Sep 22 2004

SHELBY: INTELLIGENCE REFORM BILL DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH

U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), a former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, voiced disappointment over the intelligence reform bill that was reported out of the Governmental Affairs Committee today. Shelby, a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee and active participant in the hearings to reform the intelligence community, had the following statement:

“I commend Chairman Collins and Ranking Member Lieberman for their hard work in crafting this legislation. I believe this bill takes a number of important steps towards the development of a National Intelligence Director (NID) who will have the power and authority to chart the path for real reform. This bill provides for complete budgetary authority for the NID, which is necessary to control the purse strings of the intelligence community. This is something that I have long advocated and am pleased is included in today’s bill.”

“However, I am troubled that the bill lacks a key component if the NID is to truly control the intelligence community. An NID must have day-to-day operational control of all elements of the Intelligence Community performing national intelligence collection missions (including the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the counter terrorism and counterintelligence elements of the Federal Bureau of Investigation). Giving the NID budget authority, but not day-to-day operational control will leave the intelligence agencies serving two masters and will inevitably keep us at the status quo.”

“During yesterday’s mark-up of this bill, Senator Specter introduced, and I co-sponsored, an amendment that would have ensured that the NID would have the operational control necessary to be a strong leader of our intelligence community. While the amendment failed in committee, I remain committed to a debate on this extremely important measure when the bill comes to the Senate floor.”

“A powerful NID is a vital part of our future fight against terrorism,” Shelby concluded.