Re: secret satellite?

From: Jeffrey Lewis (lewisj@umd.edu)
Date: Thu Dec 09 2004 - 17:14:53 EST

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    Here, here.

    I am convinced it was a reference to the Future Imagery Architecture (FIA).

    The entire statement of both Senators--appended below--emphasizes the massive cost over-runs and questions about the award of the contract.

    Were this a secret space weapons program, the response would have sounded very different.

    People heard "dangerous' and flipped.

    Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Lewis, Ph.D.
    Research Fellow
    Advanced Methods of Cooperative Security Program
    
    Center for International and Security Studies at the
    University of Maryland (CISSM)
    4113 Van Munching Hall
    College Park, MD 20742
    
    Tel: (301) 405-6187
    Fax: (301) 403-8107
    e-mail: lewisj@umd.edu

     Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, I will spend a minute on separate intelligence-related matter before speaking about the bill currently before the Senate. In the time I have been vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I have worked hard to try to make sure that funds are channeled to where they ought to be in intelligence. For this reason, and with a great deal of reluctance, I am going to oppose the fiscal year 2005 intelligence authorization conference report, which the Senate will consider later today.

       My decision to take this somewhat unprecedented action is based solely on my strenuous objection--shared by many in our committee--to a particular major funding acquisition program that I believe is totally unjustified and very wasteful and dangerous to national security.

       Because of the highly classified nature of the programs contained in the national intelligence budget, I cannot talk about them on the floor. But the Senate has voted for the past 2 years to terminate the program of which I speak, only to be overruled in the appropriations conference. The intelligence authorization conference report that I expect to be before the Senate later today fully authorizes funding for this unjustified and stunningly expensive acquisition. I simply cannot overlook that.

       My decision is shared by a number of my colleagues. Speaking for myself, if we are asked to fund this particular program next year, I will seriously consider and probably will ask the Senate to go into closed session so the Senators can understand, fully debate, become informed upon, and then vote on termination of this very wasteful acquisition program.

       Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, I rise today to express my concern regarding

    [Page: S11958]

    a provision included in the Intelligence authorization conference report, which has been included in the intelligence reform legislation before us. I commend the efforts of both Chairman ROBERTS and Vice Chairman ROCKEFELLER for their hard work during the negotiations over this legislation. But I, like the vice chairman, do not support the continued funding of a major acquisition program which is unnecessary, ineffective, over budget, and too expensive. The easier path would be to step aside and let this program continue without dissent. In this case, however, I do not believe the continued funding of this program is the best way to secure our Nation and the safety of our troops and citizens.

       The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has raised concerns about the need and costs of this program for the past 4 years and sought to cancel this program in each of the past 2 years. This has not been a political issue, a Democratic or Republican issue, nor should it be. The members of the Senate committee have supported these efforts in a nonpartisan way with unanimous votes each time.

       The Senate Intelligence Committee has determined that this program should not be funded based on firm policy judgments. Numerous independent reviews have concluded that the program does not fulfill a major intelligence gap or shortfall, and the original justification for developing this technology has eroded in importance due to the changed practices and capabilities of our adversaries. There are a number of other programs in existence and in development whose capabilities can match those envisioned for this program at far less cost and technological risk. Like almost all other acquisition programs of its size, initial budget estimates have drastically underestimated the true costs of this acquisition and independent cost estimates have shown that this program will exceed its proposed budgets by enormous amounts of money. The Senate Intelligence Committee has also in the past expressed its concern about how this program was to be awarded to the prime contractor.

       I understand why funding for this program was included in the conference report. The administration requested it, the appropriators have already funded it, and the House wanted to maintain the funding. Nevertheless, I believe this issue must be highlighted because it is not going away. I wish more of my colleagues knew of the details of this program and understood why we are so convinced that it should be canceled. I encourage you to request a briefing, to come to the Intelligence Committee and let our staff explain why we believe we are right about this program. If you do, I believe my colleagues would agree with the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and vote to stop this program next year.



    Bill Bard wrote:
    I wouldn't put much faith in their belief that it is some kind of weapons
    system. I think it is more speculation, although you can say that I am
    speculating on this too. On a classified shuttle mission, I remember John
    Pike and other "experts" saying that the shuttle would be deploying its
    payload a day or two after launch. While they were saying this, I saw the
    shuttle and its deployed satellite passing by about 6 hours after launch.
    
    Bill Bard
    
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