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CIA, FBI Chiefs Vow to Share Intelligence Data - 2002-06-28

The heads of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are pledging to share information with the proposed cabinet-level Homeland Security Department, but only up to a point. The agencies are under pressure from lawmakers to share intelligence to prevent another terrorist attack in the United States.

The proposed Homeland Security Department would incorporate dozens of existing federal agencies, but not the FBI and CIA. But those intelligence agencies would be required to hand over information to the new Department. In testimony before the Senate Government Affairs Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller pledged to comply, as did CIA Director George Tenet. "We are committed to assuring that the new department receives all of the relevant terrorist-related data that is available," said Mr. Tenet.

But both men said there may be some information that would not be made available immediately.

Mr. Tenet said he would want to get authorization from the president before sharing with the Homeland Security Secretary the identity of an intelligence source or how a communication was intercepted.

Mr. Mueller noted his agency would not immediately hand over such items as wiretap transcripts, bank records, or grand jury proceedings. "I would not give a 'blanket yes' to everything," he said. "There may be areas that are contrary to our guidelines, contrary to what we think is constitutional, but generally, cooperatively, if there is a tasking we would try to provide the information that is necessary."

Such comments angered Senator Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee. He said the proposed Homeland Security Department should have access to most raw data to get a full picture of potential threats.