E-mail exchange with Feinstein's office
Your blog post today makes unfair, untrue and inaccurate accusations about Senator Feinstein and her role as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. You falsely claim that Senator Feinstein would prefer to ignore the issues raised by the Washington Post series. These assertions are easily refuted by facts, but you did not call us and do any actual reporting before rushing to post your ad hominem attacks. However, I think Salon readers should have the benefit of the facts to counter these blatant distortions of reality, so here is the truth:
On Tuesday, Senator Feinstein opened the Intelligence Committee's hearing into the nomination of James Clapper for the Director of National Intelligence by referring specifically to the Washington Post series and the issues it raised:
"As the articles yesterday and today in The Washington Post had made clear, the DNI faces major management challenges caused by the enormous growth throughout those intelligence agencies and other parts of the government's national security complex since 9/11.The full transcript is here: http://transcriptswire.cq.com/do/transcriptView?id=169056392&print=1&mode=slug
These articles raised several issues, such as the high infrastructure expansion of buildings and data systems. Yesterday's article specifically named -- and I won't read them out -- but one, two, three, four, five, six, seven huge new buildings, all of which, as was pointed out, will obviously have to accommodate individuals and all kinds of support services and positions.
The article also describes a contractor number that now reaches approximately 28 to 30 percent of the entire intelligence workforce, and carries out inherently governmental functions, contrary to policies of the Office of Management and Budget.
The authors count 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies that work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence.
Under the past two DNIs and CIA directors, the number of contractors has been coming down slightly, and I'm pleased that they are no longer being used to conduct interrogation.
Nonetheless, the use of contracts needs to continue to decrease substantially. And I intend to keep pushing on this point until contractors are not used for any inherently governmental purpose.
Our original fiscal year 2010 intelligence authorization bill contained a requirement that would have reduced the number of contractors across the community by 10 percent for 2009 to 2010. But because of the delay in passing the bill, this cut has not gone into effect.
Like the Post articles, this committee has found, as evidenced by our report on the Christmas Day plot, that intelligence growth has not always led to improved performance. Growth in the size and number of agencies, offices, task forces, and centers has also challenged the ability of former directors of national intelligence to truly manage the community."
In addition, Senator Feinstein has made reforming the Intelligence Community a centerpiece of her tenure as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
· The Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization bill includes a provision to reduce the level of Intelligence Community contractors by 10 percent between FY09-FY10.
· FY 2010 bill also includes 10 provisions to hand the Director of National Intelligence additional authorities/flexibilities to manage the Intelligence Community.
· The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence continually reviews this subject as part of its oversight duties. This includes annual updated figures on the size of the problem; meetings with the top Intelligence Community Human Resources official; numerous discussions with heads of agencies on this issue, including CIA, NGA, and DHS intel.
· Senator Feinstein introduced legislation in 2008 and 2009 to ban the use of contractors in interrogations and detention operations and publicly congratulated Director Panetta (see attached press release) when he enacted this policy for CIA last year.
Senator Feinstein on the Use of Contractors:
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Gil - Which facts specifically did I get wrong? Which statements did I write which are false?
I wrote two sentences about Senator Feinstein: "It's probably best not to hold your breath waiting for Dianne Feinstein -- the Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee who lives in lavish wealth as a result of her husband's investments in the National Security State (and whose Senate career has a way of oh-so-coincidentally bolstering their wealth) -- to meaningfully address any of the issues raised by the Post series. Despite Feinstein's rhetoric to the contrary, doing so is decidedly not in her interests for multiple reasons."
Which of those is false? I'm happy to publish your response, but since you're accusing me of making "unfair, untrue and inaccurate accusations," I'd like to know which specifically are inaccurate? Keep in mind that I did not deny that she speaks of the need to "reform" the intelligence community, but rather referenced her "rhetoric" in that regard and linked to an article which quoted her. That article, however, by the Post's Jeff Stein, expressed the same skepticism as I did about the sincerity and meaningfulness of this "intent."
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Every bit of it is wrong and false.
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She doesn't live a lavish life of wealth? That's not as a result of her husband's investments in the National Security State? Her actions in the Senate haven't coincidentally increased their wealth?
Did you click on the links I supplied? Are those factually false, too?