Politics

House Intel Bill Larded With Pork and Global-Warming Mandates

Despite strong opposition from conservative Republicans, the just-passed House version of next year’s intelligence spending bill includes at least $100 million worth of pork and a mandate that the intelligence community produce reports on global warming.

Thanks to new disclosure laws passed by the House, this is the first bill in which earmarks were listed in an appropriations bill next to the lawmaker who secured them.

But the new rules didn’t discourage a handful of members from securing pork for their districts.

The most contentious earmark in the bill was an unclassified $23-million allotment to fund the National Drug Intelligence Center located Johnstown, Pa., in senior appropriator John Murtha’s (D.) home district.  Last year, the House Government Reform Committee said the center should be shut down, and in his proposed budget, President Bush designated $16 million to close it.

In a written statement, Rep. John Campbell (R.-Calif.) said: “The center’s remote location and the fact that there are 19 other operations just like it have caused these oversight panels to publicly oppose its continued operation. Even drug enforcement officials have been quoted as saying the center is basically ‘a jobs program that Mr. Murtha wanted for his district.’”

Murtha’s $23-million earmark was one of 16 unclassified earmarks sought by 11 different representatives, two of whom were Republicans.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.) attempted to attach an amendment to the bill requiring the Justice Department’s inspector general to audit the center in Murtha’s district, but his amendment was turned away by the Rules Committee.

There were also classified earmarks Republicans wanted to contest but were unable to because of the secrecy surrounding funding of intelligence projects. Three times Republicans attempted to put the House into secret session so that they could debate classified earmarks, but each time their efforts were rebuffed largely on party lines.

Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Ala.), who is the only member of Congress to serve on all three intelligence panels, secured five separate unclassified earmarks that totaled $14 million.  Cramer is a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, and the Select Intelligence Oversight panel.

The bill also contains a provision to require the intelligence community to produce future National Intelligence Estimates on the potential impact of climate change. Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.) and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R.-Md.) were responsible for putting the mandate into the bill. The ranking Republican member of the Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra (R.-Mich.), offered an amendment to strike this provision from the bill, but it was defeated 185 to 230, mostly along party lines.

The Democrats were bolstered by a May 9 letter that President Bush’s Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell wrote to Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D.-Calif.), also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, saying that it was “appropriate for the National Intelligence Council to prepare on assessment on the geopolitical and security implication of climate change.”

McConnell also asked that Congress direct other organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the national laboratories and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, to present scientific data about climate change to the NIC in future legislation. He said that this would “enable the NIC to use the work of the analysts better able to assess and predict physical consequences in specific countries and regions.”
The House bill was passed with 26 unclassified earmarks and the global-warming provision at 1:30 am on May 11. Below is a listing of the earmarks included in the bill and excerpts from the letter McConnell sent to Congress.

Earmarks Contained in the House Intelligence Spending Bill:

Requesting MemberSubjectDollar Amount (in thousands)

Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Ala.) — National Intelligence Program-Rapid Missile All-Source Analysis $5,000

Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Ala.) — Military Intelligence Program-Tactical SIGINT and Geo-location Cognitive Analysis $1,000

Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Ala.) — National Intelligence Program Laboratory Program- Missile and Space Intelligence Center Simulation Project $4,000

Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Ala.) — National Intelligence Program-Laboratory for High-Performance Computational Systems $2,000

Rep. Bud Cramer (D.-Ala.) — Military Intelligence Program-Battle Lab Collection Management Tool Synchronization $2,000

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D.-Calif.) — National Intelligence Program-Geo-Location Software Development $2,750

Rep. Terry Everett (R.-Ala.) — National Intelligence Program-Global Geospatial Data Project $6,000

Rep. Terry Everett (R.-Ala.) — National Intelligence Program-Missile and Space Intelligence Center Simulation Project $4,000

Rep. Terry Everett (R.-Ala.) — National Intelligence Program-Rapid Missile All-Source Analysis $6,000

Rep. Ralph Hall (D.-Tex.) — National Intelligence Program-RC-135S Sensor Upgrade $3,200

Rep. Ralph Hall (D.-Tex.) — Military Intelligence Program-RC-135 Modification $3,000

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D.-Fla.) — Military Intelligence Program-Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center $2,000

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D.-Fla.) — National Intelligence Program Community Management Account-Centers of Academic Excellence $2,000

Rep. Mike Honda (D.-Calif.) — Information Systems Security Protection-Cryptographic Modernization Program $2,600

Rep. Michael McCaul (R.-Tex.) — Military Intelligence Program-Next Generation Signal Intelligence Sensor $1,000

Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) — National Intelligence Program-Mobile Missile-Monitoring and Detection Program $1,000

Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) — National Intelligence Program-Joint Intelligence Training and Education $1,000

Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) — National Intelligence Program Community Management Account-National Drug Intelligence Center $23,000

Rep. Ed Pastor (D.-Ariz.) — National Intelligence Program-Behavior Pattern Recognition Training Program $500

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D.-Md.) — Military Intelligence Program-Radio Frequency Signal Collection Program $2,000

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D.-Md.) — Intelligence Systems Security Protection-Computer Chip Hardening and Production $2,500

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D.-Md.) — Military Intelligence Program-National Tactical Gateway $10,000

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D.-Md.) — National Intelligence Program-Computer-Proliferation System Prototype $3,000

Rep. John Tierney (D.-Mass.) — National Intelligence Program-Advanced Mirror Development $3,000

Rep. John Tierney (D.-Mass.) — National Intelligence Program-Seismic Research $2,000

Rep. John Tierney (D.-Mass.) — Military Intelligence Program-Sensor Visualization and Data Fusion $1,500

Source: House Intelligence Committee Report on FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act, pages 50-51.

Excerpts From Bush’s DNI McConnell’s May 9 Letter:

“I believe it is entirely appropriate for the National Intelligence Council [NIC] to prepare an assessment on the geopolitical and security implications of global climate change. But precisely because the issues associated with global climate change are so important, we believe it would be a mistake to predicate these evaluations on work undertaken by analysts who are ill-equipped to provide credible and comprehensive characterizations of how, where and what the physical effects of global climate change will be.”

“Therefore, we believe strongly that the task of examining the implications of global climate change should be approached in a way that will enable the NIC to use the work of analysts better able to assess and predict physical consequences in specific countries and regions. We therefore request that the legislation also direct that other appropriate organizations, perhaps the National Academy of Sciences, the national laboratories and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration work with the NIC so that the task of evaluating and extrapolating the various scenarios that the IN and others have presented — as well as the feasibility and costs of mitigation — can engage those best able to evaluate the available scientific data, scenarios and mitigation strategies.”

Source: A May 9, 2007, unclassified letter from Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D.-Calif.), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management and member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.


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