Friday, October 22, 2004

Melvin Dubee: The Intelligence CommunitySenate Quest for 'Parity' Turns Partisan (washingtonpost.com)

Senate Quest for 'Parity' Turns Partisan (washingtonpost.com): "Back Channels : The Intelligence Community
Senate Quest for 'Parity' Turns Partisan

By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 6, 2001; Page A15

With Senate power sharing in force, Sens. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) and Bob Graham (D-Fla.) are nonetheless struggling over how to organize the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

While the committee has a long history of at least nominal bipartisanship going all the way back to its formation in 1976, Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Graham are trying to define what bipartisanship means when each party has eight members on the panel.

Graham is looking for parity, wanting his own counsel and four additional staffers so that both parties have the same representation on a staff that now numbers about 30.

Shelby favors the status quo from last session, in which each party has only two designated staff members -- majority and minority staff directors and their deputies -- and everyone else works as part of a nominally bipartisan staff, including a general counsel appointed by Shelby.

One casualty of the impasse is Melvin Dubee, a counternarcotics specialist who had been serving as the Democrats' deputy staff director. Because Graham has placed Bob Filippone from his office staff in the position, Dubee was let go, in the absence of any agreement that might have provided him another slot on the staff.

Shelby's bottom line: If Graham wants to alter the committee's traditional bipartisan structure, he can go to the Senate floor and get 51 votes for a new organizational resolution. Graham's response: He isn't after partisanship, only parity."