Senator Outlines Plans For Intelligence Panel

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) spelled out his agenda for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday, promising not only to look back at issues such as the surveillance of overseas phone calls, CIA detention activities and the use of prewar Iraq intelligence but also to look ahead at emerging global terrorist threats. Rockefeller will become chairman of the committee in January.

"The committee must look ahead to the next 10 years in the war on terror and insist that the U.S. intelligence community create a comprehensive, global counterterrorism plan for the next decade," Rockefeller said. He cited the need for a better understanding of potential threats originating in Africa and South America as well as in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

He said the panel plans to conduct "an agency-by-agency review" to assess the impact of the two-year-old legislation that created a director of national intelligence, who oversees the 16 agencies that make up the intelligence community.

In a brief interview, Rockefeller said he hopes to reestablish the bipartisan approach to intelligence that once characterized the panel's activities. Cooperation seemed to drop away in recent years as Democrats criticized how the Bush administration used intelligence in relation to the Iraq war.

Partisan disagreements have kept the panel from concluding the second phase of its review of prewar Iraq intelligence. The report includes a contentious section dealing with how information was used in public speeches to build support for the invasion. Rockefeller called that assessment one of "our core oversight responsibilities." He said it can be taken up "without raking over the old coals again."

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the current chairman, has talked about trying to get the second phase concluded in the current session, but it is unclear whether that can be accomplished.

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