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War Against Terrorism

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA): Thank you, Senator.

Gentlemen, let me first of all just say that as an oversight committee, it's our job, of course, to look over your shoulder, to criticize you when you need to be criticized, and we probably go overboard in doing that all too often. And I have certainly done my share of it. But when you have successes, we need to compliment you. And the success we had over the weekend in fighting the war on terrorism was a joint effort on behalf of all of you and—as well as Director Tenet. And I'm sorry he's not here to hear this, too, because when you do have success, we need to thank you for the good job you are doing. And I hope you'll express to all the folks who are working under you our appreciation for their continuing efforts.

We've still got a long way to go, but this is the kind of success that sure makes all of us feel better, as I know it makes you and our commander in chief feel much better about the war that we are waging.

All of you know that my main focus over the last year and a half has been on the issue of information sharing from a primary intelligence perspective. And we've debated and argued over what should go into the bill creating, Secretary Ridge, your department, and I couldn't be more pleased to have that department stood up and then to have it done over the past weekend. I just wish it had been three or four months ago. But we're glad to get it up and going now, with the dragging on of the legislation that we had to go through.

But with respect to information sharing, I want to direct this, Director Mueller, to you and to secretary Ridge, primarily. Bob, you know that I've had this problem regarding the stovepipe mentality within all agencies. And we've been through, and Inspector Specter has again reminded us this morning of some of the practical problems that we had regarding memos that were issued in your department. I want you to tell me how you're carrying out the fact of getting away from that stovepipe mentality, sharing information internally as well as horizontally with other agencies.

And secretary Ridge, I've had some conversation with some of your folks about the establishment of a plan for sharing of information all the way down to the state and local level. I'd like for you tell us where you are with that, what's your timeline on that.

If I could hear from both of you, please.

SEN. CHAMBLISS: Okay. I want to go to Senator Feingold, because my time is up. But let me ask you just a quick yes or no on that particular issue. Mr. Attorney General, is the funding for that training of those state and local officers over and above the $3-1/2 billion that's been allocated to our first responders?

SEN. CHAMBLISS: Okay. Thank you.

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