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Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Ruppersberger wins top Democratic slot on Intelligence panel

By Ben Pershing

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger has been given the top Democratic slot on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, his office said Tuesday, handing a key plum to the Maryland lawmaker and his intelligence-focused district.

Ruppersberger secured the position over several other lawmakers who were also said to be interested, including Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Silvestre Reyes (Texas) and Rush Holt (N.J.). Unlike most other committee assignments, which are made by a party steering committee, the decision on the intelligence post was made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) alone.

The intelligence panel has broad jurisdiction and primary oversight responsibility over the entire intelligence community, making it a desirable post for any lawmaker. But it is particularly valuable to Ruppersberger, whose 2nd district includes the National Security Agency, the rest of Fort Meade and a host of government contractors who do defense and intelligence work. (The Washington Post's "Top Secret America" series focused on this region.)

Ruppersberger has been an active member of the Intelligence Committee, and the panel holds a special place in Pelosi's heart, as she also served as the committee's top Democrat before moving into leadership.

Pelosi's decision gives Maryland three ranking member slots. Rep. Elijah Cummings is the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, while Rep. Chris Van Hollen serves as the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee.

By Ben Pershing  | January 25, 2011; 11:09 AM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing  
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