The former include the claim ? mostly advanced by Democrats ? that President Bush will be discredited, if not politically emasculated, if he is unable to compel balking Republican members of Congress to enact this legislation. The latter include assertions that passage of the intelligence reform bill is necessary to ?keep the American people safe.? The public ? 80% of whom we have endlessly been told favor this measure ? could reasonably be under the illusion that its adoption will prevent future terrorist attacks against this country.
Of course, none of this is true. Mr. Bush will be strengthened, not hurt ? and more importantly, so will the national interest ? should he recognize the wisdom of many on Capitol Hill, in the U.S. intelligence community and, yes, inside his own administration who know this bill to be too defective to warrant enactment.
Take, for example, the hotly contested issue of whether the bill?s proposal to reassign management control and budgetary authority for three Defense Department intelligence agencies to a new Director of National Intelligence will impair our military?s operations and security. Rep. Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and all the Joint Chiefs of Staff are convinced it will. The bill?s proponents insist it will not, often averring that they would never support legislation that would do such a thing, and suggest that their opponents are motivated by parochial interests.
Happily, there is one man in America whose unique credentials allow him to address the matter objectively: James Schlesinger, a former head of the intelligence community and past Secretary of Defense.
Here?s what Dr. Schlesinger had to say in testimony he gave the Senate Armed Services Committee on August 16th:
Intelligence is increasingly interwoven with military operations. We must always have in mind the crucial role of intelligence in support of the war fighter. The advance of military technology and its embodiment in our military forces have made intelligence ever more integral to our military strategy and battlefield tactics and to this country?s immense military advantage?.In all of this, the accuracy, the immediacy and the believability of intelligence is crucial?.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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