Monday, December 11, 2006

Unfit for Leadership

(Hat tip: EditCopy)

That would be Silvestre Reyes (D), of Texas - the incoming Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Two recent statements of Reyes:
WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite?

The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said in a recent interview with Congressional Quarterly, a periodical that covers political and legislative issues in Congress.

Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

In fact, U.S. officials blame al Qaeda's former leader in Iraq, the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

But Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"
Perhaps it is because you're the incoming Chair of the HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE?! Ugh. Reyes then put out a statement which included this brilliant comment:
"The report's [Iraq Study Group's] conclusions about the state of our intelligence capabilities in Iraq are troubling," said Reyes.

The report states that '[t]he Department of Defense and the intelligence community have not invested sufficient people and resources to understanding the political and military threat to the American men and women in the armed forces.'
Because Reyes understands it so much better! CopyEditor's last line sums it up perfectly:
Reyes has lost the political, moral and intellectual authority to conduct oversight in these matters.

29 Comments:

Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Insane.

See also the FBI:

Dale Watson, now retired, was the FBI's top counterterrorism official before and after 9/11. In a deposition taken on Dec. 8, 2004, Youssef’s lawyer Stephen Kohn asked Watson: 'Do you know who Osama bin Laden's spiritual leader was?'

Watson: Can't recall.

Lawyer: And do you know the differences in the religion between Shiite and Sunni Muslims?

Watson: Not technically, no.

John Lewis was until recently the FBI’s deputy assistant director of counterterrorism. During his deposition on May 17, 2005, he was asked if he knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis.

Lewis: You know, generally. Not very well.

Lawyer: Was there any relationship between the first World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks?

Lewis: I'm aware of no immediate relationship other than all emanates out of the Middle East, al-Qaida linkage, I believe. Not something I've studied recently that I'm conversant with.


Total disgrace.

12/11/2006 11:26 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Also, they apparently have SIX fluent Arabic linguists, 5+ years after 9-11.

12/11/2006 11:27 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Oy. While to be fair, it does take a LONG time to run real security checks on people (my BIL was checked for 7 months to a DoD spot), it has been 5+ years as you noted. It's ridiculous.

12/12/2006 12:09 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

You'd think they could expedite the process for Arabic linguists.

12/12/2006 11:32 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

The concern is that a terror cell would take advantage of the desperation and sneak a mole in... not a small concern. Wherever there's a large need, there's a greater chance of a security breach. [See 24. :) ]

12/12/2006 5:35 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

I'm not saying they shouldn't be thorough. But five years is more than enough time to teach Arabic to a hundred already cleared people or very WASPy Iowans with a lot of aptitude for language.

12/12/2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/12/2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

JA - Agreed, as noted above that five years is a long time.

Though one caveat: It could be, they thought they were going to get people quickly, then realized the problems in finding them; perhaps now they're finally doing so.

But on the face of it, this seems pathetic.

12/12/2006 6:37 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Really makes you wonder.

12/12/2006 6:40 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

There is a great source of Arabic translators available, but the FBI refused them:

http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=9153

Note that the congressmen who complained were all Democrats (which probably did not help their case, given the poisoned political atmosphere in Washington).

Regarding the intelligence committee post, I would have much preferred either Harman (a Jewish supporter of Israel) or Hastings (a non-Jew who is one of Israel's biggest supporters on Capitol Hill).

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