Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush, Cronies and Intelligence

Now I'm really scared! According to Newsweek Bush has appointed nine campaign donors (who laid out hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Bush campaign) to the Foriegn Intelligence Advisory Board:

After watching the fate of Michael Brown as head of FEMA and Harriet Miers as Supreme Court nominee, you might think the president would be wary about the appearance of cronyism—especially with a critical national-security issue such as intelligence. Instead, Bush reappointed William DeWitt (afarensis - one has to wonder if this is the same Bill DeWitt who is a part owner of the St. Louis Cardinals?), an Ohio businessman who has raised more than $300,000 for the president’s campaigns, for a third two-year term on the panel. Originally appointed in 2001, just a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, DeWitt, who was also a top fund-raiser for Bush’s 2004 Inaugural committee, was a partner with Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Other appointees included former Commerce secretary Don Evans, a longtime Bush friend; Texas oilman Ray Hunt; Netscape founder Jim Barksdale, and former congressman and 9/11 Commission vice chairman Lee Hamilton. Like DeWitt, Evans and Hunt have also been longtime Bush fund-raisers, raising more than $100,000 apiece for the president’s campaigns. Barksdale and five other appointees—incoming chairman Stephen Friedman, former Reagan adviser Arthur Culvahouse, retired admiral David Jeremiah, Martin Faga and John L. Morrison—were contributors to the president’s 2004 re-election effort.

To be fair Clinton also appointed campaign donors to the same committee - two of them! The some of Clintons other appointees are:

"...former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. William Crowe, former Defense secretary Les Aspin, former House speaker Tom Foley and former GOP senator Warren Rudman."

What is the purpose of the Foriegn Intelligence Advisory Board?

According to the White House, the intelligence advisory board offers the president “objective, expert advice” on the conduct of foreign intelligence, as well as any deficiencies in its collection, analysis and reporting. Created during the Eisenhower administration, the board has played a role in determining the structure of the intelligence community. Indeed, its members have been considered important presidential advisers, receiving the highest level security clearance and issuing classified reports and advice to the president.

So one naturally has to ask "Who do you trust more on national security?"