Hoyer Statement on Intelligence Authorization Act

Democratic Whip Says Republicans Have Been Derelict in Exercising Congressional Oversight on Alleged Detainee Abuse

For Immediate Release:

June 21, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the Intelligence Authorization Act:

“I am pleased that the Majority has resolved its internal disagreement over the authority of the Director of National Intelligence to move up to 100 specialists within the intelligence community when he deems it necessary to further our national interests.

“As the Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee (Congresswoman Harman) and others have pointed out: the DNI’s personnel transfer authority is a key part of the intelligence reform act that this Congress passed last year.
 
“Now, I intend to support this legislation. However, I am deeply disappointed that this Republican Majority refused to make in order Congressman Waxman’s amendment to establish an independent commission to investigate detainee abuses.

“This Republican Majority has failed – once again – to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of oversight. And instead, it chooses to circle the wagons around the Administration, deflecting criticism of American policy – even as people throughout the world hear and see evidence of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Bagram Camp in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

“The Republican Majority fails to appreciate the unavoidable truth on this issue: Our nation must not only satisfy the American people that our treatment of detainees is humane and appropriate, but also the world.

“As former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, career diplomat Thomas Pickering and attorney Floyd Abrams wrote last week in The Washington Post:

‘An independent, bipartisan investigation can generate widespread acceptance and support for its findings.  Only with such a commission are we likely to enact the reforms needed to restore our credibility among the nations of the world.’

“As the world’s leading advocate for democracy and human rights, we must demonstrate an unflinching willingness to scrutinize our own conduct – however painful that may be. But today, the Majority demonstrates that this is a responsibility that it is unwilling to accept.”

###