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Since When Does the 9/11 Commission Make Law?

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Well, both candidates forgot something, and that is the Congress of the United States has a say in all this. Sometimes that's good; sometimes that's bad, but it's the reality of our republic. And Congress, they weren't running around saying, "Yep, we're going to implement all this." The candidates were. Now they're going to try it. Now, my guess is that -- I don't know if you'd say the president's "playing both sides against the middle." I'm just saying here that he wants to put his stamp on this, and he wants it to have his signature and imprimatur. That's one of the reasons why he's taking a position on it. But he'll support what comes out of there, and he'll sign what comes out of there, and he's saying, "I hoped it had passed by now. I wanted to build a path," but I don't hear him talking about the specifics that they're haggling over, because frankly, I think some of these things are a little reckless anyway. Here's basically where we are on this. "Defying President Bush, Representatives..." and by the way, they're not just defying Bush. They're defying the Democrats, and they're defying the liberals in this country. The liberals are the ones that are really pushing this. Not Bush.
"...Duncan Hunter from California, James Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin, who led opposition dooming legislation based on the September 11th Commission's recommendations said that they won't change their minds without Senate concessions." Once again, we've got some Senate Democrats and a Republican in the Senate that are putting the kibosh on this. It's the same old thing, and what you have is a bit of a power play going on here between the two Houses. You know, House Republicans are fed up with what's been going on in the Senate. The Senate is an obstruction agency. It has been for a while and there's a battle going on there too, and I think this is all healthy; it's good, and it's about time these people assert themselves in the House. Well, they have been all along but I'm glad they're continuing to do it. "Sensenbrenner said to the AP yesterday, 'It will be tougher now because the well got even more poisoned by the senators and their supporters thoroughly criticizing Duncan Hunter and me by name on the talking heads shows on Sunday.'"
What happened was that Duncan Hunter and Sensenbrenner "turned back a last-second deal Saturday to pass stalled legislation to create the new national intelligence director and national counterterrorism center. The overhaul was supposed to help the intelligence community track terrorist threats and was one of the biggest legislative priorities of this year. There was nothing left but recriminations on Monday, with most of Congress heading home for Thanksgiving and Bush still on an overseas trip. No meetings of the bill's negotiators have been planned. Bush personally lobbied House Republicans, told reporters Sunday, 'It was clear I wanted the bill passed,' but Sensenbrenner, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Hunter who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke against the bill in a House GOP meeting Saturday morning which forced the speaker, Denny Hastert, to pull it, and that defiance will have repercussions John Lehman said on CNN. He said, 'This is a classic confrontation that you see in Washington that they can sell tickets for because the president has now been challenged directly by the leadership of the Congress and by the lobbyists and by the bureaucracy. Now he's got to show who is in charge.'" Sensenbrenner said it first.
"The Senate had refused to negotiate on his issues until two weeks ago. Then, in direct negotiation by phone with Bush on Air Force One, Sensenbrenner said he gave up on most of his demands, including tightening up driver's license requirements so illegal immigrants can't get them after Bush called that a poisoned pill." Now, frankly, you know, people say, "What does that have to do with intelligence?" You tell me why in the world an illegal immigrant gets a driver's license? I myself find myself on the other side of this from the president. I don't understand this. I don't for the life of me. I think Sensenbrenner and Duncan Hunter are right here. The Senate is going to have to give in some. There's no reason -- and Sensenbrenner has given it up in an effort to get a bill, I guess. But this business that illegal immigrants get driver's licenses? I mean, what are we thinking? This bill had plenty of efforts to tie up the borders or to strengthen the borders and that seems to be falling by the wayside. There's also another characteristic in this bill. Right now, and this to me, is far more fundamental than the driver's license, although that's something that was inserted in this, not part of the original bill or recommendations, but I think it makes sense. It's one of these total common-sense deals. I know it's at odds and at variance with the president's stated objectives on amnesty for illegal immigrants which is another thing I, frankly, don't quite understand. I frankly don't understand the president's position on immigration now. (program observer interruption) Well, 44% of the Hispanic vote? No, I do understand it in the political sense.
