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December 17, 2006

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Oversight of Congress' Intelligence Committee is coming around as the CIA(analysts) move to DOD/DIA and the financing of CIA operations is being scrutinized. The idea here is that Congress is now moving to control more of DOD, using funding of CIA and other covert DOD/DIA operations. It's seen as Congress trying to move into DOD, through financing, and taking away the power to run DOD from the Presidency.

The new ethics committee is not billed as oversight of the Intelligence Committee, but ethics. It is made up of people from the Intelligence Committee and Appropriations, so they're really not addressing the issues of covert funding and actions where the Intelligence Committee may have made errors; it's 'gifts,' etc. It's self policing and not addressing the 'ethical' errors Congress in the Intelligence Committee may have made, but is seen as the answer in 'gifts' rather than real ethical errors that have been made. This is more evident in the CIA planning and financing of the Afghan war than it is in the use of the Intelligence Committee by CIA operations officers - to their own ends. Leaks and complaints about basic intelligence work members of the committee may have not understood and been taken advantage of by their histories and profesional affiliations. This may have occurred in operations and the financing of operations. The leaks that were later provided to the American people 'to decide' were actually old, basic intelligence work. Most operations officers and persons on the intelligence committee have participated and done this work. It was given to the public to 'vindicate' those, although it really was used as a tool to attack the administration, the US government, based on an incomplete understanding by the public of what basic intelligence actually is.

So, the funding of DOD is already being moved upon by Congress, as long as they have access to the funding, which is how they get and keep power over DOD and, for this time, covert DOD funding. New jobs were created at DOD for the new CIA analysts(Bush had the number of CIA employees doubled) and this can be seen as the second way Congress, dems, take care of federal employees. Go for the funding, go for the federal jobs, and take care of the federal employees. The move to DOD/DIA by CIA was planned after Congress tried to abolish CIA. Next, DOD funding.

Trueman? I keep on thinking of Patton. He was not good in politics or the press. He was, however, a hero to America. He died in a car accident as running for the White House was being thrown around. Maybe he really never got along with Winston Churchill knowing that America was drawn into the war after lend lease by 'shipping accidents.' He also may not have apporved of how Churchill got where he was, using 'life's little journey' to his advantage. Churchill really was a from of dem before they were and also, foreign. These two things would have upset Patton and make those his enemies. He was followed by other Generals and perhaps that's where we should wonder about Patton and his Americanism, death, and, depending on how life's journey is done; his legacy.

Refresher.

My husband is a volunteer over at the Truman Library.

Years ago they recorded "oral histories" from everyone who knew or worked with HArry. They have since then transcribed them and now they are putting everything on the internet. (My hubby is transferring the Word documents to HTML.)

Hubby didn't know much about Harry before, but has learned a lot in the last six years. Historians are still VERY active in studying the Truman years, and he was very much involved in the initial formation of Isreal.

Almost all of the histories are now available on the internet, with a good search function.

Thanks for this excellent post! Why were the "dollar a year" men called that? Were they working on commission to break up labor movements?

They were called "dollar a year" men because that is what they were paid. They kept their positions in major private industry, which paid their salary, but they served on things such as the WPB -- War Production Board, which had the power to allowcate resources for War versus Consumer production. Thus a President or VP of General Motors might be spending a day a week in DC deciding with other Industry Chiefs, how much steel production should be reserved for war production and what percentage remain available for consumer products. It was a profound conflict of interest issue, and Truman's position was in opposition to turning this power over to the then captains of industry.

You have to contextualize this issue, as you must do with all history, but Truman initiated his interest in this matter during his campaign for re-election in the fall of 1940. FDR had gotten the draft past by a very narrow margin in the summer of 1940, and both Truman and FDR were on the ballot that fall. Popular opinion regarding US interests in what was then a European War was in favor of cash and carry sales to the British, increased since the fall of France in June of 1940 -- and reinforced by the "new thing" of listening to Edward R. Murrow present the Battle of Britain live on Radio at dinner time every night during the fall of 1940. For the first time since the late 20's unemployment was decidedly on a downward trend and in some industries, at full capacity. Remember we had made few if any investments in new plant and equiptment during the 1930's decade. Thus, much of the National Defense Budget was directed toward an increase in industrial capacity, but it was not yet on line.

Public Opinion toward supporting, or even participating in WWII shifted in major ways between the summer of 1940 and the fall of 1941, but even by late 41 it was weak support. (Renewal of the draft passed by one vote in August, 1941 -- support for Lend Lease to the Soviets passed by a majority, but half the house failed to vote.) The last Gallup taken before Pearl Harbor (late October, 41) indicated that 66% believed the US would become involved in the war, but half of those opposed involvement.

The Truman Committee emerged in this context, and it seemed directed toward assuring that if the US did become involved, war would not be allowed to become an unregulated toy of the captains of industry. War industry including profits would be very heavily regulated, and very transparent. It supported FDR's direction by a kind of indirection -- it assumed the validity of much of Gerald Nye's investigative work regarding profiteering during WWI, and put forward the idea that heavy congressional oversight and regulation could avoid the run-away fraud of the earlier War Economy.

My own intent here is in response to the recent effort to characterize the new Congressional interest in oversight under the cloak of the now more popular name of Harry Truman as a kind of argument -- without journalists doing a mite of research to find out in some detail, what Truman actually did in the context of the early 1940's, and then later during the actual war years. It was sufficiently important and useful that it got him short-listed for VP in 1944 -- but what was it? (We should not be beguiled by brand names!).

Sara,

You do good history! I salute you.

A grateful

BG

It was established (actually against the wishes of FDR) on April 15, 1940

I believe Sara meant 1941, yes? Chuck Schumer wrote about the Truman Committee this past winter and mentioned it being created in March 1941. I'm assuming the difference is authorization vs. appropriation.

Great post.

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