“It’s Nuts” Former GOP Counsel Criticizes Appointments to Intelligence Committee

 “It’s Nuts” Former GOP Counsel Criticizes Appointments to Intelligence Committee

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Ira Goldman, a former Republican counsel to the House Intelligence Committee, has publicly condemned House Speaker Mike Johnson’s recent appointments to the intelligence panel. His criticism targets the inclusion of Representatives Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Ronny Jackson of Texas, both known for their controversial political stances and actions related to the 2020 presidential election.

Goldman, who served on the intelligence committee in the late 20th century, expressed his disbelief and frustration over these selections on X, formerly known as Twitter. He described the Speaker’s decision as “flat-out irresponsible” and detrimental to both the country and the House of Representatives. “In short, it’s nuts,” Goldman articulated, reflecting deep concern over the appointments.

Scott Perry, according to testimony by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, played a central role in the events of January 6. Despite this, Speaker Johnson proceeded to assign him to a committee responsible for handling sensitive national security information. Ronny Jackson, self-termed as an “ultra-MAGA” Republican, has propagated various conspiracy theories and faced demotion by the Pentagon after his military retirement. Additionally, he is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, details of which are pending until later this month.

Traditionally, selections for the intelligence committee have been reserved for lawmakers with significant experience in national security and those who command bipartisan respect. Goldman pointed out the incongruity of these appointments given the backgrounds of Perry and Jackson. He highlighted the security risk involved, noting, “You’re giving members seats on the committee when, based on the public record, they couldn’t get a security clearance if they came through any other door.”

The former counsel underscored the unique authority of the Speaker in these matters, stating that while the president receives top-level intelligence briefings as a function of the office, committee appointments do not automatically come with such privileges. They are at the discretion of the Speaker, who also holds the power to remove members, told AP.

Goldman’s remarks underscore a broader concern about the potential erosion of trust between the president and the intelligence committee, especially in handling classified information. His frustration was palpable as he concluded, “It’s hard for me to express how really pissed (and, as an institutional guy, disappointed) I am about this.”

These appointments have sparked a debate over the standards and expectations for members of a committee that plays a crucial role in overseeing the nation’s intelligence operations, highlighting concerns about the politicization of sensitive security matters.

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