Debate over Recommendations of National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

September-November 2004

Materials arranged chronologically.

Washington Post. "[Editorial:] Stampede on Intelligence." 2 Sep. 2004, A22. []

"Many of the recommendations by the Sept. 11 commission ... could tangibly improve the country's security.... Yet, rather than tackle ... mundane steps..., congressional leaders, joined by the White House, have begun a stampede to push through the commission's most attention-grabbing recommendation: a far-reaching and complex reorganization of the national intelligence community.... [T]his mad rush is occurring in the absence of consensus among leaders of the intelligence community or outside experts about whether the reorganization is necessary, much less how it should work.... Congress and the administration would be wise to resist the pressures of the political season and limit the extent of organizational change."

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), "[Letter to the Editor:] No 'Mad Rush' to Reform," Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2004, A18, takes issue with the assertion that "Congress is engaged in a 'mad rush' to enact intelligence reform 'in the absence of consensus.'"

Dewar, Helen, and Charles Babington. "Intelligence Retooling on Agenda as Congress Returns." Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2004, A4. []

On 7 September 2004, a bill to approve all the 9/11 commission's proposals was introduced in the Senate by John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT). Republican leaders in the House "dismissed the McCain-Lieberman bill as a 'rubber stamp' of the commission that leaves little room for congressional ideas. They said a 'leadership bill' will be introduced by the end of the month, probably by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert" (R-IL). See also, Philip Shenon, "Bipartisan Bill Offered on 9/11 Panel's Proposals," New York Times, 8 Sep. 2004.

Bumiller, Elisabeth, and Philip Shenon. "Bush Now Backs Budget Powers in New Spy Post." New York Times, 9 Sep. 2004. []

On 8 September 2004, participants in a White House meeting with congressional members from both parties said that President Bush and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice "told them that the administration wanted the new intelligence director to have authority over the budget of the national program for collecting and sharing foreign intelligence. Effectively, that would give the new director control over as much as 75 percent of the estimated $40 billion that the government spends each year on intelligence, while the Pentagon would control the remaining 25 percent."

See also, Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank, "Bush Plan Draws on Advice of 9/11 Panel: New Proposal Gives Intelligence Chief More Budget Power," Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2004, A1.

Babington, Charles. "Hill Wary of Intelligence Oversight Changes: Lawmakers from Both Parties Resist Recommendations of 9/11 Commission." Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2004, A5. []

Pincus, Walter. "Support for Intelligence Plan: Powell, Ridge Back One Director but Defer to Bush on Specifics." Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2004, A4. [}

Appearing before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on 13 September 2004, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said "that creating a new national intelligence director could guard against the type of faulty intelligence that led him to tell the United Nations in February 2003 that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.... In testimony, [both] Powell and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge expressed support for appointment of a national intelligence chief, though each said there are still details to be worked out in the approach that will be supported by Bush."

Shenon, Philip. "Powell Rejects 9/11 Panel's Plan for Intelligence Office." New York Times, 14 Sep. 2004. []

On 13 September 2004, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell disclosed that the Bush administration disagrees "with a major recommendation of the Sept. 11 commission and that the president did not want officials of the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the Pentagon to serve in the inner circle of a new national intelligence director.... He said President Bush thought 'that we need clear lines of authority' and that it would be a mistake to have officials who 'report to two different masters.'"

Gorman, Siobhan, and Richard E. Cohen. "Hurtling Toward an Intelligence Overhaul." National Journal, 18 Sep. 2004, 2807-2810.

Pincus, Walter, and Charles Babington. "Group Calls for Slowing Intelligence Reform." Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2004, A4. []

On 21 September 2004, "[a] bipartisan group of former senior Cabinet members, senators and national security officials, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultz,... urged Congress not to rush to pass legislation restructuring the intelligence community based 'on an election timetable.'"

