly enough, is this effort on the part of North Korea to become one of the great manufacturers of drugs and exporters of drugs, and they have their own -- apparently, their own fleet. And so, I wanted to ask you if we could get the Australians with their recent seizure and others to help us in an effort to expand this with more aggressive measures to interdict this fleet of North Korean ships, and how we would do it.
MR. BOLTON: Well, Congressman, I think you're right on target. The North Koreans have used three sources of hard currency earnings to buttress their weapons of mass destruction programs, and, really, to help buttress the elite in North Korea. One is the sale of weapons of mass destruction: the North Koreans are the largest sellers of ballistic missile technology to proliferant countries in the world. The second, as you identify, is the sale of illegal drugs. And third is a combination of remittances from illegal and quasi-illegal activity outside the country from, basically, organized criminal networks in Japan and elsewhere.
So we have focused on all three of these sources of hard currency earnings, and particularly as part of the WMD interdiction program, to see if it's not possible to deny the North Korean dictatorship access to this money. Cutting off those hard currency earnings will not have any impact on the wretched and really horrible lives lived by the 22 million North Koreans who live in poverty. That money didn't do the slightest thing to improve their existence. As I said, it went to support the ongoing North Korean WMD programs and to buttress the Kim Jong Il coterie that runs the country. We think this could well have a substantial effect not only in reducing proliferation, outward proliferation from North Korea, we think it could have an effect on the North Korean regime as well.
REP. ROYCE: Thank you, Secretary Bolton.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Delahunt.
REP. WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT (D-MA): Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Bolton --
MR. BOLTON: Good to see you again.
REP. DELAHUNT: -- good to see you again. The particular notice is entitled proliferation post-Iraq.
I'd like to go back to the issue of weapons of mass destruction as it relates to Iraq. I mean, clearly, there is considerable controversy surrounding the intelligence that was available to the White House, the accuracy of it. There has been a series of stories. International heads of state or international figures have claimed that the intelligence was flawed. There have been some within the agency that have made -- anonymous -- that have been utilized as anonymous sources and made statements that are particularly disturbing. In fact, I had one here. I can't seem to find it now, but -- well, here it is. " The American people were manipulated'" -- this is from a column. And I understand it's a column, it's not reporting, but it was a column that appeared in the New York Times. " The American people were manipulated,' bluntly declares one person from the Defense Intelligence Agency, who says he was privy to all the intelligence data on Iraq. These people are coming forward because they are fiercely proud of the deepest ethic in the intelligence world that such work should be non-political, and are disgusted at efforts to turn them into propagandists." These are, allegedly, other individuals from the intelligence community.
I think there's a confusion as to the premise that was provided by the administration in terms of the military intervention in Iraq. You made a statement back in January that the administration has a substantial body of evidence about the Iraqi program, and that Saddam has hidden stocks of weapons.
But recently, you made this statement -- and maybe they're consistent; I'm not sure. But I put this in the form of a question, to seek clarification. You're saying there has been a lot of misunderstanding as to what exactly we expected to find, and that the weapons were not the issue; rather, it was -- and this is your quote, and presumably it was accurate -- "It was the intellectual capacity in Iraq to recreate systems of weapons of mass destruction."
Now, in the first instance, you seemed to imply that Iraq actually had weapons and we had hard evidence of that. But in the second quote, you seem to be saying that it was merely the capacity to produce them that was the basis of the threat that led to the military intervention -- the war in Iraq.
MR. BOLTON: Thank you. In response to your question, I start -- I take as my text Robert McNamara and the way of analyzing weapon systems that he brought to the Pentagon, and which is now a commonplace in the way we look at military issues. And the basic premise of systems analysis is that the artillery shell that you hold in your hand is merely the end point of a system of weapon production; it's the weapon, it's the delivery system, it's the means of production, it's the research and development, it's the intellectual capacity, all of which are points on a spectrum, and all of which have to be satisfactorily carried out to get you to the shell at the end of it, whether it's a hand grenade or a chemical weapon.
And I think the point that the administration and the previous administration and the administration before that made was that the nature of Saddam Hussein's regime was such that he and weapons of mass destruction were inextricably intertwined; that it was his desire to have these weapons, his desire to conceal them from U.N. weapons inspectors, his desire to evade U.N. sanctions over more than a decade to procure the prerequisites to having weapons of mass destruction and his repeated and insistent violation of numerous Security Council resolutions that brought us to the conclusion that there was no option other than the use of military force to change the regime in Baghdad and deny them the use of weapons of mass destruction.
I think that what we will see over time as we go through the process of interviewing senior and mid-level Iraqi officials connected with the production and military sides of the WMD programs is that like a coral reef, information about these programs will go, and that the finding of the weapons, the production means, will occur in due course. If this stuff had just been lying around on the ground, UNMOVIC would have found it. And the fact is that over nearly a dozen-year period, Saddam Hussein and his top advisers engaged in a very sophisticated and successful campaign of denial and deception to hide their production facilities and to hide their stocks of weapons of mass destruction.
Let me just take one example in the nuclear area. I think it's very unlikely that we will find weapons-grade uranium or weapons-grade plutonium in Iraq. But what we will find, what we know is there now, is the cadre of nuclear scientists and technicians, whom Saddam Hussein himself called his nuclear mujahideen, who are the possessors of the intellectual know-how of how to construct nuclear weapons. And that was the basis on which we said some time ago that if the Iraqis obtained fissile materials, they could produce weapons within about a year, as an estimate, because the nuclear mujahideen who were still there had the wherewithal and the knowledge if they can get the fissile material. And it was that commitment of preserving that body of nuclear know-how in the face of a dozen years of U.N. sanctions and inspections, against the day when Saddam Hussein could break free of the sanctions and break free of the inspections to recreate the nuclear capacity. So, it's really finding the evidence of that entire weapon system concept that Robert McNamara talked about, from the beginning state right through to the weapons themselves.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Pence.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I'd also like to express my appreciation to the undersecretary for being here, and really follow on my colleague, Mr. Delahunt's, point of questioning, although I know your testimony is much broader. You made the comment relative to the Iraqi WMD program that the Iraq Survey Group has been deployed, and that, to use your words -- I believe I recorded them accurately -- that you're anticipating that that effort will bear fruit. I'm confident the undersecretary is aware of some of the media hysteria in the last five days on this issue, including headlines in Europe greeting the president's arrival with accusations of lies and distortion by the administration.
What I'd really invite you to comment on is -- has to do with systems analysis, or the assessment of WMD programs in Iraq during the Bush administration versus the Clinton administration.
