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Speaker Pelosi's Impending Intelligence Failure
Foundation for Defense od Democracies ^ | November 9, 2006 | Michael I. Krauss, J. Peter Pham

Posted on 11/09/2006 9:04:49 AM PST by outofstyle

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is in line to make history as the first female Speaker — and second in line of succession for the presidency — when the new Congress convenes in January. As with any election, a wide variety of issues factored into the dynamics of this year's midterms. For us, however, the just-concluded campaign, like every federal election, was fundamentally about national security. The federal government's principal task is providing for the defense of the nation, without which justice, welfare, and all the other blessings of liberty enjoyed inside the various states are, at best, aspirations.

With majority status in the "people's house" comes a share in responsibility for the security of the Republic. This is why we are so concerned about a shadow which darkens presumptive Speaker Pelosi's triumphant morning, a shadow which will only grow longer if she allows it to begin appearing prominently in the media coverage of the global war on terrorism, metastasizing into her first "intelligence failure" even before she takes the gavel from outgoing Speaker Hastert. That is the shadow of Alcee Lamar Hastings, the reelected Democratic Representative from Florida's 23rd District.

Mr. Hastings was, in the outgoing 109th Congress, the second-ranked Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. But the Washington Post's Charles Babington first reported more than a year ago, in a story that has never been denied (indeed, it has been confirmed in the congressman's hometown newspaper, the Miami Herald) that Ms. Pelosi plans to replace the committee's current ranking Democrat, California Representative Jane Harman, with Mr. Hastings who would be installed as committee chairman when the 110th Congress begins. The move would be a payback to the Congressional Black Caucus, to whose support Pelosi owes her election as Minority Leader and whose members she angered by picking Ms. Harman to be ranking member over Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop in 2003. The incoming Speaker must also mollify the Black Caucus for having pushed Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson (he of the frozen cash) off the Ways and Means Committee.

We have difficulty accepting that Mr. Hastings has been allowed by Ms. Pelosi to venture anywhere near national security matters, much less onto a field as vital as the Intelligence Committee, which exercises oversight of organizations ranging from Central Intelligence Agency to the U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Department, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. That Mr. Hastings is employed by the United States of America, and is not a guest a federal penitentiary, is itself cause for wonder.

Mr. Hastings's own website says this about his pre-Congressional background: "Known to many as 'Judge,' Congressman Hastings has distinguished himself as an attorney, civil rights activist, judge, and now Member of Congress. Appointed by President Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American Federal Judge in the state of Florida, and served in that position for ten years."

What this autobiography omits are the reasons Hastings' judicial tenure, normally a life appointment, was cut short after only a decade. Barely two years into office, "Judge" Hastings accepted a $150,000 bribe in exchange for giving a lenient sentence to two swindlers, then lied in subsequent sworn testimony about the incident. The case involved two brothers, Frank and Thomas Romano, who had been convicted in 1980 on 21 counts of racketeering. Together with attorney William Borders Jr., Hastings, who presided over the Romanos' case, hatched a plot to solicit a bribe from the brothers. In exchange for a $150,000 cash payment to him, Hastings would return some $845,000 of their $1.2 million in seized assets after they served their three-year jail terms.

Taped conversations between Hastings and Borders confirmed that the judge was a party to the plot. Hastings was also criminally prosecuted for bribery, but his accomplice Borders went to prison rather than testify against him. Hastings was acquitted thanks to Borders' silence. [Borders was then pardoned by President Clinton, confirming the wisdom of his refusal to testify. In a remarkable display of chutzpah, Borders then applied for reinstatement to the District of Columbia Bar, claiming that Clinton's federal pardon eliminated his local disbarment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit did not agree, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal. To former D.C. delegate Walter Fauntroy, Borders' case had a spiritual quality to it. "Being pardoned by the president is like being pardoned by Jesus," Fauntroy sermonized. Thankfully, the Supremes evidently disagreed with this "theology."]

"Be assured that I'm going to be a judge for life," Mr. Hastings told reporters in 1983 after his acquittal. But the arguments that swayed a Miami jury did not sway the Congress. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives impeached Hastings for bribery and perjury by a lopsided vote of 413 to 3. Then the Democrat-controlled Senate convicted him on eight articles of impeachment by well over the required two-thirds majority in 1989. Thus Mr. Hastings became only the sixth judge in the history of our Republic (and only the third in the 20th Century) to be removed by Congress. He was, and is, an utter disgrace to the nation and to the legal profession. Among those voting to impeach him were Ms. Pelosi herself, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip who is likely to become the new House majority leader, and Mr. Hastings' fellow African-American Congressman, Michigan's John Conyers, who took pains to deny that race had anything to do with the removal of the bribe-taking jurist.

