"You are sure to hear time and again how Baker et al. have given the Democrats cover to push even harder for withdrawal. And why do they need this "cover"? Well, because they are going to be attacked by Republicans. Now, every time some GOP spokesman tells Tim Russert that the Democrats want to cut-and-run, Russert can respond that even the Baker Commission wants withdrawal (turn on your televisions; this is already happening). And why does the Baker Commission have such "credibility"? Because the press has been telling us that it does. What a beautiful circle."
* amy goodman's show mostly focussed on Rumsfeld's war crimes 'challenge'
"The nomination of Robert M. Gates as secretary of defense has begun to ease concerns in the intelligence community about the rapid growth of Pentagon intelligence activities since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said experts inside and outside the government and on Capitol Hill.* Ray Mcgovern writes Levin:
Gates, a former CIA director, has a long history of opposing expansive Pentagon intelligence activities. He has voiced unease about roles being taken over by Pentagon personnel, in part because more than 80 percent of all intelligence spending is now done by Defense Department agencies.
One quick indication of how Gates will deal with interagency tensions will be whether Rumsfeld's undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Stephen A. Cambone, and his top deputy, Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, remain in their current positions. They have backed the growth of the Counterintelligence Field Activity, the controversial new agency that in three years has spent nearly $1 billion to gather data to be used in the protection of defense facilities at home and abroad."
"A lot is riding on whether you step up to the plate on the Gates nomination. Your decision will be one of the earliest tangible signs of whether the November 7 election has injected some spine into Democrats - whether they still have it in them to act like winners.
You have had a running dispute with the Bush administration over the way its representatives have misrepresented so much on Iraq in testimony before your committee. If you bow to Republican pressure to allow the Gates nomination to sail through without a thorough investigation of his record, you will be giving a fresh nihil obstat to the practice of no-fault dissembling before Congress.
The question, Senator Levin, boils down to whether you will stand up and say, "Never Again." Even before you formally become chair of the committee, you have the power to require a serious vetting of Gates's past behavior and to make "Never Again" stick."