The Post's assertion that Congress is engaged in a "mad rush" to enact intelligence reform "in the absence of consensus" ignores 50 years of history ["Stampede on Intelligence," editorial, Sept. 2]. The idea of splitting the duties of the CIA director and the director of central intelligence has been around since 1955. In 1978 and again in 1992, Congress considered legislation to establish a national intelligence director. Both times the bills died, but the idea did not.

Three years ago, retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft recommended the creation of a national intelligence director with the authority to manage the entire intelligence community. Eighteen months ago, the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, completed its year-long investigation. The top recommendation of this bipartisan inquiry was the creation of a national intelligence director.

Now, the Sept. 11 commission has unanimously added its voice to the calls for creating a national intelligence director. The commission did not "rush" to anything. It reviewed 2.5 million pages of documents; interviewed 1,200 individuals in 10 countries; held 19 days of hearings; and took public testimony from 160 witnesses.

This year alone, the House iIntelligence committee has held 62 hearings touching on intelligence reform. In the last month alone, Congress held 20 hearings.

It's not a "mad rush" to fix intelligence gaps three years after Sept. 11 with bipartisan ideas that have been debated for decades.


U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)


The writer is the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.