Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins today chaired the second of a series of hearings of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to examine the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission. Today’s focus was the Commission’s proposal that the government create a new National Counterterrorism Center.
“We must act quickly to consider the report, and to complete our assigned task of reporting legislation by October 1st,” said Senator Collins. “As we move with both deliberation and speed, we should use the Commission’s recommendations as a thoughtful and informed guide. That does not mean that this Committee should act as a rubber stamp. The final shape of our restructuring legislation will be determined by what we learn at these hearings.”
Senior administrators from the country’s intelligence agencies testified at today’s hearing about the improvements that have been made to the country’s post-9/11 intelligence capabilities, the weaknesses that remain, and how to address them. The witnesses who testified were: John Brennan, Director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, John Pistole, Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence for the FBI, Patrick Hughes, Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, and Philip Mudd, Deputy Director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center. Philip Zelikow and Chris Kojm, Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission also testified.
“Progress has been made since 9/11. The CIA’s Counterterrorist Center and the FBI have undergone substantial changes; the Department of Homeland Security and the Terrorism Threat Integration Center (TTIC) are entirely new,” said Senator Collins. “The proposed National Counterterrorism Center would be a ‘Super TTIC.’ If this more powerful version is to succeed, it must get what it needs, both in resources and in its place in the priorities of the agencies that collect intelligence.”
Senator Collins expects the Governmental Affairs Committee to hold further hearings this month and in September on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The next hearings are scheduled to be held on Augusta 16th and 17th. The Committee’s goal is to approve legislation by October 1st.