Demetri Sevastopulo of the Financial Times has a piece out noting that the National Security Agency has recommended that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee be given to the intercepts in which John Bolton had such an interest during his last job.
TWN learned tonight that Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar wrote a letter — dated April 28, 2005 but sent May 2, 2005 — asking Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Intelligence Committee, if their Committee would request these NSA transcripts.
Lugar is not trying to buck responsibility here. One of the problems in why there has been so much foot-dragging on the transcripts is that on the Senate side of Congress, only the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee have the infrastructure and protocols in place to handle the nation’s most classified materials.
Oddly enough, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee rarely deals with intelligence this sensitive — and thus has no infrastructure in place.
Hopefully, Lugar’s letter is pro forma and that Senator Roberts will not find some opportunity to cause yet more delay.
If the Senators do not get to see the NSA intercept material by Friday, it throws off the deal worked between Biden and Lugar on the May 12th vote on Bolton.
The clock is ticking. . .
— Steve Clemons