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House Intelligence Committee Holds Open Panel With Bipartisan Group of Former Committee Members

Washington, DC — Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held an open panel with a bipartisan group of former HPSCI members. Ranking Member Jim Himes (CT-04) asked the witnesses to share their unique perspectives on the committee’s Intelligence priorities, and the critical need for a strong bipartisan approach to national security. 

The panelists included:

·         Former Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA-36)

·         Former Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)

·         Former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)

·         Former Congressman Peter King (NY-02)

·         Former Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02)

You can view a recording of the full panel here. Ranking Member Himes’ opening statement is below, as delivered.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and a big thank you to our former colleagues for taking the time to be here today and to provide your expertise. It’s great to see all of you again. All of you developed a tremendous amount of knowledge while you were members, and I’d like to commend the Chairman for bringing us together in this venue so that you can share your perspective and expertise on the work we do here on the Intelligence Committee.

I say this all the time: the fact is that intelligence oversight is very, very hard. We all served on other committees where we had the assistance of an aggressive press, of nonprofits, of others who were scrutinizing the financial services industry, the carbon industry, all sorts of things. But in this committee, quite often, it is just us and our staff looking at some of the most challenging and provoking issues that we face as a country.

And of course, intelligence oversight involves command of very complicated technical issues and legal issues. It is difficult in the short time that we are given here on this committee to develop the expertise that really does the American people proud by making sure that our Intelligence Community is both immensely capable but also that it operates inside the values and the legal bounds of the Constitution.

I’ve said before that oftentimes as members of this committee we tend to get hyper focused on some of the areas that are tremendously important, but exceptionally narrow. As people who have sat in these very seats previously, my hope is that you can point us to areas where we should be focusing more holistically, instead of risking losing the forest for the trees.

Finally, China. There are obviously lots and lots of challenges out there, but the challenges and opportunities posed by China, I think, are very different than what we’ve seen in the past. Often my colleagues, I think inappropriately, invoke the concept of a new Cold War. The reality is that when we were in the old Cold War with the Soviet Union, we did almost no trade with the Soviet Union. They did not own a trillion dollars of our sovereign debt. We did not have the same common interests that we have with a country like China that, even as we have those common interests, violates regularly the values that are so important to us as Americans. So I hope to hear your thoughts on how this committee and Congress can thoughtfully, and in statesmanlike fashion, approach this critical issue.

Again, thank you for being here today and I am looking forward to a great discussion. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.