Senate Overwhelmingly Rejects 9-11 Commission Plan for Congressional Oversight

October 12, 2004

USA Today reports that the Senate rejected by a 79-6 vote, the 9-11 Commission’s recommendation that Congress oversee the nation’s 15 intelligence agencies. Instead, “the Senate created a new Homeland Security Committee, made a new subcommittee under the existing Appropriations Committee and strengthened the Intelligence Committee.”

Senator McCain is apparently frustrated with this development, believing it will be meaningless and that the Senate should have adopted the Commission’s recommendation in toto.

You should note that neither Senator Kerry nor Senator Edwards voted on this matter. But the main reason I am reporting on this at all is to point out something that has bothered me since the commission first released its report. Do you remember how Kerry started squawking immediately that President Bush should adopt ALL the commission’s recommendations completely — even before Kerry could have had time to skim, much less read all of the report? I always thought Kerry’s position was extraordinarily irresponsible and blatantly political. As usual he just wanted another club to beat the president with and he exploited the just-released report to do so. There is no way any responsible leader could reasonably say that we should just blindly accept all the commission’s recommendations, as complicated as this matter is.

Now that a few months have passed and the politics has died down on it, we see that my suspicion has some merit. At least in the opinion of a very large majority of senators this particular recommendation was not advisable. Keep in mind that I’m not commenting on the merits of this vote because I’m not an expert on organizational matters concerning intelligence and Homeland Security. But it’s interesting that very few of Kerry and Edward’s colleagues agree with them. Someone besides me should bring Kerry to task for having made that rash statement (urging the president to adopt the entire list of recommendations sight unseen) irrespective of the merits of this particular recommendation. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it now: John Kerry is a reckless man, letting nothing get in the way of his political ambitions.