Pelosi’s choice on Intel

Harman would be an excellent choice. But Holt wouldn’t be terrible.

I’m a big Jane Harman fan. As an ex-hawk on Iraq, an actual expert on security, and a veteran of several clashes with Hoekstra, she’s ideally positioned to make the points that need to be made about the corruption and politicization of the intelligence machinery under GOP rule.

But if Pelosi absolutely can’t stand having another powerful woman around her, then Rush Holt wouldn’t be a bad, choice, either technically or politically.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

15 thoughts on “Pelosi’s choice on Intel”

  1. Why not mention Harman's penchant for pushing or not opposing Republican spin? Or Pelosi's unfortunate but indisputable need to at least try to accommodate the wishes of important blocks in the House, in this case to put the member with (iirc) the most seniority in the chair?

  2. Oh, come on, now. Give the man a break. After all, Pelosi only gave in to Steny Hoyer for Majority Whip when she found out Steny wasn't a girl's name. Isn't that how you heard it, Mark?

  3. Yes, by all means, Harman for HPSCI chair. Why, look at all the excellent intelligence (in both sense of the words) on display from her floor speech in support of the war in Iraq from 2002:
    The threat from Iraq is very real and increasingly dangerous. Saddam Hussein's belligerent intentions and his possession and ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction to fulfill those intentions make him a clear and present danger to the United States and the world.
    Particularly worrisome is the evidence of Iraq's UAV capability. Iraq's ability to use uninhabited aerial vehicles to deliver biological and chemical weapons far outside its national borders represents a qualitative increase in the danger it poses.

    That he appears, to quote Director Tenet's recent letter, to be "drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks" does not persuade me that he won't.

    The CIA now reports that Iraq is one year away from a functional nuclear device once it acquires fissile material. Waiting one hour, one day, one month in such an environment, as some suggest, is too risky.

    We have to act now because the UN resolutions following the Gulf War have not contained the Iraqi threat.

    This resolution requires the President to comply with the War Powers Act and report regularly to Congress should military action become necessary, as well as after the use of force is completed.
    This resolution addresses post-disarmament Iraq and the role of the United States and international community in rebuilding.
    And of crucial importance, this resolution requires the President to certify to Congress that action in Iraq will not dilute our ability to wage the war on terrorism.

    Giving diplomatic efforts every chance is the right policy and this resolution gives diplomacy its maximum chance to succeed.
    Other Democratic congresspeople were not so blind about Iraq. The 2006 election was about Iraq more than any other issue. It would be a disastrous move to give control of the HPSCI to someone with such a poor record of judgment in intelligence affairs.

  4. Why would being an ex-hawk on Iraq qualify someone for this job? Isn't an "ex-hawk" someone who was utterly wrong on the most important foreign policy question in the last five years? An ex-hawk who was on an intelligence committee, is one who was utterly wrong while having access to more information than the rest of us.
    I realize that many people were wrong on this issue, and that right decisions can lead to wrong outcomes, but perhaps having someone in charge of the committee who's naturally skeptical of the information coming from the White House or the intelligence community would be a Good Thing.

  5. Seriously, that did look like a right-wing talking slipped into the blog from the middle of nowhere. Fewer posts about how shrewish women are in power, please.

  6. I'm struck by both the content and the tone of, "But if Pelosi absolutely can't stand having another powerful woman around her . . ." The implication that Pelosi's reasons could only be personal is disturbing, and the tone seems very close to anger, as if you believe she has no right to be taken seriously.

  7. As other commentes have noted, this is a strange post. If you're think this speculation as to Pelosi's motives is appropriate, I assume you think it's appropriate for me to speculate regarding your motivation to frame this dispute in this manner. I surmise that you have woman issues and that this post arises out of some poorly-veiled misogyny. After all, we each have a similar amount of evidence for these attributions.

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