[Congressional Record: October 8, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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By Mr. BIDEN (for himself and Mr. Specter):
S. 3079. A bill to authorize the issuance of immigrant visas to, and
the admission to the United States for permanent residence of, certain
scientists, engineers, and technicians who have worked in Iraqi weapons
of mass destruction programs; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, last night the President of the United
States said something very important about United Nations inspections
in Iraq. He said:
Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections. . .will
have to be very different. . . . To ensure that we learn the
truth, the regime must allow witnesses to its illegal
activities to be interviewed outside the country, and these
witnesses must be free to bring their families with them so
they are all beyond the reach of Saddam Hussein's terror and
murder. And inspectors must have access to any site, at any
time, without pre-clearance, without delay, without
The President is right on the money about the inspections. This is
how to get the information the world needs on Saddam Hussein's weapons
of mass destruction programs. But how is the U.N. to do that?
Where will those weapons scientists and their families go, once
they've told the truth about Saddam's weapons programs? They can't go
home again. And at least in the short run, there will be no safe haven
in the region for the people who reveal Saddam's most terrible secrets.
So where will those scientists go? Maybe some can go to Europe,
although both al Qaeda cells and Saddam's agents have operated there.
Maybe some can go to Canada, or to South America.
But if the United States wants the world to show resolve in dealing
with Saddam Hussein, then we should show the way by taking the lead in
admitting those Iraqis who have the courage to betray Saddam's nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons programs.
We have a large country in which to absorb those people, and, for all
our problems, we have the best law enforcement and security apparatus
to guard them.
What we do not have is an immigration system that readily admits
large numbers of persons who have a recent involvement with weapons of
mass destruction, have recently aided a country in the so-called ``axis
of evil,'' and are bringing their families.
I am introducing today, therefore, legislation to admit to our
country those Iraqi scientists, engineers and technicians, and their
families, who give reliable information on Saddam's programs to us, to
the United Nations, or to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
My esteemed colleague on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Specter of
Pennsylvania, joins me in introducing this legislation, and I am very
pleased to have his support. This bill is not political. Rather, it is
a bipartisan effort to help the President succeed in forcing Iraq to
destroy all its weapons of mass destruction capabilities.
I urge my colleagues to support this legislation. Why? Because those
Iraqis will deserve our protection. And equally important, because they
will not come forward unless we offer that protection.
Charles Duelfer, former Deputy Executive Director of UNSCOM, the
original U.N. inspection force in Iraq, recently wrote an article
entitled, ``The Inevitable Failure of Inspections in Iraq.'' He made
the following recommendations: First, inspectors should be mandated to
interview the few hundred key scientists, engineers, and technicians
who were involved in the previous weapons of mass destruction efforts
and have them account for their activities since December 1998. The
U.N. knows who these individuals are. If, as is suspected, Iraq has
been continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction, some or most of
these people will have been involved.
Second, the conditions for such interviews must be changed. Iraqi
government observers must not be present. the previous UNSCOM agreement
to the presence of such ``minders'' was a mistake. The fact that junior
workers would shake with fear at the prospect of answering a question
in a way inconsistent with government direction made this obvious.
Third, and most important, the U.N. should offer sanctuary or safe
haven to those who find it a condition for speaking the truth. The
people are key to these programs. Access to the people under conditions
where they could speak freely was not something UNSCOM ever achieved
except in the rare instances of defection.
Mr. Duelfer concludes: I often summarized this problem to Washington
by suggesting that, if UNSCOM had 100 green cards to distribute during
inspections, it could have quickly accounted for the weapons programs.
Other experts, including Dr. Khidir Hamza, a former Iraqi nuclear
scientist who testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
on July 27, have pointed out that by enticing scientists and engineers
away from Iraq, we will also deprive Saddam Hussein of the very people
he needs to produce those weapons of mass destruction and long-range
If we do, in the end, have to go to war against Saddam, then the
fewer weapons scientists he has, the better.
Current law includes several means of either paroling non-immigrants
into the United States or admitting people for permanent residence,
notwithstanding their normal inadmissibility under the law.
These are very limited provisions, however, and they will not suffice
to accommodate hundreds of Iraqi scientists and their families.
The legislation that I am introducing, the ``Iraqi Scientists
Liberation Act of 2002,'' will permit the Secretary of State and the
Attorney General, acting jointly and on a case-by-case basis, to admit
a foreigner and his family for permanent residence if such person: is a
scientist, engineer, or technician who has worked in an Iraqi program
to produce weapons of mass destruction or the means to deliver them,
during the years since the inspectors left and Saddam began rebuilding
those programs; is willing to supply or has supplied reliable
information on that program to UNMOVIC, to the IAEA, or to an agency of
the United State Government; and will be or has been placed in danger
as a result of providing such information.
The Attorney General will be empowered to set the rules and
regulations governing implementation of this law, in consultation with
the Secretary of State and other relevant officials.
Finally, this legislation will be limited to the admission of 500
scientists, plus their families, over 3 years. If it works and we need
to enlarge the program, we can do so.
The important thing for now is to give our country the initial
authority, and to give United Nations inspectors the ability to call on
us when one of Saddam's nuclear, chemical or biological weapons experts
is willing to help the world to bring those programs down.
It is hard to predict what we will achieve by opening our doors. Iraq
will surely object to giving UNMOVIC the inspection and interview
powers that the President proposes. But if UNMOVIC does get into Iraq
under a stronger Security Council resolution in the coming weeks, then
having this law on the books could help to undermine Saddam Hussein's
weapons of mass destruction programs.
