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Intelligence Reform

The Senate and White House/House have dueling strategies on intelligence reform. GOVEXEC.com reprints a great National Journal article on the political dynamics involved. There is overwhelming pressure to get a bill passed, but the GOP wants to ensure that the issue works to their partisan advantage, despite their foot dragging on the issue of reform.

The Bush/Delay plan is weaker than the 9/11 Commission recommendations, leaving significant budgetary authority in the DoD, while consolidating about 70% of intelligence funding under a new Director and retaining OMB oversight. The Bush campaignistration took the unusual step of putting together its own plan and submitting it to the house.

The bipartisan alternative is a comprehensive reform plan advanced by Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins. It closely abides by the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

As an aside, Lieberman is a poster-boy for Democrats that don't understand the nature of the current political climate. He says:

"In a Congress that has become increasingly partisan," Lieberman said, "we are figuring out that our first responsibility is to put the party labels away" for national security. [National Journal]
This comes at a time that Republicans are trying to label all liberal criticism of Bush as "partisan" invective. Lieberman advances this charge, accepting the GOP framing. He is nearing the same position as Zell Miller in the 2002 midterms, accusing Cleland of politicizing homeland security for partisan reasons. With Lieberman's first hand experience of Bush's duplicity, he should be wary of the "even handed" imputation of partisanship; especially since it's one-sidedness is so clear in this case.


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