Intelligence



INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 (House of Representatives - July 09, 1997)

The CHAIRMAN. Are there further amendments to title III?

AMENDMENT NO. 6 OFFERED BY MS. WATERS

Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I offer amendment No. 6.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment No. 6 offered by Ms. Waters:

Page 10, after line 15, insert the following new section:

SEC. 306. STUDY OF CIA INVOLVEMENT IN THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN THE PERSIAN GULF WAR.

Not later than August 15, 1999, the Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency shall conduct, and submit to Congress in both a classified and declassified form, a study concerning Central Intelligence Agency involvement (or knowledge thereof) of the use of chemical weapons by enemy forces against Armed Forces of the United States during the Persian Gulf War. Such study shall determine--

(1) Whether there is any complicity of Central Intelligence Agency agents, employees, or assets in the use of chemical weapons;

(2) whether there is any use of appropriated funds for such purposes; and

(3) the extent of involvement of other elements of the Intelligence Community of the United States or foreign intelligence agencies in the use of such weapons.

Ms. WATERS (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the Record.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?

Mr. GOSS. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear which amendment we are on, Mr. Chairman. I do not have the same numbering system. There are two amendments.

Ms. WATERS. If the gentleman will yield, it is amendment No. 6.

Mr. GOSS. The subject of this amendment is chemical weapons, chemical weapons in the Gulf?

Ms. WATERS. A study of the Central Intelligence Agency involved in the use of chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf war.

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?

There was no objection.

The CHAIRMAN. Under a previous order of the House, the time will be alloted, 30 minutes to the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Waters], and 30 minutes to a Member opposed to the amendment.

The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Waters].

Ms. WATERS. I yield myself such time as I may consume, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment to establish a study of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA. This study is designed to explore the involvement and the use of chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf war. Specifically, this amendment requires the Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct a study and submit to Congress in both a classified and declassified form a report of its findings.

Mr. Chairman, I think it is important to expand a little bit on why I would want such a study. In order to do that, I would like to read information from the New York Times, May 6, 1997, the Tuesday late edition. It starts with the information concerning George J. Tenet, the fifth nominee for director of Central Intelligence in the last 4 years.

It states that he would be questioned by a Senate committee on that Tuesday, and the betting is, they said, that his nomination will be quickly approved by the panel and then promptly confirmed by the full Senate. The article goes on to explain what has been happening in trying to keep directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the turnover and the turmoil that this agency has been experiencing.

Mr. Chairman, they say, `This turmoil at the top of American intelligence has no parallel except in the Watergate era, when five men served in rapid succession as director of Central Intelligence from 1972 to 1977, years when the agency was devastated by a disclosure of its Cold War history of assassination plots, coups, and dirty tricks.'

What is important about this article, however, is that it identifies much of the turmoil, much of the criticism, much of the faux pas, much of the problems that this agency has been experiencing. But this amendment today centers on what happened in Iraq. It talks about secret operations were exposed in Iraq, France, Japan, India, and Italy, but then it really targets in on the agency, the fact that the agency sat on evidence that chemical weapons had been present at the Iraq munitions dump blown up soon after the Persian Gulf war.

Members have heard references to this today, when they talk about the 20,000 soldiers that were exposed to sarin gas. Mr. Chairman, this is unacceptable. As Members know, I served on the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. I learned a lot in the period of time that I served on that committee.

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I gained deep respect for the sacrifices that are made by families and members in our armed services. I also witnessed a lot of other things having served on that committee.

These loyal individuals who gave of themselves, most of whom were very proud to serve their country, many of them belonging to families where they had other family members who had served their country, had died serving their country in previous wars, many of them now ailing and sick and disabled, many of them fighting day and in and day out because they cannot get their claims adjudicated with their own government. I learned deep respect for the veterans of this country, having served, watched them come to the Congress of the United States oftentimes asking for assistance and not getting that assistance, many of them not being taken care of properly in the veterans hospitals around the Nation, but they continued to be very loyal, very committed, very patriotic.

And I learned something else: Members of this House could wax eloquently about their support of the Members who had served, our veterans, members of the armed services. They could say over and over again how much respect they had for them, how much they honored and cherished them and how we should do everything in our power to make their lives comfortable once they had served. But it is very interesting, when we look at what the Central Intelligence Agency did to them in Iraq, how they had information about the chemicals that were stored there and they did not share this information, they did not tell them they were at risk and they exposed these 20,000 individuals.

