Silvestre Reyes, terrorism, terrorists
House Intel Chairman: Hezbollah? What's a Hezbollah?
By Jim Kouri
Friday, December 15, 2006
Law enforcement and intelligence experts are scratching their heads in disbelief upon discovering that the next House Intelligence Committee Chairman doesn't possess even a basic understanding of terrorism or terrorist groups. In fact, he's never heard of Hezbollah.
Representative Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), who was Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi's second choice to head the sensitive and vital committee, did not know what Hezbollah was and incorrectly described Al-Qaeda as being Shiite rather than Sunni.
Rep. Reyes appeared disoriented when a reporter asked him basic questions about the Islamic groups that are the principal targets of America's intelligence agencies, including Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and others.
"Al-Qa'eda is what – Sunni or Shia?" Jeff Stein, the Congressional Quarterly magazine's national security editor, asked Mr Reyes. "Al-Qaeda, they have both," replied Reyes.
"You're talking about predominately?"Predominantly – probably Shiite," said the puzzled Democrat from Texas.
As Mr. Stein noted in his CQ column, "He couldn't have been more wrong. Al-Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an Al-Qaeda club house, they'd slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball."
He also asked Reyes about the terrorist group Hezbollah. "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah..." he said, laughing. "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?"
"This is no laughing matter. Where was this man when Israel and Hezbollah battled for almost two weeks?" asked a former intelligence officer and now New York City detective.
"We went from an impeached judge to a man ignorant of the basic facts regarding terrorist groups. What kind of oversight will that be?" he added.
The holes in Reyes' knowledge are a fresh embarrassment to Nancy Pelosi, the incoming Speaker of the House of Representatives, whose leadership was undermined when her first choice for House Majority Leader was rejected and her choice for intelligence chairman was likewise rejected.
She selected Rep. Reyes to chair the House intelligence committee over the head of Jane Harman (D-CA), who is widely respected as having vast experience in the area of intelligence gathering and analysis especially in the Middle East. Pelosi and the left-wing of the Democrat Party bear a grudge against Miss Harman due to her politically moderate image.
"What are we being left with in congress? A chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who hates cops and panders to America's enemies? A Senate Judiciary Committee chairman with a history of leaking classified information? A hard-left senator heading the Senate Intelligence Committee? And now a House Intelligence Committee chairman who doesn't know what Hezbollah is?," asked a police terrorism expert.
"Sounds like amateur hour to me," he said.
While Reyes was preferred over Rep. Alcee Hastings -- who was removed from the federal bench after facing bribery charges -- for the intel post, most Americans aren't being told by the Democrats and their media echo chamber that Hastings remains a ranking member of the House Sub-Committee on Homeland Security.
When counterterrorism mavin Richard Clark was hawking his book and testifying before the 9/11 Commission, he took time out to appear on CBS' 60 Minutes. Clark alleged that then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice didn't know what A-Qaeda was (which was an obvious lie). The news media jumped on Clark's accusation and repeated it ad nauseum.
But now a Democrat in an equally sensitive position has been exposed as ignorant of facts regarding terrorist groups, and it looks as if he'll be getting the standard "pass" by those "unbiased" ladies and gentlemen of the press.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
Jim writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores.
Jim holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.
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