Hoekstra: Major program kept from Congress
Republican blasts failure to brief House Intelligence Committee
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, shown in May, called on the president to keep Congress better informed.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee accused the Bush administration Sunday of failing to inform Congress of "significant activity" in ongoing secret intelligence programs.
"There are lots of programs going on in the intelligence community. We can't be briefed on every little thing," Chairman Peter Hoekstra said on "Fox News Sunday."
"But in this case there was at least one major -- what I consider significant -- activity that we had not been briefed on," the Michigan Republican said without specifying what that activity was.
"It is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing."
Hoekstra said "people within the intelligence community" informed him about programs his committee had not been told about -- a tip Hoekstra said he discovered was true only after making inquiries.
"This is actually a case where the whistleblower process was working appropriately," he said.
Under the law, the executive branch must inform the legislative branch of what it is doing, Hoekstra said.
"I take it very, very seriously," he said.
Hoekstra expressed his concerns in a letter to President Bush. The New York Times published the sharply worded, four-page letter on its Web site Sunday.
The letter was dated May 18, the day Gen. Michael Hayden faced a confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on his way to becoming director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hoekstra said his letter focused on three things the intelligence committee "has a passion about."
Those are having the right people in the right leadership, having people in the National Intelligence office who will ensure the agency is reformed and "doing complete and aggressive oversight of all of the programs in the intelligence community."
Hoekstra's letter comes after media reports in recent months revealed details of programs including the administration's tracking of financial records and the National Security Agency's eavesdropping on Americans' phone calls without court approval.
The administration says that program deals with calls involving suspected terrorists and only when one party is outside the United States.
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