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Ruppersberger loses seat on Intelligence Committee

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a member of the House Intelligence Committee for a record 12 years, lost his seat on the panel Thursday when House Democratic leaders appointed a replacement.

The Baltimore County lawmaker, who served four years beyond the committee's eight-year term limit, had sought permission to continue as its top Democrat. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed Rep. Adam Schiff of California on Thursday to fill that role.

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Ruppersberger, whose district includes Fort Meade and the National Security Agency, has been a staunch defender of the intelligence community amid criticism following revelations by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden and growing concern about government spying on Americans.

The appointment of Schiff means the committee now has a new chairman and a new ranking member. House Speaker John A. Boehner has named Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California to lead the panel after the retirement of Rep. Mike Rogers.

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Schiff said the committee continues to play an important role in promoting national security and overseeing the nation's vast intelligence apparatus.

"As the tragic events of the last 24 hours make clear, the work of our intelligence agencies and our relationships with allies will continue to be of unsurpassed importance in protecting our nation and values," Schiff said, referring to the deadly attack on the staff of a satirical newspaper in Paris.

Pelosi, a former member of the committee, said Schiff was a good fit for the job.

"He has proven himself to be a capable leader and a proponent of surveillance reforms," she said.

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Ruppersberger has said he would continue to take an interest in national security matters, no matter what his committee assignment.

"I'm not giving up on this agenda because it's so important to our country," he told The Baltimore Sun in November.

On Thursday, Ruppersberger urged Republicans not to push ahead with plans to take money away from the Department of Homeland Security in retaliation for President Barack Obama's actions to suspend enforcement against some undocumented immigrants.

Ruppersberger said the attack in France is a reminder of the importance of border protections, and that security issues should not succumb to politics.

"Now is not the time to be cutting funding for programs that protect Americans from enemies intent on doing us harm," he said.

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