And I say that fully aware that after the surrender in 1991 Iraq presented a list to UNSCOM that enumerated 10,000 nerve gas warheads. Iraq also represented they were in possession of 1,500 chemical weapons, 412 tons specifically of a certain type of chemical weapon that inspectors found more, that when President Clinton bombed with cruise missiles in 1998 after the expulsion of inspectors, he justified the attack as an attack on Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. And my question to you, from the standpoint of the State Department, which serves all the American people and is that common denominator that moves between political changes in one administration to the next, my question is, did our assessments of Iraq's possession of WMD change significantly during the Bush administration versus the assessments that were arrived at during the Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton?
MR. BOLTON: I think it's hard to answer that question in gross, but I can tell you some of the areas where it was precisely the same and where I think both this administration and the prior administration said exactly the same thing about what the Iraqis were up to. It has been true for nearly a decade now that Iraq has failed to account for the whereabouts of substantial amounts of biological and chemical weapons agents and precursors, pathogens and toxins, and agents in the case of biological weapons, and agents in the case of chemical weapons: anthrax, botulinum, sarin nerve gas and things like that.
Now, the Iraqis' consistent statement to the United Nations was, Well, we destroyed all that. Now, we don't have any records to prove it, we can't tell you when it was done, we can't show you where it was done, we can't produce anybody who can explain it. But take our word for it, we destroyed all of that stuff.
I think if you look over the administrations' statements, both the Bush administration and the Clinton administration statements, faced with that very important significant discrepancy between what had been declared and what the Iraqis could show that it had destroyed, that both administrations simply said, These materials are unaccounted for. And until we know what has happened to them, we have to take the precaution that perhaps they still exist, and therefore still constitute a threat to our friends and allies in the region and our deployed forces there. Hans Blix, the chief commissioner of UNMOVIC, when confronted by Iraqi statements that, indeed, they had destroyed the BW and CW materials, said, Look, this is not marmalade we're talking about. If you had really gone ahead and destroyed this, you would have had meticulous records for safety and health reasons, if nothing else. And the consistent failure of Saddam Hussein's regime to be able to explain what had happened to these assets that they themselves had declared I think is very strong evidence of the concealment and the denial and deception mechanisms that the Iraqis had in place.
Let me just take one other example that's a little bit more recent, because I think it goes to the question that you raised about the criticisms that have been made in some places about what claims the administration made about Iraqi capabilities that were new since the Clinton administration.
And I think the presentation that Secretary Powell made to the Security Council some months ago, which he worked on day and night for four or five days before going up to New York, is actually standing up very well to the test of reality as we learn more about what was going on inside Iraq. He explained to the Security Council, and indeed, showed diagrams of mobile biological weapons production facilities. We have already found two such laboratories. They are virtually identical to the diagrams that Secretary Powell displayed to the Security Council in New York.
Now, you know, these mobile biological weapons laboratories were not designed for efficiency. If they were designed for efficiency, they'd be in a production complex that would look like a regular series of buildings. They were put on tractor-trailer trucks to evade inspection. How many mobile biological weapons trailers do we know of anywhere else in the world? It's just not credible to think that these were produced for any reason other than facilitating the BW program.
Secretary Powell also discussed with the Security Council the unmanned aerial vehicle program that the Iraqis had engaged in. And indeed, there's evidence, that's now been made public, that substantiates what he said about that.
It is true that there are other things that the secretary mentioned that -- where that kind of dispositive proof has not yet been produced. But I remain confident that it will be, because of the care and the scrutiny that he gave before making that presentation.
Now, to be sure, that presentation was not intended to be, and was not an exhaustive discussion of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. Because of the nature of intelligence, even if you looked at pieces of information that you thought were 75 percent certain represented evidence of WMD, in his view he didn't want to present that. That doesn't mean it wasn't reliable; it doesn't mean we won't find it. It means his test was, you know, in a reasonable period of time that he could address the Security Council, to give the best information that we had. And to date, where we have obtained evidence bearing on what he said, it has been corroborated. And that is what I have confidence in a slow but inexorable process will bear out the remainder of his statement as well.
REP. PENCE: Thank you, Secretary.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Engel.
REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to just briefly state -- comment on the question that Mr. Delahunt, Mr. Pence, mentioned. Major news organizations are reporting that many U.S. intelligence officials are speaking out against alleged pressures they faced -- they have faced to say things they thought were untrue or exaggerated about Iran's (sic) weapons of mass destruction.
I voted to support President Bush in Iraq. But I'm deeply concerned about reports that the administration twisted the arms of our intelligence analysts to produce analyses which agree with the policies that you wanted to pursue. If the books were cooked to help push the American people into supporting a war in Iraq, it's very, very troubling.
So I just want to state that on the record.
But I really wanted to ask you today, with the limited time I have -- talk to you about Syria and North Korea. I just returned yesterday from a visit to North Korea. And it's a frightening country; a Stalinist state; all kinds of murals, posters and pictures of the so-called Great Leader and the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, are everywhere.
I believe we have to engage the North Koreans, and I'm concerned with bellicose language that has been coming out of the administration about the North Koreans. I think bellicose language is fine if we are trying to put them into a corner, so that we can negotiate with them and put them at a disadvantage, and they obviously deserve to be put at a disadvantage. But I hope that the bellicose language doesn't preclude or isn't a substitute for serious negotiations.
I know that we want bilateral -- they want bilateral talks, and we want multilateral talks, which include Russia, China, Japan and South Korea. I certainly support that. But I think we need to get beyond that. I came away convinced that they are willing to trade away, ultimately, their nuclear weapons and their program for a United States pledge that we're not going to seek regime change, whether it's a treaty or a nonaggression pact or whatever it is. But I'm convinced of that, and I really do think we ought to engage them. So I'd like your comments on that.
And secondly, in terms of Syria, you and I have had discussions before, and I admire your statements and your work. I'm glad that the administration's beginning to speak out strongly against the expansion of the Syrian weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles program. And in particular, I appreciate -- I want you to know this -- the comments you've made about the Syrian unconventional arsenal. And I'm going to quote you. You said you, quote, "are concerned about Syrian advances in its indigenous chemical weapons infrastructure, and believe that Syria's pursuing development of biological weapons and is able to produce at least small amounts of biological warfare agents." That's a quote from you.
I'm the sponsor, as you know, of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. And I believe that Syria's a perfect example of President Bush's most serious concern: that a state sponsor of terror has its hands on chemical and biological weapons.
So my legislation, as you know, places a variety of penalties upon Syria until it ends its WMD programs, its support of terrorism, and leaves Lebanon.
And the importance of this bill and the urgency of this issue has led to a broad bipartisan support in the House. We already have over 150 cosponsors.
So I'd like to ask you what the administration is doing to roll back the Syrian WMD program. Where is Syria getting its WMD and ballistic missile expertise and parts? And finally, the recent unclassified CIA report on WMD also mentioned a Syrian-Russian nuclear research program, and I'm wondering if you could describe that program as well. I know it's a mouthful, but --
MR. BOLTON: Right, but let me try and address all three of your points, if I could.
