Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Homeland Security?

I may have been too charitable to Dubya's proposals for new intelligence/counter-terrorsim infrastructure. I haven't examined the proposals in detail yet (being just another guy who has to work at something other than blogging for a living) - but neither the NYT nor WaPo think much of the initiatives - at least in copmparison to the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. Looks like, once again, the administration is putting optics ahead of substance.

Washington Post:
A rush to reform driven by the election calendar could yield an ill-considered system that would take years to fix. Better to go more slowly and get it right -- especially considering that the changes will be made in the heat of battle, as the latest warnings serve to remind.

But just the opposite seems to be happening.
New York Times:
At a time when Americans need strong leadership and bold action, President Bush offered tired nostrums and bureaucratic half-measures yesterday. He wanted to appear to be embracing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, but he actually rejected the panel's most significant ideas, and thus missed a chance to confront the twin burdens he faces at this late point in his term: the need to get intelligence reform moving whether he's re-elected or not, and the equally urgent need to repair the government's credibility on national security.


The 9/11 panel's most important recommendation was to create the post of national intelligence director. Such a director would be confirmed by the Senate and have real power to supervise the 15 disparate intelligence agencies. The director of central intelligence has that charge now, without the power to do it. The commission said the new official should be part of the White House Executive Office, not a cabinet member, to ensure access to the president.

There are a variety of credible ways to construct the job, whether in the cabinet or not, but what Mr. Bush proposed is not one of them.

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