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Debate on Homeland Security: Do We Need Another Agency?

June 11, 2002

All last week I listened to the president and senators discuss the idea of a new Cabinet position for homeland security. I am amazed that no one has analyzed the fact that the information about a pending terrorist attack made its way through channels to the president but we are not told what directives went from that meeting back to the CIA and the FBI, or who was supposed to coordinate the investigation to prevent the attack of 9/11.

If a directive requesting more information from field agents regarding a possible attack had been made, would not more information have come to light before the attack? If so, maybe the attack would not have been so devastating. Do we need a Cabinet-level position in order for someone to take control of a situation? If so, we may need a lot of new Cabinet positions in the future: homeland climate-change security, homeland flood and wildfire security and, most important, homeland economic security.

Michael Cappella

La Crescenta

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Re "Now Comes Hard Part for Congress," June 7: In a brief speech on June 6, President Bush refocused future debate regarding homeland security.

Prior to his speech, many congressional members saw their responsibility as grandstanding and pontificating about how the current administration allowed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Those in Congress are now being forced to actually do something to fix the problem that they themselves played a significant role in creating.

Rather than attempting to fault the Bush administration's actions over the past 18 months, Congress should admit its contributions to the problem. Examples include enactment of legislation inhibiting intelligence agencies, reduction of intelligence funding and patent failure in its exercise of oversight responsibilities, even as a multitude of terrorist attacks occurred over the past 10 years.

Members of Congress must now place higher priority on reallocating committee powers for the good of the country as a whole and lower priority on preserving their personal power for political goals. The responsibility is theirs.

Thomas R. Damiani

Newport Beach

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We have an FBI that does not perform. We have a CIA that does not perform. Should we feel more secure that another government agency is going to try to protect us?

Jill Yorke

Santa Monica

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