Yesterday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announced the end of its investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The Project On Government Oversight has been critical of the way the House Intelligence Committee has conducted this investigation under the leadership of Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA). In fact, after the Committee members voted along party lines to keep from seeing important underlying documents to help inform the investigation, POGO called for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to remove those members who voted against reviewing the underlying documents.
Last June, POGO released a report outlining best practices for conducting congressional investigations like the one the House Intelligence Committee was undertaking. That Committee failed to abide by those crucial best practices, including working in a bipartisan manner.
POGO’s executive director, Danielle Brian, issued the following statement:
The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation was flawed from the start, and at no time since did the panel demonstrate a desire to conduct a credible investigation. If they are lucky, history will forget they attempted such a farce of a probe; more likely their folly will haunt the committee for years to come, making it all but impossible to function properly as an organ of democratic governance and oversight.
It falls now to these failed leaders on both sides of the aisle to find a path to repair the committee they willfully broke. But that is like asking the driver who totaled your car to do the repairs himself. We strongly suspect the only way forward for the House Intelligence Committee is to remove its leaders and replace them with members committed to the serious and thoughtful task of working together to oversee our intelligence community.
We now turn to the Senate with the hope that it is more able to do this work. It appears, from the outside, that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is able to do what the House could not.