Nelson wins Intel seat

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday named Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to the Intelligence Committee for the 110th Congress, as Nelson continues on a multi-nation Middle East codel that will include a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Nelson will join Sen.-elect Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as the new members of the Intelligence panel, with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) shifting to the ex-officio status that is traditional for Armed Services Committee chairmen.

“The security of our country depends largely on accurate and timely intelligence,” said Nelson, who was informed of the appointment while in Israel, in a statement. His meeting with al-Assad, slated for tomorrow, likely will be the first between the Syrian leader and a U.S. lawmaker since last week’s Iraq Study Group report recommended initiating diplomatic dialogues with Syria and Iran.

Other nations on Nelson’s itinerary include Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq.