Intelligence agencies must pull together, committee says

Intelligence agencies must pull together, committee says

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday approved fiscal 2004 spending for intelligence agencies, giving them money to standardize their databases.

The Intelligence Authorization Bill for Fiscal 2004 responds to one of the foremost findings of the committee's inquiry into intelligence failings prior to Sept. 11, 2001. It calls for a single, governmentwide terrorist watch list.

The bill also requires CIA director George Tenet to conduct a pilot to 'determine the feasibility and advisability of permitting analysts access to raw intelligence from the databases of the community,' according to a committee release.

'Collected intelligence is only as good as this nation's ability to properly analyze, fuse and disseminate it,' said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the committee chairman.

Intelligence agencies will feed data to the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which started operations yesterday. The White House-mandated center will serve as a central U.S. hub for foreign and domestic terror threats gathered by the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security Department, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and National Security Agency.

The bill also authorizes:

  • $8 million to establish a program similar to the Reserve Officers Training Corps to recruit college students for intelligence jobs

  • Emergency services contracts to procure, on short notice, critically needed personnel such as linguists and experts on weapons of mass destruction

  • A report on what lessons the intelligence agencies learned in Iraq.

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