I'll take you back to what I said last week. I think there is an effort under the cover of darkness that is being hatched here, it's been going on for a long while, to totally dismantle the Democratic Party, constituency group by constituency group and I think that's what this immigration thing is all about. I frankly think that's what this immigration bill and this amnesty and let's not be hard on them on healthcare benefits and not be hard on them on driver's license is all about, and Bush did get 44% of the Hispanic vote and it may be that, "Okay, these people voted for me and I campaigned on this so he's going to be true to his campaign promise," and I think that's what he's doing, which is fine, I just disagree with it.

I disagree with the president's amnesty program. I think if we're going to be serious about the intelligence and security, we've got to tighten up the borders, and illegal ought to mean illegal, and we don't grant rights to illegals, and we don't extend the benefits of the American taxpayer to illegals. And people that want to, I disagree with them here and now. One of the things causing a fight here, and they try to drag Rumsfeld in on this and Rumsfeld said, "Hey, I had nothing to do with this." Right now in Iraq, battlefield operations are coordinated by satellite. Satellite photos are fundamental. They are crucial in directing military operations. They're almost instantaneous. They show where the enemy encampments are, where the enemy is moving, so forth and so on. They are fundamental in designing stategeries and attacks, and retreats as well. And under this 9/11 commission-recommended bill, the people that operate the satellites, they're in the Pentagon now and it's a very small group of people and they're in there looking at satellite photos and they're communicating directly with commanders on the ground in Iraq and wherever else we would be in combat circumstances. This bill will take that operation away from the Pentagon and move it over to this national intelligence czar and his big bureaucracy. And there's a tremendous fear by people -- this is Duncan Hunter's main concern -- there's tremendous fear by people who understand bureaucracies and understand wars, that the two don't go together. We should have learned this in Vietnam.
You cannot micromanage battle plans from Washington, DC, not from a government agency site. You need the Pentagon doing it. You need the military complex doing this, because they're the ones in charge of executing orders, issuing orders and executing them, and to take that satellite operation and other things that are like it and move it over into this new bureaucracy? Can you imagine you've got a commander on the ground: "Okay, I need an ops plan. I got the satellite data. Give me some satellite data." It's got to go up a chain of command before he gets an answer? They'll take the picture and it will go run up the chain of command and people will look at it. You have 15,000 analysts try to figure it all out, and by that time, what is on the verge of needing to happen, the opportunity will have passed if my experience with bureaucracies holds true -- and there's no reason to think it won't here.
So that's Duncan Hunter's main objection, and he believes the American people are overwhelmingly on his side of this. Now, the Washington Times story today, I just shared with you details on the AP story. I think it was AP. The Washington Times story today is headlined: Angry Senators Have 'poisoned' Intelligence Bill. "Senators have made it much harder to reach a new agreement on the intelligence overhaul bill after their harsh comments during the weekend about the Republicans who blocked the measure, one key House negotiator said yesterday. 'An already poisoned well got poisoned even more badly,' said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr... In a telephone interview yesterday with The Washington Times, Mr. Sensenbrenner said it's a mistake for others to think that they can 'divide and conquer.'
"Mr. Sensenbrenner agreed, but in return demanded that the senators agree to other immigration security provisions that they already had rejected, including reforming asylum laws so terrorists can't use them to enter the country." Do you know how old that is? I remember 60 Minutes doing a story on how easy it is for anybody in the world to get into this country. You just come in right through JFK, and you say you're seeking asylum. You go down one time to some office and report your presence, and after that you vanish. You seek political asylum, and terrorists use this to get into the country, terrorists use this to get driver's licenses illegally into the country. Some of the 9/11 hijackers got driver's licenses in this way. Some say, "Well, that's how we know they were here. We can track them and so forth and so on." Well, arguments I guess on both sides of this, but bottom line is they are hanging tough on this, Sensenbrenner and Duncan Hunter are, and I frankly am on their side about it.
I think just the assumption that whatever the 9/11 commission recommends ought to be implemented in a blanket fashion is ridiculous, it's panic-oriented, and you know, it makes too many assumptions that this commission is right about what they did, made no mistakes. I'm all for a new intelligence czar, somebody that's in charge of this sort of thing, but that can be structured in a way that makes sense, but getting this person involved with military operations just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. These people are not supposed to be recommending that kind of thing anyway. They're supposed to be collecting data, passing it on to the policymakers.
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