Senate Committee Approves Intelligence Reform Bill

Carper Supports Bill to Implement 9-11 Commission’s Recommendations

WASHINGTON (Sept. 22, 2004) – The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee today passed sweeping intelligence reform legislation that would help prevent the kind of missteps and missed opportunities that contributed to the failure to detect and prevent the 9-11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., voted with the other 16 members of the panel in unanimously approving the critically important legislation, which closely tracks the recommendations of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission. The bill is expected to be on the floor of the Senate next week. “Today, we took the first steps toward responding to the 9/11 Commission’s call for sweeping change to improve the quality and reliability of our nation’s intelligence,” said Carper. “The 9-11 Commission took two years examining the failures that led to September 11th and came up with a set of recommendations, many of which have been advocated for years, that would help prevent future terrorist attacks. While we didn’t accept the recommendations wholesale, we followed them closely, and we’ve come up with an excellent product that I hope to see enacted this year.” The legislation represents the most important overhaul of our nation’s intelligence community since the Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947. Following the advice of the 9-11 Commission, the bill would create a National Intelligence Authority headed by a powerful national intelligence director with budgetary and personnel control over most of the nation’s spy agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency. The intelligence director would be the president’s chief intelligence adviser and require Senate confirmation, but would lack Cabinet rank. The bill would also create a National Counterterrorism Center, which would collect information on terrorist threats from all sources in the intelligence community and use it both to uncover terrorist plots by “connecting the dots” and to plan operations aimed at preventing such attacks. Next week during floor debate on the bill, Carper plans to offer two amendments to the legislation that would further enhance our national security. Along with a group of senators, Carper will offer an amendment to strengthen our rail security network. Earlier this year, Carper helped author the Rail Security Act of 2004, which would authorize nearly $1.2 billion to help protect passenger and freight rail service around the country and make much-needed improvements to the Amtrak tunnels. That legislation has been stalled since passing the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee earlier this year, so Carper and other senators will seek to attach it to the broader 9-11 bill in hopes of seeing it enacted this year. Carper also plans to offer an amendment with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, which would ensure that Delaware continues to receive an ample share of federal homeland security dollars despite its small population. There has been an effort recently in the Senate to channel more homeland security funds to larger states. Senator Carper supports giving larger states like New York and California all the money they need to protect themselves, but past efforts to do so would have hurt Delaware’s ability to prepare for potential attacks. Carper and Collins have helped broker a deal that would make sure that small states with greater risk for terrorist attack, such as Delaware, receive their fair share of federal homeland security money. The Carper-Collins amendment, which will mirror legislation reported out of the Governmental Affairs Committee this past June, would also streamline the homeland security grant process to make it easier for states to apply and receive federal money.