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Public Statements

Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, I rise in reluctant support of this bill.

This bill is, by the conventional standards of the House, an appropriate vehicle for meeting many of the routine needs of the Intelligence Community. However, it completely fails to undertake the kind of probing, large-scale reassessment of the structure, mission, and purpose of our intelligence enterprise in a post-bin Laden era. I regret that Congress has not shown the stomach for the kind of thorough, comprehensive, and brave review of intelligence activities that was undertaken by the Church Committee in the 1970's. Given the events of the last decade, such a review is both long overdue and very badly needed. Despite my strong reservations about what this bill does not but should do, I will support this bill.

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Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, many have expressed deep concern about the security situation in the Middle East. There are many hopeful signs from the so-called Arab Spring, but there are also concerns about the security of Israel and neighboring States.

Several among us and among my constituents expressed concern some months ago about what would happen with a weakened border between Egypt and Israel. And, as we all know, on August 18 several groups of terrorists killed eight Israelis, wounded several more in attacks along the road leading to Eilat.

This is just one example of what we need to pay attention to in the area. Will Egypt become a staging ground for more terrorist attacks against Israel? Can al Qaeda gain new safe haven in any of the countries undergoing massive political change? We hope not, I would like to think not, but it is important that we have good, solid intelligence assessments of the situation.

My amendment would direct the Director of National Intelligence to submit to Congress within half a year of passage of this law an estimate on the implications of these revolutions for the security of the State of Israel and to report to Congress in a way that is accessible to all Members of Congress on the implications of the so-called Arab Spring and the changes in the countries around the area.

This amendment is for obvious reasons. Israel is an important ally and really is founded on principles of law and fairness and justice, and we want to see those values upheld and extended.

I recognized, in conversations with Chairman Rogers and the ranking member, that an amendment to this legislation is, perhaps, not the best way to accomplish this. So in a moment I will ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment, giving notice to the Chair, but with the understanding that we will make this same request of the Director of National Intelligence by way of a letter and that we will have available to Members of Congress this estimate of this security situation.

I thank the chairman and the ranking member very much for their cooperation on this. They are fully aware of this, which is partly why it is not necessary to offer an amendment to that effect.


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