Theodore's World: Dumb and Dumber Answers From Intelligence Chief

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December 13, 2006

Dumb and Dumber Answers From Intelligence Chief

Dumb answers of intelligence chief

* Key Democrat's error over al-Qaeda
* Choice raises doubts over Pelosi

He is expected to have an acute understanding of terrorist groups and their threats to American interests. But the incoming chairman of a congressional intelligence committee was yesterday struggling to explain his ignorance of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Silvestre Reyes, the Democrat chosen to head the House of Representatives committee, was asked whether members of al-Qaeda came from the Sunni or the Shia branch of Islam.

“Al-Qaeda, they have both,” he answered, adding: “Predominantly probably Shi’ite.”

In fact, al-Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organisation and views Shia Muslims as heretics. The centuries-old now fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq.

Jeff Stein, a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, then put a similar question about Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group. “Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah . . .” replied Mr Reyes. “Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?” Go ahead, said Stein. “Well, I, uh . . .” said the congressman.

His apparent ignorance of basic facts have raised fresh questions over his suitability for the key intelligence post — as well as the judgment of Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, who picked him for the job. She has already been criticised for trying to oust her deputy Steny Hoyer, in a poll among Democrat congressmen after the mid-term elections.

There was further controversy over her choice of Mr Reyes over the head of Jane Harman, who had been the committee’s most senior Democrat but was said to have upset Ms Pelosi.

At the time Mr Reyes said he had “very strong credentials” for the job — “credentials which could stand up to anybody”.

Yesterday he said in a statement:

“The CQ interview covered a wide range of topics other than the selected points published in the story. As a member of the intelligence committee since before 9/11, I’m acutely aware of al-Qaeda’s desire to harm Americans. The committee will keep its eye on the ball, and focus on the pressing security and intelligence issues.”
Earlier this year Stein flummoxed two Republicans on the committee, Jo Ann Davis and Terry Everett, with similar questions about the differences between Sunni and Shia. “One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know,” replied Mr Everett.
Stein has also caught out Willie Hulon, chief of the FBI’s new national security branch when he was asked to which branch of Islam were Iran and Hezbollah belonged. “Sunni” he replied. “Wrong,” said Stein.

Stein has defended his use of such questions:

“To me, its like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland — who’s on what side? Its been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Centre. Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?” Indeed, Trent Lott, No 2 in the Republican Senate leadership, said recently: “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, to understand what’s wrong with these people . . . They all look the same to me.”

The report from the Iraq Study Group expressed amazement that more was not being done to “understand the people who explode roadside bombs”. Only six people in the US Embassy in Baghdad are fluent in Arabic, about two dozen of its 1,000 employees having some familiarity with the language.

Wild Thing's comment......

OK so this shocks me. Not only that Silvestre Reyes knows so little about the enemy but also Republicans as well. When our leaders have put no effort into knowing our enemy it speaks volumes!! I think this is scary as heck.

We the people vote for these jerks, tell them now go to Washington D.C. and do us right. We gave them the power to speak for us, to vote for bills and legislation that we would approve of. We spoke out loud and clear how we felt about the terrorists, hell we had flags flying from cars, from business, even in Las Vegas the huge screens on the strip advertising their latest entertainers at each casino had " Support the Troops", "God Bless America" at every casino and in red, white and blue neon lights.

There were thousands of us showing support for the troops at rallies across our nation. Where many of us stood wearing special t-shirts showing support for our military, holding our flags high in our hands, and singing patriotic songs. Men and women that didn't know each other meeting for the first time as parents brought enlarged photos of their sons and daughters that had enlisted after 9-11. Giving us all a chance to say thank you and show our appreciation to the families as well. I know this is a fact, because I have participated in these rallies in Las Vegas, California, New York and Florida.

The USO also let us help at some of their locations to welcome troops home, to help with the families to get to the airport, or take care of their pets so they could get away for a week after a soldier came home. Or to make videos sent to the troops with messages from us at Christmas time.

And our leaders can’t take the time out of their lives to LEARN about the enemy, not only the enemy of America but of the entire world. GOD HELP US!

These people are the Keystone Cops! You know if you study hard you can one day be President, if you don't you'll end up getting stuck in Congress.

Silveste Reyes is the first Hispanic to be the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. I shall assume that is what he meant by saying this when he had no knowledge of anything else.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

As some of you have read on here already. I started to read and learn about Islam in 1972 when the attack was done at the Munich Olympics. I don’t expect others to have done the same thing, but I sure as hell expect and demand for our leaders to read up on Islam the death cult.

To say a statement like this………..

"It’s hard for Americans, all of us, to understand what’s wrong with these people . . . They all look the same to me.”

OMG Yikes! So I guess the only way a Congressman knows it is a terrorists’ is if they look like this walking down the street..........................

Posted by Wild Thing at December 13, 2006 12:47 AM


What's also amazing is that these clowns, both Democrat and Republican, think they can tell President Bush how to conduct a war. It's no wonder things are a mess as they don't know who the enemy is.

Posted by: BobF at December 13, 2006 07:48 AM

When my fellow 70-years-plus friends try to talk about the Middle East situation and the threat to us I tell them I will not discuss it with them until they have read the book "Hatred's Kingdom" which should be mandatory reading in our high schools.

Posted by: Horace at December 13, 2006 10:16 AM

"Jacks-of-all-knowledge, masters of nothing". These politicians are geared to reelections, sound-bites, photo-ops. Committee chairmanship/membership is a badge for them, a prestige, not neccessarily a legitimate qualification. We have to hope, and pray, that their staffers and professional beareaucrats have the fcts and feed/correct info to the pols. It is really the same with the President, though we expect that position to be much more knowledgable(read; better staffers) than the Congress.

For instance; Ted Kennedy may not know the leader of Scotland, but Ted knows all the brands of Scotch liquor. His staff will tell him the name of the Secretary of State of Scotland if Ted needs to know it for some rare sober moment.

Posted by: TomR at December 13, 2006 11:56 AM

Kennedy actually has had a sober moment, and all this time I thought he has been on a bender for the past 40 years, which would explain the garbage he puts out as legislation.

I would be willing to bet if we were at war with Mexico, ole' sylvester would know who the enemy was.

Posted by: Mark at December 13, 2006 03:07 PM

Bob, exactly, here they are telling Bush how to run things and with no real knowledge of our enemy. It is laughable and scary at the same time.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2006 03:47 PM

Horace thank you and that is an excellent book.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2006 03:49 PM

Tom, hahaa good one.

"Ted Kennedy may not know the leader of Scotland, but Ted knows all the brands of Scotch liquor."

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2006 03:50 PM

Mark I bet your right!

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 13, 2006 03:55 PM

This is a bad repeat of the Clinton misfit lineup, Pelosi is pandering to the minorities and those who's collective intelligence levels have extended to the least common denominator. If the situation weren't so serious it would be laughable.

Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 12:08 AM

Jack amazing isn't it. (shaking my head)

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 14, 2006 03:23 AM