DeConcini, the Intelligence Committee chairman, and Inouye, the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee chairman, assailed Kerry's unsuccessful efforts to cut the intelligence budget. DeConcini calculated it would cost $1 billion in intelligence spending that year and $5 billion over the next five years. Both senators suggested Kerry did not recognize the dangers existing then after the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. In opposing Kerry's amendment, DeConcini declared, "We no longer seem immune from acts of terrorism in the United States." Inouye asked: "Is this the time to cut the satellite programs that give our forces warning of attacks?"
Kerry's unfortunate charges of American war crimes in Vietnam can be excused as the excesses of an angry 27-year-old war veteran. In 1994, he was 50 years old with 10 years experience as a U.S. senator and was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which makes this a not so easily defendable position.
His campaign aides have tried to defend it anyway, rather than admit that it was a bad judgement call, something that the Bush campaign has recently come under non-stop fire for. The defense by the campaign is that Kerry's proposed intelligence cuts were aimed at what "was essentially a slush fund for defense contractors." Clanton added: "Unlike George Bush, John Kerry does not support every special spending project supported by Halliburton and other defense contractors."
Here's the problem. When Sen. Kerry proposed these cuts he made no mention of slush fund's and his amendment, offered without co-sponsors, would have cut intelligence across the board.
His campaign aides, in the defense of this amendment, are referring to the scandal over the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) hoarding $1 billion in unspent funds. But, Sen. Kerry never mentioned the NRO, either, and the scandal didn't occur until the year after his amendment was proposed.