Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bad intelligence 

Most of you know that Nancy Pelosi is pushing Alcee Hastings to serve as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Most of you also know that Hastings was once a federal judge, and impeached by a Democratic House in the 1981 for taking bribes. Nancy Pelosi was among the many Democrats who honorably voted to convict Judge Hastings, only the sixth federal judge to be impeached in the history of the republic.

What you may not know is that Alcee Hastings was never convicted in a criminal case because the most important witness against him simply refused to testify. Subsequently, Bill Clinton pardoned the witness.

We all know that some Congressmen are corrupt and more are corruptible. Rarely do we know in advance that a Congressmen is so corruptible and so contemptuous of the Federal judiciary that he was willing to give up a powerful, life-tenure job for a lousy $150,000. This is the Congressman that Nancy Pelosi has chosen to trust with our nation's most important secrets?

America is the land of second acts -- and second chances -- so it may be that Alcee Hastings has learned his lesson and is now honest as the day is long. There is no way to know that for sure, though, so entrusting Hastings with anything more important than the minimal authority of an elected Representative strikes me as akin to giving Joseph Hazelwood command of an aircraft carrier. Perhaps he can be trusted, but why would anyone sane take the chance? The Democrats are manifestly running a huge risk with the nation's security by letting Hastings anywhere near the House Intelligence Committee which, I think, reflects their actual respect for the Congressional oversight function. Nancy Pelosi obviously views "oversight" as a means for political advantage -- both inside the Democratic caucus and versus the Republicans -- rather than a serious substantive responsibility. In that regard, she may be no different than the outgoing Republican leadership, but she is also no improvement on it. Which is saying a lot.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.


By Blogger skipsailing, at Tue Nov 21, 10:10:00 AM:

Two things:

Bill Bennett has a favorite saying: "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future". We cannot simply dismiss Mr Hastings without some effort to understand his current mind set. did he get healed? has he worked to redeem himself?

MLK's famous I have a dream speech contained a imagine that has driven many in America: Judge people, not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.

it is up to Mr Hastings, and his supporters on the CBC to prove to US, the citizens of the United States, that Mr Hastings is being offered this position based on the latter and not the former.

Let's hear from Mr Hastings.  

By Anonymous Purple Avenger, at Tue Nov 21, 12:44:00 PM:

We cannot simply dismiss Mr Hastings without some effort to understand his current mind set. did he get healed? has he worked to redeem himself?

You're willing to risk your personal safety and that of your family if he hasn't?

There are risks one must take, and risks one does not need to take in life.

Alcee Hastings is a risk this nation doesn't NEED to take. Let him find his redemption elsewhere.  

By Blogger skipsailing, at Tue Nov 21, 01:32:00 PM:

don't misunderstand me. All I'm asking is for MR Hastings to demonstrate that he's capable, that he's redeemed himself.

I have sought redemption myself and I understand the nature of fallen people. We are, after all, sinners.

So let's give Mr Hastings an opportunity to prove that this isn't just more affirmative action bullshit.  

By Anonymous davod, at Tue Nov 21, 01:36:00 PM:

How about we let him demostrate in a less critical position.  

By Anonymous BIRD OF PARIDISE, at Tue Nov 21, 03:54:00 PM:

Some politicians will say anything to get attention from the liberal news media  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Nov 21, 05:31:00 PM:

Am I the only person who suspects that witness knew in advance he would be pardoned? His inexplicable refusal to testify suddenly makes a lot of sense if that were true.  

By Blogger John Fisher, at Tue Nov 21, 08:58:00 PM:

Those of us who work for a living and have a security clearance would not get a second chance after doing what Hastings did. Security clearances are not a right , even for a Congresscritter.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Nov 22, 07:32:00 PM:

We wouldn't get a second chance because we'd be in prison. The vast majority of intel leaks come from freaking paper pushers in Washington who don't know or care about what their actions will do to the people in the proverbial trenches.

Scenario: Congressman Bill is on the intel committee and knows some important stuff. Bill hints in a press conference about what we know concerning the expected deployment of Iranian missile batteries on Mount Such-and-such in order to push for his personal political agenda.

Back in Tehran, Iranian counterintelligence thinks, 'hmm, only three people know about that plan because it was just concocted last week. We have a mole.' Within weeks said mole and probably his handler will be discovered, seized, tortured, and killed. Then all the other agents or contacts run by that officer will be seized, tortured, and killed. Other officers affiliated with the poor soul will probably have time to escape, but their sources will go cold.

Lo and behold, a stupid, self-aggrandizing politician in Washington playing at politics has managed to kill an American officer, all of his agents, and shut down several other spy rings in Iran. Intelligence dries up for the very basic reason that our sources are dead or in hiding, and no one else will work for us because we can't seem to keep their information and identities secret.

When you're dealing with the fate of your nation, you shouldn't get a second chance. It's one thing to fuck up while still doing your duties, and another to betray the trust of your office for personal gain. Why not resurrect Nixon and re-elect him to the Presidency?  

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