Murtha’s pork

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

For the first time, the an­nual intelligence bill passed by the House dis­closes more than two dozen “ear­marks” — spend­ing items in­serted at the re­quest of a law­maker — the only parts of the leg­is­la­tion’s $40 bil­lion-plus bud­get for U.S. intelligence to be pub­licly re­vealed.

The ear­marks, to­tal­ing just un­der $100 mil­lion, were dis­closed for the first time un­der new House rules in­tended to curb abuses, re­ports Shaun Water­man of the United Press In­ter­na­tional.

By far the largest of the ear­marks, $23 mil­lion, is to keep open the Na­tional Drug Intelligence Cen­ter (NDIC), a mul­ti­a­gency fed­eral fa­cil­ity based in the Penn­syl­va­nia dis­trict of Rep. John P. Murtha, the top Demo­crat on the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee.

Rep. Mike Rogers, Michi­gan Repub­li­can, crit­i­cized the cen­ter, opened more than a decade ago, as a “Clin­ton-era pork boon­dog­gle.”

The cen­ter, de­signed to chan­nel intelligence about the drug trade from dif­fer­ent fed­eral agen­cies, was slated for clo­sure in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s 2008 bud­get pro­posal, af­ter a re­view by the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get. Last year, a House Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee re­port called NDIC, which is run by the De­part­ment of Jus­tice, “an ex­pen­sive and du­plica­tive use of scarce fed­eral drug-en­force­ment re­sources.”

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