Friday, December 15, 2006

Castrating Intelligence

Nothing like oversight to really wreck a system. No doubt that this was coming when the Dems took over, but with Leahy's screeching and now Pelosi's plans, I'm thinking that things are going to end in a wreck.
House Democrats unveiled plans Thursday to create a single congressional panel to oversee both the budgets and operations of American intelligence agencies, a realignment that would give lawmakers greater control of the expanding U.S. espionage community.

The proposal would mark the first significant change in congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies since the House and Senate intelligence committees were created in the mid-1970s.

It also would allow the newly elected Democratic majority to exert more influence over the nation's 16 U.S. spy agencies.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said the reorganization "removes the barriers" between existing committees that control spending and monitor the overseas operations of the CIA and other spy services.

"This panel will have the responsibility to hold hearings, to consider the budget for intelligence," Pelosi said. "Its purpose is to protect the American people with the best possible intelligence."
Have you ever worked a job where there were more auditors than workers? I have, in the nuclear industry. It typically starts with the workers getting ready and then the auditors poor in and get in the way. Then the auditors begin providing "helpful" suggestions on how to engineer the job. Which usually stops the job because the engineer that documented the process isn't there. So they go and talk to the engineer who gets really angry having now to justify a simple procedure to a bunch of fools who didn't bother coming to the procedural review, but now want to throw their weight around. I've done this at multiple levels, from worker, to engineer, to technician, to auditor. (I'm an excellent auditor by the way. I don't say squat unless the work wanders away from procedure.)

Can anyone tell me how more oversight of the intelligence community is going to make it better?

Does this strike anyone else as a power grab?
The proposal is designed to fix flaws in congressional oversight that were outlined by the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In particular, that panel concluded that congressional controls were routinely undermined because the lawmakers responsible for monitoring the overseas operations of the CIA and other agencies lacked authority over spy agency budgets.
There is some benefit, no doubt to some increase, but I'm betting that that isn't what's going to happen here. I'm betting on a bunch of investigations on previous issues solely for political purposes. Pretty much what you'd expect when the opposition regains power.
Pelosi's plan is aimed at closing that loophole by creating the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. It would develop a detailed budget for intelligence agencies, then deliver that blueprint to the defense subcommittee, which sets the so-called black budgets of U.S. espionage.
That truly scares me. Letting politicos have detailed control of a budget. Not only will funding for secret things be made public, but they won't be secret any more. Politicians are so good at keeping secrets.

Wonder if they'll do anything about the oversight regarding security leaks from the intelligence agencies. Nah, that would remove a convenient path for getting them information that they aren't supposed to spread around.

It's almost like a train wreck. I can't not watch.

No comments: