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Coming to terms with Intelligence and DHS Reform
The Federalist Patriot ^ | The FederalistPatriot

Posted on 01/22/2005 3:16:24 PM PST by Iam1ru1-2

21 January 2005 The Federalist Patriot No. 05-03 Friday Digest


Top of the fold -- Coming to terms with Intelligence and DHS Reform

In response to the 9/11 Commission Report, Congress recently passed sweeping legislation to overhaul U.S. intelligence services and capabilities. We at The Patriot agree that now is the time to step back and assess the state of our national intelligence and security apparatus, and to fix what doesn't work by replicating what does. In order to give our readers the fullest understanding of the new law's scope, we offer this synopsis of its major points, which can be broadly divided into four areas: intelligence, homeland security, immigration, and civil law.

In the area of intelligence, the law will:

--Create the new Director of National Intelligence position to direct and manage all agencies of the intelligence community and to serve as the principal intelligence adviser to the president. The DNI will have a staff but will operate separately from the CIA, NSA, and the other military and civilian intelligence agencies. The DNI will also have considerable authority over much of the nation's intelligence budget.

--Restructure the National Counter-Terrorism Center, established last August by executive order and designed to analyze terrorism-related intelligence and conduct strategic counter-terrorism planning. The center was formerly part of the CIA, and its director was appointed by the CIA director. The president will now appoint the center's director, with Senate confirmation.

--Require information sharing by intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security agencies; mandate links among federal, state, and local agencies and the private sector; and create standards for issuing security clearances and classifying information.

In the area of homeland security, the law will:

--Require the DHS to test advanced screening systems for airline passengers; upgrade screening procedures and security in baggage areas; enhance air-cargo security; improve training for federal air marshals; upgrade explosives-detection systems; and continue developing advanced detection equipment for use at airports.

--Create a National Counterproliferation Center to address international weapons-proliferation threats, and establish mandatory penalties for possession and trafficking in anti-aircraft-missile systems.

In the area of immigration, the law will:

--Strengthen visa-application requirements and establish a visa/passport-security program within the State Department; establish a Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, and make smuggling aliens into the U.S. a federal crime; allow deportation of non-citizens who receive training from designated terrorist organizations; and require the General Accounting Office to study vulnerabilities in the U.S. asylum system.

--Add 10,000 full-time border patrol agents and 4,000 new investigators for Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the next five years, as well as increase the number of beds available to house aliens awaiting deportation by 40,000.

Finally, in the area of civil law, the law will:

--Require federal agencies to establish minimum standards for drivers' licenses and birth certificates. Of note, however, states will not be prevented from issuing drivers' licenses to illegal aliens.

--Create an independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Board composed of private citizens appointed by the president to examine executive-branch policies to ensure that they don't violate civil liberties.

--Allow secret grand-jury information to be shared with government officials in order to prevent or respond to terrorist threats; criminalize possessing or trafficking in weapons of mass destruction; allow prosecution of people who perpetrate terrorist hoaxes and force them to make financial restitution; allow creation of watch lists for passengers on ships; and upgrade security features of pilot licenses.

So, what to make of this legislative behemoth? Clearly, streamlining the nation's intelligence agencies should lead to better coordination and teamwork within the intelligence community -- competences that were clearly lacking in the September 10th world. However, this will not occur overnight. The intelligence community is awash in bureaucracies and bureaucrats, all of whom have self-preservation in mind. In addition, we know that bureaucratic inertia reacts in the same way as physical inertia, in that a great deal of force is required to change direction. Thus, while the new DNI will clearly have his work cut out for him, our nation's intelligence reform does appear to be headed in the right direction.

The same can be said for those sections of the law that deal with homeland security, although the law appears to be heavily weighted toward air-travel concerns. (Far be it from us to suggest that this is because members of Congress fly so much.) Arguably, focusing on the September 11th hijackers' weapon of choice is myopic. While we must certainly shore up airline security to prevent another such attack, we need to always expect the unexpected. Indeed, there are innumerable other targets for terrorists, nearly all of them softer than a commercial airliner. A liquid-natural-gas ship exploding in Boston Harbor, for instance, is not a pleasant thought, much less the detonation of a fissile, biological, or chemical device in proximity to a major urban center in the heartland.

As for the law's handling of immigration, much is left to be desired. Increasing border guards and developing border-protection technology will be a waste of time and resources so long as our leaders lack the political courage to treat illegal aliens as illegal aliens. That means no public benefits, no drivers' licenses, no access to U.S. colleges (with in-state tuition at that!), no, no, no, no. The only "right" illegal aliens are to be accorded is that of immediate deportation, and to its credit, the new legislation does expedite this process.

