Here's a portion of a FOX News Sunday interview with Senator John Kerry concerning intelligence:
WALLACE: Let's talk about national security. In 1995, you were the only sponsor of a bill to cut $1.5 billion from intelligence spending over the next five years.
WALLACE: And in 1997, you said that the intelligence apparatus was too big...
WALLACE: ... there were higher priorities.
WALLACE: And then in 2001, after 9/11, you complained and said, "Why wasn't our intelligence better?"
KERRY: Let me tell you exactly why I did that. I went to Moscow shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. I got out of an airplane, and I looked around me, and there wasn't a light, barely, that worked in the airport. There wasn't a new truck in the parking lots.
I went to the foreign office, and there were 12 telephones on a desk. And I asked, "This guy must be really important. Why does he have 12 phones?" They said, "Because they don't know how to hook up all the phone lines into one phone."
And this was the country that we supposedly had to fear marching through Poland...
WALLACE: But the intelligence, obviously, could have helped against the...
KERRY: Intelligence failed us, because — I was on the Intelligence Committee. What we were trying to do, some of us, was push the funding not into technical means — there was a fascination always with satellites and listening devices, not with human intelligence.
I've always been somebody who has felt that we needed human intelligence. That's our failure. That was the failure with respect to 9/11. That remains the greatest gap in our intelligence.
So I wanted to reduce some spending from the national technical means and change the culture of our intelligence gathering. I believe we need to strengthen that, obviously now, post-9/11, but I wrote a book in 1996, Chris, called "The New War," and in that book, after that vote, I wrote about how we needed to strengthen our ability to be able to fight international criminal crime, including terror. In fact, I wrote a chapter called "The Globalization of Terror," and I said, four years before New York, it'll take one megaterrorist event in one of our cities to change life as we know it in America.
I think we deserve a president who does see ahead and who knows how to allocate resources correctly.
But will he allocate resources correctly? As I noted earlier, Senator Kerry opposed an appropriation that was to go to human intelligence and thus save the lives of American soldiers currently in harm's way.
That being said, intelligence is never perfect regardless of funding levels. As President you need to make decisions based on imperfect information. Kerry gave further indication of his thought process during the interview, here:
Now, I'm happy to answer that. I did indeed vote the way I voted in 1991. I thought we ought to kick Saddam Hussein out of Iraq. I said so on the floor of the Senate. But with the memories of Vietnam, I also thought we ought to take a couple of months more to build the support in the country.
President Bush has said that 9/11 changed how he viewed intelligence. Namely, err on the side of the safety of the American people. Kerry, on the other hand, errs on being politically popular — that is, building support over months even though some of your intelligence says you don't have those months. It was never an issue that Saddam Hussein desired WMD. It was an open question whether he had them. It gets down to estimating his capability. Which intelligence error is worse, overestimating your enemy or underestimating him? In this age of terror and no warning attacks, we cannot afford to underestimate them. John Kerry's approach to intelligence, in my opinion, disqualifies him from being Commander-in-Chief.