November 9, 2009 / by emptywheel


Is Crazy Pete Hoekstra Lying and Demagoging Again?

I know, I know, is Crazy Pete sending stern emails to intelligence agencies? Are his lips moving?

First, Crazy Pete rushed out to ABC to complain that the CIA and other intelligence agencies weren’t briefing the Intelligence Committees.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that he requested the CIA and other intelligence agencies brief the committee on what was known, if anything, about Hasan by the U.S. intelligence community, only to be refused.

In response, Hoekstra issued a document preservation request to four intelligence agencies. The letter, dated November 7th, was sent to directors Dennis Blair (DNI), Robert Mueller (FBI), Lt. Gen Keith Alexander (NSA) and Leon Panetta (CIA).

Hoekstra said he is “absolutely furious” that the house intel committee has been refused an intelligence briefing by the DNI or CIA on Hasan’s attempt to reach out to al Qaeda, as first reported by ABC News.

“This is a law enforcement investigation, in which other agencies–not the CIA–have the lead,” CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said in a response to ABC News. ” Any suggestion that the CIA refused to brief Congress is incorrect.”

Then, Crazy Pete backed off that slightly–complaining that information he knew to be leaked to the press hadn’t been briefed to the full intelligence committees.

Hoekstra’s beef is not that the Obama Administration, including the CIA, haven’t released any information. Rather, he’s upset that only the Gang of Eight, not the full intelligence committees, have been briefed — and that the information released has been “limited.”

The Gang of Eight, made up of the GOP and Dem leaders of both houses of Congress along with the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intel committees, is provided with information deemed particularly sensitive by the executive branch. Hoekstra is the ranking member of the House panel.

Hoekstra’s statement says:

Hoekstra said he was concerned that more information had been provided, piecemeal, to the news media by anonymous sources than had yet been provided to the Committee. He criticized the Obama administration for not being more immediately forthcoming with details and specifically requested information, and for restricting the limited information provided so far to the so-called “Gang of Eight.”

And now Silvestre Reyes is out accusing anonymous members–almost certainly meaning Hoekstra–of “rush[ing] to the news media with unfounded information in order to gain headlines.” Reyes also pointed out that the Committee was on Veteran’s Day District Work Period break making it sort of hard to brief the full committee.

I spoke with the Director of National Intelligence on Friday morning, and Director Blair committed to briefing members of the Committee on any possible information the Intelligence Community may have had with respect to the tragedy at Ft. Hood last Thursday.  I trust when members of Congress return from the Veterans’ Day District Work Period that the DNI will follow through on his promise.

As the President stated last week, it would be inappropriate and premature to jump to conclusions on this matter.  The Committee will allow investigators to do their jobs to ensure a thorough accounting of the facts.  Once those facts have come to light and are presented to us, the Committee will consider and assess them.

I am disappointed that some have rushed to the news media with unfounded information in order to gain headlines.  I hope that my colleagues will refrain from speculation, pray for those who were affected by this tragic incident, and let investigators do their work.

David Johnston and Scott Shane are out with what is probably the full story Crazy Pete wants out.

Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings. But federal authorities dropped an inquiry into the matter after deciding that the messages warranted no further action, government officials said on Monday.

Major Hasan’s exchanges with the cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, once a spiritual leader at a mosque in suburban Virginia where Major Hasan worshipped, indicate that the authorities were aware of Major Hasan before last Thursday’s deadly rampage, but did nothing. It is not clear what was said in the exchanges, believed to be e-mail messages, and whether they would have offered a hint at the major’s outspoken views or his increasingly troubled emotional state.

The communications, which were the subject of an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Army investigators, provide the first indication that Major Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was in direct communication with the cleric, who on Monday praised the major on his Web site, saying he “did the right thing.”.

Of course, there’s no indication of what Hasan said to al-Awlaki, but it seems clear that all the chatter in the press about al-Awlaki seems designed to assert a claim that the imam led Hasan to do violence.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear where Hoekstra wants this to go: to the point where Fourth Amendment protections are rolled back further…

From MadDog in comments:

From CBS News:

There are more signs that the man accused of opening fire at the Fort Hood military base had embraced an increasingly extremist view of Islamic ideology.

The contacts began last winter with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan reaching out to Imam Anwar al Awlaki and the two traded messages over a number of months into the spring of this year, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.

Sources say intelligence agencies collected the messages as part of separate case and attached no significance to them at the time. The communications appeared to be benign with Hasan asking for help on a research paper studying the effects of war on Muslim American soldiers. And Awlaki responded with “spiritual guidance.”

Officials say there was no talk of terrorism so no investigation was launched, Orr reports…

A couple of points worth noting:

1. So much for Mikey Hayden’s claim that there is no “dragnet” of intercepted communications.

2. So much for any claims that the government “only” intercepts “call data” and not the “content” of communications.

3. So much for the government’s claim that they provide “minimization” of any US citizen’s intercepted communications.

And oh btw, Bob Orr of CBS News also said this:

…Now, Orr reports investigators are looking for further evidence that Awlaki may have played a role in the Fort Hood attack. And while Hasan is still considered a lone wolf, it’s clear he has at least some connections to known extremists…

(My Bold).

The “lone wolf” memo has been dutifully read and repeated by all who got it (i.e. the entire TradMed).

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