The Compromise Intelligence Authorization: More Oversight, More Responsibility

By: Wednesday September 29, 2010 1:25 pm

It remains to be seen whether this compromise will give Congress enough new oversight powers to prevent the abuses that happened under Bush (and heck–I assume the Gang of Four, if not the Gang of Eight–has signed off on assassinating US citizens solely on the President’s say so, so it’s not clear that oversight will be any use in protecting the Constitution). But Jeff Stein reports both Pelosi and DiFi declaring victory, while the White House and DOD remain silent.


GAO Audits and Poppy Bush’s Covert World

By: Sunday August 8, 2010 11:30 am

Steven Aftergood has an important update on the continuing saga of whether or not GAO can conduct investigations of intelligence activities. He explores the source of current restrictions on GAO review: a 1988 OLC opnion written by Douglas Kmiec. Aftergood goes on to explore the troubling current use of this 1988 opinion protecting raw intelligence to protect more function-oriented reviews of Executive Branch counter-terrorism activities. It’s troubling that this 1988 OLC opinion used to protect details inconvenient to Poppy Bush’s aspirations are now being used to hide details of Obama’s counterterrorism programs.

Nancy Pelosi: How Dare the Administration Say they Would Veto Intelligence Reform?

By: Tuesday July 27, 2010 6:45 am

In a an interview with me on intelligence reform on Saturday, Speaker Pelosi suggested that the White House should either accept real reform of the oversight function–including some version of House amendments on GAO review of intelligence programs and expanded intelligence briefing beyond the Gang of Four–or accept full responsibility if anything goes wrong with [...]

GAO Report: Afghanistan Surge is Failing to Achieve Objectives

By: Thursday May 6, 2010 5:11 pm

On Wednesday, the non-partisan Government Accounting Office released a report (pdf) on Afghanistan. The report reminds us that President Obama chose to increase troop levels in Afghanistan in response to increasing levels of violence there. Despite the increased troop levels, there has been a continued increase in violence, which is further hampering the efforts to provide conditions under which a stable Afghan government can operate.

Obama’s Intelligence Leaders: For GAO Oversight Before They Were Against It

By: Wednesday March 17, 2010 7:15 pm

Obama’s two intelligence heads, Leon Panetta and Dennis Blair, supported GAO oversight of intelligence activities before–presumably–they supported yesterday’s veto threat of GAO oversight.

$112 Billion Student Loan Industry Bailout a Lesson in Corporate Welfare

By: Thursday March 11, 2010 8:12 am

With little public notice or fanfare, the federal government has been providing financial institutions involved in the student loan business with a bailout projected to be over $100 billion. With the federal government now helping to provide the financing for 80 percent of the “private” market for FFEL loans, it is ridiculous to classify it as anything other than a massive corporate welfare system.

The Independence of the Fed at Risk: Watt vs. Paul-Grayson

By: Wednesday November 18, 2009 3:10 pm

Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) is out to protect the independence of the Fed from the risk of an intrusive audit from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The risk comes in the form of a bill initiated by Ron Paul and Alan Grayson that calls for an audit of the Fed. The bill, which now has more than 300 co-sponsors, would allow Congress to find out who the Fed lent more than $2 trillion to through its special lending facilities, and under what terms. Congress would also be able to find out which countries were allowed to take advantage of dollar swaps at the peak of the financial crisis last fall.

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