Aug 272004

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have repeatedly accused Kerry/Edwards of trying to slash intelligence, defense, and national security spending in the lead up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In fact, the record shows that it is top members of the Bush administration who are guilty of the very charges they are now hurling.

CIA NOMINEE LED EFFORT TO GUT INTELLIGENCE: "President Bush’s nominee to be the director of central intelligence, Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-FL), sponsored legislation that would have cut intelligence personnel by 20 percent in the late 1990s. The cuts Goss supported are larger than those proposed by Kerry and specifically targeted the ‘human intelligence’ that has recently been found lacking."?[Source: Washington Post, 8/24/04]

CHENEY LED EFFORT TO BLOCK KEY INTELLIGENCE REFORMS: The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reported that in a March 1992 letter to Congress, then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney "defended the status quo and objected to proposed intelligence reform legislation, particularly the?Director of National Intelligence?position." In the letter, Cheney wrote that intelligence reforms proposed by Congress "would seriously impair the effectiveness" of government and specifically opposed empowering a director of national intelligence. [Sources: FAS, 8/5/04; Cheney letter, 3/17/92]

CHENEY LED EFFORT TO SLASH SIZE OF MILITARY: While the Bush-Cheney campaign has attacked its opponents for cutting the military, it was Cheney who admitted he led the effort to slash the size of the armed forces. In 2000, Cheney said that as defense secretary he "did in fact significantly reduce the overall size of the U.S. military." Specifically, The New York Times noted Cheney worked to "reduce active-duty troop strength" from 2.2 million to 1.6 million while making "deep cuts in the Reserves and National Guard." Those cuts have left the U.S. military stretched thin today. [Source: LA Times, 8/24/00; NY Times, 8/4/91]

CHENEY LED EFFORT TO ELIMINATE CRITICAL DEFENSE PROGRAMS: While the Bush-Cheney campaign has attacked its opponent for supposedly cutting defense spending during the 1990s, it was Cheney who repeatedly tried to cut defense spending at the very same time. In 1984, during the height of Cold War tensions, it was Cheney who said that if President Reagan "doesn’t really cut defense, he becomes the No. 1 special pleader in town." While Cheney now claims his opponent "repeatedly voted against weapons systems for the military," like the Apache helicopter, it was Cheney in 1990 who bragged to Congress about weapons "programs that I have recommended for termination," including fighter jets, the Phoenix missile and "the Apache helicopter." [Sources: Washington Post, 12/16/84; Cheney testimony, 2/1/90; Cheney speech, 3/17/04]

BUSH ADMINISTRATION TERMINATED PROGRAM THAT TRACKED AL QAEDA: "In the months before 9/11, the Justice Department curtailed a highly classified program called ‘Catcher’s Mitt’ to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States." [Source: Newsweek, 3/21/04]

BUSH ADMINISTRATION BEGAN EFFORT TO CUT COUNTERTERRORISM PROGRAMS: The New York Times reported that in its final 2003 budget request, the administration "called for spending increases in 68 programs, none of which directly involved counterterrorism…In his Sept. 10 submission to the budget office, Ashcroft did not endorse FBI requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators. Ashcroft proposed a $65 million cut for a program that gives states and localities counterterrorism grants for equipment, including radios and decontamination suits and training." The Washington Post reported that in its first budget, the White House left "gaps" between "what military commanders said they needed to combat terrorists and what they got." When Congress tried to fill those gaps, the administration threatened a veto. [Source: NY Times, 2/28/02; Washington Post, 1/20/02; Newsweek, 5/27/02]


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