President Bush's Endorsement of the Creation of a National Intelligence Czar
Monday, August 2, 2004; 12:01 PM
The following is a transcript of President Bush's Rose Garden announcement that he endorses the creation of a national intelligence czar and counterterrorism center.
BUSH: Thanks for coming. I appreciate the members of my administration joining me.
Thank you all for being here.
My most solemn duty is to protect our country. It's our most solemn duty, as well.
In the three years since our country was attacked, we've taken steps to overcome new threats. We will continue to do everything in our power to defeat the terrorist enemy and to protect the American people.
Recently the commission on the terrorist attacks upon the United States came to a conclusion that I share: that our country is safer than it was on September 11, 2001, yet we're still not safe.
The commission members have worked hard and served our country well. I speak for all Americans in thanking them for their fine work.
Their recommendations are thoughtful and valuable. My administration has already taken numerous actions consistent with the commission's recommendations. Today we're taking additional steps.
Our government's actions against the terrorist threat accelerated dramatically after the attacks on the country.
Across the world, we've aggressively pursued Al Qaida terrorists, destroyed their training camps and ended their sanctuaries.
We're working closely with other countries to gather intelligence and make arrests and to cut off the terrorists' finances.
We've created a new, unified Department of Homeland Security, and gave it resources and the authority to defend America.
BUSH: We're employing the latest equipment and know-how to secure our borders, air and sea ports and infrastructure.
We're bringing the best technologies to bear against the threat of chemical and biological warfare. Project BioShield will fund cutting-edge drugs and other defenses against a biological, chemical, nuclear or radiological attack.
To track terrorists and disrupt their cells and seize their assets, we're using the tools of the Patriot Act. Congress needs to extend this important law. Congress needs to make sure law enforcement have the tools necessary to defend the country.
We've transformed the FBI to focus on the prevention of terrorist attacks. We're continuing to expand and strengthen the capabilities of the Central Intelligence Agency. We established the Terrorist Threat Integration Center to merge and analyze, in a single place, foreign and domestic intelligence on global terror.
Yet the work of securing this vast nation is not done. The elevation of the threat level in New York, in New Jersey and Washington, D.C., is a serious reminder, a solemn reminder of the threat we continue to face.
All the institutions of our government must be fully prepared for a struggle against terror that will last into the future. Our goal is an integrated, unified national intelligence effort.
BUSH: Therefore, my administration will continue moving forward with additional changes to the structure and organization of our intelligence agencies.
Many of these changes are specific recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Others will go further than the proposal of the commission's report.
All these reforms have a single goal: We will ensure that the people in government responsible for defending America and countering terrorism have the best possible information to make the best decisions.
Today, I'm asking Congress to create the position of a national intelligence director. That person -- the person in that office will be appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and will serve at the pleasure of the president.
The national intelligence director will serve as the president's principal intelligence adviser and will oversee and coordinate the foreign and domestic activities of the intelligence community.
Under this reorganization, the CIA will be managed by a separate director. The national intelligence director will assume the broader responsibility of leading the intelligence community across our government.
I want, and every president must have, the best, unbiased, unvarnished assessment of America's intelligence professionals.
Creating the position of the national intelligence director will require a substantial revision of the 1947 National Security Act. I look forward to working with the members of Congress to move ahead on this important reform.
BUSH: The 9/11 Commission also made several recommendations about Congress itself. I strongly agree with the commission's recommendation that oversight and intelligence -- oversight of intelligence and of the homeland security must be restructured and made more effective. There are too many committees with overlapping jurisdiction, which wastes time and makes it difficult for meaningful oversight and reform.
Today I also announce that we will establish a national counterterrorism center. This new center will build on the analytical work, the really good analytical work, of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, and will become our government's knowledge bank for information about known and suspected terrorists.
© 2004 FDCH E-Media