‘GANG OF SIX’ HITS DEFENSE
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is panning the deficit compromise plan offered by so-called “Gang of Six” Senate leaders for its steep cuts in security funding.
“Based on what we’ve read the proposal would result in $886 billion in security cuts over 10 years,” Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon said in a memo sent Wednesday to committee Republicans.
“Due to a firewall in the proposal between security and domestic spending, nearly half of the discretionary savings in this proposal comes from security programs,” he said, noting that Pentagon spending is about 85 percent of all security funds.
Also, the Senate compromise would mandate cuts to military retirement and other benefits.
“It is our belief that this proposal raises serious implications for defense and would not allow us to perform our constitutional responsibility to provide for the safety and security of our country, or keep faith with men and women in uniform,” said Mr. McKeon, California Republican, explaining why he opposes the plan.
Since President Obama originally submitted his fiscal 2011 budget, defense spending has been cut by $439 billion over 10 years. The president in April proposed another $400 billion in cuts that is being pushed to $700 billion and as much as $1 trillion.
CIA’S NUCLEAR DENIAL
A former career intelligence officer this week criticized the CIA’s controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, saying that a recent update also was skewed in stating that Iran halted all work on nuclear arms in 2003.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and until recently a House Intelligence Committee staff member, wrote that U.S. intelligence analysts for the past several years remain “unwilling to conduct a proper assessment of the Iranian nuclear issue.”
The refusal puts them at odds with the White House, U.S. allies and even the United Nations, he said.
“Mounting evidence over the last few years has convinced most experts that Iran has an active program to develop and construct nuclear weapons,” Mr. Fleitz said in an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal.
Despite the growing evidence of ongoing Iranian nuclear arms work, “U.S. intelligence officials are standing by their assessment,” he said.
“In February, the 17 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community issued a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate updating their 2007 assessment,” he stated. “That estimate had been politicized by several officials who feared how President George W. Bush might respond to a true account of the Iranian threat.”
Mr. Fleitz said the February 2011 Iran National Intelligence Estimate was “poorly written and little improvement over the 2007 version.”