One of the areas among many where candidate Barack Obama promised fundamental change from predecessors George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was in the national security realm.
Progressives were highly incensed over the use of torture under the Bush-Cheney team that made Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib household terms denoting harsh abrogation of fundamental liberties under the U.S. Constitution and international law.
As Massimo Calabresi noted in the July 12 issue of Time, the Obama "White House " has moved steadily to the right on national security in the past 18 months."
This movement by the Obama Administration has led to a rare clash between the executive branch and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi is pushing to expand congressional oversight of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Pelosi's initiative is being met with the threat of a White House veto.
Speaker Pelosi wants the 2010 intelligence authorization bill to require the agencies, when launching any covert action, to inform all members of the House and Senate committees.
What Pelosi seeks is enhanced transparency extending beyond the top committee and party leaders. This group has been dubbed the Gang of Eight.
Pelosi also seeks another protective safeguard against excess under the guise of national security protection. She wants the committees to be able to task the Government Accountability Office with auditing any intelligence program, a power it currently possesses only regarding classified Pentagon programs.
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