Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Let the Games Begin

It's nice to know the adults are in charge. From an editorial in today's Washington Post:

REP. JANE HARMAN (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, took a step last week that she knew would be thermonuclear: Without the assent of the panel's chairman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), and in contravention of a previous understanding, she released an unclassified summary of a report about former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.). Later that day, in barely disguised retaliation, Mr. Hoekstra suspended a Democratic committee staff member's access to classified documents, ostensibly based on the flimsiest of suspicions that the aide had been involved in the leak of a separate, classified document.

The editorial gives a nice summary of the events that provoked this bit of tit-for-tat, and really should be read. What is clear is that Rep. Hoekstra did indeed go "thermonuclear" in a nasty bit of revenge. Rep. Harman released an unclassified summary of information gathered on a self-admitted felon. She did so in violation of an agreement among members of the panels, which certainly is not the most ladylike thing to do. However, the retaliation so far exceeded the first "violation" that it tells more about Mr. Hoekstra and the way he and other House committee chairman have chosen to run Congress than it does about Ms. Harman.

First of all, why wasn't the unclassified summary of Cunningham's activities released earlier? By the time it was released, Mr. Cunningham had long been sentenced and had moved into his new quarters. The release certainly did not affect the FBI investigation or any trial. The document did not contain any information that would compromise national security. Why was it hidden away?

The answer to that is probably the same as the answer to why the NIE wasn't released in unclassified-summary form long before the press finally got hold of it. Both items contained information that would have proven embarrassing (at the very least)to the GOP led government. The White House and, now, clearly the GOP leaders in Congress, thrive on secrecy in order to govern, which is certainly not good news for a democracy. One wonders just how much is hidden away that would demonstrate the extent of corruption and malfeasance of the current regime.

Finally, Mr. Hoekstra's response was that of a coward. Instead of confronting Ms. Harman directly, he went after an innocent third-party, an aide, and besmirched that aide's reputation.



Post a Comment

<< Home