For Immediate Release
July 9, 2004
Bush Discusses Senate Intelligence Committee Report
I appreciate the Senate's work. And I'll tell you why. Because
one of the key ingredients to winning the war on terror is to make
sure that our intelligence agencies provide the best and possible
intelligence to the chief executive -- to the executive branch,
as well as to the legislative branch. And so the idea that the
Senate has taken a hard look to find out where the intelligence-gathering
services went short is good and positive. And I commend the chairman
of the committee for doing that.
We need to know. I want to know. I want to know how to make the
agencies better, to make sure that we're better able to gather
the information necessary to protect the American people. One of
the key ingredients and one of the vital ingredients of keeping
us safe is to gather the best intelligence we can gather.
And so this is a useful report. There's going to be a lot of
talk about reform in Washington, reforms of the agencies. And I
look forward to working with members of Congress to put out reforms
that will work. A couple of ideas that I think make sense: One,
we need to bolster human intelligence. In other words, one of the
best ways to figure out what the enemy is thinking is to get to
know the enemy firsthand, I guess is the best way to put it --
is to have as much human intelligence as possible. Good quality
intelligence and enough human intelligence agents, assets out there
so that we can cover the globe.
Secondly, one of the key ingredients is to use our technologies
to listen and look better. And so we've got to always make sure
our intelligence agencies are on the cutting edge of change. And
thirdly, there are quite a few intelligence-gathering agencies
within Washington, and there needs to be better coordination between
Now, having said that, I want -- I haven't seen the report yet.
I know it's quite critical. It's very important for our fellow
citizens to know there's some really good people working hard in
our intelligence-gathering agencies, taking risks for their lives,
doing the very best job they can. I will remind them that there
has been some failures -- listen, we thought there was going to
be stockpiles of weapons. I thought so; the Congress thought so;
the U.N. thought so. I'll tell you what we do know. Saddam Hussein
had the capacity to make weapons. See, he had the ability to make
them. He had the intent. We knew he hated America. We knew he was
paying families of suiciders. We knew he tortured his own people,
and we knew he had the capability of making weapons. That we do
know. They haven't found the stockpiles, but we do know he could
make them. And so he was a dangerous man. He was a dangerous man.
The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power. America
is safer. (Applause.)
I want to know the truth. I want to know the facts. I appreciate
the fact-finders working hard, and I want to work to make it the
very best system we can possibly have. Because we've got a duty
to do for the American people. This war goes on. There's a mighty
ideological struggle taking place. Remember, it is really -- the
better way to describe what's happening is, this is a war against
an ideology which stands exactly opposite of what we believe. It's
an ideology that can -- if you just think, remember the Taliban
-- it's an ideology that brutalized people because of what they
thought. It brutalized people because of how they worshiped. It
brutalized people because of their gender. The exact opposite of
what America stands for.
You see, we believe that you're as big a patriot if you worship
the Almighty as if you don't. You have the freedom to do so. And
if you choose to worship, whether it be as a Christian, Jew or
Muslim, you're equally as patriotic as your neighbor. That's what
we believe. You have the freedom to worship as you see fit in America.
That's the exact opposite of the dim view of the people who are
trying to cause us harm. They use terror as a tool. So this is
really a ideological struggle where the enemy is willing to use
terror as a tool. And they kill innocent life because they know
our good hearts break every time we see an innocent soldier die,
and an innocent citizen die. They know the compassion we all feel.
Forget political parties; all Americans grieve when we see a son
or a daughter, a husband or wife, go down in combat. We weep when
we see that. We care when suiciders bomb innocent children inside
Iraq. That's the nature of our soul. And they know that.
And see, they want to use terror as a tool to drive us out. They
want us to forget our duty. They want us to get scared and pale
in the face of their horrific acts. They do not understand the
American people. Yeah, we'll weep, but we will never cower in the
face of killers and thugs.