Johnson Appoints Reps. Perry, Jackson to Fill Vacancies on Powerful Intel Committee

Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) announced that they would be joining the panel. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has filled two vacancies on the powerful House Intelligence Committee with Republican members who fall toward the right of their caucus.

In separate statements posted to their websites, Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) announced they would be joining the secretive panel.

The appointments were made to fill vacancies left by the departure from Congress of Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah).

Membership on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence grants lawmakers higher security clearance and access to more information than is available to most rank-and-file members.

Due to the sensitive nature of the material that the committee handles, many of its proceedings go on behind closed doors and out of the public eye.

Traditionally, the panel has been highly bipartisan, manned largely by centrists from each party, and representing a huge political prize for those few chosen to sit on the panel.

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However, in the latter half of the 2010s, both parties turned it toward more partisan uses, particularly during the Trump administration.

Under then-Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)—who’s since left Congress to lead former President Trump’s Truth Social—the majority on the panel used it as a platform to push back on the claim that Russia colluded with President Trump during the 2020 election.

Democrats did the same when, under then-Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the Intelligence Committee was a key driver in the 2019 impeachment inquiry into former President Trump.

After Republicans reclaimed the majority, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stripped Mr. Schiff of his assignment to the Intelligence Committee and eventually gave the green light on a push that ended in Mr. Schiff being censured for his use of the panel.

Since then, the panel has largely reverted to a state of bipartisan equilibrium amid the now-divided government in Washington.

Mr. Perry and Mr. Jackson, both to the right of the House Republican conference, could diverge from that rule.

Mr. Perry used to lead the House Freedom Caucus, a group that’s traditionally been the most right-wing voice in Congress. The lawmaker represents a controversial choice, as he was investigated as part of a federal probe of the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Rep. Scott Perry walks through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 12, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
Rep. Scott Perry walks through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 12, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
“My great thanks to Speaker Johnson for selecting me to sit on the House Intelligence Committee,” Mr. Perry wrote in a statement announcing his appointment to the panel. “I’m humbled by his confidence in me, my service to our Nation, and my experience in this arena.

“I look forward to providing not only a fresh perspective, but conducting actual oversight—not blind obedience to some facets of our Intel Community that all too often abuse their powers, resources, and authority to spy on the American People.”

The comments likely represent a slash at the panel’s proclivity toward coming together on key intelligence issues.

That tendency was most recently put on display during a fight over the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Members of the panel, both Democrat and Republican, came together during that fight to push for a slimmed-down slate of reforms to the controversial program and opposed any effort to expand rules to require intelligence agencies to receive a warrant to search U.S. citizens’ data.

Similar episodes are scattered throughout the panel’s nearly 50-year history, and members on the panel—as well as its Senate counterpart—regularly boast about its unity and nonpartisan nature.

Mr. Jackson, a former White House physician, also released a statement on his appointment, saying that he hoped to use his role on the panel to help “restore the American people’s faith in our intelligence community.”
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) listens during a hearing with the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 11, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) listens during a hearing with the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 11, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“I am honored to accept Speaker Johnson’s appointment to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Mr. Jackson wrote.

“I am eager to serve on this prestigious committee to conduct key oversight of the intelligence community and ensure their focus remains on national security and protecting the American people at home. Far too many bad actors around the world want to see America’s national security and status on the world stage destroyed, and it is critical that our intelligence community counters these efforts and keeps our country safe.”

Mr. Turner’s office declined to comment on the matter when asked about it by The Epoch Times.

Panel ranking member Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) also didn’t return a request for comment.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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