Newsroom / National Security »

Senator Levin’s Address to the Foreign Policy Association: 05/27/09


My thanks to the Foreign Policy Association for inviting me to be here tonight. It is an honor to speak to the members of an organization who have added so much to our nation’s foreign policy debate over the years.

In thinking about how I might try to live up to that tradition, I set out to sum up lessons learned from the war in Iraq and how we’re back on track, focusing on the right enemy – al Qaeda and the Taliban – in the right place – Afghanistan and Pakistan. I had planned to lay before you tonight a vision of a world inspired by a young American president who summons us to look beyond party and politics, to work together here at home, and to engage our allies around the world to confront the threat of religious extremists preaching fanatic intolerance. The power of President Obama’s message – dramatized in Prague and Berlin when multitudes showed up to cheer him – holds the promise of regaining the good will of people around the world. The President’s decision to end torture, to close Guantanamo, to talk to our enemies, and to reduce the threat of nuclear annihilation shows the world that America is willing not only to lead – but to listen.

But then last week, a voice from the recent past reemerged, claiming that America can do what we please, preaching unilateralism again, and embracing the arrogance that for too many years alienated our friends and set back efforts to achieve common goals. Former Vice President Cheney’s world view, which so dominated the Bush years and which so dishonored our nation, gained a little traction last week – enough to persuade me to address it head on here tonight.

I do so as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which recently completed an eighteen month investigation into the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody and produced a 200 page bipartisan report which gives the lie to Mr. Cheney’s claims. I do so because if the abusive interrogation techniques that he champions – the face of which were the pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib – if they are once more seen as representative of America, our security will be severely set back.

When former Vice President Cheney said last week that what happened at Abu Ghraib was the work of “a few sadistic prison guards” acting on their own, he bore false witness. And when he said last week there was no link between the techniques used at Abu Ghraib and those approved for use in the CIA’s secret prisons, he again strayed from the truth. The seeds of Abu Ghraib’s rotten fruit were sown by civilians at the highest levels of our government.

(more…)

Roll Call: CongressNow Overview - Levin Is Key Ally for Obama’s Reform Efforts: 05/21/09

By Eugene Mulero
CongressNow Staff
May 4, 2009

Original story

Ask most lawmakers and they will tell you that the political elements are aligned this Congress for military acquisition reform.

This year, both chambers rolled out legislation to overhaul how the Pentagon buys major weapons, and that is due in large part to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who has emerged as a key ally to President Barack Obama on military matters.

(more…)

Senator Carl Levin’s Floor Statement on the FISA Ammendments: 07/08/08

Mr. President, Title II of this bill would authorize retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who collected intelligence information inside the United States in defiance of the clear requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as it was then on the books. The argument has been made that we must provide such immunity, because these telecommunications companies responded to requests from the government in a time of great uncertainty after the events of September 11, 2001. (more…)

Senate Floor Statement on the Army Field Manual Provision in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report: 02/13/08

I urge my colleagues to support the Intelligence Authorization conference report which includes a requirement that all government agencies, including the CIA, comply with the Army Field Manual on Interrogations in the treatment and interrogation of detainees. (more…)

Statement of Senator Carl Levin on the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 (S. 2248): 02/13/08

Mr. President, last year Congress passed a temporary bill with a six month time limit that would give us the opportunity to carry out a thorough, thoughtful examination of how to utilize complicated new technologies in the surveillance of suspected terrorists without invading the privacy of innocent Americans. In the months since we passed that temporary act, we have worked in a bipartisan manner to consider the best course forward for permanent changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Despite the enormous complexity of these issues, we reached a bipartisan consensus on the key provisions contained in Title I of the bill we are considering today. (more…)

Conditions at Walter Reed: Levin Statement at Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing: 03/06/07

(more…)

Levin: Lawmakers will work to force Bush to change course on Iraq: 02/25/07

By Hope Yen
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Democratic-controlled Congress not to interfere in the conduct of the Iraq war and suggested President Bush would defy troop withdrawal legislation.

But Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said lawmakers would step up efforts to force Bush to change course. “The president needs a check and a balance,” said Levin, D-Mich. (more…)

Levin aims for U.S. troop limits in Iraq: 02/25/07

NBC News and news services

Committee chairman says Democrats do not have enough votes yet

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. Senate Democrat said Sunday his party aims to limit the role of the nearly 140,000 American troops in Iraq and withdraw most of them from the war-torn country within a year.
(more…)

Levin looks for answers: 02/10/07

By Gordon Trowbridge
Detroit News

Senator sends staffers to White House, Pentagon to ask questions about how Iraq war started.

WASHINGTON — Michigan’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Carl Levin, said Friday he plans to delve more deeply into the story of how the United States went to war in Iraq, sending staffers to interview key White House and Pentagon officials about how dubious intelligence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11 terrorist attacks became part of the justification for the 2003 invasion.
(more…)

Levin: Pentagon ‘twisted’ Iraq intelligence information: 02/09/07

By Gordon Trowbridge
Detroit News

WASHINGTON — An investigation by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog of the run-up to the Iraq war shows top Defense Department officials manipulated intelligence on Iraq’s relationship with al-Qaida, Sen. Carl Levin said today. (more…)

Levin, Others Have Big Investigative Agendas: 02/05/07

By Jonathan Allen
CQ Today

The sight of Sen. Carl Levin behind a committee dais might not scare government and corporate witnesses, but it should.

The Michigan Democrat lacks the witness-bashing bombast of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., or the central-casting courtliness of Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va. But few lawmakers use their question time as judiciously or as effectively as Levin, whose tenacious yet civil interrogating routinely elicits closely guarded information from even the most hostile witnesses. (more…)

Levin Helps Boost Iraq Resolution’s Chances: 02/01/07

All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Robert Siegel talks with Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who has agreed to sign on to a bill along with Sen. John Warner (R-VA) expressing disapproval of President Bush’s “surge strategy” in Iraq. But some Democrats say the bill could inhibit more critical legislation that could come later. (more…)

Levin, Warner join forces to oppose Bush troop buildup plan: 01/31/07

By Anne Flaherty
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two senators leading separate efforts to put Congress on record against President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq joined forces today, agreeing on a nonbinding resolution that would criticize the plan.

Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., had been sponsoring competing measures opposing Bush’s strategy of sending 21,500 more U.S. troops to the war zone, with Warner’s less harshly worded version attracting more Republican interest. The new resolution would vow to protect funding for troops while keeping Warner’s original language expressing the Senate’s opposition to the troop buildup. (more…)

Levin Statement on the State of the Union Address: 01/23/07

(more…)

Levin Statement on President’s Proposal to Increase Troops in Iraq: 01/10/07

(more…)

Levin ‘concerned’ over possible Iraq troop expansion: 12/30/06

By Gordon Trowbridge
Detroit News

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin said Thursday he is “very concerned” that President Bush is considering plans to add U.S. troops to Iraq, a move seen as the likely centerpiece of a new war strategy the president is expected to outline in the coming weeks. (more…)

Levin focuses ahead on Iraq: 12/30/06

By Gordon Trowbridge
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Hearings will be his first chance to use Dems’ control of Congress to help shape Iraq policy. 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s first hearings as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee will question administration officials and outside experts about possible new strategies in Iraq — and not about possible mistakes in conduct of the war. (more…)

Gates heads back to Hill: 11/20/06

Associated Press
 
Defense Secretary nominee to meet with incoming Armed Services chair

CAPITOL HILL - President Bush’s choice to head the Pentagon goes back up to Capitol Hill today.
(more…)

Military Commissions: Levin Floor Speech in Opposition to the Military Commissions Bill Passed in the Senate: 09/29/06

(more…)

Senator Carl Levin’s Floor Statement on the FISA Ammendments: 11/30/99

Mr. President, Title II of this bill would authorize retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who collected intelligence information inside the United States in defiance of the clear requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as it was then on the books. The argument has been made that we must provide such immunity, because these telecommunications companies responded to requests from the government in a time of great uncertainty after the events of September 11, 2001. (more…)