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Senate Proceeding on Feb 13th, 2008 :: 5:26:20 to 5:43:59
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Sheldon Whitehouse

5:12:04 to 5:26:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Sheldon Whitehouse

Sheldon Whitehouse

5:25:59 to 5:26:20( Edit History Discussion )

Sheldon Whitehouse: into exactly this. i thank the presiding officer for his patience with me. i thank the very distinguished senator from florida for his patience. and i yield the floor. mr. nelson: mr. president?

Bill Nelson

5:26:20 to 5:26:41( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i think we have just heard one of the best -- i can't even use the word oration because it was far superior. it was one

Bill Nelson

5:26:20 to 5:43:59( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson

5:26:41 to 5:26:58( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of the best explanations of how the department of justice has gone awry by the senator from rhode island. i want to commend the senator from rhode island. i want to thank him for his hraoepl analysis

Bill Nelson

5:26:58 to 5:27:18( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: -- for his legal analysis. and i just want to underscore what he has said, is that the reason that the department of justice was ignoring that court of appeals decision, the reason that the department

Bill Nelson

5:27:18 to 5:27:40( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of justice was ignoring all of the history, the record that has been built over time of which the senator cited the statements from world war ii, the reason all of that has been ignored or purposely

Bill Nelson

5:27:40 to 5:28:02( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: missed was because the department of justice became politicized so that politics became the rule of the day instead of the rule of law. and in a nation that recognizes it is a nation of law, not

Bill Nelson

5:28:02 to 5:28:22( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: a rule of men, when politics is inserted for law, then we get into the trouble that we have gotten into. and that's what brings us here. now, mr. president, i have already addressed this subject

Bill Nelson

5:28:22 to 5:28:37( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of why my conclusion, a long deliberative process of coming to the question that we ought to etch into law, the army field manual as the standard by which the intelligence community will carry out

Bill Nelson

5:28:37 to 5:28:55( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: their interrogations. and that ought to be in the law. and i think the senators that have come and spoken in favor of this, and i think we're going to have a chance to vote on this pretty soon. and each

Bill Nelson

5:28:55 to 5:29:14( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of us can determine what we think is, ought to be representative of america. if it ought to be torture or not. and we're clearly going to have an opportunity to say that, because we're going to

Bill Nelson

5:29:14 to 5:29:41( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: vote on a proposed law that says is torture going to be the standard for america? now, mr. president, i want to speak on another subject, and so i guess the appropriate parliamentary procedure would be

Bill Nelson

5:29:41 to 5:30:09( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: for me to ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, thus far it has been admitted by the united states department of defense

Bill Nelson

5:30:09 to 5:30:31( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: that 124 rapes have occurred among contractors that are under the jurisdiction of the united states army in iraq.| we know of only three of those cases that are now being considered by the department

Bill Nelson

5:30:31 to 5:30:56( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of justice and therefo the department of justice will not respond to my end treaties about this investigation because they say it is an ongoing criminal investigation. however, in other cases we

Bill Nelson

5:30:56 to 5:31:18( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: have gathered some facts, and these acts have been quite telling that there does not seem to be a standard to protect female contractors from sexual assault in iraq under the jurisdiction of the united

Bill Nelson

5:31:18 to 5:31:39( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: states army. the 124 sexual assaults have been acknowledged just under the department of the army. the question is under the other branches of the service whose contracts are being administered by

Bill Nelson

5:31:39 to 5:32:00( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: civilian contractors, how many are there, and are there similar cases in the other theater of operations, afghanistan, as well as in iraq? what we also know from the facts that we've gathered thus

Bill Nelson

5:32:00 to 5:32:22( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: far is that the problem is not within the u.s. military nearly so much as it is among contractor personnel because there is a nebulous set of regulations as to how it is to be handled on the reporting

Bill Nelson

5:32:22 to 5:32:44( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of a rape. untold numbers of sexual assaults have been committed in iraq and the departments of justice, defense, and associate are providing very little information on whether or not they have been

Bill Nelson

5:32:44 to 5:32:57( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: prosecuted. and it's time that we had this information. last december i wrote to the secretary of defense asking him to launch an investigation by d.o.d.'s inspector general. mr. the rape inspector general into

Bill Nelson

5:32:57 to 5:33:21( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: the rape cases in iraq and afghanistan. i sent letters to the secretary of state regarding the investigations carried out under the bureau of diplomatic security, and i requested that the attorney general

Bill Nelson

5:33:21 to 5:33:45( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: update me on the status of the related criminal investigations. and i ask whether and why evidence in the sexual assault cases was turned over to the private firms. i got into this, mr. president,

Bill Nelson

5:33:45 to 5:34:05( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: when one of my constituents in tampa, florida, came forth and told about the assault case. this had followed a texas case that had been elevated to the public's sphere. and the question was when

Bill Nelson

5:34:05 to 5:34:19( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: one of these women was assaulted and then went to see the doctor and a rape kit was prepared by the military doctors that would have the evidence of the rape and it was turned over to the civilian

Bill Nelson

5:34:19 to 5:34:45( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: contractor, sdenly the rape kit disappeared. so what steps has the department of defense taken to ensure the teletext full investigation and

Bill Nelson

5:34:45 to 5:35:06( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: prosecution of these cases? in the mean time the department of state has told our office that diplomatic security has investigated four cases. one of them was the texas lady and that was where a contractor

