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Congressman Kirk says the real reserve of linguistic abilities among tribal and less-used languages across countries is the Peace Corps
Congressman Kirk says the real reserve of linguistic abilities among tribal and less-used languages across countries is the Peace Corps
Congressional Record: October 5, 2001 (House) Page H6383-H6407
INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 252 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
H. Res. 252
Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2883) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2002 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. Points of order against consideration of the bill for failure to comply with clause 3(c) of rule XIII are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall [[Page H6384]] not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence now printed in the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered by title rather than by section. Each title shall be considered as read. Points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute for failure to comply with clause 7 of rule XVI are waived. No amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the portion of the Congressional Record designated for that purpose in clause 8 or rule XVIII and except pro forma amendments for the purpose of debate. Each amendment so printed may be offered only by the Member who caused it to be printed or his designee and shall be considered as read. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, for the purposes of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), my friend and colleague on Committee on Rules, pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During the consideration of this resolution, all time is yielded for purposes of debate only on this matter, as is customary.
Mr. Speaker, this is a fairly traditional rule for this type of legislation. As far as I know, it is not controversial in any way. Given the September 11 terrorist attacks, some may have wondered why we might not have responded with a closed rule on intelligence on a hurry- up basis, which would have precluded the opportunity for a lot of extensive deliberation under the extraordinary circumstances of the moment, as we all recall them, tragically.
But on the contrary, we felt that in these tumultuous times, we thought it best to allow Members the opportunity to fully review the bill and debate the issues that they feel are important to our Nation's security. Each of us, I know, feels that responsibility very strongly.
Therefore, as in past years, the rule is a modified open rule providing for 1 hour of general debate, equally divided between the chairman and ranking member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The rule makes in order as an original bill for the purpose of amendment the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute now printed in the bill, which shall be considered by title as read.
In addition, based on consultation with the Parliamentarian, the rule waives points of order against the committee amendment for failure to comply with clause 7 of rule XVI, the germaneness rule. It also waives points of order against consideration of the bill for failure to comply with clause 3(C) of rule XIII (requiring the inclusion of a statement of general performance goals and objectives.)
The rule further provides for the consideration of only pro forma amendments for the purpose of debate and those amendments printed in the Congressional Record prior to their consideration, which may be offered only by the Member who caused it to be printed or his designee, and shall be considered as read.
This has allowed for vetting of amendments regarding classified matters in years past, and proved to be a good practice, actually. Finally, this rule provides for one motion to recommit, with or without instructions.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this fair rule and the underlying legislation, as well. This is late in the year to bring this bill to the House floor, but obviously the timing has been dictated by forces well beyond the control of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: We have a new administration, a comprehensive defense and intelligence review ongoing, the delayed arrival of the budget request, and of course, the tragic consequences of September 11, to name just a few.
If there is a silver lining here, it is that in marking up this bill, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has addressed many of the immediate and critical intelligence needs in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
In the upcoming general debate, no doubt we will discuss many of the specific provisions in H.R. 2883 in some detail. That is the intelligence authorization bill. But I would like to highlight a few of the ways that this legislation seeks to tackle both critical counterterrorism challenges, as well as long-term problems facing the intelligence community in the United States in the 21st century.
To combat terrorism, the intelligence authorization increases investments for the FBI's counterterrorism efforts, increases funding for language training, promotes a more focused analytical effort against the terrorist target, and it calls for a more aggressive approach to learning the plans and intentions of terrorists through human intelligence.
The war on terrorism will be won through the acquisition of specific, accurate, and timely intelligence. The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has stepped up to provide the President, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and President Bush's national security team with the intelligence tools they will need to win this war. That is one of the strong reasons I urge support for this legislation.
However, we have also addressed the long-term needs of the intelligence community, making specific changes today to avoid serious problems in the years to come. H.R. 2883 provides the resources to continue rebuilding our human intelligence capabilities; promotes investment in new technologies for intelligence collection, processing, and analysis; and it provides the committee's view on where future bold changes need to be made in the basic structure of the U.S. intelligence establishment.
I believe it is a very good bill. I think it is a fine rule. I encourage support for both the bill and the rule.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, it is a distinct, pleasure and honor to serve with the gentleman from Florida (Chairman Goss) on both the Committee on Rules and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this rule providing for the consideration of H.R. 2883, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002, House Resolution 252. This is a modified open rule requiring that amendments be preprinted in the Congressional Reocrd. However, Mr. Speaker, the preprinting requirement has been the accepted practice for a number of years because of the sensitive nature of much of the bill and the need to protect its classified documents.
