Mr. President, at the outset of the confirmation hearings, I had serious reservations about the nominee. The confirmation hearings only raised more questions and greater doubts. Questions and doubts about Mr. Gates’ past activities, managerial style, judgment, lapses in memory and analytical abilities. Questions and doubts about his role in the Iran-Contra Affair and in providing military intelligence to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war; and questions and doubts about whether he will be able to remove the ideological blinders reflected in his writings and speeches or whether Mr. Gates is so rooted in the past, that he will not be able to lead the Agency into the post-cold war era. Because of these concerns, I have concluded that Mr. Gates is not the right person for the important job of overseeing our intelligence operations in this New World.
Mr. President, Robert Gates is a career Soviet analyst and former Deputy Director of the CIA who was wrong about what CIA analyst Harold Ford described as `the central analytic target of the past few years: the probable fortunes of the USSR and the Soviet European bloc.’ And I believe that the committee report points out one possible reason why the CIA failed to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to testimony, Mr. Gates was busy pursuing hypotheses and making unsubstantiated arguments attempting to show Soviet expansion in the Third World, instead of looking for or paying attention to facts that pointed in the opposite direction. Why? Why, as Mentor Moynihan has pointed out, was the CIA able to tell Presidents everything about the Soviet Union except the fact that it was falling apart?
Mr. Gates was also wrong about the Soviet threat to Iran in 1985. The 1985 Special National Intelligence Estimate on Iran stressed possible Soviet inroads into Iran. Gates admits that the analysis was an anomaly. It was a clear departure from previous analyses and almost immediately proven wrong by subsequent events. Gates was involved in preparing that analysis. According to Hal Ford, whose testimony the nominee never refuted, Gates leaned heavily on the Iran Estimate, in effect, `insisting on his own views and discouraging dissent.’ What was the result? The 1985 estimate was skewed and contributed to the biggest foreign policy debacle of the Reagan administration, the sale of arms to Iran.