Silvestre Reyes Wants Obama to Keep McConnell, Hayden

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Just when I figured no one was seriously proposing President-elect Obama keep Michael Hayden at the CIA, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence goes one better. Chris Strohm reports for CongressDaily:

The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat said Tuesday he has recommended that President-elect Barack Obama keep the country’s current national intelligence director and CIA chief in place for some time to ensure continuity in U.S. intelligence programs during the transition to a new administration.

Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he also recommended to Obama’s transition team that some parts of the CIA’s controversial alternative interrogation program should be allowed to continue. He declined to say what he specifically recommended, however.

Thanks to reader MM for pointing this out to me. Reyes is saying McConnell and Hayden should stay on for a short period of time “for continuity.” Why? McConnell has a history of lying to Congress about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Hayden is a self-described architect of a very clearly illegal surveillance effort. The intelligence community will have innumerable career professionals remaining on board to transit between administrations. Leadership is in place to set a tone — and clearly this is a tone Reyes is fine with.

Reyes also makes clear that he’s pretty soft on torture:

“We don’t want to be known for torturing people. At the same time we don’t want to limit our ability to get information that’s vital and critical to our national security,” he added. “That’s where the new administration is going to have to decide what those parameters are, what those limitations are.”

How charming. The chairman of the House intelligence committee just framed the debate as between effective torture and ineffective compliance with the law. Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the actual debate on torture knows how clearly fallacious this is. And yet this is the man in charge of one of the two oversight committees for the intelligence community. Maybe it shouldn’t just be those leaders who lose their jobs.

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Comments

6 Comments

Curly
Comment posted December 10, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

Should Barack Obama really be President Elect?
I'm a Brit and these little legal things intrigue me.
Will it get in the way of his inauguration?


regis18
Comment posted December 10, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

Cong. Reyes is a square peg in a round hole. He is the former Chief of the Border Patrol in El Paso, TX. Surely there is a better committee assignment for him


Mike
Comment posted December 10, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

Tenet declared war on al Qaeda in 1998. In the lead up to 9/11 he claimed he was freaked out about a possible attack. Yet at the very same time his CTC withheld intel about al Qaeda operatives already implicated in the murder of US sailors (the Cole attack in 10/2000). This withholding went on from January 2000 through August 2001. Why is he considered credible in relation to the use of torture?

Around the same time period, (NSA Director) Hayden refused to get FISA warrants or notify the FBI so they could get the warrants. According to author James Bamford, Hayden was overly worried about violating civil liberties. This is absurd. It makes no sense at all because the FISA court was designed to protect civil liberties. Why is Hayden considered credible when he claims warrantless spying is absolutely needed to prevent future attacks?

Tenet, Hayden and Reyes are successful in promoting this police state garbage because so much information is not available to the public due to national security classification.


steve
Comment posted December 11, 2008 @ 6:11 am

Given that at the time he became chairman, Reyes did not know the difference between Sunni & Shia, there is still nobody “serious” in favor of keeping those who both missed the lack of WMDs and but are pro-torture in place:

from Congressional Quarterly in 2006:

I thought it only right now to pose the same questions to a Democrat, especially one who will take charge of the Intelligence panel come January. The former border patrol agent also sits on the Armed Services Committee.

Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

Link:http://public.cq.com/public/20061211_homeland.html


d
Comment posted December 13, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

Reyes is clearly unsuited to be on the Intelligence committee. He is clearly unqualified for such a serious post. We the People need to pay attention to folks like Bill Moyers and Glenn Greenwald who are trying to tell us the TRUTH and are speaking that TRUTH to power. When the committee for Prosecution of Crimes by the Bush administration investigation begins, at the insistence of every citizen of the U.S., there will be other Congressional Democrats who will need to be replaced — those who sat by with the knowledge that our constitution laws were being trashed. Educate yourselves because your country is going to go to hell if you don't! Were'nt the last 8 years enough of a repulsion to motivate us to try to save what dignity we have left as Americans!?
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12122008/prof…
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald


d
Comment posted December 13, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

Reyes is clearly unsuited to be on the Intelligence committee. He is clearly unqualified for such a serious post. We the People need to pay attention to folks like Bill Moyers and Glenn Greenwald who are trying to tell us the TRUTH and are speaking that TRUTH to power. When the committee for Prosecution of Crimes by the Bush administration investigation begins, at the insistence of every citizen of the U.S., there will be other Congressional Democrats who will need to be replaced — those who sat by with the knowledge that our constitution laws were being trashed. Educate yourselves because your country is going to go to hell if you don't! Were'nt the last 8 years enough of a repulsion to motivate us to try to save what dignity we have left as Americans!?
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12122008/prof…
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald


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