The bill is not controversial and was reported from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by a unanimous vote. I underscore that in these times, since the events of September 11. The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is fully mindful of the extraordinary pain suffered by the victims and all of us in America as it pertains to those events. Thus, this year, this bill becomes as important as at any time in America's history.
Members who wish to do so can go to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence offices to examine the classified schedule of authorizations for the programs and activities of the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the national intelligence program, which includes the CIA as well as the foreign intelligence and counterintelligence programs within, among others, the Department of Defense; the National Security Agency; the Departments of State, Treasury, and Energy; and the FBI.
Also included in the classified documents are the authorizations for the Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities and Joint Military Intelligence Program of the Department of Defense.
Mr. Speaker, last week the House considered and passed the authorization for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2002. The intelligence bill we consider today is another critical component in our national defense.
Today, as I indicated earlier, more than ever we need to be vigilant about the myriad threats to our national security.
Mr. Speaker, while there may be debate on a few worthy amendments, this is a noncontroversial bill providing authorizations for important national security programs. I urge my colleagues to support this rule and to support the underlying bill.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, it is a bit of serendipity that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings) and I both do serve on the Committee on Rules and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. And that is not by design, but it is a great pleasure to work with my colleague.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. LaHood), a distinguished member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. LaHOOD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to me.
First of all, I want to rise in support of the rule. I agree with the two previous speakers, that this is a good rule and generally a very good bill. I want to compliment, in particular, the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), for the hard work that he has been doing to really improve the intelligence-gathering capability of our country.
The bill that we are going to consider today is a bill that has been fashioned by his hand and after long hours of work. I think it is an extraordinary bill that really reflects meeting the needs of the intelligence community for America.
One other purpose for rising, not only to support the rule, is to alert the House to my intention to offer an amendment to strike a section of the bill, section 306, a provision that creates a "Commission on Preparedness and Performance of the Federal Government for the September 11 Acts of Terrorism."
America has responded to terrorism attacks of September 11 with determination, compassion, and a resounding unity of purpose: the defeat of international terrorism. To achieve this goal, Congress and the administration are working to strengthen our defense intelligence capability.
Our diplomats are building an international coalition to fight al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations; and we are seeking ways to bolster first responders, such as our dedicated police officers, fire officials, firefighters, and paramedics, who will have to deal with the aftermath of any future attacks. These are all positive, necessary, and forward-looking actions.
It is my fear, though, that investing time and effort and money on a commission designed to assign blame will be a giant step backwards. There have been at least three high-profile commissions as recently as a year ago on terrorism and homeland defense.
The problems that existed prior to September 11 have been well documented, and the solutions outlined in great detail. I do not believe that any other high-profile commission would add anything new to our understanding of the problems or the solutions. We know what the problems are, and we also know the solutions.
To compound the problem, the commission structure is flawed. It has an agenda based on calling high profile people from the intelligence community with great understanding before a group of people who have little understanding of the intelligence community. I believe this sets up potential conflicts that could do further damage to our ability to gather intelligence about terrorists and disrupt their activities.
This is a bad idea. It is a bad idea because we have a lot of information and we do not need a new commission. I hope that the Members of the House, after they hear the debate on my amendment, will support it and strike this provision.
We already possess the expertise and the authority to look at the lessons learned from September 11. The gentleman from Illinois (Speaker Hastert) and the Democratic leader, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt), have taken the right action when they designated the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Harman), to coordinate congressional review of terrorist threats.
The subcommittee has the expertise, the staff, and the ability to review both classified and unclassified material, and the authority through Congress to do the job. If we want to look back, if we want to really analyze and examine, that is the subcommittee, that is the jurisdiction that has the responsibility for doing this, not some kind of an ad hoc commission with little or no expertise.
So I urge my colleagues to support the amendment that I will offer. This is a good rule. I support the rule. This is a good bill. It is a bill that, again, has been fashioned by one of the most distinguished Members of the House, the chairman of our Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and I applaud him for that. I hope consideration will be given to my amendment. I thank the chairman for his consideration of my remarks.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the distinguished gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), the ranking member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to me.
Just very briefly, Mr. Speaker, I want to rise in support of the rule. We have worked together to put together a bill which had consensus under the leadership of our chairman, our distinguished chairman, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss).
I think we should just move on to that debate about the bill and about the commission and other considerations; but the rule is a rule that is appropriate for this intelligence bill. It is in keeping with past rules on the intelligence bills which were designed to protect classified information, but to give every Member an opportunity to see the classified part of the bill, although that is not part of the rule, but to have their amendments printed in the Record in advance to protect classified information.
