Of all people, Dumbya proclaims "U.S. Needs Better Intelligence"

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Bush: U.S. Needs Better Intelligence

Mon Jun 3, 2:08 PM ET

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - President Bush (news - web sites) said Monday the nation needs better intelligence to prevent terrorism, as fresh evidence emerges that more details were known about terrorist hijackers before Sept. 11.

"We've got some work to do," Bush, in front of a backdrop of an American flag, told a rally of 2,000 people crammed into a downtown convention center. "In this new war, against this shadowy enemy, it's very important that we gather as much intelligence as we can."

The House and Senate Intelligence panels begin meeting jointly Tuesday to try to determine why government intelligence agencies didn't do more to anticipate the Sept. 11 attacks.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee (news - web sites) is expected to hear in public session from Coleen Rowley, the Minneapolis FBI (news - web sites) agent who has charged that bureau headquarters mishandled the investigation of an alleged terrorist now linked to the attacks.

The FBI has come under sharp criticism for not seeing a link between the case in Minneapolis of an alleged terrorist and the warnings of a Phoenix field agent that Middle Eastern men were training at American flight schools.

Newsweek magazine reported the CIA (news - web sites) tracked two of the Sept. 11 hijackers when they attended an al-Qaida meeting in Malaysia in January 2000 and afterward, but didn't take action that could have prevented them from entering the United States.

"We can do a better job at defending the American people, which we're going to do," Bush said.

The president was accompanied at the rally by Arkansas Sens. Tim Hutchinson, a Republican, and Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat.

Hutchinson is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger Mark Pryor, the state attorney general and son of David Pryor, who retired in 1996 after 18 years in the Senate.

Bush's first fund-raiser as president was for Hutchinson in April 2001; his race for re-election is one of several that could tip the balance of the Senate back to GOP control.

At another Little Rock event, the president was campaigning for changes to welfare law that would require recipients to work more hours and provide hundreds of millions of dollars to promote marriage.

Up for renewal by Congress this year is a 1996 law that, combined with a roaring economy, cut welfare rolls by more than half a drop Bush was touting with fresh government figures. He was also reporting that along with declining welfare rolls, 5 million fewer people were living in poverty in 2000 than in 1996.

The upbeat figures were in a congressionally required report being issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (news - web sites).

Bush was meeting with former welfare recipients in Little Rock to promote his proposals to stiffen aid requirements. The House passed a bill last month that closely mirrors changes he seeks, and the Senate is to take the matter up this month. The president is trying to shape the bill through public appearances this week.

The average state now has about 30 percent of welfare clients in jobs; Bush and House Republicans would require states to get to 70 percent by 2007. Bush and the House GOP would provide up to $300 million in grants for experimental programs encouraging marriage.

The House passed its package May 16 along party lines; Republicans who control the House did not consult Democrats along the way.

In the Democratic-run Senate, compromise appears more likely. Moderates of both parties agree that states should be required to put more people to work. However, many also want to give states more power to count education and training as work, and they are skeptical about a House provision requiring each person to log 40 hours per week.

Senate moderates also are skeptical of the GOP plan to push marriage. Democrats contend that states will be forced to create make-work jobs simply to fill their quotas, and states will lose the power to devise the most effective plan for each person on welfare.

-- LOL! Yeah, starting with you! (funny you mention it @ how. ironic), June 04, 2002

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