Article I, section 3, clause 7, of the Constitution reads as follows:

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States...."

Alas, in its vote convicting and removing Hastings, the Senate neglected to include language barring him from seeking future office. Hastings was promptly elected to Congress in 1992 as the representative of a new, specially-designed majority-black district.

Since shamelessly taking his seat in the very House that overwhelmingly impeached him, Congressman Hastings has not appeared chastened by his scandal-plagued past. Reports circulate that the "Judge" is the subject of speculation about a conflict of interest. At issue this time is the fact that Hastings added to his Congressional payroll one Patricia Williams, described as a "close personal friend" and former attorney. Williams represented the then-judge at his bribery trial and impeachment hearings, but was herself disbarred in June 1992 for misuse of clients' funds. Mr. Hastings is said to owe Mr. Williams substantial lawyer's fees for her services in the eighties—over $500,000 according to some estimates—and some see his decision to make her a staff assistant as a form of debt-settling at the public's expense. Ms. Williams' annual salary as "staff assistant" is reported to be an impressive $129,000. Here are two other publicly reported annual salaries from Mr. Hastings' office which are quite telling: Vanessa Griddine, staff assistant (scheduler), $71,000; Fred Turner, chief of staff: $67,200.

Ms. Griddine must be one heck of a scheduler, as she earns nearly four thousand dollars a year more than Mr. Turner, the Congressman's chief of staff. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reports that Ms. Griddine, not Mr. Turner, recently accompanied Hastings on a trip to Portugal and Spain—earlier she had traveled with him to Brussels, at a cost to taxpayers of over $14,000. Doubtless her presence is constantly required to help arrange last-minute scheduling.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reported this past June that Hastings is one of a dozen chronic absentees in the current Congress—which raises questions about Ms. Griddine's scheduling acumen. The American Policy Center (APC), a conservative group, has called attention to the fact that, in recent years, Hastings has been under investigation for other ethics violations by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The APC reports that Hastings has also been investigated by the Florida Elections Commission and the Federal Election Commission for various charges of impropriety. Political Money Line, a watchdog group that tracks money in national politics, points out that Hastings ranks second among all American lawmakers in the number of taxpayer-funded trips he has taken since 1994, at a price tag of over $152,000 (not counting expenses incurred by his accompanying "assistants"). Many of those trips were taken on behalf of the OSCE to "monitor elections." The irony of one of Congress's most corrupt members being tasked to monitor electoral fraud should presumably shock even Hastings' original nominator, election supervisor par excellence Jimmy Carter.

Back to the present. The disgraced judge-cum-legislator's record on national security—the most basic criterion for leading the intelligence committee at any time, much less in the midst of a war on terror—has not been reassuring. In the 109th Congress alone, Mr. Hastings voted consistently against key counterterrorism tools, including the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, the Intelligence and Law Enforcement Resolution, and the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act. He has been an opponent of the trial by military commissions of unlawful terrorist combatants as well as border control, NSA communications intercepts, and terrorist financing tracking measures.

Mr. Hastings' dubious record contrasts greatly with that of the centrist Ms. Harman. While highly critical at times of the Bush administration's conduct of intelligence and counterterrorism operations, Ms. Harman has displayed a keen understanding of intelligence issues, and has introduced quite sensible legislation on national security concerns, including government-wide security clearances and enhanced seaport security.

With the serious international security challenges faced by Americans, the last thing we need is more bitter partisanship. Nancy Pelosi is set to make history as our first female Speaker. But what history will record of her speakership, should she choose to vault Mr. Hastings over Ms. Harman, is that her legacy had precious little to do with providing for the common defense of the Republic, and too much to do with shameless pandering.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: corruption; hastings; pelosi
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1 posted on 11/09/2006 9:04:51 AM PST by outofstyle
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To: outofstyle

The pigs are jostling for position at the trough.


2 posted on 11/09/2006 9:07:59 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: outofstyle

Who says she ever had any to lose?


