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Pelosi Censure In the Cards Over CIA Matter

 Pelosi Democrats made accountability to the American people a rallying cry of their campaigns.  At minimum, a censure may be warranted if it is proven that she lied to the American people during the past week.  She has dishonored the institution she leads and potentially blamed others – career civil servants and Congressional staff  for her leadership shortcomings.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her supporters in Congress are wantonly making the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) a political scapegoat for their policy failings.  Their politically myopic views on the things America must do to keep the country safe from radical Islamists,  and other threats, is characteristic of the politics of the left.  

She did not know, she did know, or they were not clear enough about enhanced interrogation techniques; none of this really matters does it?  For Pelosi, this latest debate on the CIA is designed to mollify the left wing of the Democratic Party in Congress and its supporters.  This group is quite upset with the Obama Administration and its decision not release enhanced interrogation technique photos and the war in Afghanistan.  They will stop at nothing to make their point.For Nancy Pelosi

Democrats loathe the CIA and the work that they do to keep American safe.  No government agency is perfect, far from it.   But for the Pelosi wing of the Democratic Party, if it could, the CIA would be no more.   They have waged a battle against the agency for decades.   This is just the latest act in a long drama. 

This latest political kabuki theatre over enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) may make for interesting news headlines, but it is completely unnecessary and puts the nation at risk.   The intelligence community makes an easy target because elected officials, and their staff, understand full well that intelligence community members are limited on how they can respond.  If you want to get money and support from Congress, the last thing you would want to do is put a target on your agency; however, this self-check does have its limits.  And, the enemy is watching every news angle that will emerge.

While there may be people at government agencies that also play the DC parlor game, Members of Congress and staff should set the example and not engage in finger-pointing.  With regards to the Speaker and EITs, she was serving as the Ranking Democrat member of the House Intelligence Committee during a time that Committee Members were briefed on EITs.  This was the time to make her views known.  

That is what Congressional oversight is all about.  Members, staff, and agency officials work on issues of contention during the oversight process.  You work out differences, find common ground, and pursue the people’s agenda.  Only two things are possible in this EIT debate:  Pelosi knew and said nothing or she failed to attend key briefings.  The latter is highly unlikely because if she did not attend, a senior staffer must have been there and would have briefed her on what was discussed. 

Rather, Democrats and Republicans on the key national security oversight committees should urge the Speaker of the House to cease the politics on EITs, and intelligence oversight generally.  Oversight by media and blog is not helpful. The Director of National Intelligence should do the same and advise senior leaders of the intelligence community that leaks and attacks on the Congress will not be tolerated.

Congressional oversight of the intelligence community has an interesting, sometimes topsy-turvy history.  Unfortunately, this has not been one of its finer moments.  The national security committees should resist every effort to create so-called truth commissions or independent investigations of who knew what when. This process should be handled through established oversight processes.  Use it and keep the media games out of this process.

Finally, the Democratic Caucus must confront the reality that it may need to take formal measures against the Speaker if it is determined that she has lied about what she knew.  The Speaker of the House is a dual-hatted leadership position.  She is the leader of the majority party and is the institutional representation of the House, in the presidential line of succession.  

 Pelosi Democrats made accountability to the American people a rallying cry of their campaigns.  At minimum, a censure may be warranted if it is proven that she lied to the American people during the past week.  She has dishonored the institution she leads and potentially blamed others — career civil servants and Congressional staff  — for her leadership shortcomings.

The intelligence community has kept America safe.   Pelosi should think twice before speaking publicly again on this issue.

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