Congressional Record: October 12, 2001 (Extensions)
Page E1880                   



                               speech of

                             HON. RON PAUL

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, October 5, 2001

       The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of 
     the Union had under consideration 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:

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, HR 2883, the Intelligence Authorization Act, 
is brought before us today under a process which denies members of 
Congress our constitutional right as elected officials to be informed 
on crucial aspects of the programs we are asked to authorize. 
Information about this bill is limited to dollars amounts and personnel 
ceilings for the individual intelligence programs and even that 
information is restricted to viewing in a classified annex available to 
members during regular business hours for "security reasons."
  Given the many questions the American people have about the 
performance of the intelligence agencies prior to September 11, and the 
many concerns as to whether the intelligence agencies can effectively 
respond to the challenges of international terrorism, I believe that 
the American people would be well served by a full debate on the ways 
the intelligence community plans to respond to these challenges. I also 
believe the American people would be well-served if members of Congress 
could debate the prudence of activities authorized under this bill, 
such as using taxpayer monies for drug interdiction, is an efficient 
use of intelligence resources or if those resources could be better 
used to counter other, more significant threats. Perhaps the money 
targeted for drug interdiction and whether it should be directed to 
anti-terrorism efforts. However, Mr. Speaker, such a debate cannot 
occur when members are denied crucial facts regarding the programs 
authorized in this bill or, at a minimum, are not free to debate in an 
open forum. Therefore, Congress is denied a crucial opportunity to 
consider how we might improve America's intelligence programs.
  We are told that information about this bill must be limited to a 
select few for "security reasons." However, there are other ways to 
handle legitimate security concerns than by limiting the information to 
those members who happen to sit on the Intelligence Committee. If any 
member were to reveal information that may compromise the security of 
the United States, I certainly would support efforts to punish that 
member for violating his office and the trust of his country. I believe 
that if Congress and the Executive Branch exercised sufficient 
political will to make it known that any member who dared reveal 
damaging information would suffer full punishment of the law, there 
would not be a serious risk of a member leaking classified information.
  In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, it is inexcusable for members to be 
denied crucial facts regarding the intelligence program authorized by 
this bill, especially at a time when the nation's attention is focused 
on security issues. Therefore, I hope my colleagues will reject HR 2883 
and all other intelligence authorization or funding bills until every 
member of Congress is allowed to fully perform their constitutional 
role of overseeing these agencies and participating in the debate on 
this vital aspect of America's national security policy.