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For Pelosi and Dems, No Good Choice for Intel Chair

As the prime alternative, Harman doesn't put one immediately at ease: TIME Magazine reported last month that she was under FBI investigation for cutting deals with the Zionist American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in order to secure the group's support of her chairwomanship. But the Washington Post later pooh-poohed the report, saying no new evidence had surfaced in over a year.

Harman also enjoys the backing of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats, as well as a swath of Clinton-era national security officials, some of whom are said to have lobbied Pelosi directly -- and may have angered the House speaker-elect with their pressure.

Hastings enjoys the support not only of the CBC but also other black organizations. CQ's Tim Starks reports (sub. req.) that top officials at the NAACP have made unusual personal appeals to Pelosi, and the Black Leadership Forum coalition has weighed in on his behalf.

Amid the flying letters, appeals, phone calls and grumbling, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) has popped up as what some call a "compromise" candidate for the intel panel chair. Backed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, he appears to be a compromise only in that he's neither Hastings nor Harman.

With investigations into corruption extending from recent congressional bribery scandals into the deepest recesses of the intelligence community, one could forgive the American public for expecting a distinguished and scandal-free candidate to oversee the cleanup effort. Will Americans forgive the Democrats if they don't get one?

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