For several months Congress had been calling for President Bush to coordinate the work of security-oriented agencies spread throughout the executive branch. The president, who retains a 75 percent approval rating, resisted such a move. Some of his critics said it was because he did not want homeland security director Tom Ridge to testify to Congress—something he would have to do if his position is elevated to cabinet status.
But once Congress began examining the failure of the FBI and CIA to “connect the dots” that might have prevented the horrors of September 11, the president announced a restructure as a bold presidential move. Who even remembers that the idea came first from the Congress? Even Joseph Lieberman (D., Conn.), who is positioning himself to run for president in 2004, rushed to the president’s side with this bipartisan clarion call: “We’ve got to get our act together, and this is the best way to do it quickly.”