Congressional Record: September 21, 2001 (Senate)
Page S9623-S9631

      By Mr. GRAHAM (for himself, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Bayh, Mr. Nelson 
        of Florida, and Mr. Rockefeller):
  S. 1448. A bill to enhance intelligence and intelligence-related 
activities of the United States Government in the prevention of 
terrorism, and for other purposes; to the Select Committee on 
      By Mr. GRAHAM (for himself, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Bayh, Ms. 
        Mikulski, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Nelson of Florida, and Mr. 
  S. 1449. A bill to establish the National Office for Combatting 
Terrorism; to the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Madam President, it has now been 10 days since our Nation 
was struck by a well-coordinated series of terrorist attacks. It has 
been 10 days since we all witnessed the horror of hijacked airliners 
crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It has been 10 
days since we vowed to track down and bring to justice those who 
assisted, financed, and harbored these terrorists and to treat them as 
  Today, as the investigation proceeds, I believe it is time we begin 
to look beyond the crisis of September 11. It is time we begin to 
develop a long-term response to the continued threat of terrorism.
  Terrorism ultimately is not a crisis. It is a cancerous condition, a 
condition that all Americans must come to grips with as we strive to 
return to normalcy.
  Today, with several of my colleagues, I am introducing a pair of 
bills that offer a prescription for the condition of terrorism.
  The first bill will make changes to a number of laws, including the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, to enhance our ability 
to infiltrate terrorist cells, to collect information necessary to 
guarantee America's security, and to coordinate more effectively our 
domestic efforts against terrorism.
  There are four primary goals of this legislation. The first relates 
to data collection to assure that our foreign intelligence should be 
brought into line with the laws that control domestic law enforcement 
actions. In a number of areas, we have different standards if we are 
collecting information for domestic law enforcement than when we are 
collecting analogous information for purposes of foreign intelligence.
  Second, many regulations have not kept pace with the rapid changes we 
have seen, particularly in communication technology, and need to be 
  Third, as we saw on September 11, most terrorist acts have both a 
criminal and an intelligence component. Our foreign intelligence and 
domestic law enforcement agencies need to be able to share information 
in order to protect our citizens.
  Fourth, there are some strategic changes we need to make in the laws, 
such as better training of our local law enforcement so that they can 
play their appropriate role in responding to terrorism before the act 
to prevent terrorist actions, as opposed to just, as we are doing now 
at the Pentagon and in New York City, picking up the pieces of the 
consequences of a terrorist act that has been executed.
  I emphasize that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been 
working on these proposals for several months. We have worked closely 
with the appropriate Federal agencies, as well as within the Senate 
Judiciary Committee, the Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Armed 
Services Committee.
  It is my hope that we will develop a consensus around the proposals 
other Members of Congress may have that the Attorney General has 
recently submitted. We do not purport that our list is exclusive. We 
think it represents a well-researched, solid beginning against a very 
serious challenge to our Nation, and we look forward to fully reviewing 
those recommendations that have been made within the last 72 hours by 
the Attorney General.
  I also want to make it clear that I am mindful of the concerns we are 
beginning to hear from various organizations that we might overreact 
and impinge upon the civil liberties of our people. We would hand the 
ultimate victory to terrorists if we were to allow them to coerce our 
great Nation into compromising our highest values, personal freedom, 
and civil rights.
  Madam President, in many ways we are here today much as the country 
was in the 1920s. It was at that time that America launched a national 
crusade against organized crime. The Nation committed itself to rooting 
out the corrupt captains of crime who had infiltrated labor unions, run 
gambling operations, trafficked in illegal drugs and, in the course of 
their activities, accumulated great wealth and, in many communities, 
great political influence.

