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Undercover, up to the line

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Sen. Pat Roberts is wading a little deeper into the Karl Rove saga, in a somewhat unexpected way.[The New York Times][1] reports this morning: "The Senate Intelligence Committee will conduct hearings on American spy agencies' use of cover to protect the identities of intelligence officers, the committee chairman said on Sunday."The chairman, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, said on the CNN program 'Late Edition' that the committee was 'going to go into quite a series of hearings in regard to cover.' The practice of intelligence cover has come under scrutiny during the investigation of the disclosure of the C.I.A. employment of Valerie Wilson, who had worked under cover for the agency for 18 years before being publicly identified as a C.I.A. operative in 2003."'You cannot be in the business of outing somebody' working under cover, Mr. Roberts said. He said, however, there were questions about the depth of Ms. Wilson's cover, because she had been based at the Virginia headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency at least since 1997."'I must say from a common-sense standpoint, driving back and forth to work to the C.I.A. headquarters, I don't know if that really qualifies as being, you know, covert,"'Mr. Roberts said. 'But generically speaking, it is a very serious matter.'"In other words, Roberts won't be looking into a CIA officer's identity was illegally leaked -- but whether it was too easily known.Elsewhere, [The Washington Times][2] reports today that Roberts wants intelligence agents to "step right up to" legal limits placed by Congress on intelligence agencies in the war on terror."'The challenge today is not so much keeping intelligence officers from stepping across the legal line -- no one wants that -- but [rather] getting them to even come close to those lines,' the senator said. "'I expect the lawyers of the intelligence community -- along with its analysts and operators -- to step right up to those lines,' Mr. Roberts concluded. 'Don't go over them, but step up to them.'"Other links today:Pat Roberts links [(Voice of America) Saudi Ambassador-Designate to US Says His Country is Fighting Terrorism:][3] Earlier on the same program, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman (Republican) Pat Roberts said he thinks the leaders of Saudi Arabia have their own interests to consider in cracking down harder on Islamic extremists. "Well, there better be improvement because it's their self-preservation that's at stake," Mr. Roberts says. "Bin Laden, and the basic networks within the networks would like to dislodge or replace or terminate that government." Senator Roberts said he feels Saudi Arabia is doing more to combat terrorism than it used to. But when asked whether he feels Riyadh's efforts are enough, he said that is still what he called an "open question."[(New York Times) North Korea Nuclear Goals: Case of Mixed Signals:][4] Early this year, American spy satellites detected a spike in suspicious tunneling activity at a highly secretive military site in the mountains of North Korea. ... Senator Roberts would not discuss the contents of the briefing, but he said he knew of nothing specific that would have led analysts to warn that North Korea was moving closer to testing.Todd Tiahrt links [(Wichita Eagle) Tiahrt keeps busy after son's death:][5] Talk to Todd Tiahrt these days and you'll get an earful about jobs. "What I'm trying to do is create an environment where we bring jobs to America and keep the ones we've got," said Tiahrt, sitting in a U.S. Capitol meeting room, lawmakers and lobbyists chattering past. ... It was last July 24 when Luke Tiahrt, the congressman's 16-year-old youngest son, died by suicide in the Tiahrts' northern Virginia home. Since then, Tiahrt has been re-elected, his family has adjusted, and he's taken on new responsibilities in the U.S. House of Representatives. While Tiahrt has yet to speak publicly about his son's death, he does discuss how his family has coped.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][6] [1]: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/25/politics/25leak.html?hp&ex=1122350400&en=89b014aeadfe83c3&ei=5094&partner=homepage [2]: http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050724-110417-6093r.htm [3]: http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-07-24-voa28.cfm [4]: http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050725/ZNYT03/507250373 [5]: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/12215530.htm [6]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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