How can we be comfortable with this agency that has been identified over and over today as an agency with serious problems, with serious trouble, an agency that is too closely associated with trafficking in drugs, an agency that has relationships with some of the worst people in the world, murderers, drug dealers, terrorists, an agency that has broken down where we have members who are there to protect and serve, who are selling us out, identified in a most prominent way in all of the news media of this country? Knowing all of this we do not want to in any way touch them.

Why are we so afraid of the CIA? Why are we as public policymakers not willing to pull them in? Why are we not ready to rap their wrists?

I have heard Members on this floor talk about all of the agencies that have failed and how they want to cut them. I have heard many times about the poverty programs and how they have not worked and how they have been fraught with problems and troubles. Well, we have an agency that is embarrassing us, an agency where our allies are telling us, get them out of their country, an agency that has committed just about every ill and every sin that any intelligence group could commit. Do we want to cut them back a little bit? Five percent? No, we do not want to do that. Do we want to share information about the budget? Do we want to shine the spotlight on this agency in any way? No, we do not want to do that.

In this post-cold-war era, we are satisfied to continue to let them run rampant. But I do not think we ought to do that. I think if we do nothing else, if we do not care about the children and communities that are the victims of drugs having been brought into this country where we have identified CIA involvement, which will be in my next amendment, if we do not care about the terrorists, who we claim to want to get rid of in the world, being associated with our own intelligence community, if we do not care about the fact that the breakdown in the agency is causing too much strife and dissemination of information, do we not care enough about the veterans to send a message to them to say to them, yes, the CIA was wrong; no, you should not have been put at risk; no, they should not have withheld this information; yes, they should be punished for having done so; yes, we should do everything that we can to make sure it does not happen again?

This is not about a movie. This is not something somebody made up. This is not gossip or speculation. This is fact. The fact of the matter is 20,000 soldiers exposed to sarin gas, information withheld, information that the CIA simply could say, oh, yes, we forgot to tell you; yes, we apologize; no, we should not have done it. That is not enough. Thirty billion dollars being spent on an intelligence community, no real oversight, no real transparency, no real understanding by the public policymakers who come to this floor year in and year out and simply give their vote to the intelligence community, not knowing how it is spent and what they are doing.

I think it is about time we live up to the responsibilities that have been bestowed upon us as public policymakers. It is about time that we say, no agency is so big and so bad that it threatens us in ways that cause us not to be good public policymakers.

Yes, there is a need for intelligence. I am not naive. I do understand that we need intelligence. But I am saying to my colleagues, the CIA does not deserve our support. I am saying to my colleagues, on the Senate side, Senator Moynihan has said, strike them from the budget. Get rid of them. Over here, a modest amount tried, just cut them by 5 percent. And we sit and hold our hands and get up and make excuses about why we cannot control the CIA, why we do not have a right to do the oversight that we must do, why they are different from every other agency that we deal with, why we do not want to know, why we want to keep our heads in the sand.

It is not right. We can do better than this. So I offer this amendment. It is a very modest amendment. This amendment would simply, again, establish a study of the Central Intelligence Agency and their involvement in the use of chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf war. This is a limit to design, to do that, and I would like to send a message to the veterans that we all honor and cherish, the ones that we love so much because of the sacrifices that they have made, the ones who may die from this exposure, the ones whose families may never be satisfied that their health needs will be taken care of. I would like us to send a message here this evening, if we have got the guts to do it, I would like for us to send a message that we care. And not only do we care, we are going to do something about it. It is time to get rid of the rhetoric and step up to the plate and put our actions where our mouths are in terms of loving the veterans and the soldiers that have given to us and do this modest, very modest amendment that would shed some light on what happened in the Persian Gulf War; why did it happen and how do we prevent it from ever happening again?

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. GOSS TO THE AMENDMENT NO. 6 OFFERED BY MS. WATERS

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment to the amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Goss to the amendment No. 6 offered by Ms. Waters:

Strike all after `Sec. 306.' and insert in lieu thereof the following:

`Review of the Presence of Chemical Weapons in the Persian Gulf Theater

`The Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency shall conduct a review to determine what knowledge the Central Intelligence Agency had about the presence or use of chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf Theater during the course of the Persian Gulf War. The Inspector General shall submit a report of his findings to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, no later than August 15, 1998 in both classified and unclassified form. The unclassified form shall also be made available to the public.'

