By Larry Bivins, Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Rep. Michele Bachmann will remain privy to some of the
nation's most sensitive national security information despite demands
she be removed from the committee that oversees intelligence operations.
won a fourth term as congresswoman for Minnesota's 6th Congressional
District, Bachmann, R-Stillwater, will keep her seats on the House of
Representatives' Permanent Select Intelligence and Financial Services
Bachmann, who sought re-election after an unsuccessful
bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, announced the
committee assignments in a statement on her swearing-in to a new
Congress last week.
"I am honored to move forward with the
important work of the Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence
Committee as we put in place policies to create more jobs, to enhance
economic growth and to ensure the safety and security of the American
people," Bachmann said.
The news was disappointing to People for
the American Way, one of several groups that called for Bachmann's
removal from the intelligence committee last summer after she and four
House colleagues suggested a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton and others had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a
fundamentalist Islamic group.
People for the American Way has
collected more than 86,000 signatures on a petition urging House Speaker
John Boehner, R-Ohio, to remove Bachmann from the committee, which
often reviews classified documents. The group plans to deliver the
signatures next week to Boehner, who is responsible for naming the
committee's Republican members.
Boehner and other Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, disapproved of Bachmann's insinuation.
Courtney, a spokesman for People for the American Way, said that in
allowing Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, to remain on
the committee, Boehner failed to heed the message of voters last
"Michele Bachmann is clearly more interested in making
headlines and pandering to the Tea Party than in governing responsibly,"
Courtney said. "Last year, she smeared the reputations of honorable
public servants and in doing so damaged the credibility of the
intelligence committee. November's election made clear that Americans
are sick of the Tea Party's reckless extremism. Boehner clearly didn't
There was no immediate response from Boehner's office.
an online message to members Tuesday, Ben Betz, People for the American
Way's online strategy manager, urged those who had signed the petition
to share it with others.
"While Rep. Bachmann's Islamaphobic fear
mongering is a hit in conspiratorial right-wing circles, it's beneath
the level of discourse Americans should expect from members of
Congress," Betz said. "Members of the House Intelligence Committee are
entrusted with classified information that affects the safety and
security of all Americans. That information should not be in the hands
of anyone with such a disregard for honesty, misunderstanding of
national security and lack of respect for his or her fellow public