The intelligence charade continues in Washington. The latest twist surrounding last week's surprising defeat of the intelligence reforms offered up by the 9/11 commission was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's insistence that he had nothing to do with having the bill scuttled in the House. He tells reporters he fully supports President Bush's desire to have the intel reform enacted. "I'm a part of this administration. I support the president's position. The congressmen who are saying that I had blatant opposition to the bill [are] incorrect," said Rumsfeld.
That would be congressmen like Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who says in recent weeks that Rumsfeld had "trashed" the proposal during closed-door meetings on Capitol Hill. The post-9/11 bill, designed to overhaul the country's spy machinery, sailed through the Senate, but ran into opposition from just a handful of conservative Republicans in the House who, doing the Pentagon's bidding, argued that the legislation, designed to make America safer from terrorists attacks, would damage the soldiers in the field. That's the position the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, is taking. Some observers, though, see the intel battle as a classic D.C. turf showdown over who gets to control budget strings, not over actual intelligence.