Associated Press
December 28, 2001

Bush OKs Intelligence, Defense Bills

By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - President Bush signed a bill Friday to raise intelligence spending but warned Congress he won't turn over documents that he thinks could compromise national security.

The president also signed a $343 billion defense bill that gives what he wanted for his missile defense program, provides the largest military pay raises in two decades and sets up a new round of base closures.

Bases will be closed in 2005, two years later than Bush had wanted. He said in a written statement that he regretted the postponement.

In signing the intelligence bill, Bush objected to a provision that he said "purports to require" the administration to file written reports to congressional committees on intelligence failures.

He said in a separate statement that he reserved the authority to "withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the executive (branch) or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

He said his intent was to "protect intelligence sources and methods and other exceptionally sensitive matters" and did not rule out providing verbal briefings to congressional panels.

The intelligence bill places new emphasis on traditional human spy networks in combating terrorism.

It would increase spending by 8 percent, compared with the 7 percent increase Bush sought. Besides focusing new attention and money on spies, the new law aims to increase the portion of collected data to be analyzed and turned into useful information.

Intelligence spending levels generally are kept secret. In 1998, the CIA revealed in response to a lawsuit filed by the Federation of American Scientists that spending totaled $26.6 billion in 1997 and $26.7 billion in 1998, the federation's Steven Aftergood said. Since then, it's been estimated at about $30 billion a year.

The new law sets out four intelligence priorities:

-Revitalizing the National Security Agency, which gathers and analyzes information from broadcasts, computers and other electronic communication. It shifts the agency's focus from intercepting broadcasts to tapping fiber-optic communication lines.

-Correcting deficiencies in human spy networks.

-Increasing the percentage of data collected that is converted into useful intelligence.

-Financing a research and development initiative, which will reverse declining investment in these areas.

The law also facilitates getting roving wiretaps by amending a law that requires agents to tap individual instruments at a given location. Modern communications have brought to widespread use moving targets such as cellular phones, with locations that keep changing. Under the law, if an agent is unaware of a target's location, it does not have to be listed.

The defense legislation Bush signed authorizes spending for the budget year that began Oct. 1 for the Defense Department and military programs of the Energy Department. It contains a $33 billion increase, up 10.6 percent, over 2001 spending, which matches Bush's request. A separate appropriations bill must be passed before the money can be spent.

Military service members would get pay raises of 5 percent to 10 percent, effective next Tuesday.

The bill provides more help with housing costs and a major boost in construction spending, including improvements to family housing. On missile defense, Bush would get his full $8.3 billion request, a $3.1 billion increase over 2001.

Bush also signed off on plans to create a national museum to recognize the contributions of black Americans. The law creates a presidential commission to handle planning and logistics for a National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press