WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on her request to the director of National Intelligence to declassify a letter she wrote to the Bush Administration expressing concerns about the activities of the National Security Agency.
"When I learned that the National Security Agency had been authorized to conduct the activities that President Bush referred to in his December 17 radio address, I expressed my strong concerns in a classified letter to the Administration and later verbally.
"Today, in an effort to shed light on my concerns, I requested that the director of National Intelligence quickly declassify my letter and the Administration's response to it and make them both available to the public.
"The president must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people. That intelligence, however, must be produced in a manner consistent with our Constitution and our laws, and in a manner that reflects our values as a nation to protect the American people and our freedoms."
The ball seems squarely in the Bush court now. If the administration wants to contend that Democrats were fully briefed and approved of the warrantless surveillance, let's see this letter. The issue can be laid to rest with a simple declassification. Color me cynical, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. I'm laying bets that national security will be invoked to keep any objecting correspondence classified - and coloring Congressional reps as complicit, particularly Democratic ones.