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Transcript: Sen. Jack Reed on 'FNS'

The following is a partial transcript of the Feb. 11, 2007, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Now for the Democrats' view, we turn to a member of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed.

Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

SEN. JACK REED, R-R.I.: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: I have to say, I'm genuinely confused about what the Senate Democrats are going to do now on this Iraq resolution.

Do you intend to bring the non-binding resolution up again? Do you intend to let the Republicans hang out there, being seen, fairly or not, as obstructionists?

Or, as it has been reported in some quarters, do you intend to move away from non-binding resolution and actually try to pass something to stop the president from continuing this troop increase?

REED: Well, our immediate attention has to be to the continuing resolutions, the budget this week, so we can pass a budget and move forward and not shut the government down.

But when we return, I think what you'll see is efforts by both sides, Senator Warner and his Republican colleagues, to bring up this resolution, his resolution, others, and so we will eventually get into, I think, a very open-ended and free-wheeling debate.

The point I think, though, that we should stress about last week — this is not just about the debate. It's about preventing a decisive vote on the Warner resolution which would oppose the president's escalation.

And the procedural maneuvers that Senator McConnell, others, used basically frustrated that vote, that up and down vote, where do you stand on that. I think we should have had that vote last week.

WALLACE: But let me ask you about that. What's wrong with Senator McConnell's position, which is that if you want an up or down vote, fair enough, on the Warner resolution disapproving of the troop surge, give them an up or down vote on their resolution?

REED: Well, the problem I think, as I see it, is that they were insisting upon a 60-vote margin so that even though there would be a strong bipartisan majority vote against the president's escalation, that would not effectively have passed the Senate, whereas other proposals, in fact, those that are embraced by both sides very sincerely, supporting the troops, would have passed.

I think they end of the day, they wanted to defeat by any means they could the resolution that Senator Warner proposed.

And I think, again, the letter that Senator Warner authored along with seven or eight other Republicans just a day after this procedural deadlock, suggesting they're going to bring it up, shows that they really want to get back to the business of getting an up or down vote on the resolution.

WALLACE: So, basically, though, what you seem to be saying is that you were worried that their resolution, the Gregg resolution to keep funding the troops, was going to get more votes than yours and you wouldn't get the headline you wanted in the papers the next day.

REED: Well, it wouldn't be just about the headline. It wouldn't have the — the Warner resolution wouldn't have the effect of passing the United States Senate.

WALLACE: What difference does it make if it gets 54 votes? It's a non-binding resolution anyway.

REED: Well, it makes a great deal of difference, particularly as the House this week will be considering something that might be very similar to that, and it would send a very strong message.

I think there's a difference between being able to argue that it passed the United States Senate and an argument that I think Senator McConnell would make very enthusiastically, that it didn't pass, and we're moving on with just a resolution supporting the troops.

We do support the troops, obviously. In fact, I think many of us feel that if we get the policy right, that will be the best way to support the troops.

WALLACE: What about the argument you hear from a number of Democrats that this whole question, which I'm sure is kind of glazing over the eyes of some of our viewers, is a waste of time?

If you really disapprove of the policy, if you really think it's wrong to send the troops in, you're in the majority in the Senate. You're in the majority in the House. Pass binding legislation to stop it.

REED: Right. Well, I think the proof that this is not just some sort of idle exercise is the efforts that have been made to stop an up or down vote on the resolution by the White House, by the Republican leadership in the Senate.

So there's something here they feel would be a significant, I think, statement. And I think also we understand that this...

WALLACE: But if I may, what about my point, which is if you really think that this is wrong, and this isn't going to work, and it's endangering those 21,500 more troops that are going in, then act to stop it, act to defund it?

REED: Well, the first step, I think, is to get this resolution in place, because it represents a bipartisan effort. I think it's very important to recognize this is not just a Democrat proposal.

Senator Warner, Senator Hagel, Senator Snowe, Senator Collins — Republicans joining Democrats to try to make a statement. That's important. But no one assumes that this is going to be the last step. But I think it's an important first step and a necessary step before we go forward.

WALLACE: You're a member of the Armed Services Committee, as we said, that got the report from the Pentagon inspector general very critical of the office that Doug Feith held. What did you make of what you heard from Mr. Feith earlier?

REED: Well, I think the I.G.'s report is very critical, and rightly so. One, he took a significant piece of information that was in dispute and crafted it in his presentations as being a known fact — the meeting in Czechoslovakia with Atta and representatives of the Iraqi intelligence service.

That was a fact — not really, but a fact that was used publicly by many people in the administration to argue to the American public about the validity of their charges of this relationship between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.

I think also, too, as you pointed out in the discussion, he seemed to have a different briefing for different audiences. When he went to the CIA, supposedly to challenge them on their poor handling of intelligence, poor analysis, he left out the critical chart which talked about how the CIA wasn't doing their job.

And I think that's not because of atmospherics, et cetera. That was the message he was sending he didn't want to be interfered with by the CIA.

WALLACE: And going beyond Mr. Feith, his whole charter from the Pentagon and how it was used, what do you think was going on here?

REED: Well, I think they were trying to create a case to go to war with the Saddam Hussein regime based upon very faulty intelligence, very faulty analysis.

They did it very deliberately. They used that analysis. It was leaked to the media. It was reported in newspapers. It took on a credibility beyond the facts that the intelligence community had.

And I think it set the stage for what is, I think, a very — in retrospect — and at the time I felt the same way because I voted against the resolution — a policy that has been harmful to the United States.

WALLACE: Finally — and we have less than a minute left — what about Iran? How solid is the evidence that you, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, have seen that Iran is arming our enemies in Iraq and that this is coming from the highest levels of the Iranian government?

REED: I think the evidence is confused. There are certainly indications, as Mr. Gates pointed out this week, that these explosive foreign projectiles seem to be coming from Iran. They've been used.

The question is is this a deliberate policy of the Iranian government at the highest levels. Is it rogue elements within the government? And then the other question is to what extent are there countervailing signals that the Iranians actually are trying to — not control, but not to further raise the stakes in Iraq.

So it's a very complicated situation.

WALLACE: Senator Reed, we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for coming in.

REED: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: Please come back, sir.

REED: Yes, sir.