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Policy

House Democrats offer steps to combat terrorism

May 3, 2004 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 82, ISSUE 18

Key Democratic House lawmakers involved with security and intelligence matters have released "Winning the War on Terror," a strategy for beefing up homeland security and countering terrorism. The three-pronged approach calls for protecting the homeland, attacking terrorists and their supportive infrastructure, and preventing the rise of future terrorists. Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, who authored the report, insists that "it is essential that we carry out all three missions at the same time." In this, he is strongly supported by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; other House members; and several Democratic senators. Some of these supporters have introduced or will soon offer relevant legislation. Turner's 90-page strategy spells out more than 100 recommendations, including the creation of a director for national intelligence who would be responsible for ensuring that the intelligence community functions as a coherent whole. Other recommendations call for securing unprotected nuclear material worldwide and destroying all chemical weapons by 2010, two years sooner than the extended deadline allowed under the chemical weapons treaty. Turner would have Congress require chemical facilities to assess and address security vulnerabilities, and he would also require chemical producers to use inherently safe technologies to make chemical processing less hazardous.

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