Ron Paul
2003 Ron Paul Chapter 121

Ron Paul Conference Report On H.R. 2417 Intelligence Authorization Act For Fiscal year 2004

20 November 2003

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Conference Report On H.R. 2417 Intelligence Authorization Act For Fiscal year 2004
20 November 2003

Thursday, November 20, 2003

2003 Ron Paul 121:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise with great concerns over the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report. I do not agree that Members of Congress should vote in favor of an authorization that most know almost nothing about — including the most basic issue of the level of funding.

2003 Ron Paul 121:2
What most concerns me about this conference report, though, is something that should outrage every single American citizen. am referring to the stealth addition of language drastically expanding FBI powers to secretly and without court order snoop into the business and financial transactions of American citizens. These expanded internal police powers will enable the FBI to demand transaction records from businesses, including auto dealers, travel agents, pawnbrokers and more, without the approval or knowledge of a judge or grand jury. This was written into the bill at the 11th hour over the objections of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would normally have jurisdiction over the FBI. The Judiciary Committee was frozen out of the process. It appears we are witnessing a stealth enactment of the enormously unpopular “Patriot II” legislation that was first leaked several months ago. Perhaps the national outcry when a draft of the Patriot II act was leaked has led its supporters to enact it one piece at a time in secret. Whatever the case, this is outrageous and unacceptable. I urge each of my colleagues to join me in rejecting this bill and its incredibly dangerous expansion of Federal police powers.

2003 Ron Paul 121:3
I also have concerns about the rest of the bill. One of the few things we do know about this final version is that we are authorizing even more than the president has requested for the intelligence community. The intelligence budget seems to grow every year, but we must ask what we are getting for our money. It is notoriously difficult to assess the successes of our intelligence apparatus, and perhaps it is unfair that we only hear about its failures and shortcomings. However, we cannot help but be concerned over several such failures in recent years. Despite the tens of billions we spend on these myriad intelligence agencies, it is impossible to ignore the failure of our federal intelligence community to detect and prevent the September 11 attacks. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our intelligence community failed completely to accurately assess the nature of the Iraqi threat. These are by any measure grave failures, costing us incalculably in human lives and treasure. Yet from what little we can know about this bill, the solution is to fund more of the same. I would hope that we might begin coming up with new approaches to our intelligence needs, perhaps returning to an emphasis on the proven value of human intelligence and expanded linguistic capabilities for our intelligence personnel.

2003 Ron Paul 121:4
I am also concerned that our scarce resources are again being squandered pursuing a failed drug war in Colombia, as this bill continues to fund our disastrous Colombia policy. Billions of dollars have been spent in Colombia to fight this drug war, yet more drugs than ever are being produced abroad and shipped into the United States — including a bumper crop of opium sent by our new allies in Afghanistan. Evidence in South America suggests that any decrease in Colombian production of drugs for the US market has only resulted in increased production in neighboring countries. As I have stated repeatedly, the solution to the drug problem lies not in attacking the producers abroad or in creating a militarized police state to go after the consumers at home, but rather in taking a close look at our seemingly insatiable desire for these substances. Until that issue is addressed we will continue wasting billions of dollars in a losing battle.

2003 Ron Paul 121:5
In conclusion, I strongly urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting this dangerous and expensive bill.

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