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Is Roberts intelligent on intelligence?


Sen. Pat Roberts' proposal to dismantle the CIA as part of a revamping of America's intelligence services is still getting a lot of talk around the country. But the Bush Administration -- which does, after all, have a say in the matter -- doesn't seem to be on board.Instead, [The Los Angeles Times][1] and other papers report this morning that the White House instead drafting executive orders that would give the CIA director more power."Among the proposals, a congressional official said Thursday, is one giving the director of central intelligence, who heads the CIA, the title of national intelligence director and granting that position greater authority over the 14 other spy agencies," wrote the Times' Greg Miller.Miller added: "The administration has had a muted response to aggressive proposals, such as the one offered by the Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), which would break up the CIA."That, of course, isn't keeping newspaper editorial pages around the country from weighing in on Roberts' proposal. The opinions are split along two lines -- either Roberts is incredibly bold, or incredibly clumsy for not letting his Senate colleagues in on the plan before publicizing it.Or, [The St. Petersburg Times][2] suggests, a little bit of both."All the howling is evidence that Roberts is stepping on the right toes," the Times editorialized today. "Even the horrors of 9/11 and the inexcusable intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq weren't traumatic enough to knock much of official Washington out of its turf-conscious complacency. Roberts may have some of the details wrong, and he should have worked to build bipartisan support for his plan before announcing it. But he has furthered the necessary effort to reform our intelligence services simply by showing that he intends to take the job seriously."[The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel][3] and [The Cincinnatti Post][4] lean toward the "bold" explanation."As it is, Roberts is working to reform a system that is well-entrenched, well-financed, highly fortified and highly opposed to change," the Journal Sentinel wrote. "That explains the resistance. But it does not justify it."David Ignatius, a nationally syndicated columnist writing in the Post, agreed. "Let's be honest and call Sen. Pat Roberts' proposal for reforming the intelligence community the 'blow it up' option," he wrote."Maybe Roberts is right. Are we really doing the nation's intelligence officers any favor by maintaining those three loaded initials in perpetuity? After so many years under attack, the agency has a permanent 'Kick Me' sign attached to its derriere. "The debate ain't over.The highway bill Of course, there's bread-and-butter stuff back at home to be thinking about, as well. U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran who represents the western half of Kansas -- and more -- in Congress tells the [Dodge City Daily Globe][5] that new federal highway money is slow in coming."If Congress decides to pass a new highway bill, it will probably not act until after the fall election, Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran said Wednesday," Eric Swanson wrote. "'My guess is that we will limp along, we'll extend it for another few months until we see whether we have change in Congress, a change in the White House,' (Moran) said."Swanson added: "For every dollar spent on gas in Kansas, 18.4 cents is deposited in the gas tax trust fund to pay for federal highways and projects. Under the current law, Kansas gets more money back than it pays into the fund. Moran estimated that Kansas receives $1.03 for every dollar it puts into the fund."A couple of other links today:Sam Brownback links [Judge: 'Partial-birth abortion' ban is unconstitutional][6]Moore-Kobach campaign links [Out of the mouth of Cheney...][7]How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][8] [1]: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-na-intel27aug27,1,2017017.story [2]: http://www.sptimes.com/2004/08/27/Opinion/Stepping_on_toes.shtml [3]: http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/aug04/254173.asp [4]: http://www.cincypost.com/2004/08/27/ignat082704.html [5]: http://www.dodgeglobe.com/stories/082604/local_08260407.shtml [6]: http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/news/nation/9507640.htm [7]: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/9507590.htm [8]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed


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