« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Commission on Terrorism and the Odom study, which was back in 1997.
I just tried to add up the similar recommendations by all of these commissions, and I think I have 95 recommendations.
Mr. RUDMAN. That is about right.
Senator ROBERTS. They were made in an early September closed hearing part of this official record, so we do have a good foundation. One of the things that I would like to ask you, you mentioned how many agencies were involved in regards to the agencies that think they have the jurisdiction in regards to terrorism and homeland security. I can't remember the number you just said. What? Mr. RUDMAN. About 44.
Senator ROBERTS. We asked 46 a year ago July to come before some appropriators, the Intelligence Committee and the Armed Services Committee. This is some 15, 16 months ago. At that time there were 46. We asked them what their mission was, what they really did and who was in charge. At that time, according to my count, the staff, or my staff estimated there were 14 subcommittees and committees in the Senate alone that allegedly had jurisdiction. Since that time, we have been able to identify 80 Federal agencies who have some degree of jurisdiction in regards to homeland security and terrorism. I am not making this up. According to the leader, Tom Daschle, and also Trent Lott, or the leadership, there are 88 subcommittees and committees now that feel they have some jurisdiction.
It seems to me the Congress of the United States has a responsibility to get our act together just as we do in terms of trying to really coordinate homeland security. You are a former chairman of this outfit. It seems to me that we could possibly think about joining the House and Senate into a joint committee, not make it a select committee, make it permanent, reduce the numbers and tell the Members who serve on the Intelligence Committee they are limited to some degree with the outside committees upon which they serve. I'm not sure what we would have the term limits in there as well. What do you think of that?
Mr. RUDMAN. Senator Roberts, if you turn to either recommendation 49 or recommendation 50 of the Hart-Rudman Commission, you will find your words are embodied into a recommendation. We believe that the vastness of this jurisdiction over homeland security is so different than anything else the Congress has dealt with before that you must, you must, have a consolidation of committee responsibility for homeland security, certainly in both the authorizing and the appropriating area. It is absolutely essential.
If you don't, then whoever the new Director is, instead of spending time with these five and six new key agencies that are going to be coming into his new Cabinet department and giving them mission statements and building the kind of lateral communications you need and having the diversity of leadership you are going to need to move across these heretofore stovepipes, he is going to spend all of his time up here. He is going to be here all the time. With all due respect, when I was here I used to sometimes wonder whether or not we weren't bearing too hard on the Director of the FBI or the Secretary of Defense. These people have to spend so much time up here. A lot of it is necessary. After all, the over
sight comes from the Congress and I understand that. But in homeland security, unless you adopt some sort of a different plan with the House and the Senate, either jointly or each having one or two committees, I frankly think you are going to really cause enormous problems, not only time problems but frankly there is going to be a difference of opinion among all these committees about how certain things ought to be done.
So I would commend you look at our report, 49 and 50. It was a unanimous recommendation.
Senator ROBERTS. I looked at the report, and I introduced legislation and it is collecting dust.
Mr. RUDMAN. We appreciate it. As a matter of fact, Senator Roberts, I would thank you. You are one Member of Congress among five or six who came to the press conference in January of 2000— December-when we announced that report.
Chairman Goss. Chairman Graham.
Chairman GRAHAM. Senator, as you said, the centerpiece of your recommendation was the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security. I think that is close at hand, but it is also going to be occurring at a time when we have intelligence information that indicates we might have additional risk as a result of what is happening around the world. In fact, earlier today the Director of Central Intelligence sent to this committee a letter in response to our request for further declassification of the National Intelligence Estimate that was issued last week.
In the letter, Mr. Tenet states, "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or chemical or biological weapons against the United States. Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions. Such terrorism might involve conventional means, as with Iraq's unsuccessful attempt at a terrorist offensive in 1991, or chemical and biological weapons."
