As if there weren’t enough reasons to toss Republicans out of office come November, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Peter Hoekstra, has offered up another one.
Today it was admitted on Fox News that the suspension of a Democratic staffer for supposedly leaking the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is purely political. There’s no evidence that this guy (reportedly Larry Hanauer) did anything wrong.
Thousands of people had access to the NIE, which embarrassed the Bush Administration by concluding that the Iraq war is fanning the flames of terrorism and breeding deep resentment of the United States in the Islamic world.
But on September 29, Republican committee member Ray LaHood of Illinois sent a letter to Hoekstra saying that a Democratic staffer requested the NIE document from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before a Sept. 23 story by the New York Times leaked some of its conclusions.
LaHood admitted, "I have no credible information to say any classified information was leaked from the committee's minority staff, but the implications of such would be dramatic.”
Yes, Ray, it would. Just as there was no credible evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or was involved with Al Qaeda. But gosh, if there had been such evidence, that would have been dramatic.
Lots of things would be dramatic if they were true. It’s the job of mature adults who are in charge of our national security to distinguish fact from fiction. Here’s one more example, among many, of how Republicans are focused on protecting their political power rather than on protecting the United States.
Ranking Democratic committee member Jane Harman has told Hoekstra that his evidence-free suspension of the staffer is outrageous and an abuse of power. She says that Hoekstra has admitted that his action is a retaliation for Harman’s release of a non-classified report on Republican ex-congressman Duke Cunningham, briber extraordinaire.
It’s all politics, 24/7, with this Republican administration. National security, deficits, natural disasters, lack of health care, poverty, environmental problems—none of this really matters to Bush, Rove, and Co.
How do we maintain power? How can this be used for political advantage? That’s the neo-con mindset this country has been suffering with since January 2001. Americans are tired of it.
This Hoekstra B.S. is just one more reason why the Republicans are going to take a beating at the polls next month.