Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, the chair and ranking minority leader on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, have been stymied in their effort to investigate the Fort Hood terrorist attack. They’ve been forced to now subpoena the records they are seeking, for it seems that the administration adamantly refuses to have anyone look over its shoulder. The senators take to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to argue:
The rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009 — after which U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan was charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder — has been reviewed by the administration and its group of handpicked outsiders, who were all formerly with either the Department of Defense or the Department of Justice. But the administration continues to withhold much of the crucial information from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which we are chairman and ranking member.
This is just not good enough for the American people. There are too many questions that still demand answers. Whatever mistakes were made in the run-up to the Fort Hood shootings need to be uncovered, and an independent, bipartisan congressional investigation is the best way to do it.
As Lieberman makes clear, they aren’t seeking to investigate the shooting — it’s the Army they want to investigate. Specifically, the senators are concerned about the lack of attention which the FBI and Defense Department paid to Major Hassan’s radical behavior and to his e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki. As they note, the Bush administration never tried this sort of stonewall. (“There is recent precedent for Congress to interview agents who may be prosecution witnesses. The Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 interviewed FBI agents who were involved in arresting the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, even though they were potential witnesses in that case.”)
It is hard to escape the conclusion that this administration simply doesn’t want to be second-guessed. We’ve already investigated ourselves, they declare. Not good enough. The senators should keep at it. And the administration should be on notice: should one or both of the Senate or House flip to Republican control, there is going to be a renewed appreciation of the importance of Congressional oversight.
The Left has often pointed to Sen. John McCain as an exemplar of correct and moralistic thinking on the war on terror, especially when he was criticizing the Bush administration on enhanced interrogation methods. But oddly, they’ve chosen to ignore his position on Obama’s ill-conceived policies. Don’t expect to see this exchange touted in the left-wing blogosphere:
WALLACE: What do you think of the president’s plan — apparent plan to send up to 100 detainees from Guantanamo to a prison in rural Illinois?
MCCAIN: I think it’s a serious mistake, and I think that the way to dispose of the — of this issue is by having an overall policy.
Right now they’re going to — they’re going to try terrorists in New York City, thereby giving Khalid Sheik Mohammed what he wanted when he was captured. He said, “I want a trial in the United States and a lawyer.” I think they’re making a serious mistake.
WALLACE: What’s wrong with Thompson, Illinois?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I think that it’s anywhere in the United States. It’s not the fact that it’s Thompson, Illinois. It’s any …
WALLACE: No, but what’s wrong …
MCCAIN: … any place.
WALLACE: … with sending them there?
MCCAIN: I think that they should be either sentenced to have the kind of military commissions that we have outlined in law and may make — have to make additional changes to, and — because they are enemy combatants, and I don’t think they should be kept in prison in the United States. Read More
The Washington Post, like many mainstream papers, likes nothing better than to slam a Democratic heretic and disguise it as political reporting. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are mavericks, but Joe Lieberman, according to this hit job, has “inserted himself” into the health-care vote (isn’t he a senator with a vote and everything?), thereby — passive voice alert — “raising questions about his motives, his ego and his fickle allegiance to the Democratic Party.” This presumably is a phrase off the Pelosi-Reid talking points.
He is a foe of the public option, and the Post‘s reporters dutifully report:
A number of senators are privately furious, Senate sources said. But they added that it is unlikely the Democratic caucus would take punitive action, such as stripping his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee — at least not in this Congress.
These would be the same folks who suggested the story and provided the talking points, no doubt. But aside from the not-very-well hidden agenda (Tell Lieberman he’ll be punished!), the reporters abandon any serious attempt to explain Lieberman’s objections, including his view (one widely held) that the public option won’t do anything to lower costs. But the piece isn’t about that — it’s about how darn mad the Democrats are and how they are once again out to smear the heretic of liberal orthodoxy, using the pages of the Post’s “news” section to do so.
Lieberman’s rationale for opposing the public option does slip out toward the final graphs (“an aggressive government-run plan would put undue pressures on medical providers and force them to shift costs to private insurers”). And lo and behold, the CBO confesses that some 10 million people would lose private insurance as they and their employers gravitated toward public subsidized plans.
One wonders why the Post allows its “news” pages to be used to smear one senator on behalf of a group of aggrieved liberals. After all, there is a entire opinion section for that.