3 posted on 11/09/2006 9:07:59 AM PST by perfect_rovian_storm
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To: outofstyle

Pelose 2nd in line for the presidency. I stopped reading there and wont continue until the author learns his civics.


4 posted on 11/09/2006 9:08:02 AM PST by smith288
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To: outofstyle

Is not a Republican; half of America and the MSM don't care that he's a louse!


5 posted on 11/09/2006 9:12:28 AM PST by raftguide
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To: smith288
Pelose 2nd in line for the presidency. I stopped reading there and wont continue until the author learns his civics.

Isn't this correct?

President, Vice-President, Speaker of House, Secretary of State.

6 posted on 11/09/2006 9:13:51 AM PST by frogjerk (REUTERS: We give smoke and mirrors a bad name)
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To: smith288

Pres.
VP
Speaker


7 posted on 11/09/2006 9:15:26 AM PST by outofstyle
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To: outofstyle
Pres.
VP
Speaker

I took it as 2nd in line meaning Bush then her.

8 posted on 11/09/2006 9:16:25 AM PST by smith288
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To: outofstyle
This ought to be fun if it weren't so scary.
9 posted on 11/09/2006 9:18:39 AM PST by b4its2late (FOOTBALL REFEREES: It's tough playing with us, but you can't play the game without us.)
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To: outofstyle

Maybe she will get a free frontal lobotomy with her NEXT face lift.....


10 posted on 11/09/2006 9:19:31 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: outofstyle

Interesting the MSM doesn't cover this aspect of the Democratic House take-over. Can you imagine in 1994 if after taking the House the GOP appointed an impeached judge to head the Intelligence Committee?? The media and the Democrats would have screamed, as well they should have! But the Dems. do that and silence all around. Of course the media is still too busy mopping up their drool and other bodily fluids spilled over their delight with the Democratic victory they're solely responsible for.

But what this writer fails to mention is that Hastings is a guy we now can be bribed and who has a pre-disposition to corruption. We are going to put the nation's intelligence in the hands of a creep like this, a guy who could easily be subjected to blackmail?? This guy shouldn't be on the intelligence committee at all, much less its chairman.


11 posted on 11/09/2006 9:19:52 AM PST by MikeA (Where's the media to call the elections a "temper tantrum" by America like they did in 1994?)
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To: outofstyle

The press is quick to echo this now, against Pelosi was in play in the 2006 election but instead we were having to discuss the meaning of macaca.


12 posted on 11/09/2006 9:20:11 AM PST by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: smith288
I believe, she will be second behind Cheney.
13 posted on 11/09/2006 9:20:24 AM PST by b4its2late (FOOTBALL REFEREES: It's tough playing with us, but you can't play the game without us.)
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To: frogjerk

President, VP, Speaker, President pro Tempore of the Senate then State, followed by the other cabinet members.

Just think, at some point until earlier this year, Norm Mineta was in line for the Presidency. * shudder *


14 posted on 11/09/2006 9:22:47 AM PST by kenth (There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who can count, and those who can't.)
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To: outofstyle

A crook, yet he's still in office, this is one of the things that bothers me about democrats. They don't get rid of their crooks, republicans not only get rid of their crooks, they tend to punish the entire party if there's one crooked guy in the bunch. I can understand dumping the crooks, but I can't understand why republicans go vote against other republicans because of something someone else in the party did.


15 posted on 11/09/2006 9:24:45 AM PST by psjones (u)
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To: outofstyle
Our Nancy has a hard row to hoe with some of these characters. Limbaugh and talk radio will have a field day with this stuff.

We'll see whether she has the political skills needed to run the House. I think she doesn't.
16 posted on 11/09/2006 9:25:58 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: outofstyle

More of this New Direction BS,putting an impeached judge in charge.


17 posted on 11/09/2006 9:28:20 AM PST by linn37 (Love your Phlebotomist)
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To: George W. Bush

All of you guys are sitting there and assuming that southern Democrats will just support her without question. I don't see that being the case. She may find that the picture has changed, and southerner Democrats would prefer a more easy-going invidivual to work issues than Nancy. She hasn't won alot of support in the past twelve months.


18 posted on 11/09/2006 9:30:16 AM PST by pepsionice
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To: outofstyle

I would like to ask a question here:

Don't the members of Congress VOTE who THEY want as their leader???? What makes her so sure she is the one that will lead the rats??? Cause she is Mrs. Hotshot Rat???? or is Hillary Mrs. Hotshot Rat and nancy is Mrs. Little Hotshot rat?????