I do not want to take any more time. It is Friday. We want to move on to a full discussion of the bill and to general debate. I urge our colleagues to support the rule.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Traficant).
(Mr. TRAFICANT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Speaker, America's soft underbelly was shown on September 11. Now is the time to get down to business. I believe the CIA and the FBI have been not only negligent; but, by God, I do not think we have much of an intelligence program.
That is no slight or offense to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), or our intelligence apparatus here in the House. I believe the editorial that says that Mr. Tenet should step down is absolutely correct.
My amendment today deals with an issue that has been controversial, to say the least. Mr. Speaker, we have one border patrol agent for every two miles of border, and that does not include the Canadian border. My God, a guerrilla force could cross our border with a nuclear device and kill millions of Americans; and we have taken it lightly.
I think Congress had better take a close look at the national security checkpoint of the United States, which is our border, and take a look. A lot of people, I believe, are on the payroll who are not doing their jobs.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.
The previous question was ordered.
The resolution was agreed to.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaHood). Pursuant to House Resolution 252 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for consideration of the bill, H.R. 2883.
In the Committee of the Whole
Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill (H.R. 2883) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2002 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes, with Mr. LaTourette in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as having been read the first time.
Under the rule, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) each will control 30 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss).
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, at the outset, let me thank the members of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, each and every one of them, both sides of the aisle, for their very hard work, especially over the past 3 weeks, which have been extremely trying for all of us and certainly for our committee. The hard work in the last 3 weeks have allowed us to get to this point where we have, I think, an excellent piece of authorization legislation to bring to the House.
Mr. Chairman, we will hear from many of our Members over the next hour. I would especially like to thank our ranking member, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) for extraordinary efforts in ensuring that our thorough review of the President's budget put the good of the Nation first in a manner that has been truly bipartisan and, perhaps more appropriately, we should say nonbipartisan.
There are many other people to thank, of course, including our amazing staff, and we will get to that by and by.
Mr. Chairman, the bill before us is part of our normal annual authorization by which by law must be passed in order for the intelligence community to spend appropriated dollars. But the setting in which we find ourselves today as we debate the bill is hardly normal.
Over the debate, we surely will hear several references to the infamous events of September 11 and the efforts to handle these and other types of threats to Americans at home and abroad. There is no way to overemphasize the importance of the demoniacal acts we witnessed. They do bear tragic witness to how the world has changed and how critical it is to have knowledge about our surroundings, about those who have made it their life's quest to destroy American freedoms, rights and values. That knowledge comes from intelligence, pure and simple and we have to have it.
No one can seriously doubt that we need the best possible intelligence to prosper and be safe at home and abroad in today's world. There are some who believe that the September 11 terrorist acts were successful because of, quote, "intelligence failures." I will certainly agree there are intelligence community shortcomings, that must be reviewed and fixed. That is what we do.
What went wrong relative to September 11 goes well beyond the intelligence community however. Moreover, those who have complaints often do not understand what threats we actually face today, what capabilities we really do have and do not have, and, more importantly, what vital distinctions exist between intelligence and law enforcement and how we cope with those distinctions.
The intelligence community operates overseas and cannot arrest anyone. Law enforcement is domestic and does not do spying; and somehow we have to have a good marriage of the two. If we look back over the past 6 years worth of our authorizations, we will see that the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have consistently highlighted shortfalls and concerns calling on the administration to take action so that risks to our security could be reduced, not removed but reduced.
Certainly our committee was stunned and deeply saddened by the events of September 11 as we all were. We were aware homeland America was vulnerable to terrorist attack of some type from some quarter, and we were and are aware of limitations of our intelligence system to provide specifics or better early warning or 100 percent guarantees.
This bill again addresses ways to overcome some of those limitations. The solutions that get us the intelligence community that we need to protect our future must be new and it must be innovative. This bill starts us on that course while sending I think a good message to the administration about how to do it. We are working closely with the administration to translate these ideas into real capabilities which will protect Americans.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume and rise in support of H.R. 2883.
At the outset I want to commend our chairman, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), our distinguished chairman, for the manner in which he conducted the committee's business. His willingness to be sensitive to the views of committee Democrats and to ensure they are reflected in the work of the committee is much appreciated. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Chairman, the bill was prepared in the aftermath of the horrific events of September 11, but it is not a comprehensive response to them. Some additional resources in areas where these events demonstrated an obvious need are provided, but it will take more time and more facts before we can, or should, go further. At this point one thing is clear. We did not know about the plans of the terrorists who attacked our country with sufficient specificity to prevent those attacks. What is not clear is why.
