- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

From “Fox News Sunday,” Nov. 13:

Chris Wallace, host: Sen. Jay Rockefeller, I want to play another clip from your 2002 speech authorizing the use of force, this time specifically on the question of Saddam’s nuclear program. Here it is.

(video clip)

Mr. Rockefeller: There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years, and he could have it earlier.

(end video clip)

Mr. Wallace: [The National Intelligence Estimate] indicated there was a disagreement among analysts about the nuclear program. The State Department had a lot more doubts than the CIA did about whether [Saddam] was pursuing the nuclear program. You never mentioned those doubts. You came to the same conclusion the president did.

Mr. Rockefeller:… We didn’t receive the [the National Intelligence Estimate] until just a couple days before we voted. Then we had to go read it and compare it to everything else that we thought we’d learned about intelligence, and I did make that statement. And I did make that vote [to authorize force]. I would have never voted yes if I knew what I know today.

Mr. Wallace: Well, but a lot of people are not — that’s not the point of the [Senate Intelligence Committee] investigation, Senator.

Mr. Rockefeller: Chris, it is always the same conversation. You know, it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops to —

Mr. Wallace: But you voted, sir, and aren’t you responsible for your vote?

Mr. Rockefeller: No. I’m —

Mr. Wallace: You’re not?

Mr. Rockefeller: No. I’m responsible for my vote … We authorized [the president] to continue working with the United Nations, and then if that failed, authorized him to use force to enforce the sanctions…

Mr. Wallace: But my only point, sir … is as I understand phase 2 [of the committee investigation], the question is based on the intelligence you had, what were the statements you made. You had the National Intelligence Estimate which expressed doubts about Saddam’s nuclear program, yet you said he had a nuclear program. The president did the same thing.

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