March 29, 2019

The House Intelligence Committee's Dangerous Descent into Partisan Politics

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is imploding.

On Thursday, its nine Republican members demanded the resignation of the committee's chairman, Adam Schiff, saying they have "no faith" in the Democrat's continued leadership. The House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, tweeted out the letter in support.

Schiff was having none of it. He forcefully rebutted the call, point by point, explaining why the Trump campaign's actions were a national security and ethical problem, if not a criminal conspiracy.

This infighting must stop. Intelligence committees have a responsibility to put national security and intelligence oversight over partisanship. This committee's descent into the basement of partisan politics is doing lasting damage to its credibility.

Members of the intelligence committees have a unique duty: They provide a check on activities that necessarily take place out of public view. Created in the late 1970s as a result of executive branch abuses of intelligence agencies, the intelligence committees in the House and Senate serve as a proxy for not only the public, but other members of Congress who do not have access to details about the nation's intelligence activities.

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