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Conference Report on S. 2845, Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LINDER. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. SLAUGHTER), 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. Speaker, this is a traditional rule for consideration of the conference report for the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The rule waives all points of order against the conference report. It also provides that the conference report shall be considered as read.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this rule and approving the underlying conference committee report on truly historic reform legislation, S. 2845.

Mr. Speaker, final passage of this legislation today will be viewed by many as one of the most noteworthy accomplishments of the 108th Congress. Playing critical roles in getting us to this point in time have been the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. HASTERT), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DeLAY), the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. HOEKSTRA) and a host of others. The American people owe these Members an enormous debt of gratitude.

A world in which the enemy is easily identifiable has changed. We face more and more states without solid institutions, national consciousness and internal cohesion which are providing new threats such as the transfer of weapons of mass destruction and an increasing number of nonstate actors such as terrorist networks.

Terrorism has existed for hundreds of years, but the last decade has seen a rise in terrorist networks and their coordination amongst themselves. Many terrorists groups actively share hostage-taking tactics, weapons training, and planning techniques with one another. More than ever the terrorist networks are finding it easier to blend into society and are becoming harder for intelligence agencies to track. Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey put it best when he said, We have slain a large dragon, the U.S.S.R., but we now live in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes. In many ways, the dragon was easier to keep track of.

The job of keeping track of these terrorist networks belongs to the U.S. Intelligence Community, and we thank the CIA and all the other members of our Intelligence Community who make it a vital contribution to our Nation's security.

More than ever, timely and accurate intelligence is recognized as a critical weapon in the global war on terrorism. We have already begun to rebuild our intelligence capabilities, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies are now working closer together.

As the 9/11 Commission concluded, we are safer today than we were 3 years ago, but we are not safe enough. As such, great changes and reform are needed. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 before us today will do much to keep
America safe, and it is important that we act to enact this legislation now. Protecting the American people is the number one priority of this President and the United States Congress.

This legislation builds on the steps we have already taken since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and improves our intelligence-gathering apparatus. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act is a broad-based approach that seeks to reform our government agencies and strengthen our Intelligence Community to make them more effective to address the global terrorist threat.

Mr. Speaker, this is a traditional rule for conference reports. I urge support for the rule and for the underlying measure.

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


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

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this rule and the underlying bill. The underlying bill is not a solution to our problems, but is a huge first step. Much more needs to be done. I would also like to commend the Members of the House on both sides of the aisle who worked so hard to put forth a really good bill and then fought to keep most of it in the final draft. I urge them to come back in January with an open mind and finish the work we have started.


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