Bill Frist on November 7, 2003, on the floor of the Senate:
The [Intelligence] Committee’s nonpartisan tradition has been carefully cultivated over the years by its members. The tradition is part and parcel of the Committee’s rules, which extend prerogatives to the Minority that are not found in other committee rule books.Bill Frist on March 3, 2006 (via Glenn Greenwald), in a letter to Sen. Harry Reid:
For a quarter century, there has been a consensus in the Senate that the Committee’s nonpartisan tradition must be carefully safeguarded. Nothing less is acceptable, given the dangerous and sensitive nature of the subject matter for which it has oversight responsibility. (emphasis mine)
The Committee was established and structured to reflect the Senate’s desire for bipartisanship, and to the maximum extent possible, nonpartisan oversight of our nation’s intelligence activities. If attempts to use the committee’s charter for political purposes exist, we may have to simply acknowledge that nonpartisan oversight, while a worthy aspiration, is simply not possible. If we are unable to reach agreement, I believe we must consider other options to improve the Committee’s oversight capabilities, to include restructuring the Committee so that it is organized and operated like most Senate Committees. (emphasis mine)So, when it suits Bill Frist's purpose politically to pretend to be a bi-partisan, non-political committee supporter to score points on the floor of the Senate, that's hunkydory.
But when you get down to a question of the majority of the Intelligence Committee members wanting to do their jobs and investigate what is an illegal use of the NSA for domestic surveillance by the Bush Administration...well, that just can't be allowed, and Frist's previous assertion "that the Committee’s nonpartisan tradition must be carefully safeguarded" be damned.
Bill Frist: cheater and hypocrite.
Please, take some time to write, fax and call your Senators, radio talk shows and media folks -- both via e-mail and on any media blog comments threads where this would be approriate to discuss (thanks to reader froggermarch for the idea on this). This craven attempt to manipulate the rules of the Senate because George Bush is too cowardly to face up to the consequences of his decisions cannot be allowed to stand. Bill Frist does not get to cheat without a light being shone on his hypocrisy.
Please, take some time to help us shine a very bright spotlight on this.