So we are at a point that the threat level is up and we are about to pass this new department and you indicate correctly, maybe conservatively, that it is going to take some period of time for the new department to go through its transition period and be fully effective. With that as a predicate, any suggestions of what we should be doing in the early stages of this new department so that we don't have the unintended consequence of making us more vulnerable because of the almost unavoidable disruptions that such a major new reorganization entails?
Mr. RUDMAN. That is a very interesting question. I want to give you an answer because I have thought about it a bit, not in quite the way you phrased it. But let me put it this way.
One of the things that is vastly understood, certainly in the country and maybe in parts of the Congress, is that each of these agencies going into the Homeland Security Department is going to maintain its identity. The Coast Guard will still be the United States Coast Guard. FEMA will still be FEMA. INS will be INS. The Secret Service will be Secret Service. And the one or two others that they have added to our recommendations. What they are going to have the advantage of is being parts of one department with a common leadership and a common technology base.
I think it is very important that once this legislation passes, that the Congress in the transition section of the statute, either in report language or in statutory language, make it clear that these agencies are to continue to operate at their present levels of activity, in whatever their tempos are, irrespective of the fact they are being merged into the new agency. The merger can take place administratively but the people in the field who are doing the work cannot be deterred from what they are doing. That would certainly apply to the Border Patrol, the Coast Guard and the INS. I think it is a very good question. I don't think-as I remember the statute, there is nothing in there regarding that.
I think you get my point, that they better keep doing their job as they are moving into the new agency. It is like consolidating two fire departments. You want to make sure the engines are running while the transition is going on, lest the town burn down.
Chairman_GRAHAM. If I could ask one more question along the same lines. It comes from one of the recommendations that Director Freeh made. It was number 10. He calls for establishing a Domestic Public Safety Office in the executive with responsibility for coordinating and supporting national law enforcement issues. There has been a proposal that within the Department of Homeland Security, in addition to creating the department, that an office similar to what Mr. Freeh has suggested be established in the White House in much the same way that after the 1947 National Security Act we created the National Security Council to be the coordinative agency and the most direct adviser to the President on national security issues.
Do you think we need within the executive branch, potentially within the White House itself, a Domestic Public Safety Office for similar coordinative and supportive functions?
Mr. RUDMAN. We now will have a Department of Homeland Security, but as I understand, the President intends to keep by executive order a homeland security unit within the White House. And you have got the NSC. I'm not sure if I agree with Director Freeh on that. I would have to think about it. The problem I have is when you_start-if it was organized in the right way, maybe it would work.
But right now the person who ought to be doing that is the Attorney General of the United States, it seems to me. He ought to be the domestic security officer for the country. He is a member of the Cabinet, he is a statutory member of the National Security Council. I would think if the talents of that department are utilized properly, that he ought to be able to do it.
On the other hand, I have not sat where Louis Freeh has sat, so I don't want to criticize it. I worry about creating more czars, if you will, in the White House for everything, because they tend to have their authority diffused unless they have got budget authority, and none of them do. I'm kind of a little uneasy about that, but Director Freeh I am sure can explain it fully this afternoon. Chairman Goss. Thank you, Senator. Senator DeWine. Senator DEWINE. Thank you, Senator, for joining us and all of the witnesses. You have been very, very good and helpful.
Senator, I think as a result of September 11 we on this committee need to reexamine at least and think about what our role
is in regard to oversight. I think those of us who serve on the Judiciary Committee need to do the same thing. I wonder what suggestions you might have specifically for this committee or for the Judiciary Committee.
Mr. RUDMAN. My sense, having served on this committee I did not serve on Judiciary-is that if I had a criticism as I look at it then and now, I thought there were occasions we got down into the bushes too much, got too much into micromanaging what really have to be executive decisions.
