Classified intelligence bills go unread

Aug. 6, 2006 at 4:41 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Most in the U.S. Congress would rather vote not knowing what is in a classified intelligence bill, rather than know and face prosecution if they speak about it.

"It's a trap," said Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., referring to a rule that House members must never discuss details of a classified bill.

Nearly all House members chose not to read this year's classified intelligence bill, and then voted on secret provisions they knew almost nothing about, the Boston Globe reports.

The bill, which passed 327-96 in April, authorized the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

Many members said they faced an untenable choice: Either consent to a review process so secretive that they could never mention anything about it in House debates, under the threat of prosecution, or vote on classified provisions they knew nothing about, the Globe says.

The failure to read the bill calls into question the promises many House members made to provide greater oversight of intelligence, the newspaper says.

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