The Washington Post:
It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.
It seems that old bulls in the Democratic Party having just found their way back to prized Committee Chairmanships are unwilling to give up any of their new turf in order to implement this 9/11 Commission recommendation. Here is what Heritage’s James Carafano wrote about this recommendation back in 2004:
The Commission’s criticism of the lack of effective congressional oversight of homeland security and intelligence is damning. Improving how the House and the Senate provide oversight of the Intelligence Community must be a priority. And as Heritage scholars have argued consistently, Congress must establish permanent homeland security committees in both houses.
There is no question that Congress has a major role to play in establishing an effective homeland security regime. While the Homeland Security Act of 2002 created a lead federal agency for many domestic security activities, that was only the first step. Building an effective department requires sound strategies, solid programs, personnel reforms, and integrating information technologies. Congressional oversight—lead by committees and professional staffs with the experience and expertise to address difficult, complex issues—plays an important role in achieving these ends. To this point, the Congress has failed to provide that kind of leadership.