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The Senate Intelligence Committee

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The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank takes us inside the Senate Intelligence Committee. It is an account sure to unsettle Republicans.

And the first question is: With a 55-45 majority, why did the GOP agree to a 3-3 split in the most sensitive committee of all? Because the Democrats promised they wouldn’t play politics with it?

Two years ago Democratic staffers to this committee let slip out their game plan for using the committee to pummel the president and the GOP. Among the steps called for by the staffers in their memo, as related by Senator Bond on the Senate floor:

Yet the memorandum that came out yesterday has such interesting
quotes such as:

Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may
lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or
questionable conduct by administration officials.

They are not looking at the Intelligence Committee; they are ooking
at the administration. They say:

We need to look at activities of the Office of the
Secretary of Defense and the State Department.

They talk about preparing additional views. And they say:

Among other things, we will castigate the majority for
seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry.

They talk about an independent investigation, and they say:

We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation on
the administration’s use of intelligence at any time.

When you talk about what goes on and how intelligence is used, that
is a topic of debate in the political realm, and there is no shortage
of that debate in particularly the Democratic primaries right now. We
see many of the candidates who are arguing very forcefully about it. I am disappointed that the discussion in the Presidential primary has
totally ignored or forgotten the old adage that politics stops at the
water’s edge; that we should not be getting into political battles when we have troops in harm’s way, and there is no question we have troops in harm’s way.

[[Page S13949]]

It appears this memo suggests there is, at least at the staff level, a Democratic game plan to make the Intelligence Committee a focal point for the 2004 Presidential debates. This memorandum said:

Yet, we have an important role to play in revealing the
misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and
motives of the senior administration officials who made
the case for a unilaterally preemptive war.

Those are pretty harsh words. Those are the words of a political

Between now and 2008, and certainly now and 2006, there is nothing –nothing– a Senate Democrat will do or say that isn’t motivated by the desire to win the mid-terms of the presidency. The sooner the Senator Frist-led GOP figure this out and pledge themselves to realism, the better off they and the country will be.

Establish a select-committee to investigate the CIA’s war on Bush, the various leaks, and especially Joe Wilson’s Walter Mittyisms.

Play offense. Every day. Christmas and New Years too.


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