La création d’une nouvelle « agence de sécurité intérieure ».


Cette nouvelle agence sous l’autorité du Président veut coordonner l’action de 40 agences déjà existantes. Créée sans l’aval du Congrès, elle renforce le Président tout en affaiblissant le gouvernement.



Lire ici l’article du NYT :


September 22, 2001




Debating Whether New Agency Can Command, or Just Link Commanders





WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 — The new Homeland Security Agency will be charged with figuring out how more than 40 disparate agencies — from the Coast Guard to the Treasury Department — can police American borders, protect against terrorists and respond immediately to any terrorist attack.


At the heart of the debate in Washington today is whether Tom Ridge, the Pennsylvania governor named to head the cabinet-level agency, will simply coordinate the efforts of these agencies or actually command them.


"Will the general have troops?" asked Gary Hart, co-chairman of the United States Commission on National Security, a panel appointed by Congress that recommended establishing such an agency in a report in January. He and the other chairman, former Senator Warren B. Rudman, contend that Mr. Ridge should have authority and resources for the nation's domestic security just as the defense secretary has the resources to defend the nation overseas.


"He should not be merely a homeland czar," Mr. Hart said. "No homeland czar can possibly hope to coordinate the almost hopeless dispersal of authority that currently characterizes the 40 or more agencies or elements of agencies with some piece of responsibility for protecting the homeland."


The administration has not yet defined the structure or authority of the office. Officials said it has not been decided whether Mr. Ridge will be able to direct law enforcement officers, for example, or commandeer equipment or personnel from the dozens of agencies he is to oversee.


The president intends to create the executive agency under his own authority without Congressional approval, White House officials said. He does not intend to seek Senate confirmation for Mr. Ridge.


"We're moving forward to do it by presidential action and we will consult closely with Congress," said Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman.


Mr. Ridge will become what a senior administration official described as the focal point for all efforts of the government to prepare and defend the homeland. He will coordinate not only all federal agencies but state and local agencies as well. The National Guard will play the role of the militia in such a system and it will remain under civilian command.


The president also plans to appoint an officer at the National Security Council to coordinate the intelligence and military responses to terrorism. He will also create an Office of Cybersecurity in the council to work on the protection of the Internet and the telecommunications infrastructure.


On Capitol Hill, lawmakers offered their own ideas.


The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, and other committee members introduced legislation today to make Mr. Ridge's position permanent, and to provide it with its own budget authority, which only Congress can do.


"We want to build on what the president has done," Mr. Graham said in announcing the bill, which also creates the National Office for Combatting Terrorism, with Mr. Ridge as its director. "It was important that this office be a permanent, statutory office," he said.


Among other ideas under consideration are the creation of an assistant secretary of defense for homeland security; making the Federal Emergency Management Agency the core of the new homeland agency; putting the Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs Service under its command; and centralizing intelligence for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.


But while some lawmakers today were championing far-reaching changes like those accomplished by President Harry S. Truman in 1947 when he created the Department of Defense, the administration decided against creating a federal department, choosing instead to put a homeland agency within the White House.


The roadblocks to putting that concept into a plan are formidable. The Constitution has prohibitions against the American military operating on American soil. Any military employment has to be under civilian authority, which could be Mr. Ridge.


Moreover, Washington bureaucracies are loath to give up resources or authority. Indeed, Vice President Dick Cheney was tapped last spring to come up with a plan for homeland defense by this fall. He was briefed by Gov. James S. Gilmore III of Virginia, who led another panel that recommended a counterterrorist or homeland defense agency.


But administration officials said that study barely got off the ground — it it was more a review of existing reports — rendered moot by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.


"Like everything else they said they would give it to Vice President Cheney and we would have a report in October," said Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican on the Intelligence Committee who has been promoting such an office for years.


Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said the National Security Council was a good example of what the Homeland Security Agency could become.


"The National Security Council provides a real coordinating capacity involving State, involving Defense, involving C.I.A., and it does so in the position of security," he said at a briefing.