Thursday, May 10, 2007

listen. . .

Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?

Oh, sorry, I was just singing to myself in order to calm my nerves. You see, Steven Aftergood, over at Secrecy News, posted a piece on Wednesday that starts this way:

U.S. intelligence recently undertook a "significant" covert action without notifying Congress, as required by law, the House Intelligence Committee disclosed in a new report on the 2008 intelligence authorization bill.

"The Committee was dismayed at a recent incident wherein the Intelligence Community failed to inform the Congress of a significant covert action activity. This failure to notify Congress constitutes a violation of the National Security Act of 1947."

"Despite agency explanations that the failure was inadvertent, the Committee is deeply troubled over the fact that such an oversight could occur, whether intentionally or inadvertently."

The Committee is deeply troubled? Well, if the Committee is deeply troubled, then I am abysmally troubled. What covert action could the Bush Administration’s edition of “US intelligence” undertake that would be deemed “significant” by the committee that deals with these things all the time? What covert action is so unseemly that the Intel Community risked sanction by the tiny handful of Representatives with whom they have a regular working relationship rather than share the outlines of such an action with this close-knit group?

The Aftergood post doesn’t say. He may not know. He or his source may no be at liberty to divulge it. I get no hints from the piece, and a quick google-round the webby doesn’t provide me with much beyond links back to the Secrecy News page. But, let me tell you, the mind—my mind—reels. . . .

Given that in almost every case over the last six years the Bush Bunch has exceeded my most cynical expectations—in acting out of partisan self-interest, in lining the pockets of crooks and cronies, in overturning or trampling everything about America I actually like, in doing the very opposite of what would be good for our national interests and the interests of the world—I actually get a little sick thinking about what this un-reported, un-vetted “significant covert action” could be.

If anyone has read anything about this action, about what it could possibly be, please send me a link.

Of course, while the great brains over at National Intelligence were playing Risk with real people instead of little plastic whojemawhatsits, they, um, kind of forgot to, uh, do their jobs:

"The recent 100-day agenda released by the DNI contained a great deal of bureaucratic verbiage but failed to articulate a clear and compelling plan for addressing chronic problems plaguing the Intelligence Community, such as deficiencies in foreign language capability, lack of diversity, information-sharing impediments, overclassification, and the lack of common security clearance practices," the report said.

Closer. . . .

And now the good news:

The bill does not include changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act sought by the Administration.

"Before the Committee will support any change to existing law, it is essential that the President provide some measure of assurance that were he to sign a bill modifying FISA into law, he would agree to be bound by it," the report stated.

Say the words I want to hear. . . .

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)

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