The new legislation's impact on civil law is mixed, with good ideas as well as areas of concern. Criminalizing possession of WMD and terrorism hoaxes are no-brainers, and we're led to wonder whether it was acceptable to stockpile WMD in this country before last month. But standardizing state records, such as driver's licenses and birth certificates, infringes on state authority, while allowing states to license illegals is unconscionable. Additionally, loosening of grand-jury secrecy rules also justifies concern, as doing so could easily be abused. To be sure, we support the primacy of national-security interests, but the parameters for using grand-jury information must be clearly delineated from the beginning.

Two final concerns with this legislation merit mention. The first is that any intelligence produced will be only as good as the people who produce it. Our intelligence agencies must therefore be able to clean house as necessary. Significantly, we believe this is the strategy the Bush administration has chosen to pursue -- increasing the size of the defense and intelligence establishments through contract employers who, unlike their federally employed counterparts, can disappear overnight if they're ineffective, inefficient or unneeded. Likewise, our national leaders, whom we entrust with decisions pertaining to our security, must be willing and able to make difficult, and sometimes incorrect, decisions with the best intelligence available -- and the nation must be prepared for that eventuality.

Our last concern is that we must not allow this type of legislation to lull us into national complacency. It's all too easy to assume that because laws have been passed, problems have been solved. There are plenty of sensible immigration laws on the books, for example -- yet their utter lack of enforcement has rendered them pointless. As a nation at war, we must be forever vigilant against all enemies, foreign and domestic, if our dream of Liberty is to flourish.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cia; dni; intelligence
What do all of you feel about this new Dept of National Intelligence (DNI) which will direct and mange all agencies of the Intelligence Community as serve as the principle intelligence adviser to the President. Do you feel our liberties are taken away or do you feel this is exactly what we need in this new age of international terrrorism?
1 posted on 01/22/2005 3:16:25 PM PST by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2

I feel it has only created another level of bureaucracy that will become a self-perpetuating and ever-growing department. It is creating a post that will fill the function the DCI was supposed to handle. Pure window dressing.

2 posted on 01/22/2005 3:20:54 PM PST by speedy
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To: speedy

There should be nothing for Illegal Aliens here in the US. Nothing, Nothing, Nothing. The law that says a child born in the US is Automatically a US Citizen should be changed, Both Parents must be legal citizens of the US, for the child to be a Citizen.

The agencies that we have should contribute employee's to the DHS to work directly for the Director and also act as a Liason with there Home Departments. This keeps the info flowing, not only into DHS, but out of DHS and back to the Home Offices.

So a Directors Office, that gathers information that is pertinant to US Homeland Security, but also is shared among the information gathering and inforcment agencies.

The Border needs to be PHYSICALLY CONTROLLED, not wide open as it is. A Double wall of Concrete, topped with 10'-15' electrified Chain link Fence and covered razor wire. Between the walls Land Mines. Towers about every 1/4 to 1/2 mile intervals. Bridges at entry points. Helos with Swat teams ready.

For shipments coming into the country, Warehouses and Refrigerated Warehouses where foreign trucks drop off their shipments to examination and testing if necessary. Only US Trucks and Trucking firms transport goods within the US.

3 posted on 01/22/2005 3:46:11 PM PST by 26lemoncharlie (Sit nomen Dómini benedíctum,Ex hoc nunc, et usque in sæculum! per ómnia saecula saeculórum)
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To: 26lemoncharlie

In addition to my previous post, the Home Nation should be billed for any and all expenses incurred by their citizens here in the US, e.g. Food, housing, medical etc.

Employers who hire illegal aliens should have some hefty fines to begin with then Jail time added after the first or second offense. To expedite the identity and removal of Illegal Aliens, a Bounty of $500.00 should be placed on their heads.

4 posted on 01/22/2005 3:50:17 PM PST by 26lemoncharlie (Sit nomen Dómini benedíctum,Ex hoc nunc, et usque in sæculum! per ómnia saecula saeculórum)
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To: 26lemoncharlie

Agree there should be Absolute Zero for illegals. I don't even understand why it is debatable. As for the law about attaining US citizenship if you are born on US soil -- it is an insult and a degradation of the whole concept. I worked for several years in the Middle East, and it used to make my blood boil to see pregnant Kuwaitis and Saudis flying to the US to have the child born in a US hospital, making it a citizen, and then coming home to the Gulf to wait a few years before using the child's citizenship as a wedge for other goodies. And there are far worse examples than these; the Kuwaitis and Saudis who did this were generally good people who were pro-US and economically self-supporting. But it still cheapened citizenship status.

5 posted on 01/22/2005 3:54:32 PM PST by speedy
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