  We can take pride that over several decades an earlier generation of 
American leaders managed to put many of these domestic enemies behind 
bars and diminish their influence and their corrosive effect on our 
  I take this experience of the 20th century, our ability to begin to 
roll back the influence of organized crime in the United States, as a 
hopeful sign, a sign that we can pass on to our children and our 
grandchildren a world that has greatly diminished the threat we now 
face from terrorists. It is our hope that these two legislative 
proposals will be a step in that direction.
  Under our proposal, the President will appoint the Director of the 
National Office for Combating Terrorism

[[Page S9626]]

subject to Senate confirmation. This individual will be accountable to 
the President, to the Congress, and to the Nation.
  One of the key responsibilities of this new office would be budget 
coordination to assure that all of the agencies--and there are now as 
many as 40 agencies that have some piece of antiterrorism activity--are 
operating from a coordinated plan and that resources to carry out their 
portions of the plan are properly coordinated. To do that will require 
the statutory authority from Congress.
  Madam President, the second bill has as its objective to assure that 
the dozens of Federal agencies that have counterterrorism as one of 
their missions are working together in a coordinated way to detect and 
disarm terrorists.
  There have been over the past several years several independent 
commissions which have reviewed the issue of terrorism. Two of our 
former colleagues, Senators Rudman and Hart, have headed one of those 
commissions. All of those commissions have endorsed the principle of a 
stronger central coordination of the Federal Government's efforts 
against terrorism.
  Just this past week, the General Accounting Office issued yet another 
study of this issue. I quote a portion of that General Accounting 
Office study:

       Key interagency functions are resident in several different 
     organizations, resulting in fragmented leadership and 
     coordination. These circumstances hinder unity of effort and 
     limit accountability. However, the current attention being 
     focused on this issue provides an opportunity to improve the 
     overall leadership and coordination of programs to combat 

