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Alicia Robinson Among the beltway insiders scrambling...

August 05, 2004

Alicia Robinson

Among the beltway insiders scrambling to respond to the

recommendations of the 9/11 Commission is Rep. Chris Cox, who last

week announced a series of hearings into information analysis and

sharing, border protection, emergency response and other issues. Cox

chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.

The hearings will probe the intelligence failures that made the

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terrorist attacks possible. They are unprecedented in August, when

Congress is normally not in session, Homeland Security Committee

spokeswoman Liz Tobias said.

Cox was traveling and could not be reached for comment Wednesday,

but he released a statement Monday praising President Bush's response

to the 9/11 Commission report. This week, Bush announced his support

for the commission's recommendation to create a new position of

national intelligence director. The director would head the nation's

existing intelligence agencies and a new national terrorism center.

While Cox has lined up with the president on the issue, some

conservatives have criticized the creation of an "intelligence czar"

as useless bureaucracy that hasn't worked in other situations.

"Who's going to step forward and suggest that the drug czar has

made drug use any less?" Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said. "The drug czar

has been totally ineffective."

An intelligence czar would duplicate what the White House National

Security Council already does, he said. Rohrabacher did support some

of the commission's suggestions, such as not giving illegal

immigrants driver's licenses, but he called others "just feel-good

proposals" that would have a detrimental effect on national security.

Winding down, winding

up for party conventions

Some Democrats' hearts are still aflutter from the party's

national convention, which wrapped up last weekend after John Kerry

officially accepted the presidential nomination Thursday night.

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Brandt, who is challenging

Republican Dana Rohrabacher in November, said Wednesday the trek to

Boston was worth it.

"The thing that struck me was this is the first one I went to that

everyone was so focused, everybody was so together," he said.

"Unfortunately, I think a lot of it is anti-Bush sentiment."

But it wasn't all hugs and camaraderie. Brandt said he didn't see

any of Orange County's other Democratic candidates, possibly because

it was so hard to get credentials from the convention organizers to

attend.

'I'm assuming [the other candidates] weren't invited if they

weren't even there," he said.

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