Democratic Report Details Bush ‘Inaction’

Posted July 19, 2005 at 6:40pm

In the wake of this month’s deadly London bombings, a group of senior foreign policy experts today will arm Congressional Democrats with a scathing report that outlines the major national security policy failures of the Bush administration.

Former Democratic Defense Secretary William Perry, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and several other national security specialists will meet with House Members and Senators this morning to discuss their study, “Worst Weapons in the Worst Hands: U.S. Inaction on the Nuclear Terror Threat since 9/11, and a Path of Action.”

The report concludes that the Bush administration has done little to address the most dangerous threats facing the United States: A terrorist acquiring a “nuclear device and detonating it in an American city.” It outlines actions to be taken to secure loose nuclear materials and to better address threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea.

Perry and Albright lead a blue-ribbon panel of Democratic experts who were tasked by the Minority Leaders in both chambers earlier this year with advising Congressional Democrats on defense and national security policies.

Sources said that Democrats will use the report to advance their argument that the Bush administration has failed to adequately address weapons of mass destruction and threats of nuclear terrorism. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) will hold a news conference today to outline the document’s conclusions.

A Democratic leadership aide said the report puts in print what Bush and then-Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) agreed on during their debates last fall — that the gravest threat facing the country is the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists.

“The report says we’re not doing enough to prevent that from happening and we need to do more,” said the staffer.

The aide added that Senators and House Members will use the document to strengthen the Democrats’ posture on national security issues. Democrats have long been viewed by Americans as weaker than the GOP on national security and military affairs, and for some months the party has been trying to reverse that perception.

The report specifically lays out four goals for the country, including preventing nuclear terrorism, stopping the proliferation of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing, strengthening global compliance with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and preventing breakouts from the treaty.

It also calls on the United States to develop a “strategy that recognizes the need for international support and cooperation of proliferation.”

“Members will talk about this,” the leadership aide said.