Bill Nelson

5:35:06 to 5:35:25( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: personnel assaulted another contractor personnel and another involved a state department employee who alledly assaulted a woman employed by a contractor, in this case k.b.r. and then a third case was involving

Bill Nelson

5:35:25 to 5:35:49( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: two state department employees. according to the state department, three of the cases were referred to the department of justice for investigation and possible prosecution. and so just recently our

Bill Nelson

5:35:49 to 5:36:17( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: senate staff here met with representatives of the department of defense investigating i.g.'s office and we asked them to brief us because the response back from the department of defense certainly

Bill Nelson

5:36:17 to 5:36:39( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: did not answer my questions and the inspector general's office stated, and this is what blew our mind, that the army criminal investigation command has investigated 124 rapes. now, that's just the army and

Bill Nelson

5:36:39 to 5:36:57( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: that's just in iraq, and that's just in the three years of 2005, 2006, and 2007. so what about the other services and what about afghanistan? so this, naturally, leads me to question whether there

Bill Nelson

5:36:57 to 5:37:20( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: could be hundreds of additional investigations going on about contractor personnel, specifically in the ones that have come to us, it was the contractor, k.b.r., and suggest that perhaps there could be

Bill Nelson

5:37:20 to 5:37:35( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: many assaults that have not been investigated at all. and because the inspector general's office would not provide information on the disposition of these investigations, it certainly is unclr whether

Bill Nelson

5:37:35 to 5:37:55( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: there has been -- unclear whether there has been any prosecution on these in the military or criminal justice system or whether it has been dealt with administratively. now, one of my florida constituents

Bill Nelson

5:37:55 to 5:38:14( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: was, and i will use the term advisedly, was allegedly sexually battered in iraq in 2005. and although the naif criminal investigative -- naifal criminal investigative service was supposed to be investigating

Bill Nelson

5:38:14 to 5:38:34( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: her case, they will not say anything about the basic matters of the case because the navy says that -- quote" law enforcement records are exempt from disclosure at the time requested if it be reasonably

Bill Nelson

5:38:34 to 5:38:54( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: be expected to interfere with the enforcement proceed proceedings." i think we in this congress and us in this senate and those of us on the senate senate armed services committee and the senate foreign

Bill Nelson

5:38:54 to 5:39:19( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: relations committee certainly have an obligation to investigate. because cases like this can languish far too long without any information from the government coming forth in order to protect these individuals.

Bill Nelson

5:39:19 to 5:39:39( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and so i have asked our office to followup with the defense department with the following detailed questions: the actual numbers of the sexual assault cases reported since 2001 in afghanistan and since

Bill Nelson

5:39:39 to 5:40:01( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: 2003 in iraq and the disposition of each case. i've asked to have the information of the service components or the government agencies involved in each resulting investigation. i've asked for the status

Bill Nelson

5:40:01 to 5:40:20( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: of the persons involved in each case, in other words, i want to know, are they active military? are they u.s. government civilian employee? are the a contractor employee? are they an iraqi or afghani

Bill Nelson

5:40:20 to 5:40:41( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: national? i've requested for an explanation of -- i've asked for the explanation of a u.s. investigation for sexual assault allegations in both of those areas in which we are engaged, iraq and afghanistan.

Bill Nelson

5:40:41 to 5:41:01( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and i've asked for a clear explanation of the rules, regulations, policies, and processes under which sexual assaults are investigated, evidence is obtained and responsible individuals are held accountable.

Bill Nelson

5:41:01 to 5:41:29( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: and i've asked for a clear explanation of how the department of defense divides authority among all of its various investigative arms in these sexual assault cases. mr. president, i've had to ask

Bill Nelson

5:41:29 to 5:41:53( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: these questions because d.o.d. and the department of state have not bee n forthcoming. and, yet, what is being told by some of these assault victims is absolutely horrifying. that one female contractor

Bill Nelson

5:41:53 to 5:42:12( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: employee in cocktail conversation suddenly, totally passed out, apparently her drink had been spiked. she awoke to find out that she had been assaulted many times and upon the seeing of a military

Bill Nelson

5:42:12 to 5:42:37( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: doctor, in fact, that was confirmed. and the rape kit was prepared. but when the rape kit was turned over to the contractor, it amazingly disappeared. the evidence disappeared. and that contract employee

Bill Nelson

5:42:37 to 5:42:54( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: then upon asking questions was locked in a container and could not get out of the container to go and tell her story to other personnel in her contractor -- and her contractor and only got out because

Bill Nelson

5:42:54 to 5:43:13( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: she was able to persuade to let her use a cell phone to call her father back in the united states, and that's how she got out of her confinement. now, if all of that is true, there is simply no

Bill Nelson

5:43:13 to 5:43:32( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: excuse for this. but what weha need to determine is the truth. and it's a shame that the senior senator from florida has to come to the floor of the united states senate to elevate this issue to say

Bill Nelson

5:43:32 to 5:43:59( Edit History Discussion )

Bill Nelson: to the department of defense and department of state that we want the answers to our questions. mr. president, i've asked the questions. i expect on behalf of the congress of the united states that we

5:43:59 to 5:44:39( Edit History Discussion )

will get the answers. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. mr. president, i would ask that we equally divide the quorum call between the two sides. the presiding officer:

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