The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday "significant numbers of people" from inside the government were coming forward with new information on U.S. intelligence failures related to the Sept. 11 attacks on America.
Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, said some of those offering information to the joint investigation of the Senate and House intelligence committees were emboldened by the recent disclosures of FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley. He also said it was becoming clear "there are some people who deserve to get sanctions as a result of what they were doing before Sept. 11."
"We are already getting significant numbers of people coming to us, either in person or with materials that hadn't previously been known," Graham told CBS' "Face the Nation" program. "I think the testimony of Ms. Rowley has given encouragement to folks" inside the federal bureaucracy.
Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said such failures extended beyond the FBI and CIA to the super-secret National Security Agency and elsewhere.
Shelby also said the sweeping plan for a new Department of Homeland Security proposed last week by President
Bush did not effectively address the failures of intelligence-gathering uncovered so far.
In a stinging letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Rowley questioned his handling of information and accused FBI headquarters of hampering field agents from fully investigating Zacarias Moussaoui, the man officials now believe intended to become the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Absolutely not. ... It doesn't address I believe the intelligence problems that we have," Shelby told the CBS program. "This is a proposal that Congress has got to look at carefully."
Graham added, "We're going to have a full discussion of this plan ... and we'll come out with a better plan."
Shelby said the public would be hearing of more instances of FBI and CIA intelligence failures beyond the FBI's failure to connect a July memo by an agent in Phoenix concerned about Middle Eastern men possibly connected to Osama bin Laden taking flight lessons to the August arrest of Moussaoui in Minnesota.
"We will ... and I add to that NSA and other members of the intelligence community," Shelby said. "We're going to find that there's a lot of missed opportunities and a lot of it will go back to lack of sharing of information."
Graham said it was becoming clear after only one week of hearings that "there are some people who deserve to get awards, and there are some people who deserve to get sanctions as a result of what they were doing before Sept. 11."
"Our question is going to be, 'Has the leadership of these agencies seen that need and what have they done?"' he added.
Shelby agreed people will have to held accountable.
"I don't see any (accountability) yet in the intelligence communities, but at the end of the day, there has to be. As this investigation unfolds, when we find that people did or did not do their jobs, out of ignorance or lack of initiative, or lack of a lot of things, I believe there has to be accountability. And there will be, there has to be."
On Thursday, Rowley made headlines comparing the agency's bureaucracy to the camp musical the "Little Shop Of Horrors," telling Congress the FBI could have done more to prevent the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Mistakes are inevitable," Coleen Rowley told the Senate Judiciary Committee and a nationwide television audience. "But a distinction can and should be drawn between those mistakes made when trying to do the right thing and those mistakes ... due to selfish motives."
In opening remarks, Rowley said she would not talk about the details of the case that prompted her now-famous memo concerning a man in federal custody in Virginia accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11 terror attacks that killed thousands.
Instead, she focused her remarks on the frustrations of working in an "ever-growing bureaucracy."
"The resulting cumbersomeness of getting approval for even the smallest decision is obvious. ... Like the 'Little Shop of Horrors' movie, the bureaucracy just keeps saying 'feed me, feed me.'"
Earlier Thursday, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller told the committee the FBI needs a culture change and a shift in emphasis with terrorism at the top of its priority list.
In nearly four hours of questioning, Mueller suggested that Congress expand surveillance powers put into law only seven months ago, and said his storied agency needs to be "more flexible, agile and mobile" if it is to prevent future terrorist attacks.
He disclosed it could take two or three years — far longer than the one year he originally hoped — to bring FBI computer systems up to standards needed to deal with information efficiently.