WASHINGTON– Following the announcement that House leaders would not bring an intelligence reform bill to the House floor today for a vote even though the principal conferees reached agreement, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), who led Senate negotiators and co-authored the original Senate version of the bill, released the following statement.
“We share a deep sense of disappointment and frustration that the Congress will not complete the important task of reforming the intelligence agencies in order to better serve and protect the American people. We are still convinced that the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission are imperative to transform the country’s intelligence program into a modern structure designed to counter the security threats of today and the future, including the threat of terrorism,” Senators Collins and Lieberman said in a joint statement. “Our legislation would have created a strong Director of National Intelligence, National Counterterrorism Center, and an independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, and strengthen our border security and law enforcement powers to fight terrorism. Our efforts were endorsed by the 9/11 Commission, the 9/11 families, and the White House.” Senator Collins added, “We believe a stronger Intelligence Community with one person in charge would better serve the warfighter and the American people, who are currently still living under a heightened threat of terrorist attack. We believe the status quo is still unacceptable – there is a need for one person to be accountable and to marshal the resources necessary to counter terrorism and other emerging threats. We will continue fighting for the American people to get this done. I believe that there is sufficient support in the House to pas the bill we negotiated. But as the saying goes, the difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer.” “We reached a result that was not perfectly satisfactory to everyone but made everyone feel proud that they had done something – including to protect the war fighter,” said Senator Lieberman. “ I hope the President, the citizens of this country, the families of the 9/11 victims, and the 9/11 Commission will plead with the leadership of House to bring our conference report to a vote because I’m convinced the votes are there to pass it.”