Sunday, August 03, 2003
Mr. RUSSERT: …Congressman Waxman of California has said that no one is still in charge of consolidating the watch list of potential terrorists. Why not?
SEC’Y RIDGE: We are in charge of overseeing that with the homeland security group within the White House. We have been working with all of the requisite agencies to consolidate that watch list. We are—made great progress and should have that completed within the next several weeks...
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman Waxman says that Steven Cooper and Bill Parrish of your office both testified in Congress recently that they weren’t sure who was in charge of the watch list and what specific organization or department had true control and authority to consolidate it.
SEC’Y RIDGE: Everyone is involved in the consolidation and once the consolidation is complete, the Threat Integration Center is the venue that will have the responsibility for maintaining that. That is where all the intelligence agencies will be making their information available to a group of analysts. We’ll have access to it, the FBI, Department of Defense, the CIA, so that process is an ongoing process. We know that it’s something...
MR. RUSSERT: But you will be in charge of that list?
SEC’Y RIDGE: Well, we’ll have access to that list So we want around the federal government—you know, the State Department puts names on a list, we have—the Transportation Security...
MR. RUSSERT: Who will keep the list
SEC’Y RIDGE: The Threat Integration Center will maintain the list and they...
MR. RUSSERT: And who do they report to?
SEC’Y RIDGE: The Threat Integration Center is a consolidation of—it’s an independent entity run—the director is from the CIA, the deputy director is from the Department of Homeland Security, and they are available and accessible, and an agent, a supplier of information for all the other intelligence agencies.
Am I wrong in seeing the too groomed Mr. Ridge as simply a butt-covering mumbo-jumbo artist? The transcript of Meet The Press, while sadly interesting for the impression of almost no progress achieved in protecting America following September 11, 2001, doesn't give the full flavor of the Secretary's gulping and eye-shifting demeanor evident in the broadcast.
Photo: NBC, Meet the Press