In the weeks ahead much time will be devoted in the intelligence community and elsewhere in trying to determine why we did not know, but, more especially, to prevent anything like this from happening again.
Mr. Chairman, I have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve in our national security agencies, whether they be diplomats, military personnel, intelligence officers, law enforcement officials or those who protect our borders and our skies. They perform with great courage and dedication under conditions which are routinely challenging and frequently dangerous, and they have had much successes combatting terrorism. They just cannot talk about their successes.
As the events of September 11 demonstrate, however, more needs to be done. Determining the best steps to take to lessen the chances that last month's events could be repeated will require critical and innovative thinking. I am hopeful that the independent commission established by Section 306 of the bill will play a constructive role in that regard.
For intelligence needs generally the bill provides several billion dollars more than appropriated last year and several hundred million dollars more than requested by the President for fiscal year 2002. It continues several initiatives begun earlier, among them an effort to ensure that the technologically complex and expensive information collection systems that have been developed are paired with effective systems to process, exploit and disseminate intelligence to those who need it to make decisions or to take actions.
There is currently an imbalance between collection and processing, exploitation and dissemination that, if not addressed, will greatly lessen the value of some extremely capable collection systems.
To be effective, our human intelligence officers need to have a better grounding in the languages and cultures of the regions where difficult targets, like terrorists, are most comfortable. A much greater emphasis needs to be placed on recruiting and maintaining a workforce with diverse skills, backgrounds and ethnicity. This is an area in which the intelligence community as not been as aggressive as I would like. I hope for measurable improvement in the future with the encouragement and resources provided by the bill.
There have been suggestions in recent years that an insufficient emphasis has been placed on human intelligence. That has certainly not been
true with respect to the work of this committee. Funds have been consistently provided above those requested for this intelligence discipline, and the committee has sought to ensure that the added funds were used exclusively to enhance the performance of clandestine collectors in the field.
Human intelligence was once again the focus of our work this year, and that would have been true even if the events of September 11 had not occurred.
There have been concerns that case officers have been discouraged from taking the risks necessary to recruit assets with access to important information, particularly in areas like narcotics trafficking, weapons proliferation and terrorism.
Attention has centered on guidelines promulgated in the CIA in 1995 which require headquarters-level approval before an individual with a record of human rights abuses or violations of U.S. criminal law may be recruited. These guidelines were intended to protect officers in the field from charges that they had committed the United States to a relationship with unsavory individuals without adequate consideration. Despite repeated assurances from senior CIA officials that these guidelines had not had a negative impact on the quality or quantity of assets, it has become clear that the perception that the opposite was true has taken root.
Section 403 of the bill deals with that perception by directing the guidelines be rescinded. It is very important, however, that there be some rules in this area, not because anyone is so naive as to believe that we can get more information about the plans of drug traffickers or terrorists without associating with individuals involved in those activities, but because decisions about committing the United States to those kinds of associations are too important to be made exclusively by relatively junior officers in the field.
They should be made, instead, by senior managers better able by virtue of their experience and their access to reporting from a wide variety of sources, to weigh the potential value of the information to be provided by a possible recruit against the potential harm to the United States should the fact of our association with that person become known.
That kind of risk versus gain analysis is essential if human intelligence activities are to be seen as consistent, rather than at odds with, U.S. policy and values.
Section 402, besides rescinding the current guidelines, directs that new guidelines be established. It is my expectation these new guidelines will streamline the approval process without weakening the protections that process is meant to provide. I especially want to commend our colleague, the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter) for his leadership in this area and his willingness to reach consensus with us on it. I think the language of this bill is an improvement on the past and I thank him for his leadership and his cooperation.
Mr. Chairman, intelligence is a risky, dangerous and expensive undertaking. It is also crucial to our security as a Nation. I urge the adoption of the bill.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I yield as much time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter), the chairman of one of our subcommittees of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
(Mr. BEREUTER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Chairman, as vice-chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the chair of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy and National Security, this Member rises in the strongest possible support for H.R. 2883.
This Member congratulates and commends the chairman of the committee, the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss) for his extraordinary leadership in preparing a bipartisan bill that was approved unanimously by the committee. Under his guidance, this body is preparing to move rapidly to address a number of long-standing deficiencies in our intelligence collection and analysis.
