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Homeland Security Advisory

November 30, 2006

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Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion

Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion
Neither Party Has an Appetite for Overhauling Congressional Oversight of Intelligence

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.

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.

"I don't think that suggestion is going anywhere," said Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee and a close ally of the incoming subcommittee chairman, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.). "That is not going to be their party position."

It may seem like a minor matter, but members of the commission say Congress's failure to change itself is anything but inconsequential. In 2004, the commission urged Congress to grant the House and Senate intelligence committees the power not only to oversee the nation's intelligence agencies but also to fund them and shape intelligence policy. The intelligence committees' gains would come at the expense of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees. Powerful lawmakers on those panels would have to give up prized legislative turf.

But the commission was unequivocal about the need.

"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."

Now Democrats are balking, just as Republicans did before them.

The decision will almost certainly anger commission members, as well as families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, many of whom have pressed hard for implementation of the recommendations.

"The Democrats pledged to implement all the remaining 9/11 reforms, not some of them," said former representative Timothy J. Roemer (D-Ind.), who served on the commission.

Carie Lemack, whose mother was in one of the jets that hit the World Trade Center, echoed that sentiment: "It wasn't a Chinese takeout menu, the 41 recommendations. You have to do all of them."

Democratic leadership dust-ups this month severely limited the ability of House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to implement the commission's recommendations, according to Democratic aides.

Pelosi strongly backed Murtha for House majority leader, only to see him soundly defeated by Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.). That chain of events made it difficult for her to ask Murtha, a longtime ally, to relinquish control of the intelligence budget from his consolation prize, the chairmanship of the Appropriations defense subcommittee, according to Democratic sources.

Likewise, a controversy over the choice of a new chairman of the House intelligence committee proved to be a factor in the decision. The Sept. 11 commission urged Congress to do away with traditional term limits on the intelligence committees to preserve continuity and expertise, a recommendation the House implemented in 2003. But in her search for a reason to drop the committee's most senior Democrat, Jane Harman (Calif.), from the panel, Pelosi fell back on the tradition of term limits. She has decided to pass over the intelligence committee's second-ranking Democrat, Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.), as well.

To the Sept. 11 commission, the call for congressional overhaul was vital, said former New Jersey governor Thomas H. Kean (R), the commission's co-chairman. Because intelligence committee membership affords lawmakers access to classified information, only intelligence committee members can develop the expertise to watch over operations properly, he said. But because the panels do not control the budget, intelligence agencies tend to dismiss them.

"The person who controls your budget is the person you listen to," Kean said.

Those people, the appropriators, do not seem to care much, he said. The intelligence budget is a small fraction of the nearly $500 billion overseen by the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees. Kean said that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an Armed Services Committee member, told the Sept. 11 commission that if his panel spends 10 minutes considering the intelligence budget, it has been a good year.

"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."

In 2004, the Senate tried to reach a compromise on the issue, proposing to create intelligence subcommittees under the House and Senate appropriations committees. The appropriators would maintain most of their power, but at least distinct panels would have to watch over intelligence spending.

The idea went nowhere in the House. To make it work, total spending on intelligence would have to be declassified, another commission recommendation that Congress has rejected. Besides, Young said, an intelligence subcommittee effectively exists in the form of the Appropriations defense subcommittee chairman and ranking member, who have taken serious interest in intelligence spending.

Democratic aides yesterday chose to talk up what they will do in the opening hours of the 110th Congress. Plans are not complete, but the incoming Democratic majority is likely to expand efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; ensure the interoperability of communications equipment so first responders can communicate more effectively; develop a comprehensive screening system for air cargo; and establish a civil-liberties board to protect the public against intelligence agencies expanding their reach.

Story Here
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We told you so sounds so appropriate right now. The Democrats ran on a HUGE amount of Promises that YOU Democrats voted for that they will NEVER be able to deliver on and you guy's swallowed this hook, line and sinker!

15 Comments:

Blogger purple jesus said...

US forces murder yet another teenage girl and infant. And marie sang: proud to be an american la la la la la........ How many innocent children have to die Marie?

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq29nov29,1,1025923.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true

November 30, 2006 11:18 AM  
Blogger purple jesus said...

I love this line: 'just as Republicans did before them.'

