Saturday, July 08, 2006

Republican Leader Tells Bush Secret Programs May Be Illegal

The New York Times has obtained a letter addressed to Pres. Bush from Peter Hoekstra, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. In it, Hoekstra criticizes the President for what he considers flawed nominations for Director and Deputy Director of the C.I.A., and for not consulting Congress before announcing the nominations; for turning the Office of the DNI into a cumbersome, inflexible, bureaucratic structure that cannot effectively deal with terrorist threats; and -- in Hoekstra's words, "perhaps most importantly" -- for ignoring and bypassing Congress's oversight function in authorizing and implementing secret intelligence programs.

The New York Times fleshes it out:

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 from Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, 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.

Emphasis mine.

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