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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2475, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006

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Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2475, INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 21, 2005)

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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

(Mr. PUTNAM asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks, and include extraneous material.)

Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, H. Res. 331 is a structured rule that provides for consideration of H.R. 2475, authorizing appropriations for fiscal year 2006 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System.

I am pleased to bring this resolution to the floor for its consideration. The rule provides for 1 hour of general debate, equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The rule waives all points of order against consideration of the bill.

It provides that the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence modified by the amendment printed in part A of the Committee on Rules report accompanying the resolution shall be considered as adopted and shall be considered as read.

It makes in order an amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney) or her designee which shall be considered as read and shall be debatable for 30 minutes equally divided and controlled by the proponent and opponent, and all points of order against the amendment are waived.

The rule provides for a motion to recommit with or without instructions.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present for consideration the rule for the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2006. I want to commend the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra) and his hard-working ranking member, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Harman), for their excellent work on this legislation. More than any other committee in the Congress, we rely on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to do work that we have confidence in and that is accurate and honest. The committee is the eyes and ears of this Congress in the intelligence community. We depend on them to be aware of what the rest of the world and our own community is up to. We put our faith in them to practice oversight and to produce a legislative product that addresses the needs of our intelligence community, and therefore our Nation.

The committee does an outstanding job of working on a bipartisan basis to provide for our men and women who are fighting the war on terror on a variety of fronts.

I want to take a moment to salute those men and women who are working around the globe in a variety of capacities doing so much in a quiet, discreet way for our security and liberty. Linguists, analysts, case officers, mathematicians, and engineers, some of the brightest minds that our Nation produces, work in the intelligence community taking, in many cases, an option that is not as generous as the private sector may be if they were to put that intellect and those talents and skills into some other capacity in the private sector.

But they do it as a labor of love, as a part of public service identical to that which calls men and women into uniform in the armed services and which calls men and women into our firefighter and police and other first responding capacities. No differently than those uniformed members, the men and women in our intelligence community throughout the world are performing a huge public service for which we can never show enough gratitude and appreciation.

The Intelligence Committee has reported out a bill that continues the House's commitment to the global war on terrorism and to ensuring that intelligence resources are directed in a balanced way toward threats to our national security. This legislation authorizes more than last year's appropriated amount and more than the President's request to continue to fight the war on terror.

The bill does an effective job of balancing our intelligence resources and strengthening human intelligence gathering by increasing the number of case officers and training and support infrastructure. A long-term counterterrorism program is established to reduce the dependence on supplemental appropriations. Additionally, it authorizes the full amount of funds expected for heightened operations for counterterrorism operations and the war in Iraq.

H.R. 2475 enhances the analytic workforce by providing additional linguists and analysts as well as improved training and tools. Furthermore, the bill continues to invest in technical programs, funding systems end to end, investing in R&D and increased use of signature intelligence, and reflects the results of a comprehensive survey to review and rationalize technical collection programs.

For the first time, the Intelligence Authorization Act funds the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence and allows for increased positions. The National Counterterrorism Center is enhanced through improved information sharing activities and collaboration provisions. The bill improves physical and technical infrastructure of intelligence agencies with new facilities.

This authorization bill is a perfect example of how Congress can achieve a bipartisan product that meets the needs of our Nation. Again, I thank Chairman Hoekstra, Ranking Member Harman, and the members of the committee for their admirable work. I urge Members to support the rule and the underlying bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the words of the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Harman) and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings) as it relates to these issues. It reflects a legitimate disagreement over the direction that this investigation should take, whether it should be based in the legislative branch or based in the executive branch or some combination, which has been the history.

In fact, here in our own Congress, the Senate has had eight hearings on detainee abuse, and three on Abu Ghraib specifically. General Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs; the Chief of Staff of the Army; the Secretary of Defense; and the Acting Secretary of the Army have all conducted independent reviews. There are 12 other Department of Defense reviews that have occurred, and the House Committee on Armed Services in this body has held three hearings and numerous briefings.

