With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats’ plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it’s not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.
My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.
Late Friday afternoon, Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that his panel would be undertaking a formal investigation of the CIA. The ostensible subject of the probe is a highly classified program that targeted al Qaeda leaders for assassination and which CIA director Leon Panetta briefed the committee about on June 24.
“After careful consideration and consultation with the Ranking Minority Member and other members of the Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will conduct an investigation into possible violations of federal law, including the National Security Act of 1947,” Reyes said in a statement.
Let us offer to save the distinguished chairman some time, and the taxpayers some money: Forget it. There were no violations of federal law. Dennis Blair, Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence, told the Washington Post that the CIA was not required to brief Congress about a program that appears never to have been implemented. In either case, the statute that governs these matters leaves such notification to the discretion of the executive branch. And within minutes of the announcement of the investigation, and despite Reyes’s claim of having consulted him, Representative Pete Hoekstra, the ranking minority member, blasted the probe as “partisan” hackery.