First, I do think that, obviously, we're all aware of these allegations that somehow the administration cooked the books in some sense or another. I want to tell you, as somebody -- you know, before I joined the administration, I wrote a fair amount about our policy on Iraq. Congressman Delahunt remembers hearings we had up here talking about it. When I was a civilian, I felt that Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction required regime change in Baghdad.
I thought that was the only way to be sure that we and our friends and allies in the region could be secure from the threat that he represented.
But I want to assure you and the members of the committee that since I became an official in the administration, I've read with great care everything I could from the intelligence community about Iraq's WMD capability. I personally never asked anybody in the intelligence community to change a single thing that they presented. And I am not aware of any other official in this administration who did that. Sometimes, what you get from the intelligence community fits with your theories, and sometimes it doesn't. And it's the essence of sound policy-making to try to make your policies conform to reality. I believe that that's what the administration did.
I would welcome the anonymous critics coming out in public and saying what their concerns are so we could address them. The intelligence community itself is going to investigate -- did so at its own initiative -- where it had successes in terms of its intelligence findings on WMD and a range of other issues before the war, where it had failures and what that should tell us how we can learn for the future. I don't doubt that appropriate committees of Congress will conduct their own hearings on the subject. I think it's critical that we are completely honest among ourselves about what we found and where our intelligence succeeded and where it didn't. And I have no fear that at the end of those processes, we will see that the concerns that not just the administration but overwhelming majorities of Congress had about Iraq's WMD programs will be justified.
Sir, on North Korea, I'm actually quite eager to hear from you and Congressman Weldon and the other members who just came back from Pyongyang. The president has made it very clear in his public statements and to all of us in the administration that he seeks a peaceful solution to the North Korea nuclear weapons program. We have pushed in a variety of ways for multilateral negotiations on that subject, because we believe this is not simply a problem between North Korea and the United States. We worked very hard to get a nearly- unanimous decision by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer the North Korean weapons program to the Security Council as a threat to international peace and security. My colleagues recently met in Beijing with the Chinese, the North Koreans, which is about as low a definition of a multilateral negotiation as you can get with just three countries in the room. We're prepared to consider further discussions with Japan, South Korea and other interested countries. And as I say, the president's view is that we should find a peaceful solution to the threat posed by the North Korean nuclear weapons program. And there are a variety of ways we're going about it, including the Proliferation Security Initiative that the president announced in Krakow.
On Syria, the -- as you know, Secretary Powell was just in Damascus and made a number of points to the Syrian leadership about their support for terrorism and terrorist groups that have headquarters in Damascus, about allegations we have heard of Syrian harboring of Iraqi -- top Iraqi leaders and other assistance to the former Iraqi regime. And he also made a number of points very strongly about our concerns for Syria's WMD programs.
In effect, I would say now the ball is in Syria's court on a range of those issues. And we'll see what the response will be. I would be happy to talk with you and other members of the committee at greater length about Syria in a closed session, and perhaps with colleagues from other agencies, where we can go into that in a little bit more detail.
REP. HYDE: Ms. Davis.
REP. JO ANN DAVIS (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Mr. Secretary. The previous panel, I think we heard from Mr. Sokolski, who said that, you know, we have rules we just don't enforce. I think then Mr. Ikle said that we knew of violations, but we would ignore them for one reason or another because we didn't want to rock the boat because we were in other situations. And then -- I can't remember who said it -- said that we have 191 states that are signed on to the NPT, and only two that we're prosecuting, and that's supposed to be a great percentage. But I would offer to you that anything less than a hundred percent on the NPT is less than acceptable. And I guess my concern is -- and I read in your statement that January 10th North Korea opted to pull out of the treaty. And maybe this is even not a good question, but what good is the treaty? I mean, what are left with? Are we left with a policy of preemptive strikes? I mean, I would -- I'd be the last one to sit here and say I want to be voting every week or every month on going into one country after another build a regime change. What are we left with?
MR. BOLTON: Well, I think the way that this question has been approached in the past is to try to get as many countries as you can to sign up to the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but perhaps not necessarily to pay the kind of attention that we should to compliance with those treaties. In other words, it's fine to have a treaty, but when you find that some of the countries that happily signed up and are lying about their compliance, that's a major source of concern. The treaties themselves do not have enforcement mechanisms. And, indeed, it's difficult to see how you would construct an effective enforcement mechanism for treaties that have such broad membership.
The good news is that the rate of noncompliance with all three of the major nonproliferation treaties we think is relatively small. But it is a subject that we are quite concerned about because it is precisely the subject of noncompliance, which is very inconvenient to talk about for some people, that poses the threat. And I do actually have some charts on that subject that I didn't -- I didn't use for. And I will provide copies to the committee. But what they show is that looking at the rogue states listed here, all of which are on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, many of them are parties to these nonproliferation treaties -- not all of them, but many of them. And what we find is that -- is that they are violating the treaties. This is a chart that shows states where we think have stockpiles of the different kinds of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile capabilities and others where we think there are developmental programs. And you can see that it's a -- through that set of states, it's a characteristic that they do seek weapons of mass destruction.
Now, I think what that tells us is that while the universal treaties are useful, and we support them and support them strongly in the administration, they are not sufficient in and of themselves. And that what we try to do is focus a strategy in each case to deal with the particular problem, and it most certainly does not involve regime change or preemptive military action as the first option. The first option is to find a peaceful way to get these countries to give up their programs and weapons of mass destruction, and that is principally at the State Department what we're about.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Crowley.
REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Undersecretary Bolton, for being here today and for your testimony. I believe the hearing notice went out that this is a hearing on "U.S. Nonproliferation Policy After Iraq." And I note that in your testimony, both oral and in written, that you go beyond Iraq and talk about other countries that -- as far away as Cuba, in terms of their attempt to proliferate weapons of mass destruction. And I think that was rightfully so, to talk about the broad picture.
But I thought it was interesting, to say the least, in fact, incredible, that your testimony did not mention, either orally or written, not once or even in a note, the involvement of Pakistan in relation especially -- specifically to proliferation in Iran and in North Korea. Aside from Pakistan's obtaining Nodong missiles from North Korea, but also in -- apparently in Pakistan's delivery of know- how to Iran and to North Korea on uranium-enrichment designs, technology and machinery, and ballistics technology as well.
What I would ask is, what is the Bush administration and State Department doing to pressure Islamabad to fully disclose the nature and scope of its assistance to North Korea and to Iran nuclear programs? The information, I believe, is critical if we want to understand the extent of North Korea's and Iran's uranium-enrichment programs. As well as what does this administration and State intend to do to prevent Pakistani weapons of mass destruction and/or related material from falling into the hands of terrorists between or operating within the borders of Pakistan, and/or preventing them from getting to countries interested in proliferation?
