From: Otis Willie
Subject: Bush Against FBI in Homeland Agency
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 18:55:24 EDT
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 22:55:24 GMT
Bush Against FBI in Homeland Agency
(EXCERPT) Tue Jun 18, 2:27 AM ET, by CHRISTOPHER NEWTON, Associated
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration, trying to prevent Congress
from forcing the FBI ( news - web sites) into the new Homeland
Security Department, argues that the storied crime fighters' broad
legal powers must remain under Justice Department ( news - web sites)
Administration officials are also concerned that the FBI and CIA (
news - web sites) shouldn't be placed in a neophyte Cabinet department
certain to have some start-up problems, officials said.
Tom Ridge, chief of the White House homeland security office, is
expected to be questioned by lawmakers when he visits Capitol Hill
this week on why President Bush ( news - web sites) didn't include the
FBI and CIA in his proposed new department.
"The president was not looking to create a mammoth internal security
division," homeland security office spokesman Gordon Johndroe said
"And while the FBI reorganization changes much of its mission to
homeland security, it still has numerous responsibilities in its law
enforcement capacity and the attorney general remains and should
remain the chief law enforcement officer of the United States."
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the
administration will argue that the FBI must be regulated by an agency
that is familiar with civil rights law and can serve as a watchdog.
Ridge was presenting Bush's Homeland Security Department plan to
Congress on Tuesday.
The legislation calls for little change in the FBI and CIA, requiring
only that the two agencies submit intelligence information to the new
department for analysis.
A small number of FBI agents from the National Infrastructure
Protection Center, which protects online commerce and the Internet
against cyberattacks, also would be moved to the new department.
But some lawmakers already have said they support moving the FBI to
the new department.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman ( news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., who is
expected to chair Senate hearings on the Homeland Security Department,
will push for part of the FBI to be put under the department's
purview, according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Lieberman plans to call FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify before
his committee on this matter in coming weeks, the aide said.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, believes the matter of how
the FBI and Homeland Security Department work together should be the
subject of a lengthy inquiry. Last week he said the FBI should be
"more formally" involved with homeland security.
"The new department will be one of the FBI and CIA's customers, but
how to do that will be an important policy consideration," said Terry
Holt, a spokesman for Armey.
Sen. Christopher Dodd ( news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., said
Congress should study the issue for the rest of the year.
But where does the FBI believe it belongs?
The agency is not commenting on the issue, but the FBI Agents
Association thinks it would be a mistake to gut the FBI of its
terrorism duties or move key anti-terrorism personnel to any new
department. The agency should remain whole, said Nancy Savage,
president of the FBIAA.
"We know that terrorists are criminals at heart,' Savage said. "And
their activities are wrapped up in criminal activities —
identification theft, credit card theft, money laundering and
generating false documents. We take a pretty hard stance that
anti-terrorism activities are part and parcel of our criminal
Others are making arguments for why the CIA should be kept separate.
According to a former top CIA official, a Homeland Security Department
would best serve counterterrorism efforts by bringing together
terrorism-related intelligence gathered by the FBI, state and
municipal police departments to create a coherent picture of the
This information could be matched with threats the CIA gathers from
foreign sources, said Jack Devine, a former CIA associate deputy
director of operations.
The new department also could get the CIA's threat information to
local police outlets, but in a form that doesn't give any clue to
where it came from. This would serve the CIA's need to protect its
sources, said Devine, now president of the Arkin Group, a New
York-based crisis management consulting firm.
But the CIA should continue to primarily provide information directly
to the White House and other agencies, without forcing it through the
new layer of analysis at a Homeland Security Department before it
reaches them, Devine said.
"There should not be an effort to slow down the dissemination of the
CIA information," he said.
-- DEA Watch
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