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Hoekstra’s Letter

In Culture of Corruption, International politics, Laws & Regulation, Terrorism, US Politics on July 11, 2006 at 6:10 pm

In case you missed it, Sen Pete Hoekstra’s letter to GWB has been published in full (it’s about the CIA’s cabal and a spying program that has only now been disclosed to the House). Excerpts:

Dear Mr. President:

I write to address three issues of great importance to me, and, for that matter, to our collective efforts to improve intelligence. I wish to address the nominees for leading the CIA, very briefly discuss concerns about intelligcnce reform in general, and, finally, the oversight of intelligence activities of the U.S. Government. First, I am concerned that the nominations for Director and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency signal a retreat from needed reforms of the Ageacy. I have respectfully shared my strong concerns regarding these nominees, and I think it would be an understatement to say that I am disappointed that Congress was never consulted on either of these choices.

[…]

Regrettably, the appointment of Mr. Kappes sends a clear signal that the days of collaborative reform between the White House and this committee may be over. I am concerned that the strong objections – not just about this personnel selection – are being dismissed completely, pezhaps sending us back to a past, less cooperative relattionship, at a time when so much more needs to be done. Individuals both within and outside the Administration have let me and others know of their strong opposition to this choice for Deputy Director. Yet, in my conversations with General Hayden it is clear that the decision on Mr. Kappes is final.

[…]

There has been much public and private speculation about the politicization of the Agency. I am convinced that this politicization was underway well before Porter Goss became the Director. In fact, I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the Agency intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies. This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson/Valerie Plame events, as well as by the string of unauthorized disclosures from an organization that prides itself with being able to keep secrets. I have come to the belief that, despite his service to the DO, Mr. Kappes may have been part of this group.

[…]

The fact is, Mr. Kappes and his Deputy, Mr. Sulick, were developing a communications offensive to bypass the Intelligence Committees and the CIA’s own Office of Congressional Affairs. One can only speculate on the motives but it clearly indicates a willingness to promote a personal agenda. Every day we suffer from the consequences of individuals promoting their personal agendas. This is clearly a place at which we do not want or need to be.

[…]

My view for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was, and remains, one of a lean, coordinating function that provides “corporate” leadership to the individually high-fidelity intelligence agencies – “corporate divisions” if you will. This vision does not include the DNI “doing” things so much as the DNI “making sure things get done” by the agencies.

[…]

I have learned of some alleged Intelligence Community activities about which our committee has not been briefed. In the next few days I will be formally requesting information on these activities. If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the Members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies. I strongly encourage you to direct all elements of the Intelligence Community to fulfill their legal responsibility to keep the Intelligence Committees fully briefed on their activities. The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play ‘Twenty Questions’ to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution.

I’ve shared these thoughts with the Speaker, and he concurs with my concerns. Regrettably, there are other issues that need to be discussed. What I’ve provided here are the most pressing. Thank you for your consideration of these items.

    Sincerely yours, Pete

Cc: Steve Hadley
Josh Bolton
John Negroponte

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