But as dedicated and conscientious as some of the intelligence committees' members and staff are, there is a pattern of institutional failure. For much too long, the intelligence committees have been trying to do oversight in almost complete secrecy.
Even in this day of fragmented audiences and decimated newsrooms, major news organizations still have the ability to spark a national conversation around a given issue, by putting experienced, tenacious beat reporters on the story. So what's needed is a new beat, to cover secrecy itself.
As troops are replaced with private security contractors, it would be foolish for a new administration to continue to ignore the vivid warnings of what happens when the U.S. outsources its inherent governmental functions.
Were they the least bit interested in exercising any oversight at all into the war that American soldiers are still fighting and dying in -- and that Chinese bond buyers are still providing the cash for -- members of Congress wouldn't have to go very far to find some excellent questions.
The core argument of all private military and security contractor advocates is that they can do things more cheaply and efficiently than the public sector. But the problem is that most PMSC advocates assert this all the time, often without evidence.
The latest Quarterly and Semiannual Report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction was released January 30. What follows are relevant excerpts of some of the more noteworthy contractor related activities.
Just when you thought things were getting better in the sandbox it turns out they aren't. That is one of the conclusions in the latest quarterly report from Stuart W. Bowen, Jr, the head of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Although COR duties are critical to the U.S. government's oversight of the TWISS contracts, almost 40% of the CORs it surveyed said the training they received did not prepare them for their duties and 25% said they lack sufficient time to conduct effective oversight.
Providing data in the Wiretap Report is not simply compliance with 40-year-old legislation. That information is what allows us to understand what's true about this highly intrusive and secretive investigative technique and what's not.
We've been hearing a lot of talk from both Democrats and Republicans characterizing "oversight" as a dangerous weapon in the wake of the election. But from our perspective, both sides need to take a different tack.