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Ruining the Intelligence Committee
townhall.com ^ | 11/17/03 | Robert Novak

Posted on 11/16/2003 9:15:25 PM PST by kattracks

WASHINGTON -- Partisan animosity that has brought operations of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to a standstill reached new depths on the early evening of Nov. 5. The committee's Democratic vice chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, went on Lou Dobbs's CNN program to say flatly he had not ordered the staff memorandum outlining a confrontational election-year strategy on Iraq.

The Republican chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, was startled. He informed his staff that Rockefeller had told him that he personally ordered aides to give him "options" -- an order that produced the now infamous memo. To the plainspoken ex-Marine from Dodge City, trust had been breached. His committee will remain dormant, conducting no hearings, until some Democrat on the committee -- preferably Rockefeller -- disavows the memo's contents. That is not about to happen.

Neither Pat Roberts nor Jay Rockefeller is a natural partisan brawler, and each would prefer amiable cooperation in overseeing the nation's intelligence agencies. But both are caught in what Whittaker Chambers saw as the trap of history. Rockefeller is pressured by a Senate Democratic caucus that, facing slim chances of regaining majority status any time soon, insists on undermining President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq. Roberts is unable to follow his normal inclinations to sit down and make peace.

The memo setting forth a political strategy for Intelligence Committee Democrats cannot be written off, as Democratic senators try to do, as the work of one possibly errant staffer. It represents dominant political thinking inside the committee by Michigan's Sen. Carl Levin, one of the smartest, toughest and more partisan members of the U.S. Senate. The Intelligence Committee is no longer a non-partisan island in a bitterly partisan legislative ocean.

Roberts informed non-partisan committee staffers that Rockefeller had informed him he had requested "options." The memo's only option actually was a plan for Democrats to "castigate" their Republican colleagues and "pull the trigger" on a 2004 independent investigation of politicized intelligence.

That is why Roberts was so disturbed by Rockefeller's Nov. 5 interview. Lou Dobbs: "Did you order the drafting of this memo?" Rockefeller: "No, I didn't." Dobbs: "Do you know who did?" Rockefeller: "No, I mean it wasn't ordered." To Roberts, that effective repudiation by his Democratic colleague of their private conversation ended the Intelligence Committee's tenure as a politics-free haven.

Actually, storm clouds appeared on the horizon during the 2001-2002 interregnum of a Democratic majority when Sen. Bob Graham of Florida became chairman. He proposed that the Intelligence Committee staff for the first time be divided evenly, into majority and minority staffs (just as other Senate committees are). He failed. Otherwise, however, he was given a free hand by his Republican vice chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama. Amid the turmoil following 2001 terrorist attacks, the Intelligence Committee was calm.

After Republicans regained Senate control in the 2002 elections and term limits imposed new leadership on the Intelligence Committee, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle insisted on an end to non-partisanship. As the new vice chairman, Rockefeller followed the party line by demanding half the staff, which was the real cause for delayed reorganization of the Senate under GOP leadership.

On a personal basis, Roberts gets along well with Rockefeller (and bonded with him on a trip to Iraq earlier in the year). He likes the multi-millionaire scion of the famous Republican family, describing Rockefeller's high-flown pronouncements as "ethereal." But their relationship now is strained to the breaking point.

The partisan tone among the committee's Democrats has been sounded by Levin and his lieutenant, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Levin set the line on Fox News Sunday Nov. 9: "Did the administration, knowing what they knew, with daily briefings, exaggerate the intelligence (about Iraq)? The chairman of this committee and the Republicans refuse to look at the administration's use of exaggeration of intelligence."

The point Levin wants to pursue is that intelligence professionals were pressured by Bush officials to distort their findings. The committee's non-partisan staff has come up with no such information and has had no such complaints made from whistle-blowers in the intelligence community. Democratic demands to leap over the staff produced the memorandum which has laid waste the Senate Intelligence Committee.

©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Contact Robert Novak | Read Novak's biography



TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: 2004memo; intelcommittee; levin; memogate; novak; partisanship

1 posted on 11/16/2003 9:15:26 PM PST by kattracks
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To: kattracks
The Intelligence Committee as is made up now is a complete oxymoron. Political and personal hatred are going to tear this country apart, sooner or later.
2 posted on 11/16/2003 9:33:29 PM PST by SwyChron 101
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To: kattracks
Does anyone think that the Clintons' DNC-Politburo had nothing to do with this?

