So Long, Gang of Eight?

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Monday, June 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Not to be lost in the Iran shuffle: Greg Sargent reports that Democrats on the House intelligence committee are drafting a bill that would prevent the executive branch from restricting congressional briefings on super-secret covert intelligence activities to the so-called Gang of Eight — the political leadership and the intelligence committee leadership in the House and Senate. Greg further reports that there’s language in the bill that would force the CIA to keep better contemporaneous accounts of its briefings than the demonstrably shoddy account of its congressional notifications concerning the so-called “enhanced interrogation” program.

Who knows if the bill will pass, given President Obama’s emerging, uh, robust definition of executive power. But if this signifies anything, it indicates that the now-largely-forgotten Nancy Pelosi/CIA fracas has made congressional Democrats sick and tired of the ability for a small group of members of Congress to endlessly he-said-she-said the press about intelligence activities. If there’s a full intelligence committee briefing about covert action, then any member who publicly misrepresents its substance is vulnerable to a horde of colleagues calling that member out. It’s naive to think that members will stop misrepresenting the contents of classified briefings, or that reporters will suddenly adjudicate between truth and falsity in such matters, but, y’know, dare to dream.

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