The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees

There is a political myth in Washington that the Senate and House intelligence committees, unlike other congressional committees, have been bipartisan and fair minded in their handling of political matters.  Now that the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has gone rogue by providing sensitive exculpatory intelligence documents to the President of the United States, the subject of a committee investigation, we are told that the intelligence committee can no longer be considered bipartisan.  Well, we learned 25 years ago that the congressional intelligence committees were as politicized as any committee on the Hill.

The congressional intelligence committees were created in 1977 following recommendations of the Church and Pike committees that investigated crimes committed during the Vietnam War by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency.  These crimes included illegal domestic spying in violation of U.S. law throughout the war.  The intelligence committees were given responsibility for oversight of the intelligence community, which had been in the hands of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees from 1947 until 1977.

 

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