An FBI investigation would make for interesting answers, subject to felony law enforcement.
3 posted on 11/16/2003 9:38:57 PM PST by SevenDaysInMay (Federal judges and justices serve for periods of good behavior, not life. Article III sec. 1)
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To: kattracks
INTREP - DemoRAT "we can never stoop too low" ALERT
4 posted on 11/16/2003 9:41:01 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: kattracks
Levin and his lieutenant, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Levin set the line on Fox News Sunday Nov. 9: "Did the administration, knowing what they knew, with daily briefings, exaggerate the intelligence (about Iraq)? The chairman of this committee and the Republicans refuse to look at the administration's use of exaggeration of intelligence." Bullsh*t, utter fecal foppery! Saddam maintained training bases for terrorists, including al Qaeda, and Saddam was constructing a network within Iraq that could be truned to chem-bio weaponry at a moments notice. Do these 'leaders' of the democRAT party actually believe the likes of Saddam should be trusted to not aid and abet the terrorists he welcomes into Iraq for training?The seditious bastard democrats would open international doors to Nations aiding and abetting terrorists and terrorism, to the acquisition and deployment of chem-bio-nuclear weaponry, simply because the democrats want to 'castigate' the Pubbies instead of work to win against terrorists / terrorism. Time to castigate the seditious dem bastards right out of their offices! America's peril cannot afford democrats sitting in Senate and House committee seats.
5 posted on 11/16/2003 9:50:43 PM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: SwyChron 101
The work INTELLIGENCE when applied to the U.S. Senate is an oxymoron in itself. Let's see, we have the professional check kiter from Ca. Barbara Boxer, the drunken murderer from Ma. Teddy "swimmer" Kennedy, the grand wizard from Va. Bob Byrd (notice the predominant criminals belong to the demoncrat party).
6 posted on 11/16/2003 10:04:23 PM PST by stumpy
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To: kattracks
Rockefeller needs to resign or be toss'ed out. The buck stops with him.

The Democrats are a criminal organization posing as a political party. Charges of treason and sedtion need to be brought against these lawless, corrupt, treasonous, politicians. They need a lesson in "Controlling Legal Authority". Why isn't the Justice Dept pursuing this?
7 posted on 11/16/2003 10:16:24 PM PST by MissAmericanPie
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To: MissAmericanPie
No Commander-in-Chief should have to turn over intelligence data that could harm the troops, reveal undercover contacts, or hinder protection of the country.
Putting intelligence in the hands of those plotting against a sitting president is ridiculous.

They have already admitted they intend to leak the data if they plan on using it to bring down a president.
8 posted on 11/16/2003 10:36:07 PM PST by ClancyJ
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To: ClancyJ
I call that treason when we are in a state of war, and sedition when we are not. They need to be thrown so far into prison that daylight has to be piped to them.
9 posted on 11/16/2003 10:38:56 PM PST by MissAmericanPie
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To: MissAmericanPie
Right - they are desperate for power no telling what they would do with the intelligence.

It sure irks me that all they have to do is denounce the memo and they will freely be given access to all our security info. Then the Commander-in-Chief has to give them far too much information.
10 posted on 11/16/2003 10:44:34 PM PST by ClancyJ
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To: kattracks
Nor did my grandaddy Rockefeller make that deal with Lenin for the Caspian oil.
11 posted on 11/16/2003 11:02:07 PM PST by AmericanVictory (Should we be more like them, or they like us?)
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To: kattracks
Don't blame me. I voted for Rocky.
12 posted on 11/16/2003 11:05:26 PM PST by Dan from Michigan ("Today's music ain't got the same soul. I like that old time Rock N Roll" - Bob Seger)
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To: ClancyJ; All
Have you signed the Memogate petition yet? We need more signatures.

http://www.petitiononline.com/demmemo1/petition.html
13 posted on 11/16/2003 11:11:14 PM PST by RGVTx (Sign the MemoGate Petition http://www.petitiononline.com/demmemo1/petition.html)
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To: SevenDaysInMay
A FBI investigation ... subject to felony law enforcement? Isn't that an oxymoron as well?

(See the Clinton era.)
14 posted on 11/16/2003 11:19:57 PM PST by JohnG45
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To: kattracks
Pre-Rockefeller, I was born in West Virginia; now I won't let my wife bury me there.
15 posted on 11/16/2003 11:44:55 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: ClancyJ
Conveniently, the Democrats have dealt the President a winning hand. If the Committee stays shut down, then the intelligence won't leak.
16 posted on 11/16/2003 11:51:28 PM PST by The Westerner
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To: kattracks
The Dems crossed the line when playing political games with AMERICAN LIVES just to score election points
17 posted on 11/16/2003 11:54:29 PM PST by Mo1
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To: All
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1015980/posts
MemoGate- sedition, slander-- or something worse?
Various FR links | 11-06-03 | The Heavy Equipment Guy
 
 

18 posted on 11/17/2003 1:36:04 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the trakball into the Sunset...)
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To: SevenDaysInMay
An F.B.I. investyigation? Don't tell us that you are foolish enough to have any faith in these murderous coverup artists?
19 posted on 11/17/2003 2:39:35 AM PST by Joe Boucher
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To: RGVTx
Thanks for posting the PetitionOnLine website to fight senatorial abuse of sensitive intelligence information that would harm American interests for the sake of gaining partisan political advantage, as Democrats prescribed in the Rockefeller Memo. All who have not signed should do so ASAP. We're only up to 1498 signatures.
20 posted on 11/17/2003 5:57:32 AM PST by OESY
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To: ClancyJ
Phone calls do have an impact. Call your Senator, tell him you didn't send him to D.C. to make nice with a criminal organization.

Tell them patriotic Americans want to see the gloves come off in regards to this lawless bunch of criminals that have been brazenly and openly hostile to the best interests of the United States since 2000, when their vote fraud machine broke down and astounded them so badly that they have not yet managed to get their masks back on properly.
21 posted on 11/17/2003 6:11:06 AM PST by MissAmericanPie
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