Transfer Of Terrorist No-fly List 'Earmarked'?
By Richard Willing
To secure congressional funding for a pet project, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., made a surprising claim: The little-known National Drug Intelligence Center was about to take charge of the "vitally important" terrorist no-fly list.
Murtha's news, in a letter he sent to the House Intelligence Committee last month, came as a surprise to the nation's intelligence community. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence already had recommended that the NDIC, in Murtha's hometown of Johnstown, Pa., be closed for poor performance. It also puzzled the Justice Department, NDIC's parent agency, where spokesman Dean Boyd said there are no "current" plans for such a transition.
Murtha got the committee to approve a $23 million "earmark" for the facility, anyway.
Intelligence Committee member Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said he and his colleagues never saw Murtha's letter with the apparently inflated claim.
Murtha's special request is one of 26 such earmarks worth a total of $96 million included in the intelligence bill OK'd by the House of Representatives last month and up for Senate approval in late June. Details of the requests have been made public, thanks to new rules requiring transparency in earmarks that the House's new Democratic leadership adopted in January.