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19 July 2004

White House Report, July 19: Intelligence-gathering

Administration seeks intelligence reforms

The Bush administration has taken a number of steps to improve U.S. intelligence-gathering and intelligence-analysis capabilities and remains open to "ideas that build upon the reforms that we're already implementing," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters July 19.

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission is scheduled to release its final 500-page report during the week of the July 19. The report is expected to include recommendations for improving U.S. handling of intelligence in the fight against terror.

McClellan cited past reforms saying, "We worked to create the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), we worked to pass the Patriot Act, to knock down the wall between law enforcement and intelligence. And we also are continuing to work to transform the FBI, so that its primary mission is counterterrorism now."

McClellan also cited bolstering human intelligence, increasing investments in technologies, and enhancing ways to share information as steps needed to improve intelligence capabilities.

"[T]he president's number one priority is to protect the American people," said McClellan, "and he's made it very clear, if there are additional ideas out there that can improve our intelligence gathering and help us better protect the American people, he is very much in favor of moving forward on those ideas. "

When asked about possible connections between Iran with al-Qaeda, McClellan said, the president had concerns about Iran.