George Miller
Rep. George Miller had some critical words for the House and Senate intelligence committees during his visit to “Forum.”

Martinez Congressman George Miller, who announced last week he won’t seek re-election after 20 terms in office, appeared on KQED’s “Forum” on Thursday to reflect on his 40 years representing the East Bay. In an interview that covered everything from the Affordable Care Act to his No Child Left Behind legislation, it was his criticism of the House and Senate intelligence committees that stood out.

Miller’s harsh words for how the intelligence panels operate came in response to a listener who asked in part: “The recent Manning & Snowden leaks seem to show the same abuses enumerated in the Church Committee of the late ’70s. How can the next Rep. to sit in his seat restrain NSA spying, CIA secret killing, and wars based on lies like Iraq better than the last 30 years?”

And here’s Miller’s response:

“That’s a tough question, but I think that person better be real skeptical. I went in with the Watergate papers; Frank Church’s report on the Intelligence Committee that looks a lot like the report on the NSA; Michael Harrington, the congressman from Massachusetts, who was talking about spying and the rest of this, essentially probably had to leave Congress because of his public discussion of that.

When I voted for the amendment that sort of pulled the NSA up short in the House a couple months ago, that vote for me was more about the House intelligence and the Senate intelligence committees because I think those committees are set up not to have real oversight, but so the intelligence agencies can say that they come and they’ve talked to Congress: ‘We informed Congress.’ They informed them in such an opaque fashion that the members of the committee are (saying) to one another: ‘Did they tell us this? How do we find out? Where was this? Where was that?’

And they’ll tell you, as they ask very pointed questions. Many times the answers are never forthcoming, weeks and months later. So I think that Congress, as representatives of the people — the people can’t do all of this  — they better rethink their intelligence committee oversight on these agencies, because they’re getting buffaloed on a daily basis by these agencies and passing the buck around.”

You can listen to the full interview below:

  • Art Persyko

    Congressman George Miller’s critique on Forum has implications for Senator Dianne Feinstein, who’s Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee; and for everyone who depends on a living, breathing US Constitution. She has failed to fulfill the mission of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was set up to watch out for and prevent governmental abuse of power (like the ones that occurred under the Nixon Administration) to be a watchdog on the US intelligence community. Instead, she’s become a cheerleader for preserving the NSA’s current unconstitutional mass surveillance; and for damaging the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. She needs to be held accountable to us for not providing proper oversight over the NSA which is her job on that committee; for not upholding her oath of office (to protect and defend the Constitution); and for not protecting our civil liberties. If you agree, please go to: https://shameonfeinstein.org and sign the “Shame on Feinstein” open letter.

Author

Amanda Stupi

Amanda Stupi is an interactive producer for KQED News. She grew up in Northern California, where her mother would woo her inside on warm summer nights with promises of The Monkees and CHIPS. Stupi is fascinated with the intersection between popular culture and the fine arts. Her idea of artistic perfection includes The Beastie Boys' Check Your Head, Joni Mitchell's Blue, Bull Durham, several episodes of Cheers, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and most of Wallace Stevens' poetry. Stupi's life goals include watching every episode of Law and Order, finishing a screenplay and thanking her mom in an Oscar acceptance speech.

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