MR. BOLTON: Well, I think the subject of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, and India's nuclear weapons while we're on the subject, is of enormous concern. What I was really trying to address in this prepared statement were the countries where we saw the possession or the aspiration to possess weapons of mass destruction as having immediate concern to us and friends and allies, but not to say that the issue of India and Pakistan is not something that should be addressed.
REP. CROWLEY: Is --
MR. BOLTON: I was already at 25 pages, and I didn't even read all of that.
REP. CROWLEY: Mr. Secretary, excuse me, just for a moment. Are you suggesting that India itself is also engaged in delivering nuclear technology to terrorist states or to terrorist organizations?
MR. BOLTON: No, sir. I was referring to the Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons capabilities. Right.
REP. CROWLEY: That's a separate issue. I agree.
MR. BOLTON: Right.
REP. CROWLEY: That's a separate issue. I agree.
But I'm talking specifically about Pakistan and its involvement in delivering technology to two states specifically: to Iran and to North Korea.
MR. BOLTON: Right.
REP. CROWLEY: That was something that was not mentioned, that I think is critical in analyzing the state of proliferation of nuclear weapons, of weapons of mass destruction around the world.
MR. BOLTON: Right. The government of Pakistan has denied that they have recently made such transfers. And that subject has been discussed with them by Secretary Powell and others in very serious terms.
The question of the relationship between Pakistan and North Korea in particular has been something we've addressed. And we've been assured that it does not extend to the issues that you've raised.
REP. CROWLEY: You don't think that the horse has already left the barn?
MR. BOLTON: Well --
REP. CROWLEY: Even the technology that is transferred from North Korea to Pakistan is substantial in terms of their ballistic capability.
MR. BOLTON: It is the case that we have found evidence of transfers of ballistic missile technology to Pakistan and as recently as --
REP. CROWLEY: But they don't do it for free, do they?
MR. BOLTON: They certainly do not. And as recently as September of 2001 we sanctioned the Chinese entities that transferred that material.
This is -- if I could just take a second on that, this question of transfers of technology to Pakistan from China or to other countries from China that in -- I mentioned in my testimony the recent sanctions of NORINCO, a major PLA company, a large, large company that we sanctioned for transfers relating to the ballistic missile program of Iran. These are very troubling to us. I quite agree with you.
But the decision to impose sanctions on Chinese entities is also one that receives very careful scrutiny before we do it. And it something that we do pursuant to the executive order and the statutes that Congress has passed. And that is -- that remains a priority for the administration.
Now in terms of some of the other questions you've raised, you know, there are a lot of reports that we see, speaking of intelligence -- a lot of reports we see and that we have to evaluate. I'd be happy, again, to talk to you or others in a private session about that, to try and address any additional concerns that you have.
REP. CROWLEY: I would just say, Mr. Chairman, and finalize this for the record, that I think it was unfortunate, I think, that you didn't mention in testimony or in written testimony the link of Pakistan. I just want to state that for the record. I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: Thank you.
(Brief audio break.)
MR. BOLTON: Good to see you again.
REP. JAMES LEACH (R-IA): I would like to re-raise the Biological Weapons Convention issue and the issue of compliance. As you know, early in this administration, a pre-9/11 decision was made not to seek a strengthened compliance regime on the Biological Weapons Convention -- one that had been negotiated over a number of years in the 1990s, one that had been at one point strongly led by the United States and had been the goal of a number of administrations.
The argument against seeking a compliance regime of an international stature was that it would be a bit intrusive in the American pharmaceutical industry and would be imperfect. That is, there is no such thing as perfect verification.
However, the administration is now in the awkward position of asserting, as you have today, that countries as diverse as Cuba, Syria, Iran may be pursuing biological weapons. And yet, as you point out the charts on countries that have signed or not signed treaties, it is the United States and the United States alone that blocked an international compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention. It strikes me this is a very ideologically frail conclusion of the administration. It also strikes me it's a conclusion that ought to be reviewed.
And so, I have several questions for you. One, is the administration prepared to review this decision?
Secondly, as we think about this whole area, should not a much greater emphasis be placed on education about the Biological Weapons Convention in this sense: The Biological Convention was negotiated over a period of years after a decision was made in 1969 by President Nixon to unilaterally cease biological weapons production in the United States, because they were too dangerous to attempt to experiment with in the world's most sophisticated scientific society. And we have this image out there in the world today that we're against countries developing biological weapons out of security concerns for the United States, and that's a valid concern. But it's clearly a massive security concern for the countries that play with these weapons and to the regions in which they are. And it strikes me out of self interest that that should be the major educative effort of the United States to all of these countries: Don't play with them, because you risk your own, as well as you risk the security of the rest of the world.
Finally, I would like to ask whether it might be helpful for Congress to consider legislation of a nature that would be one of expediting immigration status for scientists around the world that might be considered whistleblowers for weapons of mass destruction violations.
But these are the three questions. One, are we prepared to review the decision to decline a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention? Two, are you prepared as an administration to take a much stronger pro-Biological Weapons Convention stand than you have to date, and tell the world what's at stake? And three, what do you think about a scientists immigration status approach?
MR. BOLTON: Congressman, when the decision was made in the summer of 2001 that the administration would oppose the protocol that had been under negotiation in connection with the Biological Weapons Convention, and the interagency met to discuss whether we should support it, seek to continue to negotiate it or oppose it, that group met at basically a non-political-appointee level. Every agency -- every agency, without exception -- felt that we could no longer engage in the negotiations; that there was no way we were going to come to a successful outcome.
So, so far as being a decision of this administration, it reflected a very broad, and perhaps surprising, but a very broad interagency consensus that the protocol simply could not be brought to a successful conclusion for three reasons. Actually, the reasons were quite complicated.
There was concern, and I think very legitimate concern, that the kind of inspection regime proposed for the BWC protocol would have endangered the intellectual property of our pharmaceutical and biotech industry; that there was so much advanced knowledge in facilities that were open to inspection under the draft protocol because of the inherently dual nature of virtually every aspect of biological weapons research and production.
So there was concern about the -- protecting the intellectual property of our pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
There was also a very serious concern, a compelling concern, that inspections of our biological warfare defensive preparations would have revealed information about the defensive work that we were doing that would have allowed possessors of biological weapons to develop countermeasures to defeat our defensive preparations, thus endangering -- potentially endangering the lives of our service members.
And third, there was a very grave concern, and I might say a concern shared by a number of our allies, that the provisions of the draft protocol would have undercut the export control efforts embodied in the Australia Group, and in national legislation of Australia Group members, to prevent the export of dual-use materials to problem states that were seeking biological weapons capability, and that the efforts to transfer technology that would have been legitimated under the BWC protocol would have made the efforts of the Australia Group much more difficult, if not impossible.
So these three categories of issues dealing with the subject of biological weapons, which is more so even than chemical weapons, and far more difficult than nuclear weapons to distinguish from legitimate pharmaceutical or academic research, I think were the combined factors that led us to conclude that the BWC protocol would not be acceptable.
Now, you know, the point, though, that you make about the importance of countries adhering to the Biological Weapons Convention is true, and it's something that we have stressed, and continue to stress. It raised an interesting question at the November 2001 Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, which takes place once every five years to review -- essentially to review the health of the BWC; where we made a decision that we were going to name the names of countries that were parties to the Biological Weapons Convention, but were violating it. And I would not have thought this was a particularly new or innovative or radical thing to do, but I was surprised to find that many countries, including friends of ours, thought that naming names of countries that were violating the Biological Weapons Convention was not something you should really do at the BWC Review Conference, which I think is a fairly remarkable conclusion.
Now, I think that by naming names, we actually brought people to a discussion of what the problem is; not that the threat of biological weapons is something that we face in 170 or 180 countries around the world, but that we face it in the case of a, fortunately, relatively limited number of countries that actually one can address in a case- by-case basis.
So I think we've made progress, and I think that the -- some of the steps we're proposing now in terms of national legislation that would criminalize work to create biological weapons capabilities, and other steps that we've proposed in the wake of that Biological Weapons Review Conference, I think will strengthen our hand against the spread of biological weapons, which we know all too well is real.
Now, you know, the United States is often accused of being an impatient nation, but 12 years of waiting for the Iraqis to comply with Security Council resolutions I don't think anyone could say was overly hasty. And it wasn't simply a case of suspecting the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction; they've used weapons of mass destruction. They used them against the Iranian during the Iran-Iraq war; they used them against their own people at Halabja and at other places, and the UNSCOM weapons inspectors had found ample stocks of weapons of mass destruction during the years immediately after the first Persian Gulf War.
So what we found, and I did go into that at some length earlier, was that the inextricable link between weapons of mass destruction capabilities and Saddam Hussein's regime meant that the only way ultimately that we could be secure both in ourselves and in terms of our friends and allies, that the intent of Resolution 687 be carried out was to resort to military force.
Now, the question then of how one deals with other countries that have WMD capabilities or aspirations depends on the particular circumstances that we face. And in the case of Korea, North Korea, as I've said, the president's made it absolutely clear that he wants a peaceful resolution to the North Korean weapons program. But he had also said unambiguously, all options are on the table. And I think that the efforts that we're undertaking through the proliferation security initiative to be more effective in interdiction efforts to prevent the transfer of technologies and components and materials, precursor chemicals and other things that are essential to countries seeking weapons of mass destruction, is another important arrow in our quiver.
So it seems to me the lesson for the proliferators is that we don't think that these weapons that you seek are things that you should have when they threaten us and our friends and our allies, and we are determined either to prevent you from getting them or to roll back the capacity if you have it. And obviously the way we're going to try and do that is peacefully. But this is a policy that goes well beyond rhetoric.
REP. BELL: Well, let me ask you this, and I don't want to get bogged down in the weapons of mass destruction argument as it pertains to Iraq, because we could be here all day, as to what was offered as the basis for going forward with that military action, but going forward, because in the wake of September 11th, I doubt we will ever wait 12 years again and engage in those types of talks, as we did with Iraq. There will be a great deal of incentive to move much more quickly. And in a case like North Korea, if they continue to not respond to our demands and we do not move forward in any type of military fashion, do you think that that damages this whole doctrine regarding preemption and our policy?
MR. BOLTON: Well, I think in the case of North Korea, one thing that's very important is demonstrated both by the G-8 leaders statement issued at Evian, and also by the statements of leaders that were not part of the G-8, the Chinese and the South Koreans, is there is complete agreement that North Korea's possession of a nuclear weapons program is unacceptable. This is not a case where some people are saying, "Oh, it's just a small program," or "It doesn't threaten us." There really is uniform agreement that this program is destabilizing, threatening to the countries in the region, and a global threat as well because of North Korea's proclivity to proliferate WMD technology when it has it.
Now, there's no guarantee that that kind of unanimity on the end state that we want to see can be translated into unanimity as we pursue the peaceful elimination of the nuclear weapons program. but I think it's at least a good place to start. And that's why, as I think many people in the administration said -- Secretary Powell I know has said it -- focusing on preemption as such is really putting the cart before the horse. Preemption is an option, as it has always been an option that we need to have, ever since -- as President Kennedy said, since the invention of ballistic missiles, our safety is a matter of minutes. But it's not necessarily the first option or the preferred option, it's an option. In the case of North Korea, what we're pursuing is a multilateral diplomatic track.
REP. BELL: That's helpful. Thank you.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman has exhausted his time.
REP. BELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Ms. Ros-Lehtinen.
REP. LLEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R-FL): Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. It's always an honor to be with you, and we thank you for your valuable and insightful information that you always are willing to share with our committee. Thank you again for being with us.
I wanted to ask you a series of questions about Iran and its linkage to Libya also, and to Cuba. What can you tell us about the reports unveiling the existence of additional secret facilities in Iran which serve as satellites to the newly uncovered enrichment facilities? And if found to be linked to AVLIS, the laser-based enrichment, would the Iranian regime not be in violation of the agreement that it recently signed with the IAEA? And also, the Iranian regime has said that it has more than 100 sites linked to centrifuges. Do you believe that Iran has indigenous capabilities? And what about the reports of an Iran-Libya link?
And as you note, it's not the first time that you raised the potential bioweapons threat posed by the Castro regime. In your own chart that you pointed out that Cuba has biological capabilities. As you know, Castro said, in his trip to Iran, "Together we can bring the United States to its knees." And given Cuba's cooperation with Iran on the bio-technical engineering program, would this indicate that Cuba continues to be posing a biological threat? And given Castro's official recent statements highlighting its possession of anthrax antidote, could this indicate that Cuba could have the anthrax agent already?
MR. BOLTON: Thank you. In the case of Iran, one of the attributes of their nuclear program that's most troubling is the way they have tried to conceal their activities from the IAEA in particular, and the rest of the world in general. And it's only after public disclosure is made of things like their heavy-water production facility and their enrichment capacity at Natanz did they invite the IAEA in. And then they obstruct them, they delay, they make it difficult for them to carry out their work.