The CHAIRMAN. The amendment is not separately debatable. Pursuant to the previous order of the House, the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] is recognized for 30 minutes.

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I originally rose in opposition to the Waters amendment, but now I am rising in support of my substitute amendment.

I think it is very important that we understand here that this is not a new subject and that there are unclassified documents available to the public on Khamisiyah and what happened there. One is entitled Khamisiyah Historical Perspective on Related Intelligence of 9 April 1997. And the second, more to the point, is CIA Supports the U.S. Military During the Persian Gulf War of 16 June 1997, which deals very directly with the subject at hand. These are available for all Members and the public at large, any veterans or soldiers or military civilians or anybody who would be interested. It is a very important subject. I quite agree with that.

The gentlewoman has pointed to her love of veterans and soldiers, and I certainly admire that and I will also say that I agree with it. I have a great many veterans in my district. We have a very large veterans population, seems to grow larger every day, which is not surprising given the wonderful area where I live in southwest Florida.

I think it is very important, however, that we understand that this is not an issue that has been ignored. I would like very much, therefore, to explain a little bit further what my substitute amendment will do in addition to these reports that are already out.

The gentlewoman is seeking an IG report and we have designed an approach that would bring about a result, I think, while avoiding some of the pitfalls I see in going with the gentlewoman's original amendment.

The Intelligence Committee is obviously very concerned about the issue of chemical weapons exposure during the gulf war or any other time, and we have been closely monitoring the DCI efforts to examine this subject fully. Again, the committee was very pleased to see the April release of the unclassified report from the DCI, that would be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, related to the events at the Khamisiyah storage facility where Iraqi, and I underscore, Iraqi chemical weapons were stored and were subsequently destroyed by U.S. troops. And in that process it is apparent that some have suffered exposure to chemical weapons.

The question has to be asked. What happened? What went wrong? We tried to find out. Since this is the first I have heard from the gentlewoman on this subject but not the first I have heard on the subject, I am going to encourage her to read these reports. And I will make them available if she has not already.

From the report we know that there was a breakdown in analysis and communications between the intelligence community and the Department of Defense related to the knowledge of chemical weapons storage at this particular facility. There was a ground location problem involved and how it was referred to.

We also know that steps are already being taken by both the intelligence community and the defense to make sure that this does not happen again. Again it is addressed in these reports.

Our committee remains very vigilant about monitoring the progress of that effort and other efforts because we know the catastrophic consequences of mishandling or not knowing the maximum amount about chemical warfare and all its ramifications. The Waters amendment implies that the CIA or CIA employees were complicit, and I think that word was used in her amendment, in the use of chemical weapons against U.S. troops. That is an accusation that obviously disturbs me and any American very greatly and warrants immediate consideration.

The facts that I know are that intelligence and defense were never closer in their working relationship even though there were opportunities for things to go wrong as there are in any hostile combat situation or any peacetime situation, as we know. But former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, is I think, a man well regarded and certainly was well regarded in accomplishments of his duties in these events stated, and I quote: No combat commander has ever had as full or complete a view of his adversary as did our field commander. Intelligence support to operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm was a success story.

I am not making that up. That is not a newspaper story. That is something that Colin Powell said.

Mr. Chairman, I note that there are many, many studies that have been or are being conducted, several under the watchful eye of the Presidential Commission on Gulf War Illness. This is entirely appropriate. This committee will continue its oversight responsibilities and continue to look at activities related to this issue that belong in the area of the intelligence community, as I have said we are doing, as witnessed by these reports.

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I have said in my substitute that the gentlewoman's amendment calls on the CIA's Inspector General to conduct a review to determine what knowledge the Central Intelligence Agency had about the presence or the use of chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf theater during the course of the gulf war. This report would be submitted to the intelligence committees of the Congress, that would be both committees, no later than August 15, 1998 in both classified and unclassified form. And, frankly, I think it will happen much sooner because much of the work has already been done.

I believe the substitute will reach the goal the gentlewoman seems to have, the goal of getting as much information as possible about what we knew of the presence or use of chemical weapons during the gulf war without prejudging the outcome or implying complicity on the part of the men and women who work so hard on behalf of our national security.

I want to point that out. People are watching this debate. We are on C-SPAN. I know that it is for the benefit of the Members, but inevitably there are other observers who watch what goes on here, including the men and women of our intelligence community. I am sure that they feel a little bit let down when somebody implies that they may have been using or complicit in chemical warfare against American troops overseas.

