Collins and Harman on This Week

George Stephanopoulos's first two guests on ABC's This Week with him were Congressperson Jane Harman (D-California) and Mod Sqad Senator Suzie Collins (R-Maine).

Steph wanted the White House to accept the blame for Bernard Kerik's nanny problems – and for a slew of other Kerik problems he mentioned – and he asked Representative Harman whom she would like to see as the new nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security. She immediately pushed Sheriff Lee Baca of LA County, California. Collins, who defended the Kerik vetting process as "thorough" and implied that Kerik had lied, suggested deputy Homeland Security Secretary Asa Hutchinson or Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Harman then interjected that either of those two, as well as Lee Boca, would od a fine job.

The three of them babbled for a while about the recently passed 9-11 Commission Bill, the Steph asked Collins who would brief the President about intelligence in the morning, the CIA Director or the National Intelligence Director. She said that he could have whomever he wanted, but that by the new law, the National Intelligence Director had to be a primary advisor

Harman suggested that the first National Intelligence Director be someone apolitical, with a military background. In mind, she had Lieutenant General Michael Hayden, the director of the national security agency.

Collins suggested either Tom Kean or Lee Hamilton, either of which would be proof that Congress really does not take this matter seriously. (The first sign was rushing through the 9-11 Commission's recommendations/dictates with little or no debate.)

Steph talked to them about the "super secret intelligence program," about which Senator Jay Rockefeller had complained a few days ago. (Here's what I wrote at the time:
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are criticizing a "totally unjustified and very, very wasteful" (Rockefeller) AND Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, later called it "unnecessary, ineffective, over budget and too expensive" intelligence program, but neither they nor anyone else will say exactly what that program is. The New York Times has a bunch of experts trying to guess. When they settle on a likely answer, they'll probably print it and attribute to a "senior intelligence source."
Harman knew what it was, Collins didn't. Harman would not discuss whether or not she opposes the program, but she did mention programs which were also wasteful.



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