Kerry, Edwards Ignored Senate Bill to Create

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Kerry, Edwards Ignored Senate Bill to Create Intelligence Czar
By Heather Wier
CNSNews.com Correspondent
August 10, 2004

(CNSNews.com) - Despite the allegation by Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, that President Bush was slow to establish the position of "intelligence czar" in the aftermath of the 9/11 Commission report, Kerry passed up an opportunity to co-sponsor Senate legislation last year that would have done just that.

There were six co-sponsors of the Intelligence Community Leadership Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in January 2003. But neither Kerry nor his vice presidential running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time, added their names to the bill.

The legislation called for the establishment of a director of national intelligence.

A Republican Senate aide who did not want to be identified, told CNSNews.com that it was "a little disingenuous" for Kerry not to join "members of the Senate to address this very issue," and then to later criticize the Bush administration's actions following the release of the 9/11 Commission Report.

"If he [Kerry] thinks it is so important now, why wouldn't he have stepped up before and drafted legislation?" the GOP staffer asked. "Senator Kerry is not on that legislation, nor is Senator Edwards, so it begs the question of who is politicizing what, where, when, and why."

Kerry was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee between 1993 and 2000. As a result, according to the Senate Republican aide, Kerry "was given access to highly sensitive information on [the Intelligence] Committee.

"He could have easily seen what was going wrong in terms of the intelligence community, and yet, he did nothing about it either," the aide said.

Neither the Kerry presidential campaign, nor Kerry's Senate office on Capitol Hill returned calls seeking comment for this article.

But in an April press release, the Kerry campaign stated that, "if the President were truly interested in fixing the intelligence system, he would have long ago listened to what experts and leaders on both sides of the aisle have said is the key reform needed to ensure better intelligence gathering: the consolidation of the competing security agencies under one Director of National Intelligence."

Early last week, when President Bush announced he was creating the position of director of national intelligence, a primary recommendation from the 9/11 Commission Report, Kerry charged that Bush had not acted fast enough.

The last action taken regarding the Intelligence Community Leadership Act was its referral to the Senate intelligence panel, on which Feinstein also serves.
 

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