Friday, December 01, 2006

First Murtha ... and Now We Lose Hastings Too!

Well, we won't have old Alcee Hastings to kick around - at least not as House intel chair.

Nancy Pelosi has come to her senses and passed over Hastings in favor of Silvestre "Silver" Reyes. Pelosi also snubbed Jane Harmen, a political foe.

In response to the public outcry over the consideration of Hastings as chair, Alcee treats us to some of his eloquence:

"Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet." (from FoxNews)
We don't know much about Reyes yet, but we're looking into it - more later. For now, this is what Fox gives us:

Reyes, whose nickname is "Silver," also served in the Army from 1966-68 during the Vietnam War, including 13 months in Vietnam. The helicopter crew chief and gunner received a Purple Heart, the military honor for being wounded in service.

Under Democratic control, his committee is expected to conduct more public oversight of some of the most difficult issues facing the United States, including terrorism, Iraq and government surveillance. Given the committee's inherently secret nature, much of the work will have to be done behind closed doors.

In an interview this month, Reyes said he will insist on more information about the Bush administration's most classified programs and how they are working. The Republicans, he said, have made a habit of rubber-stamping those programs.

He said he also wants to look at the role of intelligence three years after the war in Iraq began, as well as the state of traditional spycraft — also called "human intelligence" by intelligence professionals — versus "signal intelligence" gathered by satellites and electronic surveillance.

"We haven't required or haven't had the administration give us the details, evaluation or plan of how these classic programs are functioning," Reyes said. "There is plenty to do on the role of intelligence, the programs that are vital and critical to our national defense, and certainly to our war fighters."

Reyes is considered less partisan than Hastings, and signaled that the day after the election when he praised the selection of former CIA Director Robert Gates to replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Reyes noted that Gates served in Republican and Democratic administrations, giving him a bipartisan background. "I do look forward to hearing from him and what his ideas are," he said, particularly on the administration's new direction in Iraq.

I guess we have to give a little credit to Pelosi for finally caving in to the pressure. But not to worry, she'll give us plenty to work with soon enough.

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