Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The new pick for head of the House intel committee botches an easy intel quiz...

Sometimes, you have to wonder who's minding the store...

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's personal pick to head the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (d-TX) failed a basic intel quiz with questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah today.

When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam -- Sunni or Shiite -- Reyes answered "they are probably both," then ventured "Predominantly -- probably Shiite."

Hmmm... Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics - although, when it comes to the great jihad, they cooperate with Shites quite nicely.

Reyes also turned out not to know much about Hezbollah.

Stein's column about Reyes' answers was published on CQ.com's Web site Friday evening.

In fairness, there are probably other members of these committees, from both parties, who are somewhat factually challenged when it comes to our enemies.

So what are they doing sitting on these committees in the first place?

In an interview with CNN, Stein said he was "amazed" by Reyes' lack of what he considers basic information about two of the major terrorists organizations.

"If you're the baseball commissioner and you don't know the difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox, you don't know baseball," Stein said. "You're not going to have the respect of the people you work with."

"If you don't have the basics, how do you effectively question the administration?" he asked. "You don't know who is on first."

Not that a little thing like that is going to get in the way of the usual partisan politics.

Originally,of course, the head of the intel committee was supposed to be the present ranking Democrat member, Jane Harmon. But, as I've chronicled here, she and Pelosi don't like each other. So Harmon is out.

Like I said, sometimes you have to wonder who's minding the store.



Anonymous said...

Truly sad, but in a country where most people can't pinpoint Iraq on a map, this type of ignorance is only an inevatable outgrowth of the culture.

Anonymous said...

i bet they can pinpoint britney's belly button............

Anonymous said...

This is unbelievable. Has he been living in the jungle? Introduce the newspaper to him, someone!

Anonymous said...

re-reading ff comment and nazar's comment makes me wonder how many people in iraq could pick out iraq on a map.
the caliph looks nothing like "they" would see.
"they" don't know what all those lines are on the map.
there is only sunni & shia nations in what nazar commonly refers to as a shit hole.
as to ourselves and our leaders, i reverted into an arguement with myself. our "leaders" if they are in fact that, should be above this. however, what tyep of candidates would you expect from what now passes as an electorate.

Freedom Fighter said...

That is one of the most prescient and intelligent comments I've seen on the board.

Of COURSE it's all lines in the sand to these people..what counts is the Muslim ummah and simple turf - the nation-state is a western institution.

You might enjoy reading Ephraim Karsh's `Empires in the Sand'.invaluable background in how th emodern Middle East was formed.