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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Senate intelligence panel could seek to declassify documents; it just doesn't

By Ali Watkins

Bipartisanship at its worst?


JewishWorldReview.com |

W ASHINGTON— (MCT) Outspoken members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have said frequently that they wanted to warn the public about the National Security Agency's sweeping collection of telephone records, but that the program's highly classified nature prevented them from making public reference to the programs.

That, however, is not the full story. Buried in the pages of Senate Resolution 400, which established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1976, is a provision that allows them to try. Across those nearly 40 years, it's never been used.


RJ Matson, Roll Call


The committee's failure to make use of the provision even once, critics say, underscores a problem with congressional oversight: Congress has proved unwilling to openly question the intelligence agencies' claims that something must remain secret.

"Clearly, there are some secrets that the government should protect. So it's serious business," said former Democratic U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who co-chaired the government's investigation of 9/11. "But Congress has been, I think, far too deferential to the president in letting him control the classification system."

The irony of that deference has been on display for the past two months as Congress debates whether the NSA's collection of domestic telephone metadata goes beyond what Congress intended when it passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: The debate became possible only because a former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, who now faces criminal charges, leaked a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing the program.

Intelligence Committee member and NSA critic Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., acknowledged the importance of Snowden's leak in a speech two weeks ago in which he credited the former contractor with opening a conversation that the senator himself had failed to start for two years.

But Wyden's admission also provided evidence of the inadequacies of the Intelligence Committee's efforts to oversee such controversial programs, critics say.



Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, calls the committee's failure to take the initiative to declassify records "frustrating and disappointing."

"It is an authority that Congress could exercise and take responsibility for," he said. But he said it wasn't part of what he called "their conscious tool kit."

The Senate established the Intelligence Committee to replace the so-called Church Committee, chaired by the late Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho. That committee had uncovered a range of questionable intelligence practices, including CIA involvement in White House efforts to cover up the Watergate scandal, the opening of Americans' mail, the unauthorized storage of toxic agents and a series of covert efforts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Senators foresaw the likelihood of a conflict between the intelligence agencies and the legislative branch. The legislation that established the committee called for it to "provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States."

As a part of this oversight, Section 8 of the resolution lays out a process by which a member of the Intelligence Committee may seek the declassification of information that he or she thinks is of public interest, even if the executive branch labels the material top secret.

"The select committee may, subject to the provisions of this section, disclose publicly any information in the possession of such committee after a determination by such committee that the public interest would be served by such disclosure," the section reads.

The process begins with a committee vote. If a majority of members vote to declassify, and the executive branch continues to resist, the issue is taken to the Senate floor. The chamber can do one of three things: Approve the disclosure, disapprove the disclosure or allow the Intelligence Committee to make the decision.

Many of Capitol Hill's Nixon-era heavy hitters backed the resolution, including a young senator from Delaware who now sits on the executive end of the intelligence debate: Joe Biden. When Biden's office was asked via email whether the vice president would still support the Intelligence Committee's ability to declassify information, it declined to comment.

The panel's lack of muscle with intelligence agencies isn't limited to the NSA collection program. Last year, the committee approved a 6,000-page investigation into the CIA's so-called harsh interrogation program, which included waterboarding, secret prisons and allegations of torture.

The report cost $40 million and had taken years to complete. The committee's current chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has called it the committee's most comprehensive and important oversight to date. Yet despite being completed last December, not a single page of the report has been released.

The CIA has disputed the report's findings, and internal committee disagreements have kept it largely in the dark. Feinstein's office said discussions were ongoing, but it gave no further details on where the declassification effort stands.

"If the Intelligence Committee cannot release its most important oversight piece, that calls into question the existence of the committee. What is it for, if it cannot provide the public with its most important report?" Aftergood said. "It's all but unthinkable."

Feinstein and other supporters of releasing the report could invoke Section 8 in an attempt to declassify portions of it. It's unclear whether there will be an attempt to do so.

The last time a legislator attempted to have a congressionally commissioned report declassified, the committee itself stood in the way.

Then-U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., raised the issue in July 2003, when he pressed the panel to declassify portions of its inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which the Bush administration wanted to keep classified. Graham, who'd chaired the Intelligence Committee from 2001 to January 2003, wrote to the committee asking that portions of the report, which he'd helped oversee while it was being compiled, be made public.

In an interview this month, Graham said he'd made the request when he'd realized how much of the report would remain classified, including an entire section devoted to what support the hijackers had received while they were in the United States. That hadn't been his idea as the investigation was underway.

According to a letter Graham received in September of the same year, his request was denied without a committee vote. Then-Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and the senior Democrat on the committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, cited hearings with key intelligence officials to justify keeping the report classified.

"Based on this testimony and our own review of the information, it is our view that release of additional information from Part Four could adversely affect ongoing counterterrorism efforts," the letter says. That part of the investigation remains classified 10 years later.

Graham said the response showed that even in the case of congressionally commissioned reports, the Intelligence Committee still yielded to executive agencies. He said he was disappointed at the Senate's unwillingness to declassify its own work, even after so much time had passed.

"This material was developed by the joint inquiry," he said, referring to the 9/11 Commission's work. "This was not classified information that was made available to Congress by the executive. I think it shows that there has been a strong deference to the executive branch."


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Graham also said that in his time as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, no vote was ever taken to declassify information.

Some experts said that even though the provision hadn't been invoked, it served a purpose as a negotiating chip when committee members were pressing the executive branch over the release of material.

"It's always negotiated, and it goes back and forth. So this is one of the tools available to the Congress in negotiating for a release of information," said Kate Martin, the director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, a nongovernmental civil liberties advocacy group.

But she agrees with those who say the Senate Intelligence Committee hasn't asserted its authority to make information public.

"The question for the Intelligence Committee is whether or not in their discussions with the executive branch they make sure that the executive branch is aware of the power that they have to declassify themselves. That's what should happen, and that's what was missing in the last decade," she said.

It may be missing because some current Intelligence Committee members aren't fully aware of the power. Asked about the authority, Wyden confessed that he didn't know the provision existed.

His Intelligence Committee colleague Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also said he wasn't aware of it.


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© 2013, McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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