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Impeach Bush

GOP plan would split CIA
The Arizona Republic/USA Today/Washington Post Dan Eggen
Aug. 23, 2004 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - The Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee unveiled a proposal Sunday to remove most of the nation's major intelligence-gathering operations from the CIA and Pentagon and place them directly under the control of a new national intelligence director.

The plan, announced by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and endorsed by seven other committee Republicans, is more severe than the reorganization proposed last month by the Sept. 11 commission and would result in the virtual dismantling of the CIA. It also would severely curb the power and influence of the Defense Department, which controls the bulk of the federal classified intelligence budget.

Under the plan, the CIA's three main directorates would be torn from the agency and turned into separate entities reporting to separate directors. The Pentagon would lose control of three of its largest operations as well, including the super-secret National Security Agency, or NSA, which intercepts electronic signals worldwide.

The proposal came as a shock to Senate Democrats and the White House, which had not been told about the plan's details by Roberts and seven other GOP committee members. Congress is holding hearings on how to remodel the nation's intelligence agencies in the wake of shortcomings outlined by the Sept. 11 commission.

Roberts, appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, said the Republicans focused on "the national security threats that face this country today" in fashioning the proposal.

"We didn't pay attention to turf or agencies or boxes," Roberts said. "I'm trying to build a consensus around something that's very different and very bold."

But the plan ran into immediate obstacles, including a committee Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, who said on the same CBS show: "It's a mistake to begin with a partisan bill, no matter what is in it."

And while the White House indicated it would study the proposal, an intelligence official Sunday said the plan "makes no sense" and would cause more problems than it would solve.

"Rather than eliminating stovepipes, this will create more of them," said the official, requesting anonymity.

"Rather than bringing intelligence disciplines together, it smashes them apart. . . . This proposal is unworkable and would hamper rather than enhance the nation's intelligence operations."

The plan was welcomed by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who has endorsed the changes advocated by the Sept. 11 commission, including creation of a national intelligence director.

Rand Beers, the campaign's national security adviser, said in a statement that the Senate GOP proposal "is very similar to the reforms offered by John Kerry but needs to become bipartisan to be fully successful." Beers accused President Bush of "dragging his feet and resisting any real changes."

The proposal adds an unpredictable element to the debate over how to revise the intelligence community as Congress works toward voting on legislation before the November elections. The debate, carried out in about 22 hearings scheduled during Congress's usual August recess, has centered on the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, which released a final report last month calling for creation of a national intelligence director who would control the budgets of the various U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Bush administration unveiled a proposal that would create a national intelligence director but not give the individual direct control over budgets or operations of the agencies. In congressional testimony last week, both Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged caution.

"If we move unwisely and get it wrong, the penalty would be great," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Roberts' plan, outlined in a paper released Sunday, would create agencies of the CIA's main directorates: operations, which collects intelligence and directs covert activities; intelligence, which analyzes information; and science and technology.

At the Pentagon, both the NSA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency would be removed and put under an assistant national intelligence director. The human intelligence program in the Defense Intelligence Agency would also be removed.

In outlining the proposal, Roberts said, "No one agency, no matter how distinguished its history, is more important than U.S. national security." The paper also said: "We are not abolishing the CIA. We are reordering and renaming its three major elements."

But the senior intelligence official said that little would be left at the CIA under the plan. "That's exactly what it would do: demolish the agency," the official said. "This goes way beyond anything reasonable."

Roberts's proposal came a day after the Sept. 11 commission officially closed down, although its members have vowed to campaign for intelligence revisions.

Hours before its midnight demise, the panel released two reports containing new details about al-Qaida fund-raising and about how the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers obtained U.S. visas and entered the country on numerous occasions.

The FBI knew about suspected al-Qaida fund-raisers before the attacks but failed to adequately address them, one report said, adding, "Gaps appear to remain in the intelligence community's understanding of the issue."

The second report said the hijackers lied on their visa applications, overstayed U.S. visas or falsified passports. It found that ringleader Mohamed Atta should have been stopped for extra scrutiny in July 2001, the last time he re-entered the United States.

Commentary:
Great article. Anyone who's been following this website for some time knows the problem wasn't with the CIA or the Pentagon. This site has dozens of pre©war stories that showed Bush was lying about his reasons for going to war (WMD).

The problem then wasn't the CIA or Pentagon, but instead the problem lies in three areas. The Bush Presidency, the Congress and the Media. Had any one of these asked a few basic questions and demanded answers the entire WMD debacle would have been avoided.

. The primary unasked question remains, "if the US intelligence was so good, why couldn't the UN inspectors verify one word of it?" And a follow-up question remains, "why didn't the Bush Administration give the UN inspectors absolute proof, or reasonable proof?" Instead, the UN scoffed at US intelligence saying it was "garbage" and a wild goose chase." For more stories on this site search "Blix and WMD." Pay special attention to the commentary on Impeach Bush page 55 in which Blix says the UN must make its decisions based on the evidence (not beliefs).

When the UN called Bush's intelligence "garbage" why didn't the Congress or the media step up and do their jobs and destroy Bush? Both are utterly incompetent.

So, here we have it. The Congress and the President failed us miserably but they want us to think it's not their fault. They continue to think we're moron's. Perhaps many are. Now they tell us that all we have to do is reorganize the chairs on the Titanic and everything will be ok. Good grief. Insanity has taken over.