The legislative branch has been diligent in their oversight responsibility. And I appreciate that there are differences on this, but I particularly appreciate the way that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have handled this. Unlike in the Senate where the detainee abuse was equated with the regime of Pol Pot and Hitler and Stalin, there is a measured approach to disagreement in this Chamber, and I think that that is the responsible approach, unlike the direction that the Senate has gone. To equate Guantanamo Bay with regimes that murdered millions of people is absurd, and it is dangerous, and it gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

As the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services in this body pointed out, detainees in Guantanamo are provided their own prayer rugs. If that were done in the public school system, it would be against the law. They are called to prayer five times a day. If that were done on the average high school intercom system, it would be a violation of the law. They are fed three nutritious meals per day at an average of $12 per detainee per day. If we multiplied what we spend on the school lunch program times three meals, they would be receiving less than a detainee in Guantanamo Bay.

And because of the ongoing judicial review that our government is engaged in with those detainees, at the end of that process, 234 detainees so far have been released from Guantanamo. And to show their great gratitude, at least a dozen of them have been identified as returning to the fight against American servicemen and -women.

I think that it is important that we keep those facts in mind, as well, as we move through this debate.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Unquestionably, Congress's responsibility to properly oversee the activities of the entire Federal Government is preeminent, and that is why I am proud that, under the leadership of the gentleman from California (Chairman Hunter), they have had hearings. In the Senate they have had hearings. And today, as we speak, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence also has an oversight subcommittee devoted to investigating all of these issues.

Mr. Speaker, to elaborate on that, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra), the distinguished chairman of that committee.

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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Perhaps we should remind the gentleman of some of the 545 people who are being detained in Guantanamo; 545, by the way, is fewer people than are in my county's jail on a Saturday night.

But of those 545 people who killed innocent women and children, they included a detainee named Katani who was stopped before he could board one of the planes used to strike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, or taking care of Osama bin Laden's body guards, other members of al Qaeda and other terrorist networks and members of the Taliban. These are not your average, run-of-the-mill pick-pockets and thieves. They are hardened terrorists who have pledged everything to destroy American service men and women, to come into our homeland and wreak havoc and cause mayhem and cause death and destruction within these borders of the United States of America. They are being monitored. They are under ongoing judicial review. The eyes of the world, as this debate has evidenced, are on Guantanamo.

These are individuals who represent the very worst in our global society who would do anything to bring us harm. Yet we seem to lose all of that perspective in this very dramatic, theatrical debate that began in the Senate when there was an equation of Guantanamo with the regimes of Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot which resulted in the torture and mutilation and death of millions of human beings. And for this similar equation to be made on the House floor that we, in our activities in Guantanamo, are even remotely close to those regimes is out of bounds.

There have been numerous Department of Defense investigations into detainee abuse, numerous House Committee on Armed Services hearings on detainee abuse, Senate committee hearings on detainee abuse, and ongoing Intelligence subcommittee reviews of what is going on there.

It is important that we step back and understand that this is an intelligence authorization bill that gives our men and women the tools they need to fight people around the world that we would not invite over for dinner; people who would do everything in their power to bring down our society, our form of government, our cloak of safety. Let us keep those things in mind when we go forward with this debate about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Perhaps the gentleman, out of his concern for torture, would read into the RECORD the similar treatments, the abuse, the torture, the behavior shown Jessica Lynch. Perhaps the gentleman would also read into the RECORD the actions of the gentlemen who boarded American airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Perhaps, out of his sense of concern about torture, he would enter into the RECORD transcripts and videos of the beheadings that have been taking place in Iraq. Perhaps the gentleman, out of his sense of concern about torture, would cover those bad apples, those bad actors, and the actions that are being taken against them.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica).

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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, this has been a vibrant, robust debate and a good solid beginning of the undeniable debate that will follow on the underlying bill.

In case you missed it from the debate over the rule, there is a lot more to this rule than just Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. This is an important rule that allows us to consider the intelligence authorization bill that gives our men and women around the world the tools and skill and support they need to win the war against terrorism on our behalf, important new assets in terms of technical capabilities, and a tremendous investment in the most important piece that we have in intelligence, which is those hardworking men and women who were called to public service.

This is a fair rule. It allows for a great deal more consideration of these issues that we have already begun to discuss in terms of detainees and the role of American intelligence in our society and the tools that they need around the world. I encourage everyone to support it and to support the underlying bill.

The material previously referred to by Mr. Hastings of Florida is as follows:

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http://thomas.loc.gov

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