WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush said Monday he is asking Congress to create the position of a national intelligence director to serve as the president’s principal intelligence adviser.
“We are a nation in danger,” Bush said as he referred to the elevated terror levels in three regions of the country.
The national director of intelligence will report to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Bush said.
“Creating this position will require a substantial revision of the 1947 National Security Act,” Bush said. “I look forward to working with the members of Congress to move ahead on this important reform.”
The president also revealed plans to create a national counter-terrorism center.
“This new center will … become our government’s knowledge bank for known and suspected terrorists,” Bush said.
Bush alluded to ordering additional changes in coming days, and said he thinks creating a national center to safeguard against attacks from weapons of mass destruction may be necessary.
Flanked by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and FBI Director Robert Mueller, Bush announced the plans in the Rose Garden.
Other plans Bush outlined included establishing uniform standards for forms of identification and improving information-sharing throughout the intelligence community.
The plans blend Bush’s ideas with recommendations from the 9/11 commission to protect the nation against terror attacks.
The move to endorse suggestions from the 9/11 panel and publicize his agenda comes in the midst of an elevated terror threat level in New Jersey, New York and the nation’s capital and in the wake of the commission’s urging to enact safety measures as soon as possible. (Full story)
Congress established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, the independent, bipartisan panel commonly called the 9/11 commission, to investigate events before, during and immediately after the attacks.
On July 22, the panel released its findings in a 570-page report, and its members urged Congress and the president to act immediately.
Senior level officials earlier had said the Bush administration did not support creating a national intelligence director and a national counterterrorism center within the White House.
Some of Bush’s moves go beyond the 9/11 commission’s recommendations on civil liberties and privacy protections, sources said, and the president highlighted measures he can implement immediately with executive orders.
The White House already has identified nearly 40 examples of steps the Bush administration says fulfills some of the 9/11 commission’s recommendations.
Among those identified were: pursuing a worldwide strategy of disrupting and denying safe harbors to terrorist groups; promoting reforms in the broader Middle East; developing and deploying cutting-edge technologies to secure the country’s borders and ports; and reforming intelligence by improving cooperation and information-sharing among intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security agencies.