NY Times Editorial: The Death of the Intelligence Panel

March 9, 2006

The wrenching debate in the 1970’s over the abuse of presidential power produced two groundbreaking reforms aimed at preventing a president from using war or broader claims of national security to trample Americans’ rights.

One was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which struck the proper balance between national security and bedrock civil liberties, and the other was the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a symbol of bipartisan leadership. They endured for a quarter of a century — until George W. Bush and Dick Cheney left FISA in tatters and the Senate Select Committee on its deathbed in just five years.

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