Eshoo, House Democrats Demand Stronger Intelligence Bill

June 17, 2004
Press Release
June 17, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- In a press conference today, Rep. Anna Eshoo joined the Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee in calling for a fully funded counterterrorism intelligence authorization bill and stronger congressional oversight of intelligence matters.

The press conference followed yesterday's markup of the annual intelligence authorization bill, the legislation that allocates money to the nation's intelligence programs. Despite efforts by the Democratic members of the Committee, the bill falls far short of what the Intelligence Community has requested and needs to safeguard the security of this country, especially at a time when the community is without coordinated leadership and has experienced the biggest intelligence failures of all time -- all in the past three years.

The bill provides only 25% of the additional funds the Intelligence Community needs for counterterrorism efforts. An amendment to provide full funding was defeated.

"The heart of the Intelligence Community's work is counterterrorism and a 25% commitment to fund it is dangerous and wrong. It must be funded 100%," Eshoo said.

Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, offered an amendment to secure stronger oversight to get to the bottom of the administration's support of Ahmed Chalabi. "I want to know why the executive branch invested political and financial capital in Ahmed Chalabi, who turned around and stabbed our nation in the back," said Eshoo. "Without strong oversight, accountability of the executive suffers, the checks and balances in our system are weakened, and the intelligence product is diminished."

In the markup, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), Ranking Democrat on the Committee, pointed out that "in this country there is no such thing as a secret law," urging that the legislative amendments be considered in an open session. Her effort was rebuffed and, on a party-line vote, the proceedings were closed. In fact, all amendments offered by the Democrats to strengthen the legislative portions of the bill were defeated on party-line votes. Democrats unanimously opposed reporting the bill.

Also defeated was H.R. 4104, the Intelligence Transformation Act, to reform and restructure the Intelligence Community.