The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has not suddenly awakened to the very real inadequacies of the intelligence agencies and programs of our government and the financial resources and legislative tools they need. As Chairman Goss has said on numerous occasions: "The message is not new; the audience is new."
The American people understand now, through tragedy, that our intelligence and counterterrorism programs are extremely important. With that in mind, this Member congratulates the chairman and my colleagues on the committee for the clear and decisive message sent by this legislation. I also congratulate the ranking member of the committee, the distinguished gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), for her assistance in crafting this bipartisan legislative product.
The committee comes before this body today in an amazing degree of unanimity regarding our concept of the terrorist threat, among other threats to our national security, and for the necessary intelligence community response. This level of bipartisanship is a tribute to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).
Mr. Chairman, the cowardly and horrific terrorist attack of September 11 highlighted for our citizens and the world the fact that we live in a new world, a world where many of our commonly held assumptions about security and safety are being re-examined. Even before the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, the Bush administration had embarked upon a comprehensive review of U.S. intelligence policy, led by the retired Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft and the deputy director of Central Intelligence for Community Management, Joan Dempsey.
Obviously, this intelligence review has assumed an even greater importance and urgency, for ultimately the outcome in this war in which we find ourselves will be determined by the quality of our intelligence. The review is not yet complete, and the executive branch has not firmly established the criteria and emphases that will guide us in the 21st century. However, this bill provides much of the important guidance to ensure that its policies can quickly be implemented.
This committee's task has been made particularly difficult because in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, there naturally is, in some quarters, a desire to find a simple solution, a quick fix. Certainly the legislation before this body today provides much needed additional funds to improve our intelligence capabilities and to wage the war against terrorism.
At a more fundamental level, H.R. 2883 seeks to respond to serious policy and structural problems. In some cases, these are problems that have been years in the making and will take a long time to turn around. For example, there is, within the intelligence community, a critical shortage of language specialists that are particularly relevant in a war against terrorism. The legislation before this body today seeks to further address the language shortage and to facilitate the recruitment of native speakers drawn from the various relevant ethnic American communities.
Similarly, this bill continues the committee's longstanding and urgent needs for increased support for human intelligence collection. Human intelligence, or HUMINT, is the placement of highly trained, language capable officers into positions where they can acquire information vital to our national interest. Our HUMINT capability was decimated by former Director Stansfield Turner, and in the years following the end of the Cold War.
Also, our human intelligence collection effort was understandably directed during the Cold War period at collection on the Soviet Union and its client states, not on Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and especially not on the problems of terrorism and narcotics trafficking. This is a resource problem, while long emphasized by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, it is a problem now all too apparent. This legislation continues the committee's effort to address this deficiency but with more emphasis.
Mr. Chairman, H.R. 2883 also reverses the 1995 limitations on asset recruitment. These restrictions, called "the Deutsch guidelines," were promulgated
as a means to limit our association with unsavory characters with human rights or other criminal problems. While the concern underlying these guidelines was certainly understandable, the reality is that the Deutsch guidelines have had a chilling effect on the recruitment of people who can actually and effectively penetrate the inner circle of the terrorist cells and networks and the narcotics rings.
The recruitment of assets with unique knowledge or access to these terrorists and drug cartels is the key to successful HUMINT in this area. The regrettable real world reality is that, certainly in the crucial battle against terrorism and drug rings, we must allow our foreign officers to recruit assets that are some rather unsavory characters. To break the back of the al Qaeda terrorist network, we will, in all likelihood, have to recruit individuals who are already influential members of al Qaeda, who themselves have committed acts of terror.
To win the war on terrorism we have to end the cycle of risk aversion. Recruiting the equivalent of A-1 grade boy scouts or straight arrows will not give us the penetration and the intelligence we need.
In many cases, there will be difficult decisions to make, but the United States has professionals and intelligence and law enforcement fields who can and must make those decisions. This legislation makes it clear that the foreign intelligence personnel can recruit those individuals who possess the information the United States needs to defend its people and its interests. There will be checks and balances put in place, but even though some of these assets will go bad, we need to be careful about our criticism. If the risks are realistically weighed against the chances of operational success, this body must not rashly second-guess those decisions.
Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and again, I commend the Chairman, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), and the ranking member, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), for their leadership and all of my colleagues who have contributed so much to this legislation.
Our staff, of course, is outstanding. Certainly it continues to be among the very best in the Congress, and we owe a great deal of our success in bringing this legislation to our staff. They are crucial. They are competent. My colleagues should have every confidence in them as we do.
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