SPEAKER'S ACCESS TO INTELLIGENCE MEETINGS AND INFORMATION -- HON. BARBARA B. KENNELLY (Extension of Remarks - November 16, 1989)
HON. BARBARA B. KENNELLY
in the House of Representatives
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1989
- Mrs. KENNELLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of House Resolution 268, which would make clear that the Speaker may attend any meeting of the Intelligence Committee or have access to information available to the committee. Like many members of the committee, I was surprised to note that the Speaker's relationship to the Intelligence Committee was not clearly spelled out by the rule. Obviously, this is a necessary change, one that should have been made in 1977 when the rule was adopted.
- In any event, I want to note that insofar as I can determine, the committee has never operated in a fashion that questioned the right of the Speaker to have complete access to the Intelligence Committee. It was always understood. In fact, I always thought that one of the great advantages of choosing our former colleague, Eddie Boland, as the first chairman of the Intelligence Committee was that he enjoyed Speaker O'Neill's unreserved trust. Tip O'Neill counted on Eddie Boland to keep him informed of intelligence matters that required his attention as Speaker.
- Mr. Speaker, this is simply a technical correction of the House rules. It is, as far as I can determine, supported by both leaderships and by all the members of the Intelligence Committee on both sides.
- I want to point out, however, that the proposals that have been offered by our friend from Illinois [Mr. Hyde], which seek other changes in the rule, do not enjoy bipartisan support. Mr. Hyde has explained his proposals as an effort to prevent leaks. I reject the underlying assumption that the Intelligence Committee in this House has been responsible for leaks while I have been a Member. I find some of these proposals, such as requiring security clearances for Members of Congress, who like the President and Vice President are elected constitutional officers of the Government, inconsistent with both the Constitution and the best traditions of this body. I don't think we need security oaths to supplement the oath of office that we all take in the well of this House when we are sworn in. When this suggestion was brought up in the Intelligence Committee earlier this year, it was rejected. My own view is that it offered a rhetorical rather than a real solution to any imagined security problem.
- Mr. Speaker, I urge the adoption of the resolution.