learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...


learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...

illet has to be “borrowed’’ from the service that nominates the NIMA Director. Thus,

RADM Dantone had to be called Acting Director after 1 October 1996 because he had

two stars, not three.

Having taken the SASC bill, and earned the wrath of Senator Thurmond and others

such as Senator Stevens, the SSCI released it ahead of schedule. Senator Specter, in the

SSCI committee report accompanying the SASC Defense Authorization Bill (S. 1745) is

conciliatory, although he makes some pointed references to Senator Thurmond’s committee

report. Senator Specter makes a point of justifying the SSCI’s taking of the SASC bill

and the speediness of its review. 463

After careful review, including extensive discussions and negotiations at the staff and

member level with the Armed Services Committee and with the Director of Central Intelligence,

the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of

Staff, the Committee voted to report the bill with amendments on June 11 — well before

the expiration of the thirty days of session allotted in Senate Resolution 400 for consideration

upon referral.

The SSCI report also discussed points of contention with the SASC such as Senator

Thurmond’s remark about a “Department of Intelligence.’’ Senator Specter used the

report to highlight the SSCI’s success in protecting NIMA’s national mission and to

downplay its losses over expanded DCI authorities.

According to Senator Specter, the Committee believes the consensus reached by the

two Committees preserves significant elements of the reform effort and significantly

enhances the ability of the DCI to manage intelligence activities. In addition, the Committee

is more comfortable that, with the changes agreed upon, the DCI will have the ability

to ensure that a new National Imagery and Mapping Agency will be responsive to the

needs of all national customers. 464


Typically, once the HPSCI and SSCI have resolved their differences with Armed Services,

and any other committee with overlapping concerns, such as Foreign Relations or

Judiciary, each bill is “reported from committee’’ and subject to a vote by the entire

chamber. Here is where the reputation of the Intelligence committee and its chairman is

most critical. In the words of one HPSCI staffer, the chairman has to present the bill to the

entire chamber and ask fellow members to “trust him, and trust the committee’’ to have

made the right decisions because the majority of the bill’s contents are classified. Members

can come to the committee’s work spaces and review the classified annex to the bill

but few do. Most trust the committee and its staffers to have “done the right thing.’’ He

calls the committee’s role “the lubricant’’ between the wheels of the executive and legisla-

463 Report 104-278, 5.

464A source, HPSCI Professional Staffer, who wishes to remain anonymous, interview by the author,

5 May 2000.


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