(Mr. THOMAS of Wyoming asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. THOMAS of Wyoming. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my deep concerns about the ability of the House Intelligence Committee to conduct business without leaking or mishandling classified information.
The recent rejection of an amendment to require the members of the committee to take an oath of secrecy by a 9-to-6 vote along party lines is deeply disturbing. In addition, the appointment of new members to the committee with strong anti-intelligence feelings does not seem proper or appropriate. These actions make me question the usefulness of the committee and its valuable work.
Although we are all strongly encouraged by the demise of communism, the United States continues to face threats and challenges around the world. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Baltic Republics and witness the brutality and deception of the Soviet Government. The Soviet Union is not a free or democratic society, and it would be an enormous mistake to compromise our intelligence capabilities in any way at this time.
Finally, I believe it is extremely important to remember that the lives of our brave men and women in the intelligence community are directly impacted by our actions. We must ensure that our intelligence gathering capabilities are not jeopardized, and the safety of our personnel endangered.
Mr. Speaker, I do not question the honor of the members of the Intelligence Committee, but I feel requiring an oath of secrecy from the committee members is justified, especially when you realize the lives of our agents and the integrity of our Nation's intelligence is at stake.