Hey Marie my dad can beat up your dad..and he died in Vietnam.

Nice try loser.

November 30, 2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger purple jesus said...

Nice picture up top Marie looks like a bunch of RICH WHITE WAR MONGERS too me. Enslaving the black man ravaging the red man. real american heroes!

November 30, 2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Purple,

Why do you pretend to care about anyone or anything?

Your so full of hatred you dont seem to be able to even care about yourself.

You need help.

November 30, 2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Purple,

Nice picture up top Marie looks like a bunch of RICH WHITE WAR MONGERS too me. Enslaving the black man ravaging the red man. real american heroes!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You once said something about you respecting our Forefathers, the Constitution, so on, so forth, blah blah....

That picture up there is of some of our Forefathers DUMBASS!!

You contradict yourself constantly.
Now you call them Rich White Warmongers, which is it?

You cant respect those that wrote our Constitution and call them Rich White Warmongers at the same time!

Are you Bi-Polar?

November 30, 2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger J_G said...

Looks like Hasty er I mean Hastings pudding is off the menu at the intelligence committee. I guess there just wasn't enough intelligence there.

How many Federal judges have been impeached and removed from the bench? Almost the same number of Mayor's getting caught smoking crack in motel room with hookers and their constituents still reelect them. What's up with that?

We're going to need more troops to take control of the situation over there. How bout we send the obnoxious commentor over there as cannon fodder. We put him in the street in Baghdad handcuffed to a car with an Israeli flag in one hand and an American flag in the other and we'll time how long it takes until his terrorist buddies to come to his rescue.

Good luck with your friends purple moron.

November 30, 2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

JG,

When Charlie Rangel re-instates the draft Purple wont have any more reason to bitch and moan, he will know the true meaning of what the party HE voted for will do for him.

He will be a FORCED to serve his Country then!

November 30, 2006 3:40 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Purple,

I love this line: 'just as Republicans did before them.'

Hey Marie my dad can beat up your dad..and he died in Vietnam.

Nice try loser.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After your comment's about me a few post's down, I am suppose to care about your Dad dieing in Viet Nam why?

You want insensitive LOSER?

November 30, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Purple,

US forces murder yet another teenage girl and infant. And marie sang: proud to be an american la la la la la........ How many innocent children have to die Marie?

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq29nov29,1,1025923.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Not enough, they havent got you yet!

Fork over your name rank and Jihad number and we will see what we can do :-)

November 30, 2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger TrekMedic251 said...

First, the Dems win on a "cut-n-run" strategy, now they want to weaken our defenses at home.

Ni-i-i-ice.

Nov '08 can't come fast enough!

And hey, Purple Jesus, your dad didn't die in Nam. That was you Mom's husband. Your dad is actually one of your mom's close relatives.

A**hat!

November 30, 2006 6:30 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

purple...I hope you make no claims to supporting the troops.

You blame US forces for "murder"?

From your link:

The bodies were discovered in a house in Ramadi from which the suspected insurgents had fired on U.S. troops, who were trying to clear an improvised bomb,

Context is everything.

Btw, what did you make of this? Or the AP bogus police capt. Jamil Hussain?

November 30, 2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger Uncle Pavian said...

I can't believe you would ask such a question, Wordsmith.
Isn't it obvious that the Iraqi freedom fighters are just trying to liberate their country from the hated Bushitlerhalliburton big oil warmongering white guy conspiracy, and so it's okay for them to set fire to mosques, kidnap civilians, blow up Iraqi police and schoolteachers and bring in their friends from other countries (like Iran and Syria) to help with the payroll?
It's only Americans who are morally responsible for their actions. Us, and the Israelis, of course.

December 01, 2006 7:54 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Trek,

First, the Dems win on a "cut-n-run" strategy, now they want to weaken our defenses at home.

Ni-i-i-ice.

Nov '08 can't come fast enough!

And hey, Purple Jesus, your dad didn't die in Nam. That was you Mom's husband. Your dad is actually one of your mom's close relatives.

A**hat!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You said it best. '08 Cant come fast enough!

December 01, 2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Word,

Purple doesnt have any respect for himself let alone the Troops.

His own link's even contradict what he bitches and moans about!

December 01, 2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

LOL Uncle P

December 01, 2006 10:17 AM  

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