And because of the range of Iranian activity, it's very hard to believe that they're engaged in all of these activities simply to provide fuel for a nuclear reactor at Bushehr for civil nuclear purposes. If the Iranians had nothing to hide, it would be easy enough for them to sign the additional protocol, open themselves up to IAEA inspections and demonstrate the truth of what they say.
That's one reason why we're looking very carefully at this upcoming IAEA Board of Governors meeting, to the possibility of a resolution that would say that the Iranians have not yet satisfied all the questions that we have. And I think that's reflected not just in -- of American opinion, but of opinion of President Putin and many others, as well.
You know, the Iranians made a presentation to the IAEA last month that was supposed to answer some of the questions that had been raised by visits by the IAEA to Tehran to help in the assembling of the report that we expect from the director-general next week. And the permanent representative to the IAEA of a Latin American country came up to our delegation after the Iranian presentation was finished, and he said, "You know, there must have been something wrong with the interpretation today, because nothing the Iranians said made any sense." And I think that's a pretty fair description of what our concern is, and others as well.
We're going to pursue this, we're going to see what happens with Director-General ElBaradei's report and follow up on President Bush's continuing discussions with President Putin on the subject.
We would be quite concerned about Iranian-Libyan cooperation on nuclear weapons program. As I think I said in the prepared statement, ever since the temporary lifting of Security Council sanctions on Libya, they have pursued the full range of WMD capabilities in a very aggressive fashion, and we think they're continuing to do so.
And in the case of Cuba, as I've said, we do think they have a limited research and development capability, but one of the things that's very troubling is the way in which Cuban leaders and technicians do meet with representatives of states like Iran, that also seek or have BW capabilities. And one has to wonder what's going on there. And that's why we have a -- we keep a close eye on that situation.
REP. ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you so much. We'll be having a Syria hearing in our subcommittee on July 9th, and we hope that you'll be able to testify, Mr. Secretary. Thank you.
MR. BOLTON: I'd be happy to. Thank you.
REP. HYDE: The last questioner from the first round, and we will eschew a second round, because we have -- and I'm going to ask the people who want to ask questions on the second round to submit them in writing, and you'll get a more in-detailed answer than otherwise you might.
REP. HOWARD BERMAN (D-CA): Mr. Chairman, may I just interrupt for one second?
REP. HYDE: Mr. Berman?
REP. BERMAN: The first round of the previous panel, or the first round with Mr. Bolton? Some of us have not had a chance to ask Mr. Bolton a question.
REP. HYDE: Well, if there was a first round of the first panel, but if -- do you have a -- it is well after 1:00 --
MR. BOLTON: Mr. Chairman, I'll try and answer questions from anybody who's here.
REP. HYDE: Okay. That was more for the benefit of your staff that's --
MR. BOLTON: I suspected that.
REP. HYDE: -- that's really been anxious to get you on your way, and I appreciate your generosity.
Okay, if you will, and please be succinct. Mr. Sherman.
REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Not something I'm known for. (Laughter.)
The president identified in a burst of unfortunate honesty the three axis of evil regimes. Iraq was clearly not the most dangerous, it was just the easiest to deal with. I'll ask you to respond to my comments about Korea, North Korea on the -- for the record, because I want to hear your responses to a question I have about Iran.
But imagine a meeting in Beijing in which they're arguing whether to continue their policies toward North Korea pretty much as they are now, or whether to impose sanctions on that regime as long as it continues its nuclear program, to cut off trade, to cut off aid. And let's say at that meeting the argument was put forward, well, it may be in our interest to just leave things the way they are, and that will not impair our trading relationship with the United States because there's so much corporate power in the United States in favor of that trading relationship that the corporate power will sweep away anybody who would see China's aid and trade to North Korea as the linchpin to dealing with that regime. So I'd like you to respond for the record, is Beijing correct in assuming that corporate power has dulled our ability to deal with our own national security, and that the Chinese can be safe in the belief that they can do whatever they want with North Korea, or continue their current policies toward North Korea without losing a single dollar of American trade?
Shifting to Iran, yesterday the World Bank approved $180 million of concessionary loans to that government. That allows that government to meet its own domestic needs and to use its oil revenue for nefarious purposes you've already described. That also allows them to go to their own people and say the whole world does business with us, even gives us concessionary loans. Is there any evidence that you can reveal to us that the president at the G-7 or G-8 conference asked the other countries there to vote against these loans?
And is there any evidence that the administration will not continue to support an appropriation with the World Bank of well over $700 million?
I know you voted no, and then you had -- and had tea and crumpets with all the people who voted yes and outvoted us.
MR. BOLTON: Well, on the subject of China and North Korea, I mean, I think one of the points that we have made to the Chinese is that an ongoing North Korean nuclear weapons capability, while it may not be a direct threat to them, nonetheless poses a substantial risk of --
REP. SHERMAN: Mr. Secretary, I've got limited time. If they decide for their own reasons not to change their policy, they don't lose a single dollar of American trade. Is that it?
MR. BOLTON: Well, I was trying to come to that point. So if you'll forgive me for skipping the predicate, I think China has changed its mind to at least some extent. And I think that is reflected by their willingness to sponsor the trilateral talks that were held in Beijing a few weeks ago.
They have said that they do not believe North Korea should have a nuclear weapons program, and that is entirely consistent with our policy and something that we have been pursuing with them.
The question for China, I think, is whether and to what extent they will be successful with us in eliminating the North Korean nuclear weapons program in a way that, from their point of view, does not result in the reunification of the Korean peninsula.
Now that, of course, has been -- the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula has been our objective under a host of administrations and remains our objective.
The subject of how to treat with China on Korea is something that we have addressed. The president with Hu Jintao in Evian this past weekend, and that's a subject that's very much on everyone's mind.
On the question of Iran, the issue, it seems to me, for dealing with World Bank loans and that sort of thing -- as you noted, we voted against it because of the existing obligations we have. We have been working with the Europeans -- along with the Russians to convince the Europeans of what we know from our own information: that is to say, that the Iranians do have a clandestine nuclear weapons program.
And it's no secret that a number of European countries felt that their trade relationships with Iran were of sufficient benefit to them that they did not give the same priority to stopping the Iranian nuclear weapons program that we did. I believe that that attitude has begun to change. The --
REP. SHERMAN: If I can interrupt, what you're coming to here is China can subsidize North Korea and not lose a single dollar from America, the World Bank can subsidize the government of Iran and not lose a single dollar from America, but strongly worded letters and nice meetings and tea and crumpets will be the policy to protect the American people from these nuclear threats.
MR. BOLTON: Well, I don't -- I don't think that's the policy at all. I mean, the -- and I've laid out --
REP. SHERMAN: So can you point to one dollar that China will lose if it decides to continue to subsidize North Korea or one dollar that the World Bank will lose if it continues to subsidize the government of Iran? Other than tea and crumpets, what are you talking about?
