- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rep. Peter Hoekstra said Thursday that President Obama appears to be taking guidance from him and fellow Republicans as he prepares to reject the Intelligence Authorization Act from majority Democrats who have devolved into calling one another liars.

“He must have read the minority views,” said Mr. Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, composed of 13 Democrats and nine Republicans. Mr. Hoekstra spoke to The Washington Times America’s Morning News radio show in the morning.

Beyond trying to dictate who can be briefed on top-secret intelligence issue, the legislation and its 41 reports creates “too much bureaucracy,” he said.

The legislation would amend the National Security Act of 1947.

Right now the CIA can disclose such information only to a select group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight — the House speaker, the House minority leader, the Senate Democratic and Republican leaders, and the top Democrat and Republican in the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Mr. Obama thinks the Democrats’ pursuit of being involved in executive-branch discussions is unconstitutional.

The administration said Wednesday it supports the legislation. But it does not agree with the privileged-information section because it “would run afoul of tradition by restricting an important established means by which the president protects the most sensitive intelligence activities that are carried out in the nation’s vital national security interests. In addition, the section raises serious constitutional concerns,” the White House said in a written statement.

Mr. Hoekstra said Mr. Obama also agrees with Republicans that the legislation should not include funding for suspected terrorists being read Miranda rights on the battlefield.

The upcoming Capitol Hill debate on the bill is expected to continue the months-long argument about whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew before a CIA briefing in fall 2002 about the agency’s use of an advanced Bush administration interrogation technique known as waterboarding, which Mr. Obama considers torture.

“This is very bizarre, the Democrats loosely throwing around the term liar,” said Mr. Hoekstra, Michigan Republican. “We, as Republicans, are just sitting back and focusing on national security work as Nancy Pelosi calls the CIA a liar and [agency Director] Leon Panetta says no we’re not.”

Mrs. Pelosi said Thursday she has spoken directly to Mr. Penetta perhaps only once since supporting his appointment to run the CIA.

On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee members said Mr. Panetta told Congress last month that senior agency officials have misled lawmakers since 2001.

“These notifications have led me to conclude that this committee has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one case) was affirmatively lied to,” Chairman Silvestre Reyes and other committee members said in a letter to Mr. Hoekstra.

Said Mr. Hoekstra: “You’re the ones sliding letters under my door, then sending them to the press before I see them.”

Mr. Panetta stands by his early statement that the CIA does not have a policy of misleading Congress.

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