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Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Byron York Takes On Alcee Hastings

It is no small matter when one party takes over control of a House of Congress, and the Democrats get the chance to run both for the next two years. When this occurs, we know that there will be changes in the chairs of the committees in both Houses. Now Nancy Pelosi attempted, unsuccessfully, to get Rep. John Murtha into the Majorty Leader's position. She was thwarted by her colleagues who rejected him in favor of Rep. Steny Hoyer.

Needless to say, Rep. Hoyer will do a much better job that Rep. Murtha; to that there can be no argument. Rep. Hoyer will keep the party on task, and hopefully the leaders like Speaker Pelosi when it comes to their boast of "bipartisanship."

But one of the committewe chairs that will end up having a new face present will be the House Intelligence Committee. Rep. Jane Harman would technically have this seat, but Rep. Pelosi does not want here there. Now whether this goes back to a similar feud she has with Rep. Harman, a la Stney Hoyer, or whether she feels that Rep. Harman cannot handle the job is irrelevant.

What is very relevant is who Speaker Pelosi wants in the chair for the Intel Committee. It is none other than former impeached federal judge, Alcee Hastings. Rep. Hastings was elected to Congress in the early 90s from Florida's 23rd District. I will no berate the voters for putting a fomrer impeached federal officer into the House; that is their cross to bear. However, the choice of Rep. Hastings has to have the general populace scratching their heads. After all, Rep. Hastings was impeached for corruption and misconduct. Byron York @ National Review Online does a magnificent job of reminding readers what brought Rep. Hastings down in the first place. And reading the piece, you get the distinct feeling that Speaker Pelosi is about to make mistake number two of her tenure. But here is the point that Mr. York makes that people should sit ip and take notice of:

That left Article 16, the one accusation against Hastings that did not stem from the original criminal case. Article 16 stuck out from the rest, not only because it came from information that surfaced in the House’s investigation of Hastings but because it pointed to a wider pattern of alleged misconduct in Hastings’ performance as a judge. This is what Article 16 said:

From July 15, 1985, to September 15, 1985, Judge Hastings was the supervising judge of a wiretap instituted under chapter 119 of title 18, United States Code…

The wiretap was part of certain investigations being conducted by law enforcement agents of the United States. As supervising judge, Judge Hastings learned highly confidential information obtained through the wiretap.

The documents disclosing this information, presented to Judge Hastings as the supervising judge, were Judge Hastings’ sole source of the highly confidential information.On September 6, 1985, Judge Hastings revealed highly confidential information that he learned as the supervising judge of the wiretap, as follows:

On the morning of September 6, 1985, Judge Hastings told Stephen Clark, the Mayor of Dade County, Florida, to stay away from Kevin “Waxy” Gordon, who was “hot” and was using the mayor’s name in Hialeah, Florida.

As a result of this improper disclosure, certain investigations then being conducted by law enforcement agents of the United States were thwarted and ultimately terminated.

In other words, the article accused Hastings of using secret information from the wiretap to tip off a friend to steer clear of someone who was under investigation.

The House Intelligence Committee handles extremely sensitive information, same as its Senate counterpart. These can range for intelligence information concerning the war, to sleeper cells being watched around the country, to the execution of plans around the globe to confound and end the plots of our enemies. What Rep. Hastings did, above, was simply tip a friend off to stay away from someone who was being investigated. But that is a serious breach of ethics, especially for a sitting federal judge, which he was at the time.

Can we imagine what might occur should he be selected to chair this committee? We have already had five major leaks occur during the tenure of this president:

--CIA rendition flights
--CIA "secret" prisons abroad
--NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program
--SWIFT Terrorist Financial Tracking program
--The intelligence assessment from our agencies to the administration regarding the war, and Iraq.

The last one was supposedly done by one of Rep. Harman's staff memebers, which is why Dennis Hastert removed the young man from her staff, and has forbidden him ANY access to classified materials. The perpetrator(s) of the other four leaks has yet to be determined despite Justice Department investigations into those leaks.

But the question is: Do we really need to run that risk, again? Rep. Hastings has a history of doing this sort of thing. And his misstep is no different than the one made by Sen. Leahy when he leaked information while on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee; an action that cost him his position as vice-chair of the SSIC.

Rep. Hastings brings more questions to the table when he is spoken of to chair the House Intelligence Committee, and little confidence. It would be very wise of Speaker Pelosi if she were to change her mind regarding Rep. Hastings. The vote for Majority Leader yesterday should tell her that her own caucus is not in the mood for these sorts of games. If she pushes him, the caucus might rebel, and hand her a second defeat. And that second one may throw her own abilities to lead the House into question.



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