MR. BOLTON: I don't know about tea and crumpets, Congressman. Somebody else deals with tea and crumpets. On the question of what China and North Korea do, we have made it clear to the Chinese that their supply of between 80 to 90 percent of North Korea's energy supply is a powerful lever that they can exert. And I think that the suspension of the oil shipments a couple of months ago for two or three days, although attributed probably to technical reasons, was a kind of signal to the North Koreans. So the issue of how one deals with China, where we have multiple interests, one of which most certainly is assisting in eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program, is one that we balance within the administration and try to take into account all of our interests.
On the subject of Iran, we don't run the World Bank. No, we vote in the World Bank. And we voted -- we voted the way I think you would have required --
REP. SHERMAN: Wouldn't it have been more effective if we had said we're going to pull the $750 million that the president is trying to get this Congress to do to the World Bank, wouldn't have that made our voice more powerful than just pushing the red button?
MR. BOLTON: You know, I don't know whether it would have made our voice more powerful or not. What I can tell you, what I was trying to answer in your earlier question, was that we, I believe, have now moved the Europeans toward a view of the Iranian nuclear weapons program that's more consistent with ours. And I think the G-8 statement was the strongest statement that many of those European countries that have substantial trade and investments with Iran have ever made. Are they where we are at the moment? No, they're not. Are we working on them to bring them to that point, to show them and to convince them why we take the Iranian program seriously? Yes, we are.
REP. SHERMAN: All I can say is this a feckless policy. We shed blood in Iraq, and we have not redirected one dollar of aid, trade or contribution with regard to North Korea or Iran.
Excuse me -- (inaudible) -- my time has expired.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Sherman, your time certainly has.
REP. JOSEPH HOEFFEL (D-PA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I agree with you that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists are a huge security challenge. I voted for the war authority in Iraq because I believe that Hussein had to be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. Like millions of Americans, I'm wondering where the hell the weapons of mass destruction are. I think the administration faces a growing credibility gap regarding the weapons of mass destruction. Could these weapons have been successfully hidden? Could they have been secretly destroyed? Could they have been transported to another country? Was our intelligence faulty? Was the intelligence misled? These questions need to be answered because, as you have correctly pointed out, weapons of mass destruction are proliferating, and we need to be credible in our attempts to stop that.
I don't think the CIA reviewing the performance of the CIA is adequate. I know you've established the new Iraq Survey Group, and I hope it is successful. It's -- according to your testimony, you're confident that they will find and eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction; that they will help verify the existence. We all thought that would have been found, eliminated and verified long before today.
The 1,400 people in your Iraq Survey Group will come from the United States, Australia and Great Britain. Should we be internationalizing that group more? Should we be calling upon whatever expertise the United Nations and UNMOVIC has or had? What can we do to deal with the credibility we need to determine what happens to those weapons? And please understand, the administration's efforts to deal with this in other countries will depend upon facing the facts in Iraq, and not just trying to paper over the fact that we haven't found what the administration said -- you know, site-specific, poundage was identified beforehand, and we can't seem to find anything now, except mobile laboratories that, apparently, don't have any trace of weapons of mass destruction in them.
MR. BOLTON: That's right. They're some of the cleanest laboratories in Iraq.
REP. HOEFFEL: What do we need to do to regain what is, I'm afraid, a growing credibility gap?
MR. BOLTON: Well, I think that the question of how long it takes to uncover the total Iraqi WMD capability is not one that I can answer now. I wish that it had been easier to find the WMD capabilities. Although I must say, the mobile biological weapons laboratories, maybe they're not a smoking gun, but they're certainly a very hot pistol.
REP. HOEFFEL: They're not smoking. They were wiped clean.
MR. BOLTON: No evidence that we could find. And I think one of the things that's important to understand about the way that the intelligence community has been proceeding in Iraq is not to make any claims before the most rigorous tests have been carried out. And there have been news reports about early positive tests of chemical agents that have turned out, on further testing, to be rocket fuel, or something like that.
So I think we're behaving and proceeding in a very prudent way, and it's not as fast as everybody might like, but I think like a coral reef, this evidence is going to grow. The principal way in which I think the evidence will accumulate will be through the forensic process of interviewing and review of documents. And what we have seen so far, in reviewing both senior-level Iraqi officials who are in coalition custody, and perhaps even more from the statements of witnesses who were kind of mid-level or even lower-level officials who were involved in chemical or biological warfare, other programs, has been a reluctance to say very much. That, I think, is testimony to the extent of the authoritarian nature of Saddam Hussein's regime; the concern that these people have for themselves and their families, even to this day, that Saddam may yet be able to exact retribution against them.
I think there's also concern about what we're going to do. I think we, very properly, made it clear before the military hostilities broke out, that any use of weapons of mass destruction against coalition forces would result in those responsible being brought to justice. And I think there is ambiguity in the minds of many of the Iraqis we're talking to about what's going to happen to them if they admit having been part of the Iraqi WMD program.
That's something that we need to work our way through.
REP. HOEFFEL: Would it be helpful if we internationalize the search?
MR. BOLTON: It's an important point, Congressman. I do -- I will address it here.
I just wanted to say that the question of how the interviewing process is going -- the unfolding of the forensic investigation is proceeding. Having heard from -- questions that members of the panel have asked, I would like nothing better than to have been able to come up here and say, "And today I can announce A, B, C and D."
But that is the wrong way to proceed -- the wrong way to proceed, because we don't want to make this information public until we're certain about, as in the case of the mobile BW laboratories, and because we want to do a thorough job of seeing the implications of release of information before we do so.
Now it has been our view for some time that having prevailed in the hostilities, it's the principal responsibility of the coalition forces to find and neutralize Iraq's WMD assets. But I can tell you that the Department of Defense and others involved in this have been actively seeking international participation beyond the coalition, considering the possibility, for example, of using laboratories in Europe or elsewhere to do analyses of chemicals or biological agents that we may find, so that other than American or British or Australian laboratories would be able to verify these materials, once they're uncovered.
And I think there's a variety of other steps that we're considering, precisely because we do believe that the credibility of what we said before the onset of military action and the credibility of what we find in Iraq now does have an important consequence for us as we talk about the WMD programs in other countries, some of which we've discussed here today.
So there's no disagreement on that proposition. And you know, if you were to ask me, do I feel impatient that we don't have more information, do I wish there was more that we could discuss here publicly, absolutely. But I am confident that that information is coming, and I will restrain my normal desire to get it out more quickly, because I feel that when the information does come out, it should come out after the most rigorous analysis and the conclusion that we get that this is hard information that people can rely on.
And that's a slower process than perhaps one would think in the abstract, but I would submit to you, sir, that that is the way we should proceed. And as that information comes out, people will see that the case that Secretary Powell made before the Security Council was accurate indeed.