Best, Richard A., Jr. Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization, 1949-2004. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 24 Sep. 2004. Available at:

"Proposals for the reorganization of the United States Intelligence Community have repeatedly emerged from commissions and committees created by either the executive or legislative branches. The heretofore limited authority of Directors of Central Intelligence and the great influence of the Departments of State and Defense have inhibited the emergence of major reorganization plans from within the Intelligence Community itself."

Babington, Charles. "Intelligence Bill Passed By Senate; House to Consider Differing Measure." Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2004, A1. []

The U.S. Senate voted on 6 October 2004 "to revamp the structure of the nation's intelligence community by creating a national intelligence director, a counterterrorism center and other agencies." See also, Philip Shenon, "Senate Approves 9/11 Bill at Odds With House Version," New York Times, 7 Oct. 2004.

Babington, Charles, and Helen Dewar. "New Intelligence Chief Backed; But Reform Package Hinges on Congressional Negotiations." Washington Post, 9 Oct. 2004, A13. []

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on 8 October 2004 to create the position of intelligence director and to adopt "contentious provisions that would make it easier to detain and deport illegal immigrants.... [T]he House and Senate versions of the intelligence reform legislation differ in many significant ways." The Senate bill omits many of the immigration and law enforcement provisions. See also, Brian DeBose, "House Passes Overhaul of Intelligence." Washington Times, 9 Oct. 2004; and Philip Shenon and Rachel L. Swarns, "House Approves Intelligence Bill," New York Times, 9 Oct. 2004.

Gorman, Siobhan, and Sydney J. Freedberg. "Carter and Turner on Intelligence Reform." National Journal, 9 Oct. 2004, 3080-3082.

Lipton, Eric. "Spy Chiefs Say Cooperation Should Begin at the Bottom." New York Times, 14 Oct. 2004. []

On 13 October 2004, former DCI George J. Tenet, DIRNSA Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, and NGA Director Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. told a symposium sponsored by the United States Geospatial-Intelligence Foundation "that the way to defend the United States against terrorist attacks was not to reshuffle the top management but to improve cooperation among rank-and-file analysts, spies, investigators and military officers."

Pappalardo, Joe. "Pentagon Balking at Intel Reform Recommendations." National Defense 89 (17 Oct. 2004): 16-17.

Pincus, Walter. "CIA Chief's Power a Hurdle in Intelligence Reform: Control Over Agency, Budget Authority Among Issues Still Unresolved by Congress, White House." Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2004, A13. []

"Congressional leaders and the White House have yet to reach agreement on two major elements of intelligence reform legislation -- the powers of the new national intelligence director, and the specific roles of the new national counterterrorism center.... Porter J. Goss, as a result of executive orders signed by the president in August, already has much of the power and authority in his role" as DCI that the new legislation would give to the proposed national intelligence director.

Congressional Research Service. H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2945 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Updated, 21 Oct. 2004. [Available at:]

This report lays out the substantial differences between the two bills that have been passed in the respective chambers.

Shenon, Philip. "Delays on 9/11 Bill Are Laid to Pentagon." New York Times, 26 Oct. 2004. []

According to Congressional officials and commission members on 25 October 2004, "[a] months-long, behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by the Pentagon to water down the powers of a new national intelligence director is largely responsible for a stalemate threatening to derail Congressional efforts to enact the major recommendations of the independent Sept. 11 commission." See also, Walter Pincus, "Turf War Stalls Intelligence Bill: Pentagon Allies at Odds With Advocates of New Director," Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2004, A4.

Babington, Charles, and Walter Pincus. "Intelligence Overhaul Bill Blocked: House Conservatives Deal Blow to President, Speaker in Rejecting Compromise." Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2004, A1. []

Legislation to reshape the U.S. intelligence community "collapsed in the House" on 20 November 2004, "as conservative Republicans refused to embrace a compromise ... they said ... could reduce military control over battlefield intelligence and failed to crack down on illegal immigrants." See also, Philip Shenon and Carl Hulse, "House Leadership Blocks Vote on Intelligence Bill." New York Times, 21 Nov. 2004.

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