President Bush's Endorsement of the Creation of a National Intelligence Czar
See, evidently some must think that you can negotiate with them, you can talk sense to them, you can hope that they change. That's not what I know.
I know, in order to deal with these people, we must bring them to justice before they hurt us again. And so we're on the offense.
We will stay -- the best way to protect the American homeland is to stay on the offense. It is a ridiculous notion to assert that, because the United States is on the offense, more people want to hurt us. We're on the offense because people do want to hurt us.
Now, the other part of your question was what, sir?
QUESTION: Why wait three years after the 9/11 attacks to call for this kind of reform? Senator Kerry has said that's too long.
BUSH: Yes. We have implemented significant reforms since 9/11.
The FBI is reformed, and Director Mueller has done a fabulous job.
The communications between the FBI and the CIA have been enhanced by the creation of what's called TTIC, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center.
We moved quickly to make sure there is a seamless spread of information throughout our government. We created -- called for and worked with Congress to create the Department of Homeland Security.
BUSH: Not everybody in Congress agreed with how that department ought to be set up, but we got it set up.
And not only that, under Secretary Ridge, we have implemented the integration of multiple agencies to better protect the homeland.
We've done a lot since September the 11th.
Now, let's see here. Jay Newton-Small? How are you?
QUESTION: Good. And you?
BUSH: I'm fine.
QUESTION: Mr. President, the 9/11 Commission originally recommended that the national intelligence director be part of the executive office, part of the executive branch. Why the change? Why make it part of -- with congressional oversite?
BUSH: Well, I don't think a person ought to be a member of my Cabinet. I will hire the person, and I can fire the person, which is what any president would like. That's how you have accountability in government.
I don't think that the office ought to be in the White House, however. I think it ought to be a stand-alone group to better coordinate, particularly between foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence matters. I think that's going to be one of the most useful aspects of the national intelligence director.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
You saw that Doctors Without Borders pulled out of Afghanistan because it was too dangerous.
QUESTION: You've seen reports about the reformed Taliban.
Why is the security situation there so poor? What do you see as the trajectory of it?
And, Mr. President, do you worry that you should have given more attention to Iran earlier?
BUSH: Yes. First, let me address Afghanistan.
I did see that the Doctors Without Borders left, and I'm sorry they did, because they were providing an important function for the people who want to live in a free society.
I also saw, at the same time, that there's over, I think it's 9 million Afghan citizens have registered to vote? That's an unbelievable statement, isn't it?
Do you remember when we were here -- I can't remember, one of my press conferences -- we had a discussion about this, but there was some concern that, well, maybe they're not going to get even the 3 million people registered to vote in Afghanistan, or maybe it was some minimal threshold.
© 2004 FDCH E-Media