Senator Collins’ Statement On McCain-Lieberman Intelligence Reform Proposal

“The bipartisan Senate leadership has asked Senator Lieberman and me to produce a bill that reforms and strengthens the intelligence community, and that remains my focus. We have held five hearings, continue to consult with experts from both inside and outside of the intelligence community, and are working together on legislation that we plan to unveil prior to marking it up in the Governmental Affairs Committee during the week of September 20th.

“At our next hearing on September 8th, we will hear testimony from FBI Director Robert Mueller and Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin. Secretary Tom Ridge will testify on intelligence reforms for the first time at our hearing on September 13th. The legislation Senator Lieberman and I draft will be based on the Commission’s report, the findings of our hearings, and the suggestions that have been provided to us from many sources. We are confident we will be able to report our legislation by the end of this month, as requested by Senate leaders, so that the full Senate can act on it expeditiously

“”It is my understanding that the McCain-Lieberman legislation will be a compilation of the 40-plus recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, including issues ranging from identification cards to counter-proliferation to foreign aid and homeland security funding, as well as intelligence reform. Much of the congressional focus has been on the major recommendations affecting the organization of the intelligence community; this legislation serves as a useful reminder that the Commission set forth many other recommendations that also deserve consideration. I salute the Commission for the scope of its recommendations and the Senators for introducing a bill embodying them, even though I disagree with some of the specific proposals. For example, I disagree strongly with the proposal that would deprive a majority of states of the funds they need to adequately prepare and secure themselves against terrorist attacks. This provision is contrary to homeland security grant reform legislation unanimously reported by the Governmental Affairs Committee last year.

“It is heartening to see so many of my colleagues committed to strengthening our security and participating in the debate on the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission. I look forward to continuing to work closely with all interested parties.”