My, hasn’t Rep. Eric Swalwell seemed upwardly mobile recently?
Swalwell, D-Dublin, on Monday became the only Bay Area House member with the cojones (or hubris?) to announce he’s considering whether to run to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2016 – quite a goal for a guy starting only his second term in Congress.
On Tuesday, Swalwell was the only Californian that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, named to a new committee charged with shaping House Democrats’ message for the next two years.
And on Wednesday, Pelosi named Swalwell and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, to the House Intelligence Committee, a plum spot in these troubled times of foreign strife and domestic surveillance.
“As we face escalating threats to our security, I will work to make sure our government is vigilantly protecting Americans, while being true to our values around privacy and civil liberties,” Swalwell, a former Alameda County prosecutor, said in a news release. “With the rise of data breaches, a top priority of mine will be to increase our cybersecurity capabilities. National security should know no party, and I vow to carry out this work in a collaborative, bipartisan manner.”
Swalwell in his first term tried to make a name for himself on the Homeland Security Committee, where he took up issues including the Transportation Security Administration’s proposal to allow certain knives aboard planes as well as airport-perimeter safety. On Wednesday, Swalwell noted he was an Capitol Hill intern with Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, on Sept. 11, 2001.
“That experience led me to a career in public service and generated my interest in national security,” he said. “It’s a privilege to serve on this committee so I can continue to fulfill my highest responsibility as a lawmaker, keeping Americans safe.”
Speier issued a statement saying she looks forward “to working on one of our nation’s most pressing issues: protecting our economic and national security against terrorist threats abroad, domestic, and over the internet.
“The heinous attacks in Paris underscore the fact that a handful of home-grown terrorists can wreak havoc on a nation. Cyber threats run the spectrum, from consumer information stolen to intellectual property and proprietary emails hacked from corporations. We must take this 21st century threat more seriously to protect our nation’s most sensitive information, in the public and private sectors alike,” she said.
But “from the torture report to broad NSA surveillance, it is clear that increased Congressional oversight is needed,” Speier added. “I look forward to working with my colleague to ensure our rights and values are not compromised in the name of security.”
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, had been the Bay Area’s only presence on the Intelligence Committee in the last Congress, but a spokesman said Wednesday that Thompson won’t be on the panel in this new Congress.