And if the Big Hotshot Rat thought she could get to President faster, then why didn't she run in the House????

Maybe cause Big Hotshot Rat isn't the smartest woman in the world????


19 posted on 11/09/2006 9:36:22 AM PST by HarleyLady27 (My ? to libs: "Do they ever shut up on your planet?" "Grow your own DOPE: Plant a LIB!")
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To: Izzy Dunne

Republicans who are not testicularly challenged have a wonderful opportunity here. If Alcee Hastings is named Head of the House Intelligence Committee, the GOP should refuse to attend in protest over his corruption and impeachment by a DEMOCRATIC congress. Let the media demogogues cry "racism" because it will get the message out about who Alcee Hastings is.


20 posted on 11/09/2006 9:36:44 AM PST by neocon1984 (end the idiocy of post-modernism)
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To: smith288
Third in line, unless you are referring after the VP.
She is going to busy because they are already talking about subpoenas / investigations / impeachment.
21 posted on 11/09/2006 9:40:09 AM PST by svcw
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To: All

ping


22 posted on 11/09/2006 9:42:18 AM PST by sure_fine (*not one to over kill the thought process*)
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To: svcw

I wonder what those subpoenas will show.


23 posted on 11/09/2006 9:42:49 AM PST by wastedyears ("By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: outofstyle

Pelosi is the dog that chased the car and caught it. What's she gonna do now?


24 posted on 11/09/2006 9:51:48 AM PST by Locomotive Breath (In the shuffling madness)
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To: outofstyle
That Mr. Hastings is employed by the United States of America, and is not a guest a federal penitentiary, is itself cause for wonder.

Not for me. Democrats have always had a soft spot for felons. Now the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee is a man who quite possibly is philosophically opposed to the very agencies he'll be monitoring.

25 posted on 11/09/2006 9:52:20 AM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: HarleyLady27

What a fine catfight Ms. Big Hosthot Rat and Little Hotshot Rat could put on...I'd pay to watch them scratch each other's eyes out!


26 posted on 11/09/2006 9:54:21 AM PST by Froufrou
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To: svcw

She is second in line.
For her to be third the president would have to be first "in line". But the pres is "not in line" to BE pres because he is already the pres.
For her to be third the pres would have to be removed for the pres to be pres. doesn't make sense.


27 posted on 11/09/2006 9:57:50 AM PST by smoketree (the insanity, the lunacy these days)
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To: svcw
...they are already talking about subpoenas / investigations / impeachment

What else are they going to do? They obviously don't have ideas on how to address important issues. Now, it's distraction, distraction, distraction because when it comes to tackling issues, they're clueless.

In Pennsylvania, Casey Jr has got to be thinking, 'OMG, what do I do now?' I wonder what ventriloquist is going to have their hand up the butt of this empty puppet.
28 posted on 11/09/2006 9:59:57 AM PST by Pirate21 (The liberal media are as sheep clearing the path along which they will be led to the slaughter.)
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To: smith288
I took it as 2nd in line meaning Bush then her.

Bush isn't in line to be President. He is President.

29 posted on 11/09/2006 10:00:13 AM PST by Caesar Soze
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To: Caesar Soze

then comes the Vice President and then Mrs. Little Hotshot....


30 posted on 11/09/2006 10:03:07 AM PST by HarleyLady27 (My ? to libs: "Do they ever shut up on your planet?" "Grow your own DOPE: Plant a LIB!")
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To: pepsionice
All of you guys are sitting there and assuming that southern Democrats will just support her without question.

They will. She's been very careful, raised a lot of money and helped them get elected. And she's going to help them succeed by trying (and probably failing) to hold back the Conyers and the Rangels.

We have all underestimated her as a politician. And Howard Dean was the real architect of their fifty-state strategy that they hated him so much for. It remains to be seen whether Bela Pelosi can actually run the House and hold back Murtha and Hastings and the most embarassing Dims from these key positions.

We loathe her of course. But you gotta admit, she has her hands more than full on this one. It's nothing like the sweet coronation that Newt enjoyed.
31 posted on 11/09/2006 10:04:06 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: outofstyle

Thanks for the post.


