Kerry Missed Most Hearings

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Kerry Missed Most Hearings as Member of Intelligence Committee
By Heather Wier
CNSNews.com Correspondent
August 04, 2004

(CNSNews.com) - Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has criticized President Bush's response to the 9/11 Commission report, insisting that he would do a better job of fighting the war against terror.

But according to the Republican National Committee, Kerry missed most of the public hearings when he sat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence between 1993 and 2000.

One of those hearings, the RNC indicated, happened about a year before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States and focused on warnings of possible terrorist strikes and how those warning should be handled. In all, the RNC researchers discovered, Kerry missed 38 of 49 public hearings during the eight years he served on the intelligence panel.

Sarah Ross, press secretary to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the current chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said missing "the majority of a committee's open hearings," makes it "hard for Kerry to claim that he is Mr. Intel."

It's unclear how many, if any, closed hearings Kerry missed while serving on the Intelligence Committee. Ross said most of the panel's hearings are closed, but "to release the records of the closed hearings is a difficult matter."

However, she added that the current arrangement is for the committee to hold at least one closed hearing each week Congress is in session. Roberts did not chair the Intelligence Committee when Kerry last served as a member in 2000.

Calls to the Kerry campaign requesting comment for this article were not returned, but a press release from the campaign attempted to provide "a reality check" on how the Bush White House was responding to the recommendations of 9/11 Committee.

"Simply saying America is safer today, doesn't mean that the administration has been doing all it can to make it so," the Kerry campaign stated.

In response to the Kerry "Truth Squad" report, RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke said he doubted the Kerry forces would "release Senator Kerry's complete attendance record of Senate Intelligence Committee hearings."

Earlier, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called on Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), "to publicly release their attendance records at the private, or classified hearing on the Intelligence Committee so the American people can really know the truth.

"Where does the failure of oversight come from? Is it because they didn't bother to show up?" Cornyn asked. "I think the American people deserve to know and they deserve to know the truth now."

Edwards, currently serves on the Intelligence Committee. There have been eight public hearings since he joined the panel and he has attended four, according to the Republican National Committee.
 

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