Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Kerry's low intelligence quotient...

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, there has been a lot of scrutiny of those whose job it is to protect our nation. The policies of both Presidents Bush and Clinton have been put under the microscope. The performance of the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence apparatus have been dissected. The roles of the State and Justice Departments have been analyzed. But the one body that has received little attention in all this is the Congress—specifically those whose duty it is to review and oversee intelligence matters. John Kerry, who served on the Senate Intelligence Committee for eight years, is one of those people, and he has largely been given a pass. Andrew McCarthy says it’s time for that to stop.

After two decades in the Senate, Kerry is bereft of notable lawmaking accomplishments. Nonetheless, he has touted his membership on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1993 to early 2001 as a powerful presidential credential. But that stance could not be more at odds with the 9/11 commission's findings.

According to the commission, legislative oversight of America's intelligence community in the years prior to the 9/11 attacks was, in a word, woeful. The commission found that Congress gave its oversight responsibilities low priority and performed them exceedingly poorly. Terrorist organizations in particular received virtually no attention, and, the panel added, congress was essentially AWOL in helping the executive branch "address the questions of counterterrorism strategy and policy" (p. 106, footnote omitted).

McCarthy quotes extensively from the 9/11 Commission report, which characterizes the performance of the Senate Intelligence Committee as nothing short of derelict. But John Kerry’s conduct on the committee is particularly abysmal:
According to published reports, Kerry was absent from over 75 percent of the public hearings conducted by the intelligence committee during his eight years of service — skipping 38 out of 49 such sessions. Edwards is reported to have missed 50 percent of the public hearings (four out of eight).
Kerry needs to be challenged on this. He’s asking us to put faith in him to defend our country. First he’s got to defend his record.

No comments: