New York Times:
The select committee, which would include the lawmakers who set intelligence policy as well as those who oversee the intelligence budget, is intended to address a central commission finding that Congressional oversight of intelligence matters was dysfunctional and needed to be more centralized. The committee will review intelligence spending requests, conduct hearings, make financing recommendations and assess how the money is spent.
The initiative is the latest indication from the Democratic leadership that it intends to be aggressive in the opening weeks of Congress, when the party coming into power may have its best opportunity to push through major changes.
“It’s with really some degree of excitement, frankly, that I make this proposal,” said Ms. Pelosi, who served on both the Appropriations and Intelligence committees. “I know it will make the American people safer.”
After the Sept. 11 commission issued its report in 2004, the Republican-led Congress explored the idea of making in-house changes sought by the panel. But few were seriously pursued after lawmakers ran into the traditional resistance from senior members of Congress unwilling to surrender any authority.
The Democratic proposal, which would apply to the House only, does not go as far as the commission recommended, but one member of the panel welcomed it on Thursday as a substantive step.
“I think it is a creative, bold solution,” said Timothy J. Roemer, a former Democratic congressman who served on the panel and consulted with lawmakers on the new committee. “You can’t point to the F.B.I. to clean up its culture and ask the C.I.A. to improve human intelligence without cleaning up your own backyard.”