For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 2, 2004
Fact Sheet: Making America Safer by Strengthening Our Intelligence Capabilities
"All the institutions of our government must be fully prepared for
a struggle against terror that will last into the future. Our goal
is an integrated, unified national intelligence effort. Therefore, my administration will continue moving forward with additional changes to the structure and organization of our intelligence agencies... All these reforms have a single goal: We will ensure that the people in government responsible for defending America and countering terrorism have the best possible information to make the best decisions."
President George W. Bush, August 2, 2004
Today's Presidential Action
- Following a careful review of the 9/11 Commission report,
President Bush today announced his support for the creation of the
new position of National Intelligence Director (NID) and looks forward
to working with the Congress to move forward the necessary process of
intelligence reform as quickly as possible.
- The President also announced he will establish a National
Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and take other actions designed to
continue the process, underway since September 11, 2001, of
strengthening America's ability to win the war on terrorism.
- The President agrees with the 9/11 Commission's recommendations
for improving information sharing among agencies involved in
national security work, embracing the information revolution while
protecting sensitive national security information and preserving
privacy, and the continued changes underway at the CIA and FBI. During
the coming days, the President will issue several Presidential
directives to advance these goals.
- The President strongly supports the 9/11 Commission's
recommendations regarding congressional oversight reorganization
for both intelligence and homeland security.
- The President has already taken numerous actions since September
11, 2001, to better address terrorist threats to our nation. With
today's announcement and the Presidential directives to be issued
during the coming days, the President will have taken actions
consistent with almost every one of the 9/11 Commission's recently
Background on Today's Presidential Action
- During the last three years, the Bush Administration has
implemented the most sweeping changes to the organization of our
national security institutions since World War II, and has launched a
number of significant foreign policy and homeland security initiatives
consistent with 9/11 Commission recommendations. We created a new
Department of Homeland Security and ensured it has the resources and
authority to protect the homeland. We established the Terrorist Threat
Integration Center to integrate and analyze, in a single place, both
foreign and domestic intelligence on global terror. We have
transformed the primary focus of the FBI to preventing terrorist
attacks. President Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act, which strengthens
law enforcement's abilities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute acts
of terror, facilitating Federal government efforts to thwart potential
terrorist activity throughout the United States. And we are continuing
to expand and strengthen the intelligence collection and analytical
capabilities of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Taking the next logical steps to build upon these and other
efforts, President Bush today called for the establishment of a
National Intelligence Director and a National Counterterrorism Center.
- National Intelligence Director (NID). Once established in law,
the NID will serve as the President's principal intelligence
advisor and the head of the Intelligence Community. The NID's
authorities and responsibilities will further enhance the ability of
our intelligence community to give the President and his advisors an
integrated intelligence product on threats to our national security and
improve the warning function of intelligence. This will help to make
certain that every President has the best, unbiased, unvarnished
assessment of America's intelligence professionals. These
organizational changes will allow a Director of the CIA to focus solely
on foreign intelligence collection, analysis, and any additional
responsibilities assigned by the President. It will not only lead to
improvements in the quality of analysis, but will also ensure that our
human intelligence collection capabilities continue to grow in their
quantity and quality. The NID will:
- Assume the responsibilities and authorities of the current
Director of Central Intelligence as head of the Intelligence
Community, including responsibilities to oversee the national
intelligence program and its budget, and coordinate the activities of
the CIA, DoD intelligence agencies, the FBI's intelligence and
counterterrorism activities, and parts of the Department of Homeland
- Have the authority and responsibility for presenting an integrated
intelligence budget to the President for his consideration through the
existing OMB budget process, and increased authority in the selection
of personnel at national intelligence agencies.
- Oversee the work of the newly created National Counterterrorism
Center (NCTC). The Director of the NCTC will report to the NID.
- Through the NCTC, have overall responsibility within the U.S.
Government for integrating foreign and domestic intelligence related to
- Be a Presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position who will
serve at the pleasure of the President, report to the President, and be
available to testify before a new, streamlined oversight structure set
up by Congress. The NID will not be a member of the President's
Cabinet and will not be located in the Executive Office of the
- National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). Building on the
Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), the NCTC will be
responsible for analyzing and integrating foreign and domestic
intelligence acquired from all U.S. Government departments and agencies
pertaining to terrorism. The Center will identify, coordinate, and
prioritize the counterterrorism intelligence requirements of America's
intelligence agencies. TTIC analytical capabilities will be integrated
into the NCTC. All departments and agencies that have analytic
resources on transnational terrorism, or conduct operations against
transnational terrorism, will contribute analysts and staff to the
NCTC. The Director of NCTC will report to the President through the
NID, but will not be located in the Executive Office of the President.
