Saturday, July 08, 2006

More Secret Intelligence Programs

According to the NY Times, a letter from Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, hints at other secret intelligence programs that the Bush administration might be running:

In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.

The letter...did not specify the intelligence activities that he believed had been hidden from Congress. But Mr. Hoekstra, who was briefed on and supported the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program and the Treasury Department's tracking of international banking transactions, clearly was referring to programs that have not been publicly revealed.

Rep. Hoekstra isn't happy about it either:

"I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed," Mr. Hoesktra wrote. "If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the 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."

This isn't he first time Rep. Hoekstra has indicated his dissatisfaction. He was also unhappy with the selection of Gen. Hayden to run the CIA, and the intelligence reorganization under Negroponte.

Of course what's most interesting is that Rep. Hoekstra has generally approved of the NSA domestic surveillance program, with which reasonable people on both side of the aisle have taken issue. If he's okay with that, what isn't he okay with? What else is the Bush administration up to? Also interestingly, the letter predates the recent Hamdan decision, being sent as it was on the day of Gen. Hayden's confirmation hearing before Congress. If he was concerned about the legality of those programs then, what about now?

We've had hints that there's something else going on up there, but this is the most interesting clue so far. Surely with time we'll find out more.

No comments: