May 15, 2009 / by emptywheel


Crazy Pete Hoekstra Flip-Flops on Congressional Notification

In 2006, a certain member of Congress laid out the President’s and Intelligence Community’s obligation under the National Security Act to brief Congress on intelligence activities.

I want to reemphasize that the Administration has the legal responsibility to "fully and currently" inform the House and Senate Intelligence Committees of its intelligence and intelligence-related activities. Although the law gives you and the committees flexibility on how we accomplish that (I have been fully supportive of your concerns in that respect), it is clear that we, the Congress, are to be provided all information about such activities. I have learned of some alleged Intelligence Community activities about which our committee has not been briefed. In the next few days I will be formally requesting information on these activities. If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of 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. I strongly encourage you to direct all elements of the Intelligence Community to fulfill their legal responsibility to keep the Intelligence Committees fully briefed on their activities. The U.S. Congress should not have to play "Twenty Questions" to get the information that it deserves under the Constitution.

This letter makes the President’s and Intelligence Community’s obligation pretty clear. They must "fully and currently" inform congressional intelligence committees. They must provide all information about such activities. Congress should not have to play "Twenty Questions" to get such information. Not providing such information is a violation of the law. And, "just as importantly," it is "a direct affront" to Congress to withhold such information.

That’s a pretty clear statement of the importance of CIA’s obligation to inform Congress of their activities.

So why do you think it is that the author of this letter–Crazy Pete Hoekstra–has spent the last three weeks beating up Nancy Pelosi when–by all accounts–she was not briefed on the CIA’s activities "fully and currently" in 2002? Why is it okay for Crazy Pete that Pelosi and Porter Goss should have to play Twenty Questions on torture, when such games were not okay for Crazy Pete himself after he became the Chair of HPSCI? Does’t Crazy Pete care that CIA’s treatment of Congress in 2002 was a "direct affront" to their efforts to support the intelligence community?

And most importantly, if it was a violation of the law in 2006 not to inform Congress about intelligence community activities, then wasn’t it a violation of the law in 2002?

Crazy Pete’s 2006 letter makes it clear–CIA’s failure to inform Congress before they started using torture in summer 2002 was a violation of the law. Likewise, their incomplete briefing in September 2002 was improper; they must be provided all information about such activities, not misleading briefings that obscure when such activities started. 

I called Hoekstra’s office twice for comment on this and other inconsistencies in his treatment of Congressional notification–but have gotten no response. 

But from all available evidence, it appears that Crazy Pete knows the CIA violated the law in 2002. But he’s simply more interested in beating up on Nancy Pelosi. 

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