The congressional agenda this month is all national security, all the time. Yet congressional leaders fail to focus on one of the key pillars of a safer America: the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Amid a rolling public relations campaign on Capitol Hill and around the country by President Bush and his conservative allies in Congress highlighting the dangers of international terrorism to our nation, the leadership in the Senate and the House of Representatives decided to delay consideration of legislation to authorize funding for the 17 executive branch agencies that constitute the U.S. Intelligence Community. Why the delay?
Well, press reports indicate that Senate and House leaders are stalling for time until after the fall congressional elections because they fear it might provide critics of the Iraq war with an opportunity to revisit serious intelligence failures. That’s hardly a display of leadership.
As the Center for American Progress noted in its recent report, “No Mere Oversight: Congressional Oversight of Intelligence is Broken,” partisan politics has crippled the ability of Congress to ensure the U.S. Intelligence Community is operating effectively and efficiently. Efforts to avoid discussion of recent U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq and now Iran leaves our country today without the proper oversight of intelligence that is critical to our national security.
The Bush administration should demand that congressional leaders authorize this year’s intelligence budget and accept the needed congressional critique of the intelligence community’s performance over the past six years that would come alongside budget authorization. America’s national security is too important for such partisan political intrigue.
To read more about the Center’s report, “No Mere Oversight: Congressional Oversight of Intelligence is Broken,” and view our event this past summer that discussed the report, please go to the following links:
Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.