The NCTC will:
- Support the development and coordination of U.S. Government action plans, ensuring that individual departments and agencies receive the all-source intelligence support needed to execute their plans to
counter terrorist threats against the U.S. and U.S. interests.
- Serve as the principal U.S. Government coordinator for plans and
monitor action plans of the agencies and departments for the collection
of terror-related intelligence and to counter terror threats against
the United States and its interests and, as appropriate, the interests
of its friends and allies.
- Concentrate analytical expertise on foreign and domestic terrorism
in one location and assure the flow of alternative analytic views,
to the extent they exist in the Center and among agencies and
departments, to policymakers, including to the President. Agencies and
departments are to retain sufficient analytic expertise on
counterterrorism to support their unique operational missions.
- Prepare the President's Terrorist Threat Report (PTTR) and a range
of other integrated analytic products on terrorism.
- Support the National Security Council's preparation of the
national counterterrorism strategy, which will be coordinated with
the Homeland Security Council.
- Help identify and coordinate intelligence requirements on terror
targets both overseas and at home.
- Serve as the U.S. Government's central and shared knowledge bank on known and suspected terrorists and international terror groups, as well as their goals, strategies, capabilities, and networks of
contacts and support.
- Coordinate counterterrorism plans and ensure all source
intelligence support for counterterrorism operational planning
efforts underway in the departments and agencies of government.
- As necessary, coordinate the prioritization of and interagency law
enforcement or counterterrorism response to terrorist threats, and
de-conflict and track the actions of the United States Government as
currently done by the interagency Counterterrorism Security Group.
- Presidential Directives. President Bush will also issue several directives during the coming days on intelligence organization. In
addition to directing the creation of the NCTC, the President will
order all relevant agencies to take additional steps to adopt common
databases and procedures, so intelligence and homeland security
information can be shared and searched effectively, consistent with the
protection of the rights of Americans. The President will direct the
FBI to continue its restructuring to create a specialized workforce
dedicated to the collection and analysis of domestic intelligence on
terrorism, and will hold the Department of Justice and FBI leadership
to specific performance standards and deadlines to ensure that the
FBI's efforts are carried to completion as quickly as possible.
Similarly, the President will direct the CIA to increase efforts
already underway to strengthen the Agency's capabilities for gathering
human intelligence and conducting all-source analysis, and establish
performance standards and deadlines for the CIA as well.
- Congressional Oversight. The President agrees with the 9/11 Commission regarding congressional oversight restructuring. As the
Commission notes, congressional oversight of intelligence and homeland
security functions is critical, and no amount of executive branch
reorganization can complete the necessary work of reshaping our
approach to fighting terrorism in the absence of equally sweeping
congressional reform. The President also encourages Congress to study
ways to guarantee the rapid confirmation of all national security and
other senior executive branch officials to improve transitions between
administrations and ensure that the executive branch can operate
- Review of WMD Intelligence and Planning. Given the growing threat of weapons proliferation around the world, the President believes
it may be necessary to create a center similar to the NCTC to bring
together the intelligence analysis, planning, and operations to track
and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The President
will ask the Commission headed by Judge Laurence Silberman and Senator
Chuck Robb to address this matter in its report.
Much Work Is Already Underway
The Administration has already implemented or is implementing
policies consistent with most of the 9/11 Commission's proposals
relating to foreign policy and homeland security. Overseas, the
Administration is aggressively pursuing a strategy that is defeating
terrorists, denying them support and sanctuary, including in
Afghanistan and Iraq, and working to eliminate the underlying economic
and social conditions that terrorists seek to exploit. The
Administration is also working with its international partners to stop
WMD proliferation through the Proliferation Security Initiative and
other cooperative actions designed to preserve our common security.
At home, the Administration is developing and deploying
cutting-edge technologies to secure our borders, ports, critical
infrastructure, and other potential vulnerabilities of our homeland.
We have vastly improved cooperation and information sharing among the
intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security communities. We
are employing the latest technologies to counter the threat of chemical
and biological weapons in the hands of terrorists. We are using the
PATRIOT Act to track terrorists, disrupt their cells, and seize their
assets. We have brought focus to federal anti-terrorism and homeland
security efforts through a series of Homeland Security Policy
Directives on: management of domestic incidents; integration and use
of screening information; critical infrastructure identification,
prioritization, and protection; national preparedness; biodefense; and
the safety and security of agriculture and food supplies.