Mr. BRADLEY. Mr. President, last night the Senate passed S. 2834, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1991. I support this bill but I also want to express significant reservations about one aspect of the bill. In particular, I am concerned that President Bush might misinterpret this act as a mandate for U.S. intelligence agencies to devote scarce budget dollars and sensitive collection methods to the task of giving private business interests an edge in international competition. I am also emphatic that the SCSI's call for a comprehensive study of economic espionage by foreign powers in the United States must not become a pretext for a new program of counterintelligence surveillance by the FBI of either foreigners or Americans.
In my view, it would be imprudent to shift the resources of the U.S. intelligence community away from critical national security missions that it is uniquely competent to perform, and toward economic problems of the private sector that it is ill-suited to solve. Improving the relative productivity, technological quality, and commercial competitiveness of enterprises that employ American workers is simply not a project for our intelligence agencies.
Further, the traditional national security purposes for which we created these agencies have not disappeared. It would be dangerous to distract the intelligence community from vigilantly monitoring the many serious threats to U.S. national security interests that will proliferate and persist in the post-cold-war world. Indeed, Saddam Hussein's armed aggression Thursday against Kuwait underscores the point that United States intelligence agencies will continue to have life-or-death projects far more pressing than watching international commerce.
The world has been changing. The former Soviet colossus has diminished as a threat to American interests because its leadership finally recognized the vast scale of its political and economic failure. At the same time, Americans have grown concerned that the United States may be losing its dominant role in the international economy, especially to its allies in East Asia and Western Europe.
Although the fading of the Soviet military threat does not lessen our need for capable, wide-ranging foreign intelligence, the President has responded to these developments by proposing to redirect intelligence programs away from old problems of international security and toward economic and trade issues. In his statement of
National Security Strategy issued last March, President Bush specified a new direction for U.S. intelligence programs:
* * * We will also have to adapt to a new emphasis on broader global economic and trade issues. We must be more fully aware of such subjects as foreign trade policies, economic trends, and foreign debt.
While I agree with the President that he and his administration have not been as alert as they should have been to global economic issues, the intelligence community is not to blame for these deficiencies. Moreover, we cannot expect U.S. intelligence agencies to improve either the administration's economic policy or the competitive performance of U.S. companies. Those solutions lie elsewhere.
I am also troubled by the President's suggestion that U.S. counterintelligence programs should broaden their focus on threats to `our secrets and technologies' from foreigners. Does this mean the U.S. Government is spying on foreign-owned firms that employ millions of American workers? Do they pose such a threat? Should they be subject to counterintelligence surveillance more than companies that are fully owned by U.S. citizens. If so, why? These questions remain unanswered.
Mr. President, I am worried about the presumptions and scope of the study on Economic Espionage directed by the SSCI's report. The report raises undue, or at least premature, alarms about `an emerging economic espionage threat, including the collection of U.S. proprietary and unclassified information by foreign powers.'
In the classified report that accompanies and amplifies this public report, I have sought to draw a sharp distinction between perfectly legal information-gathering by foreign powers, which we conduct ourselves and which must be tolerated, and illegal economic espionage, which should be countered effectively. The SSCI's report fails to utilize this distinction, and I remain to be convinced that economic espionage in the latter sense is a new or growing threat that warrants a greater counterintelligence effort. Despite my request for evidence on cases in point, the Director of Central Intelligence has not substantiated his public assertion that `we have been victims of industrial espionage.'
Mr. President, I happen to believe that there are more than enough difficult and important challenges for the intelligence community in the national security field. There is no good reason why firms should expect the CIA or the FBI to protect their proprietary information against snooping by foreign competitors any more than they need such protection against similar threats from domestic American rivals. Nor should the U.S. Government use sensitive intelligence sources and methods, or scarce tax dollars, to collect economic information for the exclusive benefit of private interests, especially if such efforts would infringe on the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights. Yet, that is the direction the President, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Select Committee on Intelligence seem to be headed. Mr. President, I urge them to reconsider.