Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hoekstra: CIA cabal behind plame.

* nyt:
" In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.

The letter from Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not specify the intelligence activities that he believed had been hidden from Congress.

But Mr. Hoekstra, who was briefed on and supported the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program and the Treasury Department's tracking of international banking transactions, clearly was referring to programs that have not been publicly revealed.
"I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed," Mr. Hoesktra wrote. "If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies."
Mr. Hoekstra's views on oversight appear to be shared by some other Intelligence Committee members.

"I think the executive branch has been insufficiently forthcoming on a number of important programs," Representative Heather A. Wilson, Republican of New Mexico, said in an interview. She would not discuss any programs on which the committee had not been briefed, but she said that in the Bush administration, "there's a presumption that if they don't tell anybody, a problem may get better or it will solve itself."
But the assertion that other intelligence activities had been hidden from Congress is particularly surprising coming from Mr. Hoekstra, who defended the administration's limited briefings on the N.S.A. program against Democratic criticism.
Mr. Hoekstra has been one of the strongest advocates in Congress for a crackdown on leaks of classified information to the media, a cause championed by both Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

But in recent months, Mr. Hoekstra has begun to express some disaffection.

Interesting. It's not obvious how the NYT got the letter (it was cc'd to josh bolton (sic), Hadley, negroponte):
"A copy of the four-page letter dated May 18, which has not been previously disclosed, was obtained by The New York Times."
I hope it was leaked. Funny.

Hoekstra is on Sibel's Dirty Dozen list for being anti-whistleblower, yet this information came to him from outside the normal channels, presumably a whistleblower. Funny.

The NYT has a copy of the letter (pdf) - there's one very odd statement in the letter that didnt get in the article:
I am convinced that this politicization (of the CIA) was underway well before Porter Goss became Director. In fact, I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the agency intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies. This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson / Valerie Plame events... I have come to believe that Mr Kappes may have been part of this group"
Ummm. WTF? What is he talking about? The decision to send Wilson to Niger? The referral of the case to the DoJ? Wilson's op-ed et al? I can only presume that it's the 3rd option. Is he really claiming that a cabal at the CIA was behind Wilson coming out?

Remember, he is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

any thoughts?


Don said...
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Don said...

I haven't read the full article or the letter yet, but will shortly. I'm assuming that this is straight-up and not some Repub disinfo play.

This story and the letter being leaked to the NYT (who else got it?) could be an attempt to rebuild Petey's street cred after the tanked Hoekstra/Santorum WMD tour, which itself could have been a shot back at them from the WH. The letter is dated May 18, 2006. Hoekstra and Santorum hit Fox News with the line they'd been fed on June 21, and were immediately shot down by the Pentagon.

Another possibility is that the WMD 'cover-up' is among the things he's hinting at in the letter. It'd be interesting to know if there's any overlap of sources with the one(s) who fed him that story, or if it's part of the bigger picture. The inclusion of the immediately refutable WMD bit among a number of items would serve to discredit Hoekstra and marginalize anything more volatile he may have been talking about. Having the sorely credibility-impaired whack-job Santorum claim it with him just buries Petey that much deeper. Smear accomplished.

I am curious as to whether Hoekstra's source (or sources?) are intel, which agency/agencies and whether they're current or inactive?

That said, after everything else that's come out on the Adminstration and its abuses of law and the Constitution, and after Hoekstra's support for previously 'leaked' programs, what the hell else has he been told about these "programs that have not been publicly revealed" that's that's got his shorts in a twist? If he didn't think NSA domestic wiretapping and FBI transaction monitoring were an issue, what new finding now has him just short of accusing the WH of lawlessness and constitutional breach?

Don said...

From the Boston Globe (emphases mine):

"We can't be briefed on every little thing that they are doing," Hoekstra said. "But in this case, there was at least one major -- what I consider significant activity that we have not been briefed on. I want to set the standard there that it is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

"At least one major"?

Don said...

EmptyWheel has a much better take, methinks...

One question: Will any of the BushBotBloggers take any shots at Hoekster for revealing, on TV, the existence of 1 or more super-duper Top Secret programs? I didn't think so, either...

LeeB said...

Is anyone else besides me bothered by the use of the word "oversight," as it has come to be applied these past few bu$h-mad years?

It appears to me they are now spinning it to mean oh-yeah-somebody-dropped-by-and-announced-they-decided-to [fill in atrocity du jour here]. . .

I always thought real oversight went a bit deeper than that: like, first, Congress sets a hearing, then y'gotta report or be subpoenaed; and then y'gotta tell what y'know; and then y'gotta see if yer bright idea is APPROVED; but, if the congresscritters say, "whoa!" then y'gotta stop, fer cryin' out loud.

This gaggle of GOPpers are just a bunch of dummies (i.e., co-conspirators). They sit there and ask questions (when they bother at all), which may or may not be answered, then they say, okay, yeah, we wuz told . . . yeah, we know he's breaking the law, but yeah, we wuz told . . .

Incredible. They call that oversight?! "Rubber-stampers" is exactly the correct description.

"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'" - Theodore Roosevelt

lukery said...

don: "I'm assuming that this is straight-up and not some Repub disinfo play"
i suspect it isnt straight up, but also not pure disinfo. I'm with EW, there's a serious turf battle going on.

LeeB - i'll have a detailed explanation of the process in the interview with sibel. oversight, indeed.
(love the Roosevelt quote)