On Feb. 29, President Bush issued an executive order revamping the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), “a nonpartisan body offering the President objective, expert advice on the conduct of U.S. foreign intelligence.” Historically, the PIAB has provided checks on administration’s intelligence gathering.
Nevertheless, Bush has been determined to stack the board with his loyal Bushies. Federal government employees are barred from serving on the board. But on Tuesday, the President announced that he was appointing Gen. Peter Pace to the PIAB. From the press release:
The President intends to appoint Peter Pace, of Virginia, to be a Member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
Pace served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Pace has been a consistent defender of the Bush administration’s failed policies, insisting in 2006 that everything in Iraq is “going very, very well from everything you look at” and claiming that Rumsfeld “leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country.” He also stepped in to write a letter during the Valerie Plame leak trial endorsing Scooter Libby’s character, specifically noting his “selfless” nature.
Earlier this month, Bush also appointed his former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend to the board. Townsend was a key player in broadening the administration’s surveillance powers and vocally supported “special methods” of interrogation.
Last month’s executive order also guts the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB), a sub-unit of the PIAB that “advises the President on the legality of foreign intelligence activities.” Bush transferred much of the IOB’s investigative powers to DNI Mike McConnell, a Bush appointee.
Who’s next — Scooter Libby?
(HT: State of the Division)