Wednesday, July 08, 2009

National Intelligence: Congress Must Roll Back Excutive Power

The House and Senate should pass this bill quickly and ignore the president's veto threat if they fail to remove language requiring the CIA to brief every member of the intelligence committee.

President Barack Obama's predecessor decided to brief those he wanted to brief and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) was able to deny (implausibly) that she knew about the prior administration's interrogation techniques since it did not keep a record suggesting that she was told about the CIA's torture program.

By requiring the president to disclose critical national security information to the full committee, Congress protects career officers from the CIA from having their research misused, thereby allowing the CIA to fulfill its roll as a neutral information gathering agency. It also restores the balance of power between the White House and Congress. Unless this bill is signed into law, this and future presidents will be able to withhold vital information from our legal representatives when they deem it inconvenient to do so.

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