'Spying on Sea Lions'

Senator Barrasso grumbles at a new CIA program, bloggers grumble at his grasp of intelligence

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The CIA recently announced the creation of a Center on Climate Change and National Security that will focus on "the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources." Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is displeased. The CIA, he grumbles, "should be combating terrorists, not spying on sea lions." His colorful gripe hasn't gone over well with liberal bloggers:

  • 'Idiotic,'  says Adam Blickstein at Democracy Arsenal. "Despite unanimity from the Intelligence Community that climate change is a direct threat to our security, Sen. Barrasso would rather politicize our national security to score partisan points rather than protect America ... it's ... clear he has a very shallow understanding of the issues and people integral to defending and protecting America."
  • Get Literate  The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen quotes Leon Panetta, CIA director, saying that "[d]ecision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security," and "[t]he C.I.A. is well positioned to deliver that intelligence." Actually, responds Benen, "it would be well positioned to deliver that intelligence, except John Barrasso doesn't think that information serves any purpose ... I get the distinct impression," he adds, "that John Barrasso is conspicuously unintelligent, and should probably speak less and read more."
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