Partisanship on the House Intelligence Committee jeopardizes American security
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The House Intelligence Committee cannot be a cheerleader for this or any other president. In our dangerous world the American intelligence community is our most important weapon against the daily threats and plots against the country. Our intelligence community deploys its highly skilled staff and cutting edge technology on our behalf, but they do so under the oversight of the House and Senate.
 
That oversight is monumentally important to preserving our liberty and ensuring that the intelligence community achieves its mission of keeping the Executive Branch and Congress properly and fully informed so they can make the best decisions in the national interest. And yet, for the first time, partisanship is threatening to undermine the work of the oversight committees and, in turn, our basic national security.
 
The threats we face are complex, lethal and require constant attention. North Korea is developing the capacity to strike our allies and homeland with a nuclear armed warhead. Terrorists continue to seek fissile material to create a dirty bomb. Russian agents seek to destabilize our government and those of our allies. Terrorist cells develop in ungoverned parts of Yemen, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. These are just the threats that are reported to us every day in the news. No doubt a classified briefing, as we used to get as Intelligence Committee members, would disclose many threats that go unreported.
 
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The point is, to fight these threats, to protect our citizens and homeland and to remain the world’s only indispensable nation we must have a professional and highly skilled intelligence community. But as a free and open society, where the people give consent to be governed by democratically elected representatives, proper oversight over the intelligence community is paramount.
 
 
Impartial congressional oversight over the intelligence community protects the national interest, ensuring that policymakers understand what that community is capable of, and informing policymakers on how to best protect the nation from complex threats. There is no place for partisanship when it comes to overseeing the eyes, ears, and occasionally the fists of our national security. Plain and simple, it is a grave risk to our security to let petty partisan politics, tweets, press conference theatrics and campaign style rhetoric seep into this part of government. 
 
In my day on the House Committee, we maintained a bipartisan atmosphere even when there were serious policy differences, and there were many. My relationship with my ranking member, Larry Combest of Texas, was a true partnership. We both did our best to reduce partisan tensions and remind everyone that when it comes to national security, partisanship stops at the water’s edge. I recall the Intelligence Committee overseeing the investigation of Aldrich Ames, one of the most dangerous American spies, with Republican and Democratic staff working cooperatively.
 
In recent years, Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger also formed a genuine bipartisan relationship in overseeing the intelligence community. Today, Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting On The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination MORE have a similar relationship, but for the first time I can remember, unhealthy partisan divisions by some are seriously impacting the independence and objectivity of the work of the House Intelligence Committee.
 
My experience is that the intelligence community has some of the nation's finest public servants, and we risk our national security when there is excessive friction and lack of mutual respect between policy makers in the executive and legislative branches and the intelligence community. Our people in the intelligence community are committed public servants dedicated to protecting the homeland. Like any government agency, they need bipartisan oversight from the legislative branch. The threats to America are too and the cost too high to let petty partisanship, or loyalty to a president seep into this part of government.
 
Dan Glickman is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
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