Even if inspectors never get in, a public offer of asylum for Iraq's
scientists could lead some to defect, as Dr. Hamza did.
Last night the President called for inspections that protect the
lives of those who are interviewed and their families.
We owe it to the President to do all we can to make that possible.
We owe it to the United Nations inspectors to give them every chance
We owe to it Iraq's people and its neighbors to do everything we can
to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programs.
And we owe it to our own people to do all we can to achieve that end
peacefully, and with international support.
This bill is a small step toward those ends, but it is a vital one. I
urge my colleagues to give it their immediate attention and their
I ask unanimous consent that the full text of my bill appear
following my remarks in the Congressional Record.
There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the
Record, as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be known as the ``Iraqi Scientists Liberation
Act of 2002''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The President stated in substance the following to the
United Nations General Assembly:
(A) In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop
developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range
missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by
complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every
aspect of this fundamental pledge.
(B) Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information
about its nuclear program: weapons design, procurement logs,
experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials, and
documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq's state-controlled
media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein
and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his
continued appetite for these weapons.
(C) Iraq also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with
ranges greater than the 150 kilometers permitted by the
(2) United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) experts
concluded that Iraq's declarations on biological agents
vastly understated the extent of its program, and that Iraq
actually produced two to four times the amount of most
agents, including anthrax and botulinum toxin, than it had
(3) UNSCOM reported to the United Nations Security Council
in April 1995 that Iraq had concealed its biological weapons
program and had failed to account for 3 tons of growth
material for biological agents.
(4) Gaps identified by UNSCOM in Iraqi accounting and
current production capabilities strongly suggest that Iraq
maintains stockpiles of chemical agents, probably VX, sarin,
cyclosarin, and mustard.
(5) Iraq has not accounted for hundreds of tons of chemical
precursors and tens of thousands of unfilled munitions,
including Scud variant missile warheads.
(6) Iraq has not accounted for at least 15,000 artillery
rockets that in the past were its preferred vehicle for
delivering nerve agents, nor has it accounted for about 550
artillery shells filled with mustard agent.
(7) For nearly 4 years, Iraq has been able to pursue its
weapons of mass destruction programs free of inspections.
(8) Inspections will fail if United Nations and
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors do not have
speedy and complete access to any and all sites of interest
(9) Inspections will be much less effective if those
scientists, engineers, and technicians whom the inspectors
interview are monitored and subjected to pressure by agents
of Saddam Hussein's regime.
(10) As the President made clear in his speech to the
Nation on October 7, 2002, the most effective international
inspection of Iraq would include interviews with persons who
are unmonitored by Saddam Hussein's regime and who are
protected from it in return for providing reliable
(11) The emigration from Iraq of key scientists, engineers,
and technicians could substantially disable Saddam Hussein's
programs to produce weapons of mass destruction and the means
to deliver them.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) Iraq must give United Nations and International Atomic
Energy Agency inspectors speedy and complete access to any
and all sites of interest to them;
(2) United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency
inspections in Iraq should include interviews with persons
who are unmonitored by Saddam Hussein's regime and who are
protected from it in return for providing reliable
(3) key scientists, engineers, and technicians in Saddam
Hussein's programs to produce weapons of mass destruction and
the means to deliver them should be encouraged to leave those
programs and provide information to governments and
international institutions that are committed to dismantling
SEC. 4. ADMISSION OF CRITICAL ALIENS.
(a) Authority.--Notwithstanding the provisions of the
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.),
whenever the Secretary of State and the Attorney General,
acting jointly, determine that the admission into the United
States of an alien described in subsection (b) is in the
public interest, the alien, and any member of the alien's
immediate family accompanying or following to join, shall be
eligible to receive an immigrant visa and to be admitted to
the United States for permanent residence.
(b) Eligibility.--An alien described in this subsection is
an alien who--
(1) is a scientist, engineer, or technician who has worked
at any time since December 16, 1998, in an Iraqi program to
produce weapons of mass destruction or the means to deliver
(2) is in possession of critical reliable information
concerning any such Iraqi program;
(3) is willing to provide, or has provided, such
information to inspectors of the United Nations, inspectors
of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or any department,
agency, or other entity of the United States Government; and
(4) will be or has been placed in danger as a result of
providing such information.
(c) Limitation.--Not more than 500 principal aliens may be
admitted to the United States under subsection (a). The
limitation in this subsection does not apply to any immediate
family member accompanying or following to join a principal
(d) Expiration of Authority.--The authority granted in this
section shall expire 36 months after the date of enactment of
SEC. 5. RULES AND REGULATIONS.
The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of
State, is authorized to prescribe such rules and regulations
as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 6. WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION DEFINED.
(a) In General.--In this Act, the term ``weapon of mass
destruction'' has the meaning given the term in section
1403(1) of the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
Act of 1996 (title XIV of Public Law 104-201; 110 Stat. 2717;
50 U.S.C. 2302(1)), as amended by subsection (b).
(b) Technical Correction.--Section 1403(1)(B) of the
Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996
(title XIV of Public Law 104-201; 110 Stat. 2717; 50 U.S.C.
2302(1)(B)) is amended by striking ``a disease organism'' and
inserting ``a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as those
terms are defined in section 178 of title 18, United States
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