Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Conservatives Put Politics Ahead of Security on Intelligence Reform

House conservatives over the weekend killed critical efforts to overhaul the nation's intelligence infrastructure, favoring the status quo over the important recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. The legislation—supported by President Bush—would have created a central director of national intelligence to preside over the sprawling intelligence operations in multiple government agencies.

  • President Bush should spend some of his "political capital" to better protect the nation. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), questioned President Bush's motives in not leading an aggressive push to pass the intelligence reform bill, saying that some of the opposition the legislation faced, "quite frankly, is from the White House, despite what the president has said."

  • House leaders should stop playing politics with the nation's security. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert blocked the intelligence reform vote because he was unwilling to pass a bill by relying on votes from Democrats. In response, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean (R), said he was "obviously disappointed" by the decision to play politics with the vote: "There's no question it would have passed easily."

  • Conservatives leaders owe the country a real vote on intelligence reform. House conservatives complain frequently about procedural blocks to legislation. They should put the words to work and let the American people judge their efforts by allowing a full vote on critical intelligence reform.

  • Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.


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