From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
The Commission

February 7, 2004 10:02 AM

After much pressure, Bush issued an executive order yesterday creating the "Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction." The report is due to the President on March 31st, 2005.

Bush and Cheney -- "He was very involved." -- have found 7 of their 9 appointees so far:

  • Laurence Silberman (R), a federal appeals court judge, deputy attorney general under presidents Nixon and Ford, and former member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Defense Policy Board.
  • Charles (Chuck) Robb (D), former senator and Virginia governor, served on the Senate intelligence committee until his defeat in 2000
  • John McCain (R), Arizona senator who lost to Bush in 2000 Republican primary and called for this independent investigation of prewar intelligence.
  • Lloyd Cutler, White House counsel to Carter and Clinton
  • Richard Levin, president of Yale
  • Patricia Wald, former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal, and former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit -- a Carter appointee
  • Adm. William Studeman, former deputy director of the CIA and director of the National Security Agency.

Shockingly, no one from Uncovered made the list.

Democrats are upset that Bush and Cheney appointed all the members of the bipartisan commission themselves -- usually these things are done by Congress. By appointing three Democrats and a Republican rival (John McCain), they appear to have pulled off a big head fake. The story isn't in who they appointed, it's in the scope of the commission. Bush and Cheney aren't investigating their politicization of the intelligence, just why the intelligence community was wrong:

The Commission shall examine the capabilities and challenges of the Intelligence Community to collect, process, analyze, produce, and disseminate information concerning the capabilities, intentions, and activities of such foreign powers relating to the design, development, manufacture, acquisition, possession, proliferation, transfer, testing, potential or threatened use, or use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, related means of delivery, and other related threats of the 21st Century.

Josh Marshall explains:

If you read the "mission" as defined in the order it seems narrowly framed as looking at pre-war CIA analyses (actually the whole Intelligence Community) and how they stack up against what Kay's guys found on the ground after the war.

Anything the White House did with those CIA analyses, any fisticuffs between the Veep's office and the CIA, anything stovepiped through Doug Feith's operation at the Pentagon, anything that made its way from Chalabi's mumbo-jumbocrats to the the president's speechwriters -- that's all beyond their brief.

Marshall also notes that the commission lacks any subpoena power:

The commission doesn't appear to have any subpoena power, only the right to "full and complete access to information relevant to its mission as described in section 2 of this order." If I read this right -- and needless to say I'm no lawyer, notwithstanding that summer in grad school I wasted prepping for the LSAT -- what's "relevant" is at the discretion of the department heads of the various executive branch agencies.

This is all just a big setup to blame the CIA and justify creation of a new "National Intelligence Agency" that some are throwing around now. Take the 14 agencies responsible for intelligence -- all of which are the responsibility of the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet -- and create a new centralized agency, like what was done with the Department of Homeland Security. Theoretically, this would be a massive power shift away from Rumsfeld's Pentagon since the majority of the intelligence agencies are located there.

The Commission shall assess whether the Intelligence Community is sufficiently authorized, organized, equipped, trained, and resourced to identify and warn in a timely manner of, and to support United States Government efforts to respond to, the development and transfer of knowledge, expertise, technologies, materials, and resources associated with the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, related means of delivery, and other related threats of the 21st Century and their employment by foreign powers (including terrorists, terrorist organizations, and private networks, or other entities or individuals).

More from the archive in Corruption, Intelligence, Lies and Deceit.

The Commission (02.07.2004)

Next Entry: Shooting the messenger (02.07.2004)
Previous Entry: The Divinity of Politics (02.06.2004)

Read the 1 comments.

robert betters:

did we have the right to invade Iraq?

Sat Nov 19 2005 9:53 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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