Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Pro-Intelligence Veto

The president is threatening to veto the 2010 intelligence authorization bill. According to the Washington Post, the administration objects to
a provision that would force the administration to widen the circle of lawmakers who are informed about covert operations and other sensitive activities.
I do plenty of Obama-bashing here, and link many articles harshly critical of the president, but he deserves credit when he actually takes a positive step -- or at least threatens to. The last thing we need is to inform even more people about covert operations.  If anything, we should reduce the number of people who have access to such sensitive information. The whole point of "covert" operations is that they are conducted secretly. That's why they are called "covert." We already have major problems keeping secrets -- a problem compounded by an irresponsible press that will quickly print any leak, especially ones that might undermine U.S. military & intelligence efforts. The more people who know about secret operations, the greater the chance that someone will reveal information. Here's administration spokesman, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzag.
the new requirement would "undermine the president's authority and responsibility to protect sensitive national security information." ... Orszag also opposed a Senate bill provision that required notification of "any change in a covert action," which he described as setting up "unreasonable burdens" on the agencies, particularly the CIA . The House bill also requires notification of intelligence "significant undertakings," a term that Orszag described as "vague and uncertain."
The administration should be commended for refusing to sign on to a bill that will impose further restrictions on intelligence gathering, and make it even more likely that secrets will be exposed. Let's hope that if this bill passes, the president carries through on his threat and vetoes it.


  1. I definitely agree with your assessment. He's been a goofball to date, but this is a good step.

  2. Every once in awhile he does something right.