Ron Paul
2001 Ron Paul Chapter 81

Intelligence Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2002

5 October 2001

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2001 Ron Paul 81:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, HR 2883, the Intelligence Authorization Act, is brought before us today under a process which denies members of Congress our constitutional right as elected officials to be informed on crucial aspects of the programs we are asked to authorize. Information about this bill is limited to dollars amounts and personnel ceilings for the individual intelligence programs and even that information is restricted to viewing in a classified annex available to members during regular business hours for “security reasons.”

2001 Ron Paul 81:2
Given the many questions the American people have about the performance of the intelligence agencies prior to September 11, and the many concerns as to whether the intelligence agencies can effectively respond to the challenges of international terrorism, I believe that the American people would be well served by a full debate on the ways the intelligence community plans to respond to these challenges. I also believe the American people would be well-served if members of Congress could debate the prudence of activities authorized under this bill, such as using taxpayer monies for drug interdiction, is an efficient use of intelligence resources or if those resources could be better used to counter other, more significant threats. Perhaps the money targeted for drug interdiction and whether it should be directed to anti-terrorism efforts. However, Mr. Speaker, such a debate cannot occur when members are denied crucial facts regarding the programs authorized in this bill or, at a minimum, are not free to debate in an open forum. Therefore, Congress is denied a crucial opportunity to consider how we might improve America’s intelligence programs.

2001 Ron Paul 81:3
We are told that information about this bill must be limited to a select few for “security reasons.” However, there are other ways to handle legitimate security concerns than by limiting the information to those members who happen to sit on the Intelligence Committee. If any member were to reveal information that may compromise the security of the United States, I certainly would support efforts to punish that member for violating his office and the trust of his country. I believe that if Congress and the Executive Branch exercised sufficient political will to make it known that any member who dared reveal damaging information would suffer full punishment of the law, there would not be a serious risk of a member leaking classified information.

2001 Ron Paul 81:4
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, it is inexcusable for members to be denied crucial facts regarding the intelligence program authorized by this bill, especially at a time when the nation’s attention is focused on security issues. Therefore, I hope my colleagues will reject HR 2883 and all other intelligence authorization or funding bills until every member of Congress is allowed to fully perform their constitutional role of overseeing these agencies and participating in the debate on this vital aspect of America’s national security policy.

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