Nancy Pelosi may be clinically insane - an opinion I have had for a long time - but she knows how to choose people that are loyal. Congressman Sylvester Reyes is a case in point. Pelosi elevated this man to the post of Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It was certainly not because he was the sharpest knife in the box - to the contrary, at the time of his appointment, he did not know whether al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shia organization. One might consider that show of confusion on the most basic of points a disqualifier for an aspiring Intel chief during time of war. But what Reyes lacks in even the most basic of understanding of intelligence, he more than makes up for in loyalty to his mentor, Pelosi. And he is now leading the charge to discredit the CIA and to insure that the truth never comes out about Pelosi's claim that she was not briefed on waterboarding.
Democrats are claiming it a scandal that our CIA might have floated a program to conduct targeted assassinations of al Qaeda operatives without briefing Congress. They further claim that the decision not to brief Congress was made by the font of all evil in the world, Dick Cheney, Their goal is to hold this situation up as proof that the CIA regularly misleads Congress, and that, as such, no further proof on the Pelosi matter is warranted. As to the program itself, one has to wonder why such a plan was not operational on 9-12. Beyond that, there is this from Congressman Pete Hoekstra writing in the NY Post:
CIA Director Panetta refused to back the allegation that Cheney gave such an order. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden flatly denied that he'd ever been instructed not to brief Congress. Now Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has also distanced himself from these over-the-top allegations by House Democrats.
There's also been a flurry of bizarre letters from House Intelligence Committee members about this matter suggesting that Democrats are no longer interested in bipartisan oversight of intelligence. One was slipped under a Republican staff member's door after business hours. I first learned about it from the news media.
Another letter signed by seven Democratic House intelligence-committee members did not use House Intelligence committee stationery, apparently to ensure that Republicans didn't get a copy. Two Democratic House Intelligence Committee members refused to sign this letter because they thought it was too political.
These new allegations, letters and calls for investigations are part of a strategy by Democrats to attack intelligence personnel and agencies. Why? To protect House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- who is in hot water over her May 14 comments that the CIA "lies all the time" and misled her about enhanced interrogation of terrorist suspects.
A major consequence of this Democratic effort to politicize intelligence is that the House Intelligence Committee has essentially stopped doing meaningful work. The 2010 intelligence-authorization bill was so poorly drafted (and loaded with language to protect Pelosi) that President Obama threatened a veto, forcing Democratic leaders to pull the bill from consideration this month.
. . . Disarray by House Democrats on intelligence oversight is seriously damaging the morale of US intelligence officers and their ability to do their jobs. How can Democrats claim they are serious about national security when they are exploiting intelligence and attacking intelligence professionals for political advantage?
I have emphasized that the intelligence community must be accountable when it does not tell Congress what it is doing. But when Congress is told and approves, Congress needs to be held accountable.
Pelosi's claim that the CIA lied to her about enhanced interrogations and recent Democratic claims that the CIA misled them about another program ignore the point that Democrats were repeatedly briefed on and approved the CIA's tough counterterrorism programs from the outset.
. . . The incredible amount of partisanship Democrats have introduced into intelligence matters is demoralizing the US intelligence community, causing sensitive information to be disclosed and encouraging our enemies. For the good of our nation, Democrats need to start acting like adults and begin conducting responsible and bipartisan intelligence oversight. These attacks on our intelligence community need to stop now.
Partisan political games have no place when it comes to national security.
That last sentence from Congressman Hoekstra is purely aspirational. Democrats have been politicizing intelligence since they decided that the Vietnam War that they led us into was unpopular. Democrats have been politicizing and hamstringing our intelligence capabilities in an unbroken line since the Church Commission at the conclusion of the Vietnam War. It has worked for them, so why stop now.