The ABC News blogger Jacob Tapper (“Political Punch“) provides more detail about what the administration is complaining about in the intelligence bill, and its anthrax issue. Yet Tapper points out,
In addition, the Intelligence Authorization bill would commission an agency inspector general to investigate the anthrax attacks, which the FBI has concluded were planned and committed by the late Dr. Bruce Ivins, acting alone.
As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald has covered extensively, there are many members of Congress who question the FBI’s conclusion, including members of congress such as the former head of the State Department’s Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ, from whose district the letters were sent; and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, whose office was targeted.
Moreover, having reported that scientists don’t think the “deadly bacterial spores mailed to victims in the US anthrax attacks” had the same chemical “fingerprint” as those bacteria in the flask linked to Ivins, the science journal Nature recently wrote that the case was not closed. Editorial writers from the Washington Post and New York Times are similarly unconvinced.
The spin docs in Tapper’s piece have dredged up a litany of reasons why a veto is necessary. Number 1, of course, is that the bill could cost American lives. How many times will they recycle this one? Number 2 is that CIA can’t video its interrogations because “The Obama administration says that ‘conditions as they exist in real-time may not allow for the installation and assembly of video equipment, particularly if hostile forces are active at or near the site of the interrogation.’” These days, when every cell phone includes a video camera, and professional videocams fit in a pocket, that excuse is a little old. Number 3 is that it “would undermine the President’s authority…” Number 4 is that the administration resists oversight, in general, of intelligence agencies: “Congress is also trying to bring the intelligence communities under the oversight of the Government Accountability Office, which the administration opposes.” Another imperial presidency underway.