Senators Grill CIA Chief Over India Nuclear Tests
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 15) -- CIA director George J. Tenet faced sharp questioning behind closed doors Thursday from senators looking for answers as to why the U.S. was unaware of India's nuclear tests this week.
Tenet avoided reporters as he left the meeting with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, but Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) was quick to criticize the CIA's intelligence gathering operation in the area.
"I believe it was a big failure," Sen. Shelby said. "It was a strategic failure."
Each of India's five underground detonations conducted since Monday in the desert 330 miles southwest of New Delhi is believed to have been larger than the 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the United States in 1945, according to seismic wave measurements conducted by the Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo.
India gave no advanced warning of the nuclear tests, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) characterized the Senate committee meeting as "intense," but said the U.S. must live up to the inevitable.
"India has broken into the nuclear age," Kerry said. "Unless tremendous restraint is practiced, so will Pakistan.
"People should stop finger pointing," Kerry added. "We need to look at our own level of involvement in weapon sales. There is enough blame to go around. Now we have to restrain Pakistan from testing their own nuclear weapons."
Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) was more restrained in his criticism,
choosing to blame Congress.
"I think the blame lies with us," Kerrey said. "We didn't pay attention to the warnings we got in 1995."