The new agency is part of the package put together by homeland security director Tom Ridge. It will supplement efforts of the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies, but not replace them. The idea is to have one office that helps the intelligence agencies analyze the data they gather.
House minority leader Dick Gephardt was quick to endorse this idea – and by the way, “minority leader” does not mean that he is the leader of blacks, Hispanics, women, and children, it means he’s the representative of the Democrats because they have fewer members in the House than do Republicans – and you can hear Gephardt’s response in the audio link below.
Gephardt is happy, because the Democrats have been pushing for the Office of Homeland Security to be named a cabinet level office, complete with budget and operational authority. They’ve been salivating at the opportunity to get to Ridge up there and grill him, and this will give them that opportunity, if he is indeed, named a cabinet secretary. If I was the president, I would not name Ridge to head the department, I would name a Democratic senator from a state with a Republican governor. Chuck Schumer would be a good choice, for example, because then George Pataki could name a new Republican senator to replace him.