Thursday, July 14, 2005

SENATE DEMOCRATS want to add an amendment to a Homeland Security spending bill that would bar any official who revealed the identity of an undercover agent from obtaining a security clearance.

In retaliation, Senate Republicans have come up with a counter-amendment; and Josh Marshall says it's "truly amazing":

It would strip of his or her security access any senator who repeated a statement by an FBI agent which was subsequently used as "propaganda" by America's enemies. In other words, the law is targeted at Sen. Durbin, making it against the law to say what he said a month ago. [...]

Here is the text of the so-called 'Frist Amendment': "Any federal officeholder who makes reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate, or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on a FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorist organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk, shall not be permitted access to such information or to hold a security clearance for access to such information."

Apparently it's not a breech of national security for a U.S. official to reveal the identity of a covert C.I.A. operative (judging from the Republicans' response to Karl Rove having done exactly that); but it is a breech of national security for a member of Congress to read statements written by FBI agents that have been made public and thus are not classified.

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