  In other words, we need to assign responsibility to someone who will 
be the leader of our national effort to make certain that all of the 
agencies are on the field, from the Central Intelligence Agency to the 
FBI, and are following a common set of objectives. I am pleased that 
President Bush endorsed this approach in his address to the Nation.
  The President called, by Executive order, for the creation of a 
position of homeland defense within the White House. He has assigned 
that responsibility to the current Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge.
  I believe we should build on what the President has recommended by 
going a step further and making this position a statutory position.
  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, in the wake of the tragic events of 
September 11, 2001, it is not with pride exactly, but with a firm 
resolve that I join with my good friend and colleague Senator Bob 
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in 
cosponsoring two important pieces of legislation: Bills to establish 
the National Office for Combating Terrorism and the Intelligence to 
Prevent Terrorism Act of 2001.
  While we strive to go on and do the work that the people sent us here 
to do, we cannot help but feel heartsick as a Congress, and I am quite 
sure as individuals, when we consider the unimaginable loss of human 
life and the magnitude of the destruction wrought by these malicious 
and misguided men. But grieve though we must, it is our solemn 
responsibility as representatives of the American people to look into 
this abyss and find the lessons that may be there for us.
  When a relatively large group of foreign terrorists who had lived and 
even trained in this country carried out a despicable and unfortunately 
well-choreographed wave of terror attacks months or years in the 
planning, it cast a harsh light on a range of deficiencies in our 
Nation's efforts to combat terrorism. We are made to feel vulnerable by 
the sheer enormity of the evil and by the realization that any of us 
could become targets of the next fanatical assault. Our dread might 
even turn to despondency if we consider the agonizing possibility that 
our law enforcement and intelligence establishments might have been 
able to prevent the horror of last Tuesday if they had had adequate 
mechanisms with which to collaborate on strategy, share information, 
and assist in investigation and apprehension of men capable of these 
heinous crimes.
  Rather than feeling despondent, however, it is our duty as a Congress 
to act. This Nation and this Congress can no longer tolerate a 
situation in which competing missions of agencies--or competing 
personalities of public officials--put our citizens and our property at 
risk. We must create an environment of coordination between the 
intelligence community, our Federal, State, and local law enforcement 
agencies, the military, public health authorities, and all the other 
parties who can play a role in combating terrorism. I believe these two 
pieces of legislation, which establish a centralized authority to 
coordinate the activities and responsibilities of a multifaceted group 
of agencies, and provide both the intelligence community and law 
enforcement with valuable tools to combat terrorism-related crimes, do 
just this.
  Briefly, the bills introduced today in the Senate would do the 
  Establish a "National Office for Combating Terrorism" to provide a 
greater level of coordination among the Nation's law enforcement 
establishment, the intelligence community, the military, public health 
authorities, and State and local governments to create a coherent, 
functional strategy for combating terrorism out of a current system a 
blue-ribbon Presidential Commission has called fragmented, 
uncoordinated, and politically unaccountable.
  Ensure that terrorism-related intelligence gathered under the Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act--FISA--is used to further the overall 
antiterrorism strategy. The legislation clarifies that the Director of 
Central Intelligence--DCI--is the primary government official 
responsible for coordination and dissemination of intelligence gathered 
under, while retaining the FBI as the agency with operational authority 
for intelligence gathering from foreign nationals.
  Require law enforcement agencies to share with the DCI any terrorism-
related intelligence information gathered in criminal investigations.
  Mandate cooperation between the DCI and the Treasury Department to 
root out and cut off the international money trail terrorists use to 
finance their activities.
  Develop training programs for State and local law enforcement 
agencies and public officials to help them detect terrorist activity, 
and to improve their understanding and use of intelligence shared with 
  Establish a National Virtual Translation Center to enable 
intelligence information collected anywhere in the world to be 
transmitted over secure electronic lines, translated and analyzed by 
experts elsewhere, and shared with relevant law enforcement and 
government personnel throughout this country, as well as by 
policymakers in Washington and intelligence agents overseas.
  Make explicit that U.S. Government officers, acting in their official 
capacity, may recruit any person who has information about terrorist, 
terrorist groups, or those who assist or harbor them--including foreign 
  The reactions to last week's attacks have ranged from shock, to 
horror, to sadness, to rage, and now, as I said at the beginning of my 
remarks, to resolve. Just over a week after the worst act of terrorism, 
indeed, the worst crime, in the history of the country, we are united 
as a people behind our President, our armed forces, and our law 
enforcement agencies, resolved to root out and defeat terrorism 
wherever this particular breed of hatred is fostered. Part of that 
resolve may be seen in the package of legislation introduced here 
today, although it would be incorrect to characterize this legislation 
as a reaction to the nightmare of September 11. These bills are the 
product of a longstanding concern about a lack of coordination between 
our law enforcement and intelligence resources and are the result of 
several months of hard work on the part of Chairman Graham, several 
other members of our committee, and Intelligence Committee staff. I 
believe these bills represent good first steps.
  I have not had the privilege of being a member of the Intelligence 
Committee for very long, but from the very first day I have been 
enormously impressed with the careful balance the committee strikes 
between the intelligence gathering needs of this nation, and the civil 
liberties enjoyed by its citizens. However, in this time of heightened 
tension and increased security, I must admit that I share some of the 
concerns of many Americans, from across the political spectrum, who 
fear that well-meaning reforms may unduly infringe on the liberties we 

[[Page S9627]]

  While I am confident that in crafting this legislation Senator Graham 
has taken those concerns very much to heart and has protected the 
rights of law-abiding Americans, I will closely monitor the progress of 
this legislation. I cannot overestimate the importance of ensuring that 
in our zeal to prevent another terrorist assault on this Nation we do 
not contribute to an atmosphere of fear and mistrust of our fellow 
  I will also be looking for an understanding of these concerns from 
our colleagues on the various committees of referral, and in the Senate 
as a whole. We must commit ourselves and our Nation that, despite the 
grave seriousness of combating terrorism, we will always safeguard 
civil liberties as we consider this or any other piece of legislation 
introduced to combat terrorism. What is needed--and what this package 
of legislation provides--is greater coordination, efficiency, and 
effectiveness among our existing antiterrorism resources, without a 
surrender of the rights and liberties that make this the greatest 
nation in the history of the world.