Intel Committees Weigh in on Security Report

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Today, intelligence officials briefed the White House on a new threat assessment that says Al-Qaida has regained strength, and is able to train, communicate and raise money while operating from safe havens in Pakistan.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) blames the Bush White House’s decision to go into Iraq before finishing off Al Qaida in Afghanistan:

One of the greatest tragedies of Iraq is that it has distracted us from fighting the real threat we face, al Qaida.

… Instead of pursuing them and finishing them off when we had the chance in 2002 and 2003, President Bush chose to invade Iraq thereby diverting our military and intelligence resources away from the real war on terrorism.

Let me be clear, threats to the United States homeland are not emanating from Iraq; they are coming from al Qaida leadership. …

If we really want to protect our homeland and our citizens from attack, we must end our involvement in the Iraqi civil war and refocus on destroying the al Qaida organization that still wants to attack us here at home.

Former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), now the ranking Republican on the committee, has a different view: Congress has been too busy trying to appease MoveOn.org to amend the country’s FISA laws:

“Al-Qaeda has repeatedly made their intention to attack us clear, yet Congress is doing nothing to address this threat,” Hoekstra said. “At multiple classified hearings this year, the House Intelligence Committee has heard how the outdated FISA law is interfering with our intelligence effort against al-Qaeda.

“Instead of playing politics to appease MoveOn.org, Congress needs to modernize FISA to stop al-Qaeda.”

It’s worth pointing out that the administration decided in secret to simply bypass FISA with its warrantless domestic spying programs rather than ask Congress to amend the FISA laws, for more than five years.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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