Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bushwhacked Congressional Oversight

Here's the choice members of Congress have if they want to actually read Pres. Bush's classified intelligence bill before voting on it:

Nearly all members of the House of Representatives opted out of a chance to read this year's classified intelligence bill, and then voted on secret provisions they knew almost nothing about.

The bill, which passed by 327 to 96 in April, authorized the Bush administration's plans for fighting the war on terrorism. Many members say they faced an untenable choice: Either consent to a review process so secretive that they could never mention anything about it in House debates, under the threat of prosecution, or vote on classified provisions they knew nothing about.

Most chose to know nothing.

Only about a dozen House members scheduled time this year to read the classified sections of the intelligence bill, according to a House Intelligence Committee spokesman. The estimate dovetailed with a Globe survey sent to all members of the House, in which the vast majority of the respondents -- including eight out of 10 in the Massachusetts delegation -- said they typically don't read the classified parts of intelligence bills.

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