HIGHTOWER: The "Intelligence" Commitee

An oxymoron is something that is inherently contradictory, like "large shrimp" . . . or, "business ethics."But the most moronic of oxys might be the congressional "intelligence committee." With a mandate to oversee the performance of America's spy agencies, this oversight committee recently released a scathing report on the CIA, the DIA, the NSC and the assorted other spook houses inside Washington. It said, in essence, that they were incompetent, bureaucratic nincompoops.The report noted that many of our foreign agents can't even speak the language of countries they are in, that the agencies fritter away billions on high-tech satellites and electronic surveillance hardware, and that they don't even have people capable of analyzing the mountains of data the hardware collects.So does the intelligence committee whack the budgets of these wasteful incompetents or move to eliminate the spy bureaucracies, as committees have done when even less of a mess has been found in agencies handling job-training, environmental and other programs? No, no sunshine. Instead the committee threw money at the squirrely spies, giving them more than a two billion dollar budget increase!To add insult to the injury it imposed on us taxpayers, the intelligence committee also refuses to tell us the total amount it spends on spy agencies, claiming this would be [quote] "highly dangerous to the national security." Hogwash. Russian, Chinese, and other so-called threats to our security already know this total, so the only ones being kept in the dark are us -- the people paying the tab. Worse, this bit of committee secrecy violates the Constitution, which plainly says congress must publish an accurate accounting of its spending.Putting the intelligence committee in charge of our spy agencies is like having Larry, Curly and Moe supervise the Marx Brothers.Source:"Secret Budget for Intelligence is Approved by Senate, 98 to 1" by Tim Weiner. The New York Times: June 20, 1997.Contact us directly at: hightower@essential.org

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