32 posted on 11/09/2006 10:08:15 AM PST by zeaal (SPREAD TRUTH!)
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To: pepsionice
Hmmm. I'm in Florida, and I do believe that the "Southern Democrats" will have their noses so far up Nancy's butt that they won't be able to see straight.
Not a dime's worth of difference, except to the media, who thinks that all Southerners are ignorant rednecks anyway.

Alcee Hastings is one of those "Southern Democrats" (from Florida) who gets reelected forever by other "Southern Democrats."

Don't think for one minute that what they say in public to voters is how they will act in Congress.

Look at another "Southern Democrat" right here. Recognize him?


33 posted on 11/09/2006 10:08:52 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: smith288

He can't be in line if he's already there!


34 posted on 11/09/2006 10:11:39 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (Welcome swingers! Pull up a groove and get fabulous!)
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To: Zack Nguyen

Exactly. Look at old Ted

Where do you think we would be if we were driving drunk and killed someone?

And then ran away?


35 posted on 11/09/2006 10:11:44 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: Mr. Silverback
He can't be in line if he's already there!

Yea, I know. Just looked weird to see "2nd" when i think if Cheney as a 2nd when actually, Cheney is 1st in-line.

My bad.

36 posted on 11/09/2006 10:13:24 AM PST by smith288
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To: outofstyle

Tolerance and forgiveness are the watchwords.


37 posted on 11/09/2006 10:18:30 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: outofstyle

Intelligence = Pelosi = Oxymoron.


38 posted on 11/09/2006 10:23:13 AM PST by lilylangtree
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To: outofstyle

Frightening and sickening. bttt


39 posted on 11/09/2006 10:24:09 AM PST by Chena ("LET'S ROLL!!!!!!!!!!")
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To: MikeA
What really ticked me off was Major Garrett talking about this yesterday. I'm like, "Major, I was talking about this months ago, and neither you or any of your colleagues at the other nets thought we needed to know this BEFORE THE ELECTION?"

The media, including some of the folks at Fox, are the enemy. The fact that they knew a convicted criminal was headed for this seat is proof enough. And if they had talked about it, we would probably have still lost the election, but at least there would have been heavy pressure on Pelosi to designate a different successor for Harman and take the issue off the table.

40 posted on 11/09/2006 10:25:58 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (Welcome swingers! Pull up a groove and get fabulous!)
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To: lilylangtree

You were thinking my exact thought. Scary!


41 posted on 11/09/2006 10:28:00 AM PST by Blogger
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To: outofstyle

Impeached Judge Bump


42 posted on 11/09/2006 10:28:16 AM PST by jonno
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To: smith288

First in line is Cheney, and second in line is a bottom dwelling liberal from San Francisco...oops, I meant Nancy Pelosi.


43 posted on 11/09/2006 10:29:08 AM PST by montomike (If you didn't find this funny and were offended...have a riot.)
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To: outofstyle

If people insist on posting text containing the words "Pelosi" and "intelligence" in the same sentence, we're gonna have a problem.


44 posted on 11/09/2006 10:30:55 AM PST by floozy22
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To: Old Professer
"Tolerance and forgiveness are the watchwords."

Ok. However, we can shine the light of day on things like this. Don't give up. keep reminding the public what the dems are tolerating and thereby putting the public at risk. Demand that high profile conservatives make a BIG issue over things like this even if the old media wants to ignore it.
45 posted on 11/09/2006 10:31:53 AM PST by outofstyle
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To: floozy22

She has an intelligence failure every morning when she gets out of bed and every time she opens her mouth.
So what else is new?


46 posted on 11/09/2006 10:32:08 AM PST by oldenuff2no
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To: EagleUSA

Simple math tells you:
- brain = - lobotomy


47 posted on 11/09/2006 10:33:53 AM PST by GoRepGo
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To: smith288

this is actually correct, the 1st person in the line is the vp then the speaker (the "second" person after the vp)....


48 posted on 11/09/2006 10:35:21 AM PST by databoss
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To: outofstyle

Perhaps people ought to do more checkin out of old Nancy, make sure she hasn't got some skeletons hiding in the closet that aren't known? Seeing how she is 3rd in line and all


49 posted on 11/09/2006 10:36:23 AM PST by dforest (be careful you don't become what you hate the most)
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To: outofstyle

BUMP!!!


50 posted on 11/09/2006 10:37:30 AM PST by Nancee
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