I think there are some broad policy questions involving the Intelligence Community. They are serious questions. They are addressed in this report. They have been addressed in some of the reports that Senator Roberts spoke about. You kind of do what you like to do. It is probably-it is a lot more interesting going in closed session and talking about some of the covert operations than it is dealing with wiring diagrams of how things ought to be set up but, frankly, I don't know how this committee is run today, I only know how it was run when I was on it a number of years ago, and I thought sometimes we got into the detail too much with the agency. I really believe that there are serious structural issues which have to be battled out and on which there is substantial disagreement. In the final analysis, this committee and the administration will decide how those structures will take place. To me that is where the effort ought to be in my view.
Senator DEWINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goss. Senator Thompson.
Senator THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator, somewhat along those very lines that you have just been discussing, the issue of what part is the responsibility of the administration and what part is our responsibility as we tackle these issues, how much flexibility should they have, that really goes to the heart of where we are on the homeland security bill. You are right, it is bogged down right now and I am sure you have been following it, but for those who have not followed it real closely, it essentially has to do with two areas.
One is the authority of the President. Presidents since JFK, either through executive order or by statute, have had the authority to abrogate collective bargaining agreements in times of national security. Those who have a different view are insisting that there be additional criteria, that people moved into the new Homeland Security Department, that the President has to determine that their job function has essentially changed in order for him to be able to apply that authority. It is a difference.
Secondly, it has to do with the issue of flexibility, that the person, persons running the new department will or will not have. We are having a big battle up here as to whether or not we should essentially retain the same work rules, the same requirements in Title V across the board. Keeping all the worker protections, keeping all the whistleblower protections and all of the basic things, but in terms of pay, in terms of reward, discipline, termination, levels of appeal and all those things that were created, some of them 50 years ago, we are in a battle royal up here now as to how much
I noted in Director Freeh's testimony, and I would turn to it, in regard to half a dozen of the recommendations he makes, it has to do with these same kind of areas. Compensation, the number of people they need, staffing, exempt the FBI from compensation restrictions of Title V, procurement procedures, which is a part of the homeland security bill. Achieving interoperability, making all these 22 disparate agencies we are bringing in in the homeland security context work together, and restructure the budget to give more flexibility to the DCI, Attorney General and FBI Director to better allocate program funding-in other words, to put people and money where you need it and have some accountability at the top but also flexibility at the top, because we are living in a different age.
I guess you can see where I am leaning in terms of this debate, but I would appreciate your overall view from 30,000 feet or so, if you could, or any more detail if you have followed it that closely as to what direction we should be going in here or how we should resolve what essentially as of this moment has killed the homeland security bill for this year. The American people are going to have a hard time understanding the things I have just been talking about are going to be things that kill the homeland security bill this year.
Mr. RUDMAN. Far be it from me to give political advice, but I would not want to be a Member of Congress if you go home without passing that bill and something bad happens while you are on recess because people are going to think if they had only done the homeland security bill, things would be better off. Maybe they wouldn't have been, but the fact is the perception would be that you didn't do what you should do.
I can answer the question very simply, because the commission is on record. Hart-Rudman laid out very clearly that we believe that because of the national security nature of this particular organization, that there ought to be-we didn't lay them out specifically but there ought to be broad flexibility for that Cabinet Secretary in terms of personnel policies and we were very clear that they ought to be flexible and we made no bones about it-strong language, bipartisan, seven Democrats, seven Republicans. It was not a partisan issue.
What I have suggested to some people, and I am not sure where this debate is right now, why don't you simply take the identical provisions that applied to people at DOD and apply them to this agency. Maybe that is less than the administration wants, maybe that is more than some of those who think labor protections are inadequate, but it certainly seems to be a reasonable compromise. It has worked at DOD. So that would be my suggestion. I think I answered your question.
Senator THOMPSON. Yes, sir. Thank you very much.
Ms. HARMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Hi, Senator.
Ms. HARMAN. As you know, I served on the Bremer Commission and have been passionate about this issue of homeland security for as long as I can remember. About an hour ago, in fact, I spoke to Governor Ridge about my view, echoing Senator Thompson, that more needs to be done to unstick this issue in the Senate. He tend