"Of all our recommendations, strengthening congressional oversight may be among the most difficult and important," the panel wrote. "So long as oversight is governed by current congressional rules and resolutions, we believe the American people will not get the security they want and need."
And more recently, I'm sure your remember this:
It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Yeah, well, that was then, this is now:
But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.
Because plans for implementing the commission's recommendations are still fluid, Democratic officials would not speak for the record. But aides on the House and Senate appropriations, armed services and intelligence committees confirmed this week that a reorganization of Congress would not be part of the package of homeland-security changes up for passage in the "first 100 hours" of the Democratic Congress.
Do you remember the post a week or so ago when I talked about how to gage whether or not Democrats planned on real ethics reform or just window-dressing?
Well now, given this post, you have two measures of Democratic seriousness to reform Congress. We'll now see whether Democrats are serious about the promise to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations and actually reform the system to provide better intelligence oversight, or instead pretend they do and essentially leave the old system in place. And given the above, it appears they've opted for the latter, despite their campaign promise to implement all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
You see there is a basic truth at work here which should be obvious to all:
"The person who controls your budget is the person you listen to," Kean said.
Until those charged with oversight also control the budget, no one is going to pay attention to the folks doing the oversight.
Presently, of course, the intelligence community's budget is controlled by the Appropriations Committee. Consequently the House Select Intelligence Committee has no budgetary power and thus no real power of oversight. It can make recommendations until it is blue in the face, but without the budgetary stick, it has no real power.
Democrats plan on leaving it that way. Why? The usual reasons:
"We think this is extremely crucial," Kean said of a reorganization shifting budget authority to the intelligence committees. But, he added, there are "a lot of old bulls in both parties who just don't want to do it."
So while we've been caught up in the side-show of who Nancy Pelosi is going to appoint as the Intelligence Committee chair, the real problem remains unsolved with no apparent plans to address it.
So far, I'm not particularly impressed with the "we can do it better" crowd.
The Intelligence committee has already screwed up. The oversight got carried away and there were more leaks than any time in history. Alot of the complaints are from CIA, probably Plame, and classified. The intelligence committe became a tool of intelligence, CIA, and that is what democrats don’t want known; some of it may have had something to do with covert CIA funding to ’friendly’ dems from the intelligence committee, through USAID, and to NGOs run by ’friends.’
The leaks need to be ’oversighted’ and provided to the American public; just like all the leaks we had to go through, CIA prisons, NSA, etc, Americans had to put up with alot of things that are standard in intelligence so that some operations officer and someone on the intelligence committee could consider themelves ’forgiven’ for what they have already done, which was often standard intelligence work that was blamed on the administration, usually with a foreign plan to bring the intelligence work into the public, destroying our ability to do intelligence.
Dems are hiding from oversight of their work because they know what they did was wrong, including the leaks, and don’t want America to know what they have done. Of course, the leaks of intelligence operations is okay, but now we should back off because they are already admitting they have done wrong.
Pelosi is passing on dems who have already been on the intelligence committee because they are in trouble. If there is an investigation, they may be impeached or prosecuted.
Pelosi lost to Hoyer and look at Murtha. This was a warning to her from Hoyer’s constituents(CIA and feds). Plame wasn’t free and, if there is an investigation of who complained and what was leaked and why, there may be criminal conspiracy charges because all the leaks fit into a foreign operations plans, but, I guess, that’s not knew for CIA. Treason generally happens under criminal conspiracy laws and Fitz passed; Hoyer is his excuse-look at Murtha and Pelosi. So, when will Plame ’boomerang?’ Probably when the leak ivestigations begin pointing to a criminal conspiracy.
The intelligence committee was actually responding to foriegn intelligence operations(s) through CIA operations officers; who are just going to laugh: ’you always knew the spies are at CIA.’