Over the weekend, the media started whooping and hollering about the House of Representatives voting down the Intelligence Reform bill that would have consolidated all of the intelligence agencies under one umbrella. The media tries to claim that it's a "turf war", saying the House is trying to protect the status quo and standing firm against change.
Don't be fooled by what they are telling you. The truth is that the Senate wants to try to candy-coat true reform, and provisions that the House has asked for that would really go a long way to protect this country against terrorist aggression.
The two leading this supposed rebellion against the wishes of the 9/11 families and the President is Congressmen James Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin, who is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; and Duncan Hunter from California, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. And as Brendan Miniter explains
, there are a few central issues that the Senate needs to get straight:
The Washington Post identified the "conservatives" in the House as the bad guys. Meanwhile others claim certain House members were simply doing the Pentagon's bidding. Give it a few days, and we'll likely hear that it was actually Halliburton that was behind the curtain all along. But make no mistake, this bill died in House-Senate conference over a central policy issue: whether the military should take the lead in fighting the war on terror. More than a few Beltway insiders don't see Iraq as part of that war and anyway would rather the Marines and special-ops guys take a back seat to the CIA and other clandestine services--a view reflected in the reforms pushed by the Senate.
It's real simple, folks; should the War on Terror be ran by the people who are actually fighting it and trying to kill these people that have them in the crosshairs or should the bureaucrats in Washington do it? Considering the problems in the CIA as of late as they have been engaging in a power struggle with the president and the numerous times bureaucratic control failed in the years leading to 9/11, there is no question that it's time for the people who are in the war and have their lives on the line to control the war. That's what the Pentagon is there for.
Another great statement by Miniter:
Before we get too far into the details--and there are a lot of details that have not been widely reported but will nonetheless make you cringe--let's pause for a moment to consider the politics. Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat, responded to a reporter's question this way: "If there is another major terrorist attack on our soil--and sadly, there will likely be one--we will have only ourselves to blame. Congress had a chance to protect America, and Congress failed." She's hardly alone. This seems to be part of a new Democratic offensive.
This strategy is a dangerous one for America. Talking down American power and misleading our enemies into believing that an attack could damage the political party that is most vigorously pursuing the war on terror--à la Spain--invites disaster. What Osama bin Laden needs to understand is that his is a hopeless cause destined to leave him a broken and humiliated man.
Minter's right; the media and the Democrats are now going to put on the shell of foreign policy strength; something that they've never been concerned about in the last 40 years. If a terrorist attack happens again, they will point fingers at the Republicans. They still live - even after this year's disasterous election - with the belief that whatever is bad for America will be good for the Democratic Party.
Also, another hilarious notion is the lamenting of "Rebellious Republicans", when it was just last week
that the media and the Democrats were complaining about the controversy over Senator Arlen Specter. In that case, they were complaining because moderates were supposedly being pushed out through party line. However, this week, they're complaining that the party line isn't being enforced. Take the Democratic Leadership Council's statement on Monday
It's time for Bush...to make it clear that he, not James Sensenbrenner or Duncan Hunter (the two House committee potentates who are opposing intelligence reform) -- or for that matter, Tom DeLay or Donald Rumsfeld -- is the leader of his party. It's time for him to spend some political capital in the pursuit of national security, and to make some heads roll within his own administration if the safety of the American people continues to be subordinated to self-interested bureaucratic turf wars.
In other words, go to Hunter and Sensenbrenner, smack them around, and tell them who's boss. But after seeing what Sensenbrenner had to say on Rush Limbaugh's show today
, I don't think he's intimidated by either the President or the Senate:
SENSENBRENNER: Well, after the supporters of this bad deal trashed both Duncan Hunter and me on every Sunday morning talking heads shows -- neither of us, by the way, were invited to defend ourselves -- it's obvious that the positions have hardened. Neither Duncan nor I are going to give in on our provisions which we believe are extremely important to protect America and particularly to give our war fighters in combat the proper intelligence that they need. And we have been standing together on this issue. I think that we do need to reform our intelligence community. That's a given. But if the people who receive the intelligence, whether it's law enforcement or the war fighters in combat, do not have the laws and the procedures to be able to use that intelligence, the good intelligence isn't really going to help anybody much at all.
Sensenbrenner was excellent in this interview with Limbaugh today. And he, Hunter, nor any of the other Republicans should back down at all.
Now there are other provisions that the Senate has their panties in a bunch about. Two of them are the driver's license ban and the asylum ban. The driver's license ban would make it illegal for any illegal immigrant to be able to obtain a license anywhere in this country. That's the one I REALLY want to pass. And Sensenbrenner has made it clear that he isn't going to bulge on that provision:
RUSH: Congressman, where do we stand on this now? This is obviously a dead issue during this session of Congress, is that true?
SENSENBRENNER: The leadership would like to have more negotiations going on before we get back here on December the 6th. I am absolutely insistent that the driver's license provision stay in the bill. We need tough standards. We need to deny driver's licenses to illegal aliens, and I think the proof in the pudding on that is that the 19 September 11th hijackers --
SENSENBRENNER: -- ended up getting 63 validly issued driver's licenses from several states.
. It's about time someone did something about it. In fact, in Michelle Malkin's book "Invasion"
, one of the biggest things that struck me is how easily the terrorists were able to obtain the kinds of information and access that you'd think only the residents of that state or the citizens of the U.S. would be able to get, yet these guys were able to use a very complex illegal immigration black market racket in Virginia to get all they needed to get around the country and then some. The fact that North Carolina made it legal for terrorists to do the same thing really pisses me off to no end.
The asylum ban would make it harder for people seeking to come to this country to declare political asylum, and Sensenbrenner gave a good explanation by this needs to be implemented:
The Senate rejected any change in the asylum law, and once again, yesterday, they were shown to be wrong because there were 26 people that were indicted for gaming the asylum and driver's licenses law in order to document 1900 illegal immigrants from Indonesia.
The truth is, the facts are with Sensenbrenner and Hunter, NOT the President nor the supposed moderate Republicans that are trying to pander to a Latino community that wants to place political power at the expense of national security and weakened law enforcement.
Someone needs to tell the 9/11 Commission and the families that their 15 minutes of fame passed by over the summer. They are not elected officials, and we elected people to Congress to pass laws. And I don't know of any article or amendment in the Constitution that states that Congress should blindly pass any law or resolution simply because a supposed bipartisan commission claims it is the right thing to do.
I never thought consolidating the intelligence agencies under one director was a good idea anyway. I didn't think the Republicans would place a halt to such an idea, but I'm glad Sensenbrenner and Hunter need to continue to stand their ground.
Keep on keeping on.