Published December 12, 2002
This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, December 11, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Do we need another intelligence chief? Our next guest says no way. And he's on the same committee that is calling for one. Joining us now Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.
Senator, always good seeing you.
SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZ: Hi, Neil, thank you.
CAVUTO: So you don't like this idea?
KYL: I don't know. We didn't have time to really look at it. We had one hearing that sort of tangentially discussed it. We didn't have any of the opponents there to give their views. There was no other evidence. We have had no markup in a meeting -- that's the technical term for how we develop legislation. We had very little debate it. But the big four, the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate select committees came up with a recommendation. And it was approved by a majority of the two committees. I did not approve it, because I don't yet know whether that's a good idea. I think it is too soon to tell.
CAVUTO: I guess their idea behind it, Senator, if I understand it, is to have an oversight, something that would be over the FBI. I guess my concern about Washington, no offense to your home there, is that it tends to make things worse, rather than better.
KYL: It can. That's the problem. The were a lot of different ideas expressed. One of which was that a person who does this needs to have a portfolio of his or her own or there will be virtually no authority. In other words, if you don't have anybody working for you. If you're not DCI, the George Tenet position.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
KYL: You're basically not going to have any troops to command. And therefore, you may have hollow authority, kind of like the criticism of director Ridge before he became Secretary Ridge.
CAVUTO: But even there, Secretary Ridge's authority, as you know, Senator, he really doesn't have as much power as would appear to be the case, certainly not over the FBI and certainly not over the CIA.
KYL: That's my point.
KYL: That's my point. You can create this new super czar, but if he doesn't really have the authority, what have you done? The point I made was this, it is really a matter of people. The DCI is supposed to have this authority. The director of Central Intelligence. If director Casey, Bill Casey were still in charge, would anyone doubt his authority? I think he could have made heads roll. So part of it is who is in charge, not just what you call the position.
CAVUTO: Is this just a lot of Democratic smokescreening, though, just to go ahead and raise political heat?
KYL: No, I don't think so, Neil. It is not just Democrats, it's what usually comes out of a commission. You get two recommendations. I guarantee you, the first is, we need better communication, coordination and cooperation. And the second is we need to restructure. We need a new division of this or department of that or super czar of that. That's what comes out of commissions. And it is not necessarily bad. It's just that in this case it wasn't well thought out. And I'm not sure that it is the answer. I think the policy and leadership is every bit as important as organization.
CAVUTO: Senator, it's always good having you on. Thanks for stopping by.
KYL: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Senator Kyl in Washington.
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