WASHINGTON – President Bush devoted his weekly radio address Saturday to the executive orders he signed on changes to the federal intelligence system. Following is a transcript of Bush's remarks as provided by the White House:
Good morning. In the three years since our country was attacked, America has remained on the offensive against terrorist enemies wherever they hide and plot. Part of that offensive has been to reorganize our government so that all our intelligence and law enforcement agencies cooperate effectively to expose and disrupt threats against America.
The Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, concluded that these efforts have made America safer. They also concluded that America is still not safe. I agree with both of those conclusions. And so my administration is taking additional actions to reform our intelligence services, and improve America's ability to find, track, and stop dangerous terrorists.
This week, I signed a series of executive orders to ensure that the people in government responsible for defending America and countering terrorism have the best possible information and support to identify threats and to protect the homeland. Some of these orders reflect specific recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. All of them are essential to America's security as we wage the war on terror.
First, I have ordered the Director of Central Intelligence to perform the functions of the National Intelligence Director within the constraints of existing law, until Congress establishes that position. I agree with the 9/11 Commission that America needs a single official to coordinate the foreign and domestic activities of the intelligence community with authority over personnel budgeting and policy. I am working with members of Congress to create this position. And while we act, the Director of Central Intelligence will play an expanded role. I also urge Congress to act swiftly on my nomination of Porter Goss, a proven reformer with decades of experience in intelligence to lead the CIA.
Second, I have ordered the establishment of a national counterterrorism center. This new center builds on the capabilities of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which I created more than a year ago. The center will become our government's central knowledge bank for information about known and suspected terrorists, and will help ensure effective joint action across the government so that our efforts against terrorists are unified in priority and purpose. Center personnel will also prepare the daily terrorism threat report that comes to me and to senior government officials.
Third, we're making sure that all agencies of our government share vital threat information. I have ordered the Director of Central Intelligence to ensure that we have common standards and clear accountability measures for intelligence sharing across the agencies of our government. I have established a new Information Systems Council to identify and break down any remaining barriers to the rapid sharing of threat information by America's intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and state and local governments. To continue to protect the freedoms and privacy of our citizens, I've established a civil liberties board to monitor information-sharing practices.
America faces a great threat, and our government is doing everything in its power to confront and defeat that threat. We have made great progress against the terrorists who seek to harm our nation. We have made great progress in protecting our homeland. In all that lies ahead, America will stay focused and determined, and we will prevail.
Thank you for listening.