George Bush may actually lose his battle to prevent changes to America's intelligence agencies. Since his inauguration in January 2001 Bush has actively and passively worked against the nation's intelligence agencies. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) finally called a vote on the pending "Intelligence Bill," which passed the house yesterday by a vote of 336 to 75. Hastert had refused to call a vote claiming that he wanted "a majority of the majority" to back the bill before putting the bill to a vote. This was an attempt by the Republican leader to make the Democratic minority "irrevelant," according to some observers.
It has been clear, in recent weeks, that Bush's "support" for the bill has been tepid at best. He has not used his bully pulpit and position as leader of the controlling party to push the bill to a vote, let alone get it passed. He has paid little more than lip service to the bill with none of the back room maneuvering that would guarantee the bill's passage. The bill has enjoyed huge support in both the House and Senate. Now that the bill has moved out of the House it should receive swift passage through the Senate. On the other hand the Bush administration could easily exercise yet more obstructionism through amendments and technical wrangling which would make it look like Bush supports the bill while effectively blocking it.
It's believed that one of the primary reasons that Bush does not want the new intelligence director's position created is that it would weaken the control and flow of intelligence in the defense department, now controlled by Donald Rumsfeld. Once the flow of intelligence become more transparent, the Defense Department would be less able to make it's own calls on what and which "threats," to which the U.S. should respond.
- He ignored intelligence briefings from the CIA (the daily presidential briefing, PDB) and his national security advisor (Sec. of State appointee Condoleeza Rice) which warned of looming Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S.;
- He fought the creation of the bi-partisan 911 commission investigating the intelligence and defense failures that led to the 911 attacks;
- He stonewalled and refused to cooperate during the 911 commissions investigations, first refusing to testify himself and not allowing other of his advisors to testify and then only permitting the testimony under very narrow strictures;
- He fought the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security;
- He fought the creation of an "intelligence czar," and other recommendations made by the 911 commission;
- He dismissed intelligence findings of the CIA and NSA declaring no threat to America from Saddam Hussein or Iraq and fabricated evidence to create a compelling reason to invade Iraq.
- He created a "department of special projects," in the Defense Department to create "intelligence" to support his administration's preconceptions and ideology.