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October 4, 2004

Families of September 11 and the Family Steering Committee urge you, your extended family members and your friends to either fax or email the letter below to your two Senators in Washington no later than Monday noon.  Please forward to everyone on your email list and ask that they do the same so that this urgent undertaking reaches people in as many states as possible.  The letter explains the issues.  [Remember to delete this portion of the message before sending!] Find your Senators at http://www.senate.gov

October 4, 2004
Dear Senator ______________:
I am concerned about legislation that will be voted on today. This letter addresses S.2845, the current version of which has the support of the White House, the 9/11 Commission and the Family Steering Committee.
A number of amendments to this bill are being considered today in the Senate which would undermine the National Intelligence Director’s ability to “oversee and manage” the intelligence community as stated in the 9/11 Commission’s 29th recommendation
I oppose any amendments which weaken the power of the NID including those that:

  • reduce the nature and scope of information sharing or allows it to be solely in the hands of the President;
  • prevents the NID from transferring, assigning, or detailing military personnel in response to a terrorism threat;
  • remove a Congressionally mandated implementation timeline;
  • perpetuate principles of excessive secrecy in our nation’s intelligence community with regard to the intelligence budget;
  • significantly weaken the privacy and civil liberties protections provided for in S. 2845.

The National Intelligence Director must have the tools to fix the problems plaguing our intelligence community. As recommended by the 9/11 Commission, the NID must have budget authority over all of the national intelligence agencies as well as other programs, projects and activities that provide intelligence to multiple departments or agencies. The NID must be able to exercise authority over personnel. While the NID should consult with affected agency heads, these officials must not have veto power over the NID’s decisions.
While it is imperative that our military receives the intelligence it needs to protect our troops, it is also imperative that Americans here at home are protected. The ‘status quo’ whereby the Department of Defense controls 80% of the intelligence community’s budget cannot continue. That is an allocation tethered to a world that no longer exists and one that fails to acknowledge this simple reality: September 11th established that the gravest threat, to the largest number of Americans, is on the domestic front.