Saturday, November 06, 2004

What To Do About Arlen?

National Review makes a strong case for denying Senator Arlen Specter the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hugh Hewitt makes an equally strong case that the target should not be Senator Specter, but the "split of the seats, the names of the new members, and reform of the rules governing judicial nominees".

I'm just glad Specter is no longer on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He did nothing to reform the intelligence community. Window dressing, yes. After Iran-Contra he authored a bill that established an Inspector General for the CIA. Whoop-de-doo.

But true reform, no.

The US Intelligence Community is not just the CIA. It includes the National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Army Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, the FBI, and several other offices and agencies.

The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have oversight for these agencies.

I will never forget Senator Specter, then Chairman of the SSCI, sitting idly by while the Clinton adminsitration allowed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to infiltrate -- then set up shop in -- Bosnia.

This may seem an obscure point, but trust me -- it was not obscure to our guys in the field. It was demoralizing to see the Iranians operating freely in Bosnia. It made you want to throw up.

Specter didn't seem to recognize that this was NOT a good thing.

We paid dearly on 9/11, in part, because too many of our senators and congressmen portrayed slashing the budgets of the intelligence community as reform and modernization. Too many of them did not tend to business .. including Senator Specter.

When the 9/11 Commission Report was published, Senator Specter quickly issued this press release:

"The Senate Intelligence Committee report issued today identifies flaws that have plagued the Intelligence Community for years.

"Since my tenure as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the 104th Congress, I have fought for critical reforms that would have addressed many of the shortcomings noted today. Among them, I have been pushing for legislation that would place all of the intelligence agencies under one command. I have been working with a bipartisan group of colleagues on these matters and hope to introduce legislation shortly."

Spoken like a true politician.

Senator Specter, with all due respect, you didn't fight hard enough.

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