The NY Times exhorts Nancy Pelosi to oppose corruption (Bold!) but also chimes in with support for Jane Harman, who may be passed over for the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee in favor of impeached former Federal judge Alcee Hastings:
...Republicans have to be given a role in the legislative process, and the Democratic rank and file must be shown that agreeing with the Republicans on particular issues is not a capital sin.
She can send a good signal, for instance, by appointing Representative Jane Harman of California as head of the Intelligence Committee. Ms. Harman has been the ranking Democrat, and she has, in general, done her job well. But some of her fellow members regard her as insufficiently aggressive when it comes to criticizing the Bush administration. Ms. Pelosi, who does not get along well with Ms. Harman, is said to be considering Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida, a former federal judge who was impeached on bribery charges and removed from the bench. If she wanted to put her wrong foot forward, that would be a good way to do it.
Now they tell us! The only Times coverage of this prior to the election was this article from Oct. 24 which put the Hastings speculation in paragraphs six and seven and did not even include a comment (or a no-comment) from Ms. Pelosi's office to confirm or reject the speculation.
Whatever - this is the House Intelligence Committee, after all. My guess is that for a big chunk of Pelosi's caucus, the key role of the Intel Chairman will be to re-examine the intel failures of 2001-2003. For that role Ms. Harman's expertise will be irrelevant unless she is sufficiently partisan. Folks who would hope that the House Intel Chairman could advance the nation's effort in the war on terror starting with a focus on January 2007 and looking forward need to get with the program.
TCS also blasts Hastings. FWIW, this is all good for the other person mentioned as the Harman alternative, Silvestre Reyes of Texas.
UPDATE: They know its a story now! Mark Mazzetti gets an article in the Nov 10 edition:
Choice for Intelligence Panel Poses Early Test for Pelosi
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 — Her boss may want her gone, but Representative Jane Harman happens to think she is good at her job. And she has no intention of leaving it without a fight.
Ms. Harman argues that her role as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee makes her the logical candidate to become chairman when the new Congress begins in January.
Representative Nancy Pelosi, the party’s leader and presumptive House speaker in the next Congress, has indicated she has other plans.
Ms. Pelosi has told colleagues she plans to replace Ms. Harman on the Intelligence Committee, possibly with Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida, although she has given no public indication of her choice for the post since the election.
Many Democrats are closely watching the decision for signs of two things: how the speaker-in-waiting will chart her party’s course on national security issues and how she will handle her first postelection test in dealing with the often fractious Democratic caucus.
“This is the battle that nobody wanted,” one senior Democratic strategist said. “For Nancy to start off her speakership with a fight is a great shame.”
... The selection of Mr. Hastings, a black member of the committee, would win Ms. Pelosi support from the powerful Congressional Black Caucus. But his past could provide ammunition for Republicans: Mr. Hastings was impeached and removed by the Senate from a federal judgeship in 1989 on a bribery charge. (He was acquitted in the related criminal case.)
Wait a second! "Ammunition for Republicans"? Aren't there real national security issues that might actually transcend the politics (Geez, listen to me...). The Times tackles this in the next paragraph, but my morning coffee has already been spilled.
Some leading Democrats said that choosing Mr. Hastings over Ms. Harman would send exactly the wrong message at a time when Democrats were struggling to prove their bona fides on national security.
“A lot of people would be astonished,” said Leslie H. Gelb, a former president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a State Department official in the Carter administration. “I think it would send a signal that Democrats are not going to be as serious about national security as they need to be.”
Representative Silvestre Reyes. Democrat of Texas and also a committee member, has emerged as a possible compromise candidate. But Ms. Pelosi has also told colleagues that she could select someone who is not currently on the committee.
Appearing Wednesday on CNN, Ms. Pelosi said that it was her prerogative to select an entirely new Intelligence Committee at the beginning of each Congress, and that it is the one committee on which seniority rules are not recognized.
Leslie Gelb and the NY Times editors have checked in - we await developments. Meanwhile, here is Wolf Blitzer's question and Nancy Pelosi's duck and cover:
BLITZER: What about the Intelligence Committee?
PELOSI: What about it?
BLITZER: Do you think Jane Harman would be the appropriate chair, Alcee Hastings would be the appropriate chairman?
PELOSI: What you have to understand about the Intelligence Committee is the speaker of the House and the minority leader, on the first day of Congress, appoint a whole new Intelligence Committee each term. Sometimes they reappoint the same people. Sometimes they don't, but there is no seniority on the Intelligence Committee.
I see that Mr. Reyes is Hispanic, which for Ms. Pelosi's purposes might be almost as good as being black. He also has something resembling qualifications:
After serving his country in Vietnam, Reyes decided to devote his life to public service. In 1969, he began his career with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the U.S. Border Patrol.
He left the INS after being elected to Congress in 1996.