New Intel Bill Will Protect Speaker Pelosi Not Americans
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
The newest intelligence bill before members of the US House of Representatives may be more concerned with helping the Speaker of the House save face than with national security concerns, according to some members of Congress.
They also believe the new bill will help in covering up secret payments by the Obama Administration to leaders of nations who will accept Guantanamo Bay detainees.
US Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, joined with fellow Republicans to vote against a Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill that focused more on providing partisan, political cover for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi than support for Americaâ€™s intelligence professionals against ongoing threats.
â€œThe committee had a strong, bipartisan notification provision in last yearâ€™s intelligence bill and it should have been reintroduced this year,â€ Hoekstra said.
â€œUnfortunately Democrats felt they needed to propose new legislative language in response to the deep, political troubles caused by the Speakerâ€™s still unsubstantiated claims against the CIA. They did nothing, however, to address or follow-up on her claim that the CIA lies to Congress â€˜all the time,â€™ which was echoed again in committee deliberations by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.â€
Hoekstra noted that the FY 2009 Intelligence bill notification, approved on a bipartisan basis by the committee, required the notification of the full committee unless the chairman and ranking member agreed to restrict access to particular information. He pointed out that the provision in the FY 2010 bill only required the administration and Congress to create processes for notification, but lacked the requirement to brief contained in the previous bill.
Republicans were successful in getting an amendment approved by Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) to prevent Miranda Warnings for captured foreign terrorists and were successful in getting an agreement from committee Democrats to hold hearings and conduct an evaluation of the FBI Global Justice Initiative. Democrats refused, however, to cut off funding for the initiative, which could put law enforcement ahead of intelligence gathering in critical situations.
â€œOur first priority has to be the collection of intelligence when we capture terrorists and combatants on the battlefield,â€ Hoekstra said. â€œIntelligence is a perishable asset and any delay in its collection puts our forces in the field, our allies and our nation at greater risk.â€
Despite the obvious national security implications of the closure of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Hoekstra pointed out that the underlying bill did not address the facilityâ€™s closure or the relocation of its terrorist detainees. He called it a major oversight and questioned why trained terrorists were being released to Bermuda or Palau despite the clear concerns of the British government and the citizens of the Islands.
To ensure committee consideration of the Obama administrationâ€™s rushed decision to close Guantanamo Bay by an arbitrary deadline, Republicans offered a number of amendments. Congresswoman Sue Myrick, (R-NC., and Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) sponsored provisions that would prevent the use of intelligence funds to transfer detainees to the United States and barred the administration from using intelligence funds to hide secret payments to foreign governments for taking terrorist detainees.
Democrats approved a watered-down version of the Myrick amendment on detainee transfers and rejected Bluntâ€™s amendment to prevent secret payments.
â€œThe American people have made clear they do not want Guantanamo terrorists brought to neighborhoods in the United States,â€ Hoekstra said.
â€œThey also would clearly object to the use of classified, intelligence funds to pay other countries to accept Gitmo detainees. Using intelligence funds provides an easy way to conceal from the American taxpayer payments to foreign governments, so that is why we sought to ensure all payments were transparent and open to public scrutiny,â€ he said.
Hoekstra was successful in getting an amendment approved to require an unclassified report on Guantanamo detainee recidivism be made publicly available. The committee also adopted his amendment requiring an unclassified, public report on intelligence on the freed Guantanamo Uighur detainees.
Republicans also offered an amendment to require the CIA to make publicly available an unclassified version of the records on enhanced interrogation briefings to Congress as well as certain finished intelligence products assessing the information gained from detainee reporting.
Hoekstra noted that despite the fact that the Speaker Pelosi asked for the release of documents kept by CIA during congressional briefings on enhanced interrogation, Democrats blocked public disclosure on a party-line vote.
â€œThe Obama administration promised transparency and openness and along those lines, these amendments should have been embraced by Democrats,â€ Hoekstra said.
â€œWhile we welcome many of the Obama administrationâ€™s arguments that echo Bush administration arguments on the importance of protecting certain national security information, the decision to release the interrogation memos partially opened this door and the American people should be allowed to walk all the way through,â€ he said.
Hoekstra added that taken as a whole, the bill shows that Democrats embrace selective disclosure of information and transparency only when it is politically convenient.
â€œThe Democrats apparently saw no national security problems and only chose to address the political ones faced by Speaker Pelosi,â€ Hoekstra said. â€œItâ€™s too bad, because this could have been a strong, bipartisan bill.â€
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc.
To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subcription” on the subject line.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.