Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I have sought recognition this afternoon to speak briefly about the pending appointment of a new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and how we ought to structure a new term to really strengthen that position and, in effect, professionalize the position of Director of Central Intelligence.
I have talked to a number of my colleagues about the idea of legislation which would create a 10-year term for the Director of Central Intelligence, just as the Director of the FBI has a 10-year term. That legislation for the FBI was enacted relatively recently to strengthen the hand of the Director and to give independence and strength to that position.
It is my view, based on the experience that I have had on the Intelligence Committee--and I now serve as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee--that there is a real need for additional strength in the position of the Director, as we have seen what has happened to the CIA with the Aldrich Ames case, and as we take a look at the role of the Central Intelligence Agency and the national security interests of the United States into the foreseeable future.
The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, I believe, has to come to that position in the Central Intelligence Agency, in that unique culture there, and say to the establishment: Look, I am going to be here longer than anybody else who was here, and it is my responsibility to do what is necessary to correct the problems of the agency and to do what is necessary to reorder the priorities and set the agency on a course which will protect the security interests of the United States.
We had the threat assessment hearings the week before last where the Director, James Woolsey, testified about the threats to the United States and responded, to some extent, about the Aldrich Ames case. There is no doubt that the unique culture of the CIA--I prefer to call it their `unique culture,' rather than the slang expression the `old boy's network'--was at work in allowing Aldrich Ames to stay in a position where he could abuse the trust of the CIA and really do great damage to the United States' national security interest, even though there were many signs which should have led to his ouster. He failed a lie detector test, he was living beyond his means, he was drunk on duty, he had classified documents, he visited foreign agencies and foreign embassies without any justifiable reason.
Many of the CIA contacts were killed as a result of what he had done. Many were placed in jeopardy. And that should have been corrected long before it finally came to light.
I believe that if we had a Director who had tenure, 10 years, in effect, being able to say, `I am going to be here longer than the people I am confronting with,' that kind of strength would do a great deal to enhance our national security.
We are facing some very perilous times. People ask, is there a real role for the Central Intelligence Agency? Based on the experience I have had on the Intelligence Oversight Committee, and now as chairman of that committee, I say, absolutely `yes.'
We are looking at some very critical intelligence operations in assessing, for example, what is happening with North Korea with their development of nuclear weapons. I, frankly, have grave reservations about the agreement which exempts the North Koreans from inspection on the fuel rods for some 5 years, which is the best way to tell what they are doing with nuclear weapons. And as the hearing the week before last with Director Woolsey showed, the North Koreans now have the capacity to hit Alaska. The North Koreans are working with Iran on ballistic missile tests. When asked what is the potential for reaching the continental United States, nobody could give assurances that that is not an imminent problem.
When you take a look at the dismantling of nuclear weapons in the old Soviet Union, there are real problems to see to it that organized crime in Russia does not take over and place those weapons at the disposal of rogue nations. When you take a look at the role of CIA in terrorism or drugs or economy issue, where many intelligence agencies of government help the trade deficit, there is a vital role in the intelligence agency.
There has to be reform, first, of not having a repeat of the Aldrich Ames case and doing the job of the future.
I intended to introduce this legislation and to comment on it this afternoon and not to unduly interrupt the flow of this legislation.
I thank the Chair and yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.