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Intelligence issue should be tackled before break

What others say

Posted: Thursday, October 07, 2004

As Congress prepares to depart Washington shortly for the campaign trail, the stage is set for last-minute skullduggery on the overhaul of national intelligence agencies. If lawmakers come home and say they've done the job, don't buy it sight unseen. ...

Voters would be best served if Congress remained on duty long enough to hammer that measure into a shape of which all could justly feel proud. ...

The measure expected to come before House members this week is far weaker than the Senate bill in the authority it would assign to a proposed national intelligence director, and also includes ''poison pill'' provisions that demand harsher treatment of immigrants and intrude on civil liberties.

Most alarming is the plan to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the overhaul in a conference committee, meeting while the majority of lawmakers are out campaigning. ...

The job needs to be done both promptly and sensibly. One top official must be in charge and accountable, data should be consolidated in a single center available to analysts from all relevant agencies, and Congress needs to streamline its oversight of the process.

If lawmakers declare victory after achieving less, they shouldn't get away with it.

-- The Sun, Baltimore

Oct. 5



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