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Intelligence

Washington File 27 November 2002

Bush Signs Intelligence Authorization, Creates September 11 Commission

(Measure provides expanded funding for intelligence gathering) (1630)
President Bush November 27 signed legislation that authorizes
intelligence activities for the 2003 budget year and establishes an
independent commission to investigate the September 11th terrorist
attacks on the United States.
Bush announced at the White House signing ceremony that former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will lead the September 11th
commission.
"Today I have signed into law ... the 'Intelligence Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2003,' which authorizes appropriations to fund United
States intelligence activities, including activities essential to
success in the war against global terrorism," he said in a formal
announcement November 27. "This act also establishes the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States to examine and
report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th
terrorist attacks."
Bush said the independent commission "will help me and future
presidents to understand the methods of America's enemies and the
nature of the threats we face."
Most of the details of the intelligence authorization bill are kept
secret, though members of Congress have said it provides the
largest-ever increase in intelligence spending to provide for expanded
counterterrorism activities, more intelligence personnel, and greater
attention to human intelligence gathering.
Following is the text of the president's statement, issued by the
White House, and a transcript of his remarks at the signing ceremony:
(begin transcript)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 27, 2002
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I have signed into law H.R. 4628, the "Intelligence
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003," which authorizes
appropriations to fund United States intelligence activities,
including activities essential to success in the war against global
terrorism. This Act also establishes the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States to examine and report on the
facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks. The
Commission will build upon the work of the congressional joint
inquiries to carefully examine the circumstances surrounding the
attacks and the lessons to be learned from them. I expect that the
Commission's final report will contain important recommendations for
steps that can be taken to improve our preparedness for and response
to terrorist attacks in the future.
The executive branch shall implement sections 325, 334, and 826 of the
Act, and section 8H(g)(1)(A) of the Inspector General Act of 1978 as
enacted by section 825 of the Act, relating to submission of
recommendations to the Congress, in a manner consistent with the
President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary
executive branch.
Many provisions of the Act, including section 342 and title VIII,
establish new requirements for the executive branch to disclose
sensitive information. As I have noted in signing last year=s
Intelligence Authorization Act and other similar legislation, the
executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent
with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information
the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national
security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the
performance of the Executive's constitutional duties.
The executive branch shall construe subsections 501(d) and (e),
relating to the number and activities of military personnel deployed
abroad, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional
authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
GEORGE W. BUSH
(end text)
(begin transcript)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 27, 2002
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT SIGNING OF THE INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION
ACT
The Roosevelt Room
9:58 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all, for coming. Please be seated. Today, I
sign an act of Congress authorizing intelligence programs vital to our
security, and creating a national commission to investigate the events
of September the 11th, 2001, and the years that led up to that event.
This commission will help me and future Presidents to understand the
methods of America's enemies and the nature of the threats we face.
Today, I'm pleased to announce my choice for commission chairman, Dr.
Henry Kissinger. Dr. Kissinger is one of our nation's most
accomplished and respected public servants. He worked here at the
White House as National Security Advisor, represented America abroad
as the Secretary of State for two Presidents. He is a distinguished
author, academic, Army veteran, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
He's also spent much of his life in New York, feels deeply the loss
that came to that city and to our country. Dr. Kissinger will bring
broad experience, clear thinking, and careful judgment to this
important task.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for returning to the service of your nation.
Dr. Kissinger and I share the same commitments. His investigation
should carefully examine all the evidence and follow all the fact,
wherever they lead. We must uncover every detail and learn every
lesson of September the 11th. My administration will continue to act
on the lessons we've learned so far to better protect the people of
this country. It's our most solemn duty.
I want to thank the congressional leaders for their work on this
commission and on the broader legislation, as well. The law I sign
today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital
intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production --
weapons proliferation. In a period of rapidly changing dangers, we
will continue to work with the Congress to get the resources we need
to gather information so we can better defend America.
I want to thank the members of Congress who are with us today, who
worked hard to make this commission a reality: Senator Joe Lieberman
-- thank you, Senator. Congressman Porter Goss; Tim Roemer; Chris
Shays; and Chris Smith -- all distinguished members of the United
States Congress. All who join thousands of Americans who refuse to
forget that which took place on September the 11th, 2001.
Above all, I want to thank the family members of the people who were
killed on September the 11th -- family members who are here today and
others around the country. In working for this commission, you have
been motivated by a noble goal: you want to spare other Americans the
kind of suffering you faced. I appreciate that sentiment. America is
grateful.
The nation's families gather during holidays. You need to know that
there's a lot of people who continue to pray for you. There's a lot of
people that you've never seen before, you don't have any ideas of what
their names are, they share your grief. I hope that provides some
comfort.
September the 11th marked a dividing line in the life of our nation.
The events of a single morning dramatically demonstrated America's
vulnerability to the threats of a new era. Oceans that separated us
from other continents no longer separate us from danger. America's
enemies are still determined to inflict great harm. We have a duty --
a solemn duty -- to do everything we can to protect this country.
We've acted to reduce the nation's vulnerabilities. We're stepping up
security and transportation systems at port of entries and on our
borders. We've made important reforms in federal law enforcement,
ensuring that the FBI's primary focus now is the prevention of future
attack. We're doing a better job of sharing information among
agencies. By legislation I signed this week, we've created a
Department of Homeland Security to involve the largest reorganization
of the federal government in more than a half a century, with the goal
of protecting America.
And overseas we're chasing the killers down one person at a time. One
at a time. Slowly but surely, we're dismantling the al Qaeda network.
There is no cave dark enough or deep enough to hide from the justice
of the United States of America. And it doesn't matter how long it
takes, this nation will stay on course to find them, to bring them to
justice, to make sure America's homeland is secure.
These essential steps do not complete our work. And that's important
for America to know. In the war against terror our goal is to take
every measure that is necessary, to gather all information that is
available and gain every advantage that is possible. An aggressive
investigation into September the 11th, with a responsible concern for
sensitive information that will allow us to win the war on terror will
contribute to the security of this country.
This commission's findings may show a need for further reform in
intelligence gathering and other areas. I'm confident that under Dr.
Kissinger's leadership the commission's work will be thorough. The
recommendations will be helpful and useful.
I also hope that the commission will act quickly and issue its report
prior to the 18-month deadline embodied in the legislation. After all,
if there's changes that need to be made, we need to know them as soon
as possible, for the security of our country. The sooner we have the
commission's conclusions, the sooner this administration will act on
them.
And as a people, Americans are always looking forward. As a nation,
we're working every day to build a future that is peaceful and secure.
To reach this goal we must learn all about the past that we can. So
with this commission we have formed today, America will learn more
about the evil that was done to us. And the understanding we will gain
will serve us for years to come.
This commission is not only important for this administration, this
commission will be important for future administrations, until the
world is secure from the evildoers that hate what we stand for.
I ask the members of Congress that are here today to please come up
and join me as I sign this important legislation.
May God bless the families of those who suffered on September the
11th. May God bless you today, may God bless you for long days to
come, and may God continue to bless America. (Applause.)
END         10:05 A.M. EST
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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