- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2002

Head of investigation of Sept. 11 intelligence failure unfairly maligned

I have one word for Frank Gaffney Jr.'s screed against Britt Snider: Poppycock ("Where's the outrage?" Commentary, Feb. 19).
Mr. Snider will head the House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into problems within the U.S. intelligence community that may have contributed to its failure to warn of, and prevent, September 11. Mr. Gaffney, however, knows so little about Mr. Snider that he can't even get his name right. It's Snider, not "Snyder."
He clearly doesn't know the man. For more than 30 years, Mr. Snider has been one of the most evenhanded, hard-working, well-respected individuals in the intelligence community. His depth of experience and knowledge, both in the executive and legislative branches, is unmatched, as is his reputation for probity and fairness.
I first met Mr. Snider when he was an intelligence official in President Reagan's Defense Department, serving under then-Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger. When I became Republican staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1987 and was looking for a Republican counsel, Mr. Snider was highly recommended to me. I felt honored that he would leave his Pentagon post to join us.
He was later, as Mr. Gaffney notes, asked by Intelligence Committee Chairman David L. Boren, to be chief counsel of the committee at the same time that George J. Tenet was the committee's staff director. In fact, he was so well regarded that the Republicans chose to retain him at the same time as their counsel. He may well be the only person to hold simultaneously both positions for a congressional committee. I can think of no higher compliment to his integrity and ability.
Mr. Snider was, indeed, inspector general of the CIA under then-Director Tenet. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate for that position and won universal plaudits for his performance in that post.
To even suggest that Mr. Snider is "the DCI's proxy" or that there is some kind of "sweetheart arrangement" is not just unfair, it is offensive. It is unfortunate that Mr. Gaffney has chosen to sully Mr. Snider and to call into question the investigation before it even gets off the ground.
I have every confidence that Mr. Snider will conduct a full, fair and balanced investigation, one with no presuppositions, the only objective of which is to get at ground truth. Mr. Snider does not need this job but has taken on this responsibility because he was asked to by the leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees. The reason they chose him is because they have worked with him, as I have, and recognized that there is no better choice to head what may be one of the most important congressional investigative efforts ever undertaken.

Regrettably, Mr. Gaffney's piece does a disservice not just to the investigation but to an individual who has gained deep bipartisan respect in more than three decades of service to his nation. Sadly, the only thing outrageous, to use Mr. Gaffney's own word, is the distorted slant of his article. He owes Mr. Snider, the congressional leadership and the nation an apology.


James H. Dykstra was Republican staff director for the Senate Select Commitee on Intelligence from 1987 to 1991.

Taiwan Relations Act should be central to Bush's China policy

Don Feder's Feb. 20 Commentary piece, "China would choke on Taiwan," does an excellent job of characterizing Taiwan's situation vis-a-vis China and the rest of the world. I would like to make two points about this analysis, with which I agree, as far as it goes.
First, Taiwan is the only living Chinese democracy. As such, it ought to be regarded as part of the free world, to use an expression not heard much since the fall of the Soviet Union.
No government or country in the world that considers itself democratic ought to be comfortable with the possibility of the extinction of constitutional government on Taiwan. Democracy is not divisible, in that no democracy can, in my opinion, disappear without damaging democracies everywhere.
Taiwan has earned its democratic status by gradually and without violence transferring control of the government from its original leaders to a new set. In a sense, the Kuomintang, China's original revolutionary party, validated the movement to democracy when it lost first the presidency, then control of the parliament, at the ballot box.
Second, and critical to understanding the first point, is the part the Taiwan Relations Act has played in Taiwan's economic growth and political evolution. The three communiques are merely executive communications and are superseded by, and are without the power of, an act of Congress duly signed into law by the president. However, that is precisely what the Taiwan Relations Act is: the law of the land.
As chairman of the House subcommittee on Asian and Pacific affairs during the Carter administration, I had a part in the administration's successful move toward full diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States. When I and my congressional colleagues discovered how that move was occurring, we undertook to protect Taiwan from a precipitate abandonment by this country. Accordingly, I was principal author, along with Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Alan Cranston, California Democrat, of the act 23 years ago.
The Taiwan Relations Act became the center line, whether acknowledged or not, of U.S. policy toward Taipei. Under the act, the United States obligated itself to see to it that Taiwan remained able to withstand pressures from outside, so that when it resolves its cross-strait issues with mainland China, it can do so without fear or intimidation.
This does not mean that the United States could not have done more for Taiwan, from time to time. By and large, however, the Taiwan Relations Act has made it possible for Taiwan to develop the vibrant, democratic and economically free entity that it is today. As long as the act is on the books, it governs the actions of President George W. Bush. I am confident that the president will observe the form and substance of the Taiwan Relations Act as he builds his China policy.


Lester L. Wolff was a member of Congress from 1965 to 1981.

'Black money' series tells American success stories

I am a 55-year-old black grandmother. Both of my grandsons have learned early and fully understand the importance of getting a quality education. They are doing exceptionally well in school and looking forward to attending college.
I read with enthusiasm your four-part series, "Black money: The rising tide of wealth in black America." This series depicts what the vast majority of blacks are quietly teaching their children family values, religion, the importance of education, love of country, and the importance of working hard and not looking to the government for support.
Our eyes are wide open now. We know who can best help us, and we know what we must do to succeed. The doors of progress are open, and we can achieve if those who claim to be helping us (while, in truth, enhancing their own wealth and furthering special political interests) will just get out of our way. Our strides we can make during the 21st century will be unlimited.
Thank you for bringing attention to black success stories across America in your series. My grandfather, Jessie Lee Haynes, a Mississippi sharecropper, would be proud to know that his hard work left us with stronger values and a desire to make this a better world.

Arlington, Va.

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