The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Congressional mushrooms

The Democrats (and many Republicans) in Congress who "voted for this war" (though that isn't really what they did, and no one in either party is consistent enough with this idea to usefully draw the distinction between giving Chimpy the right to go to the UN to present his case, and "voting for The War"), thinking that it would be politically bad to ever vote against a war lead by warmongering idiots and fools, are now predictably backpedaling on their pro-war stances because the qWagmire has turned into a financial, military, and moral disaster the size of which staggers even the most far-sighted war protestors.

Their defense? They didn't get the same intelligence that the White House did, so they were "fooled". It's not so easy to see how they were fooled into thinking that any war lead by this particular team, "Halliburton" Cheney and "Selling nuclear reactors to North Korea" Rumsfeld among them, would turn out OK. Maybe they thought that Bush wars in Iraq were always going to be short and popular, like the 1991 blood-for-oil fest led by Bush Sr. Maybe they just missed the fact that the architect for THAT little adventure, Brent Scowcroft, was in the papers arguing against IraqII, but then our Congresscritters seem incredibly dim on most matters. So, they were "fooled" by the intelligence they had is their defense.

Bush, wanting to strap the entire govenment onto himself and spread the blame around far and wide, says that the Congress couldn't have been "fooled" because they had the same intelligence that the Shite House had.

Turns out, yet again, that Bush is lying through his fucking teeth. Our Congressional mushrooms were kept in the dark and fed bullshit. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service was asked to look into this matter, and Diane Feinstein has published their findings. Among them:

By virtue of his constitutional role as commander-and-in-chief and head of the executive branch, the President has access to all national intelligence collected, analyzed and produced by the Intelligence Community. The President's position also affords him the authority - which, at certain times, has been aggressively asserted - to restrict the flow of intelligence information to Congress and its two intelligence committees, which are charged with providing legislative oversight of the Intelligence Community. As a result, the President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President - in contrast to Members of Congress - have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods. They, unlike Members of Congress, also have the authority to more extensively task the Intelligence Community, and its extensive cadre of analysts, for follow-up information. As a result, the President and his most senior advisors arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the Community's intelligence more accurately than is Congress.

In addition to their greater access to intelligence, the President and his senior advisors also are better equipped than is Congress to assess intelligence information by virtue of the primacy of their roles in formulating U.S. foreign policy. Their foreign policy responsibilities often require active, sustained, and often personal interaction, with senior officials of many of the same countries targeted for intelligence collection by the Intelligence Community. Thus the President and his senior advisors are uniquely positioned to glean additional information and impressions - information that, like certain sensitive intelligence information, is generally unavailable to Congress - that can provide them with an important additional perspective with which to judge the quality of intelligence.


Congressional Access to Intelligence Information Not Routinely Provided in Four Areas

The executive branch generally does not routinely share with Congress four general types of intelligence information:

  • the identities of intelligence sources;
  • the "methods" employed by the Intelligence Community in collecting and analyzing intelligence;
  • "raw" intelligence, which can be unevaluated or "lightly" evaluated intelligence, which in the case of human intelligence sometimes is provided by a single source, but which also could consist of intelligence derived from multiple sources when signals and imagery collection methods are employed; and,
  • certain written intelligence products tailored to the specific needs of the President and other high-level executive branch policymakers. Included in the last category is the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a written intelligence product which is briefed daily to the President, and which consists of six to eight relatively short articles or briefs covering a broad array of topics. The PDB emphasizes current intelligence and is viewed as highly sensitive, in part, because it can contain intelligence source and operational information. Its dissemination is thus limited to the President and a small number of presidentially-designated senior administration policymakers.

So, not that this helps any of the dead and dying and wounded and maimed and tortured and raped in Iraq, but for what it is worth, gee the Congress didn't "know" the full extent of how much horsecrap the administration was shoveling. I hope they can sleep at night.


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