INTELLIGENCE REFORM AND TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT OF 2004--CONFERENCE REPORT -- (Senate - December 08, 2004)
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the Senate will proceed to consideration of the conference report to accompany S. 2845 which the clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the amendment of the House to the bill (S. 2845) to reform the intelligence community and the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, and for other purposes, having met, have agreed that the Senate recede from its disagreement to the amendment of the
House and agree to the same with an amendment, and the House agree to the same, signed by a majority of the conferees on the part of both Houses.
BREAK IN TRANSCIPT
Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I am pleased that in one of the final acts of this Congress we have overcome the objections of the House leadership to pass a major intelligence reform bill. The 9/11 Commission report provided a unique opportunity for Congress to act. If we had allowed this moment to pass and we had not succeeded in enacting the Commission's reforms, it is unlikely that we would ever achieve effective intelligence reform, leaving us right where we started-with a fragmented counterterrorism infrastructure struggling to keep up with the terrorist threats of tomorrow.
The legislation before us creates a Director of National Intelligence who will have broad authority over the many elements of our intelligence community. While many of us were confident that the Senate bill did not jeopardize the chain of command, language was added to ensure that the military would have access to the intelligence it needs.
In addition to creating a National Counterterrorism Center to coordinate counterterrorism intelligence and missions, the bill includes important provisions strengthening FBI intelligence capabilities, transportation security, border protection, and diplomatic and military efforts in the war on terrorism. We cannot rely on intelligence alone to prevent the catastrophic terrorist attacks of the future. We must remain vigilant in all these areas.
Finally, I want to applaud the diligence of our colleagues and the members of the 9/11 Commission who pressed on when it seemed that this bill was doomed to die. While I have no illusions that this bill will suddenly make us invincible, it is critical that we begin the difficult process of realigning the way our government anticipates and responds to terrorism. That is why I intend to support this bipartisan legislation.