Democrats & Liberals Archives

Staggering Failure

Remember 9/11? Remember how there were several points where the plot could have been thwarted had there been better communication between intelligence services? Three years later, that same gaping hole in our intelligence system remains.

One of the 9/11 Commission recommendations is to consolidate our intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, NGA, NRO, DIA, and elements of the FBI, State Dept., Treasury Dept., Energy Dept., Coast Guard, Homeland Security Dept., and several others). That recommendation has been fought tooth and nail by every agency director and Republican Congressperson who has a stake in that alphabet soup of budgetary largess.

Congress just tried to pass a bill implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendation for strengthening our Intelligence service to prevent future terrorist attacks. It was brought to a last minute screeching halt by Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.),

"Today, the House Republicans missed an opportunity to make the American people safer," said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader. "Their inability to overhaul our intelligence system is a staggering failure."

"Staggering", but not surprising given the resistance from the agencies involved and even from within the White House itself,

Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials have resisted provisions that would reduce their control over 80 percent of the estimated $40 billion annual intelligence budget.

"It's well-known that the secretary of defense wasn't enthusiastic about this loss of budget authority," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Remember, most of our fiercest debates in Washington comes down to who controls the money."

"There's been a lot of opposition to this from the first," [Senator Pat] Roberts [R-Kan.] said on "Fox News Sunday." "Some of it is from the Pentagon. Some of it, quite frankly, is from the White House, despite what the president has said."

This is absolutely irresponsible. The President and the Republican Congress have obstructed, watered down, and underfunded just about every measure proposed to make this country more secure. It's clear that Republicans are far more interested in gaining and maintaining power than in protecting their constituents.

Ridiculous, you say? Here's the kicker: The bill would have passed had Hastert allowed a vote. The bill had strong bipartisan support and the Democratic vote would have ensured it passed,

There, in a Capitol basement room, Hastert tried in vain to find enough votes to pass the bill without relying mainly on Democrats, a scenario too embarrassing for Republicans to endure.

Boo-hoo. Republicans rally 'round turf protectors and screw the public, because it would be too embarrassing to work with Democrats to protect this country. Pathetic. Stupid. And irresponsible. Send Hunter, Sensenbrunner, and Hastert an email and tell them so.

Posted by American Pundit at November 23, 2004 9:41 AM