DECEMBER 12, 2006
From a corrupt impeached federal judge to an anti-war congressman who doesn’t know basic facts about the world’s top terrorist groups, new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s choices to head the Intelligence Committee should concern all Americans.
Only after public outrage and a hard-hitting letter from Judicial Watch, did the California Congresswoman change her mind about appointing her longtime friend, Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings, to the coveted position. Hastings is one of only six federal judges to be removed from office through impeachment for perjury and conspiracy to obtain a bribe. The former judge repeatedly lied under oath at his criminal trial and forged letters in an effort to get acquitted. Incredibly, that was Pelosi’s first choice to head the nation’s Intelligence Committee.
Her second choice is Silvestre Reyes, a five-term Texas Congressman and outspoken critic of domestic wiretapping who doesn’t know fundamental facts about the Middle Eastern terrorist organizations that the intelligence community has focused on since the deadly 2001 attacks–al Qaeda and Hezbollah.
During an interview with a highly-regarded Capitol Hill publication, Reyes could not even describe Hezbollah and incorrectly described al-Qaeda’s Islamic roots, saying the group is probably both Sunni and Shiite but predominantly Shiite. Thanks to extensive media coverage most Americans know that, from Osama bin Laden down, al-Qaeda’s leadership is Sunni and practices a form of radical Islam that doesn’t tolerate any sort of theological deviation.
Reyes, a former Border Patrol agent who sits on the Armed Services Committee, apparently was so embarrassed that he stumbled through most of the 40-minute interview and blamed his ignorance on the fact that it was conducted at 5 p.m. He reached an all-time desperate high when he asked if he could answer the questions in Spanish since he knew the reporter didn’t speak the language.
Pelosi needs to enroll Reyes in a crash course on Middle Eastern terrorist groups before he takes the crucial intelligence post in January. After all, members of the Intelligence Committee are paid well–$165,200 a year – to know more than just the basic facts about our country’s enemies. Hot Air posts; is it too much to ask our high-paid political overlords to understand a couple of fundamental facts about the defeat they’re supposed to be mitigating?
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