28 March 2005

United States Senator Rick Santorum

I phoned United States Senator Rick Santorum to ask him not to support a man who openly endorses torturing Prisoners or Way, which by the way, Senator Santorum ended up supporting our Attorney General anyway. This was Senator Santorum's reply in writing:

February 22, 2005


(my name and address)


Dear Ms. Count-Wayt:


Thank you for contacting me regarding efforts to determine the fate of our missing American service personnel. I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefit of your views on this important matter.

One of the most frustrating situations which has faced the United States throughout history has been the fate of American prisoners of war (POW) and those declared missing in action (MIA) during military engagements. According to a Department of Defense (DoD) study of American service personnel missing in action during the four major American wars of the 20th Century, 88,601 Americans who bravely risked their lives in defense of the nation are still listed as officially unaccounted for.

As you know, the Department of Defense has established the Prisoner of
War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), whose Director, Jerry D. Jennings, also
serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel
Affairs to provide overall direction and control of DoD POW/MIA policy and
operations. DPMO is also responsible for all POW/MIA intelligence
analysis. Usually, information regarding POWs and/or MIAs comes to DPMO
officials from refugees and other contacts. Military assets, physical
evidence (such as military identification tags, photographs and aircraft
debris), communications intelligence and aerial reconnaissance are also found or
provided to DPMO from a variety of sources.

Since the fall of Saigon in April 1975 until April 1, 1999, DPMO received 20,799 reports regarding alleged live Americans in Southeast Asia, including 1,877 firsthand sightings. Of the 1,877 sightings, 1,249 were discovered to concern Americans since accounted for (as either returned alive or known dead), 487 were determined to be fabrications by the contact and 45 were determined to be wartime sightings. The
remaining 96 reports, which involve sightings of Americans in either a POW or a
non-captive environment, represent the primary focus of the DPMO analytical and
collection efforts. Unfortunately, on 21 of the 96 reports have been made
since the beginning of 1980.

As you know, DPMO has been instrumental in
assisting the federal government in searching for answers to the status of the
88,691 unaccounted Americans. A large focus of the investigation into
missing service personnel has been centered in Southeast Asia where, since 1991,
the United States has gained substantial access to aircraft crash sites,
Vietnamese records, and Vietnamese civilians. To further our governmental
efforts, in 1991, the United States established a formal POW/MIA liaison office
in Vietnam. Although a liaison office was established and despite
President Clinton's 1995 announcement that the United States and Vietnam would
reestablish normal diplomatic relations, there has yet to be a significant
decrease in the numbers of Americans listed as missing in action.

On November 4, 1998, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (POW/Missing Personnel Affairs) Robert Jones led a high-level American delegation to Hanoi for formal talks with Vietnamese officials on the continued cooperation of the Vietnamese government in assisting American officials to secure an accounting of every American POW/MIA from the war. Following Secretary Jones' meetings, U.S. and Vietnamese officials have continued to assist each other in the efforts to
resolve the status of Americans listed as MIA.

In addition to determining the status of missing American personnel from the Vietnam War, DPMO has been investigating reports from the former Soviet Union regarding the potential of American service personnel being interrogated by Soviet military officials. As you may know, in the early 1990's, a retired Soviet general
asserted that he had knowledge about Soviet interrogations of the U.S.
POWs. However, in 1994, a joint Russian-American commission investigation
found no evidence of these charges, no did they find evidence of the transfer of
American POWs to the former Soviet Union. In 1996, in hearing of the House
National Security Committee, assertions were made that American personnel were
used as test subjects in Communist military chemical/biological/radiological
experimentation before being killed. There has been little evidence
offered to substantiate this claim. Although most government analysts
believe that it is extremely unlikely that American personnel were transferred
out of North Vietnam during the War or have been held by the Vietnamese since
its conclusion, the effort of DPMO to uncover the truth regarding our missing
service personnel will not end.

As just one example of congressional support for POW/MIAs, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado introduced S. 484, the Bring Them Home Alive Act of 1999. This legislation automatically grants refugee status to any foreign national who assists in the return to the United States of any live POW or MIA service member. You may be pleased to know that this legislation was passed unanimously, with my strong support, by both the House and the Senate, and that S.484 was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 9, 2000 [P.L. 106-484].

During the 107th Congress, I cosponsored S. 1339, the Persian Gulf POW/MIA War Accountability Act of 2001, a bill introduced by Senator Campbell. This legislation extended the Bring Them Home Alive Act to cover the return of American Persian Gulf War POW/MIAs. On July 29, 2002, the Senate passed this legislation by unanimous consent. The House of Representatives subsequently passed this bill on October 15, 2003. President Bush signed H.R. 1588 into federal law [P.L. 108-136] on November 24, 2003.

Throughout my careeer in Congress, I have made a strong commitment to Pennsylvania's POW/MIA families. Please know that I will continue to take every step necessary to ensure that POW/MIAs and their families are not abandoned by their government.

Thank you again for taking time to contact me. If I can assist you in any way, please do not hesitated to call on me again.

Sincerely,

Rick Santorum

United States Senate

RJS:jxs


As a side note, Santorum is running again for Senator of Pennsylvania, and he sits on several committees:
  • Finance
  • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
  • Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
  • Rules and Administration
  • Special Committee on Aging

Senator Santorum is the Republican Conference Chairman

He has a web site at http://santorum.senate.gov

His address and phone number is:

511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

(202)224-6324

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