I have trouble with that. I hope they do not believe that that is the feeling of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because it is clearly not. I believe very strongly in oversight, the need for good discipline, a piercing look at what we are doing, calling it when we see it when there is a problem, not shrinking from that, but I certainly do not think we want to denigrate the men and women who are working so hard for our national security if it is not warranted. And in my case I have not seen any facts whatsoever to warrant it.

I hope the gentlewoman will support our approach, which is offered for our mutual interest of getting at the truth. And that is what we seek, the truth. I will urge my colleagues to support the substitute to the Waters amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

First, I would like to deal with the way in which the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] characterized the inquiry that I am seeking. I asked that a study be done to make determinations. I did not come to any conclusions about the involvement of the CIA. The idea of asking for the study is to make certain determinations, and I think that should be clear.

Further, allow me to share with the Members of this House that I believe that the gentleman from Florida and I are saying the same thing. It needs to be looked at. I brought this to the floor today because I intended very much to create a platform for a discussion about this issue. I am extremely concerned, even though the gentleman from Florida believes that I should know that some studying has been done, that just as I do not know other Members of this House do not know, the public does not know, and that we are left with the accounts that we have learned about. We have heard the CIA say, yes, we had the information and, yes, we should have revealed it. That much we know.

I think the gentleman from Florida and I and other Members of this House want to shed some light on this. We want more information. We want to be able to share with the American public everything that we know about what happened, and we want to be in a position to use whatever power we have to make sure it never happens again.

So I am pleased, Mr. Chairman, that I am joined and embraced, by way of this substitute amendment, because while it may be structured a little bit differently, I am pleased that it would get the information a little bit sooner than the way that I had structured the amendment. Either way, whether it is 1 year from now or 2 years from now, and for some reason it falls on my birthday, August 15, that is all right with me.

So let me just say that I think that having brought it here, it served a purpose. It got me what I wanted. It forced the discussion. It created the debate about something that never should be in the dark, and it got my colleagues on the other side of the aisle joining with me to have a study so that we can reveal everything that we know. And with that, that is all I ask. I am pleased to accept the substitute and I thank the gentleman from Florida for recognizing that it needed to be done.

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Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentlewoman yield?

Ms. WATERS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.

Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I want to rise in support of the substitute, and I appreciate the efforts of the gentlewoman from Los Angeles, who has been very interested in this subject. I think the language drafted by the chairman gets to what we all want to get to.

Let me just say that when this happened, I had some serious reservations about the studies that were done by the Defense Department, the work that was done by the CIA on this. I asked Mr. Deutch, when he was still the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to have the Inspector General start a study.

So the chairman is right, the Inspector General has already engaged in this, and particularly about the destruction of chemical weapons at a storage site in Khamisiyah. I also asked them to look at the whole question of what did the CIA know, when did it know it, and what did it say to the Department of Defense and to the Army and to the other units that were there about their knowledge about what was stored at these various sites.

This is one of those situations where knowledge may not have been shared in a timely way, and there was destruction of some of these weapons, and I am not sure we still, even to this day, know exactly what all those weapons were. I am worried that this goes beyond just chemical weapons; that we may have had biological or other infectious agents that were released on our own people. And whether it was done by the Iraqis or it was done in our destroying these weapons, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

I think one of the big problems here is the Department of Defense did such a lousy job of investigating this thing initially that it created suspicion everywhere. We had all these veterans coming home with these various symptoms and it just did not add up, and the Department's continued denial after denial after denial, and then finally having to say, oh yes, we may have made a big mistake here and there may have been something that actually happened, is one of the reasons why there is such suspicion, not only on the part of Members of Congress but on the part of the American people, about what actually happened over there.

That is why I insisted with Mr. Deutch that the Inspector General, Fred Hintz, out at the CIA, would do the investigation. I did not want the CIA, in essence, investigating itself. I wanted the independent Inspector General of the CIA tasked for this.

So I think what this study does is expand upon that, and I think it does get the information that my colleague wants sooner by making the date August. I am certainly glad it is on her birthday. I hope the report is something that she will find joyous. And hopefully this is not a report we will all be embarrassed about, and I hope it is not.

The bottom line here is I think the chairman has crafted a good compromise. I would like to see us accept it and then move on to the next amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Florida [Mr. McCollum].

Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I simply want to rise first of all to support the substitute amendment. I think what the chairman of the committee has offered is a perfectly logical proposal, and that is that the Inspector General report, after a review, what knowledge the Central Intelligence Agency had about the presence of the use of chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf theater during the course of the war over there.

I am, however, very disturbed by the language that was in the underlying amendment, and I do want to point this out. I think it needs to be reiterated. There is not a shred of evidence that I know of, anywhere in my tenure in looking at this matter, and I have been involved as a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence looking into this matter for some time now, that would support the idea that we need a study, which the language of this original underlying amendment said, a study concerning the Central Intelligence Agency's involvement in the use of chemical weapons by enemy forces against armed forces of the United States during the Persian Gulf War.

The insinuation or the implication, not that they knew something about the chemical weapons or that they had some knowledge in the efforts that were going on over there to destroy those weapons, but that they, the CIA, was involved in some way supporting the use of those weapons, involved in the use of those weapons by our enemies, by our enemies, is outrageous in my opinion. And I do not appreciate the underlying premise here.

So I think the substitute is terribly important, and I am appreciative of the fact the gentlewoman is willing to accept the substitute because, as I said, there is no shred of evidence whatsoever anywhere that our intelligence community in any way aided or abetted the enemy, which the implication, whether she intended it or not, is there in the underlying amendment.

So I am very supportive of this substitute, I urge its adoption, and I wanted the Record to be very clear that our men and women, as far as I can determine, as long as the eye can see, operating for our intelligence community, have been honorable supporters of the American cause and patriots. Whether we agree with everything they do or do not do, certainly they have not been working for the enemy.

Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire of how much time I have remaining?

The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from California [Ms. Waters] has 10 1/2 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] has 21 minutes remaining.

Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume, because I think it is important to point out that not only did I accept the gentleman from Florida's substitute amendment, but I also offered, prior to that acceptance, an explanation of the wording that the other gentleman from Florida [Mr. McCollum] now is trying to latch on to in order to in some way imply that I made accusations unfairly.

If I had not accepted the substitute, perhaps he could do that kind of spinning. But the fact that I accepted the substitute explains very clearly, and in a way that cannot be misunderstood, what I am doing and why I am doing it, and that I congratulated them for embracing me, I think, does away with that kind of specious argument.

Certainly it is honorable for Members of this House, elected by the people, to come to this floor and raise the questions, no matter how hard they are, no matter how unpopular they are, no matter how difficult they are. And oftentimes when that is done, it is misunderstood by people who do not have the guts or the nerve to do that themselves. And sometimes it is embarrassing to take this floor and kind of push and nudge people into doing what they should be doing anyway. I understand that. But there comes a time when we need to do that.

I chose this moment, at this time, on this legislation to make an issue of what had happened in the Persian Gulf. I chose at this time, at this moment to point out that 20,000 of our soldiers were at risk. No matter whether it was intended or not, it happened. I chose at this time to demand more information, to share with the public, to demand an investigation so that we could have in writing something that people could pick up and read and know where we are going and what we are doing. I chose to do that because I think that is my responsibility and I do feel strongly about this.

So we can spin it any way we want, we can define it any way we want, but I know what I have said and I know what I am doing and I am pleased that the gentleman has joined with me to do it, no matter how much he may not have liked the fact that I brought it, no matter how much the gentleman may not have liked the fact that I raised the kinds of questions that are oftentimes embarrassing. None of us like to think that we invest so much in our intelligence community to have those kinds of terrible costly mistakes.

Having said all of that, Mr. Chairman, the bottom line is we move forward with the substitute amendment that I have embraced. And, hopefully, this is a bipartisan concern, a bipartisan effort to do the right thing, to focus the attention on what happened there, get the answers that we can get and then move to make sure that it does not happen again.

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Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentlewoman yield?

Ms. WATERS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.

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Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I think that we ought to accept what the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Waters] has said here. She is willing to accept this compromise. I would like to see this be a bipartisan study supported on both sides of the aisle, and I would urge that we all yield back our time and have a vote and move forward.

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, we are prepared to yield back. We have no further speakers on this subject at this time, and as long as we understand that this satisfies the full unanimous-consent request we had for the 30 minutes on either side and includes my substitute amendment, and that is the issue we will be voting on first, we are prepared to yield back.

Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to yield back my time. I thank the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] for joining with me in this very special and important effort.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] to the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Waters].

The amendment to the amendment was agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Waters], as amended.

The amendment, as amended, was agreed to.



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