Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hutch News bashes Roberts

The Hutchinson News Editorial Board weighs in:
Pat Roberts made it clear again last week that he puts loyalty to the Bush administration ahead of everything else, even his responsibilities as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Instead of beginning a probe of President George W. Bush's domestic spying program, as critics demanded, Roberts announced that he'd reached "an accommodation" with the White House - creation of a subcommittee to monitor the operation, just as the Bush administration wanted.

No messy public hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee. No need to specify how many e-mails and phone calls the government monitored without court authorization. No need to identify which U.S. citizens the National Security Agency watched and why.

Just business as usual, except that seven of the Intelligence Committee's 15 members now receive regular briefings from the White House.

Two committee Republicans, Maine's Olympia Snowe and Nebraska's Chuck Hagel, made life miserable for Roberts when they threatened to side with Democrats last month and vote to investigate Bush's domestic spying operation. Needless to say, Chairman Roberts left them both off the oversight subcommittee.

No need taking chances, after all. Roberts wants to stop an investigation, not start one.

Once again, he succeeded.

In July 2004, the committee issued its blistering report on prewar Iraqi intelligence. But to protect the president, Roberts delayed phase two of the report until after the November elections.

Phase two explores political manipulation of the flawed prewar intelligence. Despite repeated promises by Roberts to complete it quickly, the investigation remains unfinished.

Roberts issued a news release last week to announce his deal with the White House.

"It has always been my desire as chairman to uphold and preserve the nonpartisan tradition of the Intelligence Committee," Roberts said.

Roberts put Bush's re-election ahead of an informed electorate when he delayed phase two of the pre-war intelligence report. He placed loyalty to the Bush administration ahead of Americans' civil liberties when he foiled an investigation of domestic spying.

To Pat Roberts, the Senate Intelligence Committee exists for one reason - to validate the policies of President George W. Bush.

I posted the whole thing because I think the Hutchinson News has a weird paywall, and because the editorial is so damn good.