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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

When We Play Our Charade 

The Saturday scuttling of the 9/11 reform bill was painted by the press as a "Republican rebellion" against the White House; we thought otherwise. With Honest Don Rumsfeld in control of the pursestrings and Porter Goss busily purging the CIA of ideologically impure elements, what would be the point of reform? How could the situation possibly be improved upon? Here, from Atlanta Journal-Constitution, further evidence that the Imperial President's support for intelligence reform was nothing more than pure posturing all along:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that White House officials knew in advance of a Pentagon letter criticizing key aspects of a stalled bill to revamp the nation's intelligence agencies.

House Republicans blocking the legislation said that bolsters their claim that the administration's support of the measure — pushed by the 9/11 commission and families of victims of the terror attacks — has been tepid at best and that prospects for a breakthrough aren't strong.

Asked by reporters if he had been aware last month that Gen. Richard Myers was sending lawmakers a letter endorsing House GOP opposition to major points in the Senate version of the bill, Rumsfeld replied: "Not only was I, but the White House was. I mean, we had discussed this matter internally" . . . .

Rumsfeld said he stands with Bush in calling for the legislation's passage. But his comments about Myers' letter — which the White House has never disavowed — appeared to undermine administration claims that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have fought for passage of the long-debated bill, which would create a director of national intelligence.

Several House Republicans said Tuesday they were not defying Bush on Saturday when they rejected the compromise that the president and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) had endorsed.

Rather, they said, they were insisting on stronger protections for the Pentagon and for immigration-control efforts in the face of what many viewed as mixed signals from the administration . . . .

For weeks, senior House Republicans have cited Myers' Oct. 21 letter in arguing that the Pentagon, not the proposed director of national intelligence, should control the budgets of three intelligence-gathering operations housed in the Defense Department.

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