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Nancy Pelosi has struggled through a headache of her own making ever since tossing Jane Harman out of the House Intelligence Committee chair. She attempted to place Alcee Hastings into the slot, even though Hastings got impeached from the federal bench for corruption in the late 1980s. When her caucus rebelled, she instead selected Silvestre Reyes, who surprised the caucus with his support of an expanded US presence in Iraq. Now, according to CQ's Jeff Stein, Reyes has little understanding of America's explicit enemy in the war on terror:
... Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.
It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield? ...
The dialogue went like this:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”
“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.
Uh, no. AQ is overwhelmingly Sunni, actually more Wahhabi Sunni than anything else. Osama bin Laden and his cohorts don't cotton to Shi'ites; they consider them heretics, as Stein points out. Nor was Reyes' ignorance limited to the composition of al-Qaeda. When Stein asked him about Hezbollah -- which hasn't exactly flown under the radar this year -- he couldn't identify the Iranian proxy terrorists as predominantly Shi'ite.
Has Reyes actually attended intel committee hearings over the last few years? Has he read newspapers? People talk about George Bush being out of touch, but this should send genuine fear into the American electorate. How, Stein asks, can Reyes exercise effective oversight on American intelligence when he has so little understanding of our enemies and of the chief battlegrounds in the war on terror?
The Democrats should seriously reconsider Harman's expulsion. With the nation at war, we need people of expertise in these positions. It has become obvious that Pelosi instead considers these assignments only for their patronage value.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Intelligence? Un pocito from Bill's Bites
Wasn't He On The Intel Committee Already?Ed Morrissey Nancy Pelosi has struggled through a headache of her own making ever since tossing Jane Harman out of the House Intelligence Committee chair. She attempted to place Alcee Hastings into the slot, [Read More]
Tracked on December 9, 2006 1:50 PM
» New Intelligence Committee Chairman Knows Little About al Qaeda from The Political Pit Bull
Back in October, Jeff Stein, National Security Editor for Congressional Quarterly, detailed in a piece in The New York Times the utter lack of knowledge of some lawmakers on Capitol Hill posses about Islam and Islamic extremism. Today, Stein's back... [Read More]
Tracked on December 9, 2006 2:37 PM
» New Intelligence Chairman Clueless on Terrorism from Outside The Beltway | OTB
CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein interviews incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes on his views about major terrorist groups. It turns out he has no clue whether al Qaeda is Sunni or Shiite and has apparently never heard ... [Read More]
Tracked on December 10, 2006 7:46 AM
» What Dem Intel Chairman Knows About Al Qaeda from Pirate's Cove
It isn't pretty, regarding Silvestre Reyes ….Now the five-term Texas Democrat, 62, is facing similar unpleasant surprises about the enemy, this time as the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. That’s because, like a nu... [Read More]
Tracked on December 11, 2006 9:32 AM
» Incoming U.S. House Intel Chief Clueless on Terrorists from Assorted Babble by Suzie
This is crazy, terrifying and insulting, but most importantly dangerous for our country..when our own U.S. Representatives have no idea about one Muslim terrorist group from another, not to mention the fact that our soldiers are fighting a war on ter... [Read More]
Tracked on December 12, 2006 8:57 AM
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