REP. HYDE: The last question -- questioner will be Mr. Berman.
Before you do, though, Howard, I just want to suggest to my friends that I recall back in the Gulf War when the Iraqis took their air force and transferred it, of all places, to Iran.
And they still have the Iraqi aircraft in Iran, a mortal enemy. But I guess what it shows is they're not above transferring military assets across the border. And I daresay in Syria and Iran would be -- Syria, anyway -- it would be very interesting to take a geiger counter and go -- walk around and see where Iraq's military resources are. And also, the Osirak situation. To think in '81 they had a nuclear facility going and that, because the Israelis took it out, they've left that whole topic alone, I don't believe that. That's crazy. Of course, they have scientists in there who are specialized in nuclear weaponry. So the probabilities are there. There's no margin for error.
Anyway, I didn't mean to usurp your time.
REP. HOWARD L. BERMAN (D-CA): I don't treat it as a usurpation of my time. Just add on. No. (Laughter.)
Just one other point on your point. We don't have to go back to Osirak. We know after Osirak they began a nuclear weapons program, which our intelligence agencies estimated would produce nuclear weapons much later than it later turned out that it would have after the Gulf War, when we -- the inspectors found more data.
Three -- three questions. I'm going to ask them rapid fire, and then --
First, I'd like to give you, number one, you have left the impression with one of your answers that apart from whatever else you might produce, that it is sufficient that under the MacNamara spectrum, the mere possession of intellectual capability to produce weapons of mass destruction is enough to conclude that a country has weapons of mass destruction capability. Surely the administration did not rely simply on the presence of intellectual capability for the conclusion that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq. I hope you could clarify that --
MR. BOLTON: Well, that was simply one piece of the evidence, particularly on the nuclear front.
REP. BERMAN: All right. All right. Well, on the nuclear front, I understand that point. But you -- it wasn't clear to me you limited it to the nuclear front. And on the biological and chemical weapons front, surely the intellectual -- we had something more than intellectual capability.
MR. BOLTON: Absolutely.
REP. BERMAN: Okay.
Second, North Korea may very well have now come to the conclusion it is not in their interest for -- I mean, China may have come to the conclusion it's not in their interest for North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But tell me how either a containment strategy or a economic sanctions strategy work if China's interest in maintaining the existing regime to avoid either the chaos or the reunification of the Korean peninsula trumps their dislike of a North Korean nuclear capability. In other words, how do some of these strategies, short of preemptive strike, work without China as a player? And why, given what we know about China, do we ever think they will be a partner in either containment or sanctions on North Korea?
MR. BOLTON: Well, I think in that case --
REP. BERMAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. BOLTON: Sorry, I'll --
REP. BERMAN: Should I give you my third question, or --
MR. BOLTON: Sure. Sure, go ahead.
REP. BERMAN: (Inaudible) -- then I'll never talk again. (Laughter.) Okay. (Laughing.) It's a good deal.
The third question: Are we at a point in Iran where even if the Russians cut off the fuel to Bushehr, Iran now has an indigenous capability to produce nuclear weapons that would not require them to get outside components to develop that capability?
MR. BOLTON: Yeah, well, on the China-North Korea question, you know, the -- China's clearly conflicted here. And what I was trying to say earlier in response to a related question was that a nuclear- capable North Korea may not be a direct threat to China as such, although given the regime in North Korea, I would say one never knows.
But I think the balance of opinion of those who have looked at the region carefully is that a nuclear-capable North Korea could well produce a decision in Japan to seek a nuclear weapons capability. And a nuclear-capable Japan would fundamentally alter the calculus in Northeast Asia. And that does get China's attention.
So, the issue that they have to face is how to get to a situation that we both want -- that is to say, the elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program -- in a way that keeps this regime in power. Obviously, we've been committed for sometime to the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. I'm not sure how the Chinese resolve that dilemma. I don't think it's really for us to be that concerned about it, frankly. I think what we need to do is focus on the weapons program and make them see that in the long term, it's a much bigger risk to them than whatever may happen in terms of reunification in Korea.
On the question of Iran, I think that one of things that moved both Russia and some of the European countries more in our direction, in terms of their assessment of the level and sophistication of Iran's nuclear weapons program, was the recent visit by the IAEA, where they saw a uranium centrifuge cascade that the Iranians said was up and running in a vacuum; leads to a lot of questions whether they've tested that centrifuge cascade with uranium hexafluoride. But the -- I think the Russians, and many in Europe, were surprised at how advanced the Iranian capability was.
Is it completely -- are they self-sufficient indigenously now? I don't think we can answer that, but they're very far advanced and very sophisticated. Even if they were capable indigenously, they're still, obviously, making international procurement efforts, and therefore, our attempts to prevent them from procuring, at a minimum, can dramatically slow down their progress.
But I think this ties in as well, particularly with the Russians and their decision, as they've now articulated to the -- by President Putin to the G-8, not to supply fuel to the Bushehr reactor, at least until the Iranians sign the additional protocol. That means the Bushehr reactor doesn't start to operate, and it doesn't -- it means that there's no spent fuel coming out of the reactor that they could reprocess to extract plutonium from.
We have done an analysis -- and we shared this with the Russians -- that to say to them, look, you've argued Bushehr is under safeguards, there's no problem, you ought to be allowed to go ahead and deliver the fuel for the lifetime of the reactor. Our calculations show that if the reactor came on-stream and operated in a fairly normal tempo for about five or six years, when you look at the fuel that would be waiting to go in, the fuel that was in the reactor, and the fuel that's in the spent-fuel rods, that if Iran were, hypothetically, to withdraw from the Nonproliferation Treaty and end its safeguards agreement, it could extract from that regular life of the fuel cycle supply of radioactive material, enough plutonium for over 80 nuclear weapons. So -- and we said to the Russians, you know, withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty is not a hypothetical; the North Koreans have just done it. So our concern with Iran, and your supply of this material to Iran, is very serious.
Now, I don't want to overstate this. The Russians are not where we are. But the decision not to supply any fuel, thus preventing the Bushehr reactor from starting, is a significant change from the earlier Russian position, where it looked like Bushehr might be on- stream as early as this year. There's clearly more work that we need to do both with respect to Russia and with respect to the Europeans.
But I think it that it shows that we can materially impair the Iranian program, whether or not it's sufficient indigenously. I think probably the balance of evidence is that it's not. But there's a lot we don't know about the program, there's no question about it.
REP. HYDE: The committee thanks you, Mr. Bolton, for your candor, your courtesy, your cooperation. I think we're lucky to have you where you are.
MR. BOLTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The committee stands adjourned. (Sounds gavel.)
MR. BOLTON: Thank you.