- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Contrary to the description by Eli Lake and Bill Gertz (“House intelligence chief enters controversy,” Page 1, Friday), my expression of support and gratitude for the extraordinary work done by our intelligence professionals is not “rare,” nor did my April 29 letter to the CIA work force serve to “undercut” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s position on the way forward for reforming the congressional notification process on highly secret matters. I was disappointed that The Washington Times inaccurately characterized my letter in an attempt to manufacture a political dispute that does not exist.

In fact, there is no distance between the speaker and me on the issue of responding to problematic intelligence activities. The article quotes the speaker as saying, “They don’t come in to consult. They come in to notify.” She is exactly right. The current notification process provides only for one-way communication.

Some in Congress have used the current debate about interrogation as yet another excuse to employ “scorched earth” political attacks. Rather than respond in kind, the speaker has asked me to work with my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee to move forward and improve the oversight process.

In the weeks ahead, I will be working to improve congressional oversight and to increase accountability across the intelligence community. With the assistance of other members of the Intelligence Committee, I will be considering the difficulties we’ve had over the past eight years and working on ways to prevent those problems in the future.

As the chairman of the committee, I have the distinct privilege of traveling throughout the world to visit and observe our dedicated intelligence professionals. I am proud to be able to thank them on behalf of the American people, many of whom will never know the work of these brave men and women. As I have done in the past and as I will continue to do as long as I’m a member of Congress, I won’t miss a single opportunity to express my gratitude for their dedication and service to our country, whether it’s in person or in a letter, regardless of how others might spin my words.

SILVESTRE REYES

Chairman

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Washington

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