Intel Committees Weigh in on Security Report

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Today, intelligence officials briefed the White House on a new threat assessment that says Al-Qaida has regained strength, and is able to train, communicate and raise money while operating from safe havens in Pakistan.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) blames the Bush White House’s decision to go into Iraq before finishing off Al Qaida in Afghanistan:

One of the greatest tragedies of Iraq is that it has distracted us from fighting the real threat we face, al Qaida.

… Instead of pursuing them and finishing them off when we had the chance in 2002 and 2003, President Bush chose to invade Iraq thereby diverting our military and intelligence resources away from the real war on terrorism.

Let me be clear, threats to the United States homeland are not emanating from Iraq; they are coming from al Qaida leadership. …

If we really want to protect our homeland and our citizens from attack, we must end our involvement in the Iraqi civil war and refocus on destroying the al Qaida organization that still wants to attack us here at home.

Former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), now the ranking Republican on the committee, has a different view: Congress has been too busy trying to appease to amend the country’s FISA laws:

“Al-Qaeda has repeatedly made their intention to attack us clear, yet Congress is doing nothing to address this threat,” Hoekstra said. “At multiple classified hearings this year, the House Intelligence Committee has heard how the outdated FISA law is interfering with our intelligence effort against al-Qaeda.

“Instead of playing politics to appease, Congress needs to modernize FISA to stop al-Qaeda.”

It’s worth pointing out that the administration decided in secret to simply bypass FISA with its warrantless domestic spying programs rather than ask Congress to amend the FISA laws, for more than five years.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend