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The AP, via the Balto. Sun:

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has chosen a Border-Patrol-agent-turned-congressman to lead the House Intelligence Committee, according to congressional aides.

Democratic leaders are contacting congressional and other political officials to tell them Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, will be the new chairman of the committee when Democrats take over in January, said the two aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they considered it an internal party issue.

The selection of Reyes marks one of the few committee assignments that was still a question after Democrats won control of the House of Representatives last month. It set up an early challenge for Pelosi, who had sole discretion on the selection.

The California Democrat had to navigate a series of candidates -- and their supporters -- who were vying for the post. In the end, Pelosi bypassed two more senior intelligence committee members -- Reps. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. -- to select Reyes.

Harman is currently the committee's top Democrat, and her leadership term expires this year. She could have been reappointed by Pelosi, but the two are said to have political differences.

Some critics and ethics watchdogs questioned whether Hastings was the right person for the post, which has access to some of the nation's top secrets. He is Congress' only impeached federal judge.

In a sign of the bitterness that has surrounded the issue, Hastings closed a statement this week, in which he announced he would not get the job, with: "Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."

After navigating the Hoyer v. Murtha minefield, even though it was really a much bigger deal in the blogosphere than inside the Caucus, Pelosi surely didn't relish the idea of a mis-step in the Harman v. Hastings battle. The lines were drawn in the sand. Glenn Greenwald, speaking for a significant chunk of left blogostan, had flatly declared Harman unacceptable for the helm of the committee, calling her, "among the worst choices Pelosi could make."

Hastings, who presented himself as the next logical successor (even though membership and seniority on a Select Committee like Intelligence is technically entirely discretionary), immediately had his detractors. Though there were some who came to his defense, the bottom-line takeaway from a Hastings chairmanship was this: he's the only current Member of Congress who's actually been impeached for bribery.

So finding a third candidate was a no-brainer, right? Well, not so fast. Internal Caucus politics guide these things much more than public perception or pressure, as we learned in the Majority Leader battle. Bypassing Hastings might mean a confrontation with the Congressional Black Caucus, whose Members might take umbrage at bypassing Hastings for a chairmanship. Anyone who remembers how steadfastly CBC Members stood by (and continue to stand by) their colleague, Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, will know that the CBC jealously guards the earned seniority of its Members.

But as little as Pelosi could afford another embarrassing entanglement over yet another internal matter, so, perhaps, the CBC felt it could ill-afford kicking off the 110th Congress standing by two Members under ethical attack.

Then, just as suddenly as this all began, it was over, with the announcement that the Hastings bid was over, with competing claims over who made the decision. Did Hastings drop his bid? Or did Pelosi refuse him? For a while, the answer depended on who you were talking to, but the shake-out seems to be that Pelosi drove the stake in. And so far, the CBC has had little to say about it.

Is Hastings bitter? You tell me. Note the close of his statement: "Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."

The question is, does Hastings harbor bitterness against Pelosi and the Caucus at large? Or against the CBC? How might you feel if you protested your innocence, too, but found yourself over the side, while Jefferson was still comfortably seated on the CBC boat?

But, it's all over now, right?

Not so fast.

One thing you may not know about Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tx), now being considered as a compromise candidate to chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), is that he joined his friend and colleague, outgoing congressman Curt Weldon at a meeting with infamous Iran Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, against the advice of the Agency, and without informing the U.S. ambassador in Paris, as is proper protocol. The meeting took place at the Sofitel hotel on Rue Boissy D'Anglas around the corner from the US embassy in Paris on a Saturday morning in the spring of 2004 (see update below), according to two sources. (The US government was actually surveilling the hotel lobby that morning out of concern that Iranians might potentially try to harm the congressmen; Weldon apparently loudly asked the concierge for a room for a secret meeting). Ghorbanifar and his business partner were trying to entice the U.S. congressmen to take up the cause of trying to make Ghorbanifar a paid U.S. intelligence asset again on the Middle East, but the CIA would have nothing to do with him, given that he was deemed a fabricator and made the subject of two CIA burn notices in the 1980s, and caused much grief for U.S. policymakers who dealt with him during the Iran Contra affair....

We may yet be in for quite a ride. And while I doubt very much that this news has any chance of changing Pelosi's decision, Congress watchers may want to grab some extra popcorn this year. Because the much-vaunted "subpoena power" looks like it's come to rest in the hands of an Intel chairman who rolls with Crazy Curt Weldon.

Hang onto your hats. And if the winds kick up before the gavel drops in January, look for Pelosi to have to tack through a new maelstrom, this time with the Hispanic Caucus.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:10 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Holt (14+ / 0-)

      Has issued a very nice statement congratulating Reyes, celebrating his military service and his knowledge of border issues.

      This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

      by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:20:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unsurprised but disappointed... (0+ / 0-)

        That Holt didn't get it.

        Know nothing about Reyes except that he's voted w/ Dems on just about everything except oil+gas royalties (he is from TX, after all), and flag-burning (stupid, but inconsequential).

        Holt's a nuclear physicist for chrissakes...

        •  Silvestre!!! (6+ / 0-)
          Silvestre is an excellent choice. Born to an impoverished first generation immigrant family. Self made man. Wildly popular amongst Latinos. He's from the border and knows border issues like the back of his hand. He's fought hard and mighty against the Bush agenda every step of the way. He was one of what, 27 congressmembers to vote against the war. He's not a member of the "good 'ol boy crowd" as Harmon is, and can be expected to put the administration's feet to the fire as chair of the committee. He may not be an ivy league member, but he's smart as a whip -- street smarts. Most importantly, on financial matters he's as clean as a hound's tooth. He is worth less today than he did when he was elected to congress a decade or so ago.

          An excellant choice, the wild speculation on this thread notwithstanding.

          "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

          by chuco35 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:04:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Double dang for me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He's my former congressman, and a hell of a great guy.  Wish I still lived in his district

      People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

      by viget on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:31:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Holt MIGHT have been a better choice (0+ / 0-)

      but competing caucuses is a big factor in this situation. I don't think Reyes is all that bad. Frankly, I'm just glad Pelosi prevented Hastings or Harmon from heading that panel - Harmon because she really is a Bush apologist; Hastings because he's ethically compromised to a much higher degree. Also, his reaction shows he's not really up to the job. It's NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, Alcee!

      And it's not as if the CBC doesn't have substantial clout in the committees this time. Reyes may be about to get much more famous, as his committee will be getting a lot of interesting work. I just hope he has the gonads to push for more information, more transparency, and doesn't allow himself to be intimidated by the Repug Cyborgs.

      The fact is, the Democrats are the Party of "We" while the Republicans are firmly established as the Party of "I."

      by The Lighthouse Keeper on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:23:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only reasonable choice (19+ / 0-)

    The key facts here are that (1) Reyes is third in seniority on the committee after Harman and Hastings (2) Latinos swung to the Democrats harder than any other group between 2004 and 2006 and (3) without this appointment there would have been no Latino committee chairs in the incoming Congress.

    With Harman and Hastings both having disqualifying problems, Reyes became the necessary choice unless there was something wrong with him equal to what was wrong with Harman and Hastings.  There wasn't -- although the need to find something like that is the reason people were pursuing the Weldon-Ghorbanifar smear campaign.  Rest assured that Pelosi looked into that deeply before making this pick.

    Those who oppose this selection must ask:  How would it have looked if Pelosi passed over the most senior member who didn't have a disqualifying problem and at the same time insured that there would be no Latino committee chairs in the new Caucus?

    •  House Intel has no seniority rules (10+ / 0-)

      It's one of the unique things about it.

      The Weldon-Ghorbanifar story was written by Laura Rozen, who's usually considered pretty credible about intelligence matters.  

      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

      by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:15:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I should admit up front... (9+ / 0-)

        that when it comes to Ghorbanifar, I would absolutely have to defer to the expertise of others. Rozen will undoubtedly be following this doggedly, and if you're interested in doing the same, I'd be bookmarking her.

        •  Welcome to the Front, KagroX!! (5+ / 0-)

          Glad am I to see you, Barb, Mark & Laura on the FP.

          Great story to get your feet wet too. I was half expecting an "Impeach!!!" diary, but I'm confident you'll get those in eventually.

          Peace, and write well, friend. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

          •  I second that thought! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And, like Tim, awaiting that "Impeach" commentary!

            So great to see you on the Front Page!

            •  another impeachment topic (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              clyde, Timroff

              the bottom-line takeaway from a Hastings chairmanship was this: he's the only current Member of Congress who's actually been impeached for bribery.

              Several federal judges (13) have been impeached, but only 6 have been convicted by the Senate.  

              Alycee Hastings was not just impeached, he was then convicted by the U.S. Senate for corruption.  

              Personally, I think anyone who has repeatedly put his record before the voters and served mutiple terms honorably (as a House member and an Intel. Comm. member) is rehabilitated and should be treated that way.  He's paid his "political debt" to society for his judicial/ethical/political crimes.  Furthermore, he was acquited of any criminal conduct.

              Unfortunately, given that one of the many winning themes for the Democrats this fall was replacing the systemic corruption of the GOP Congress, the political costs of a Hastings appointment would be unnecessarily high.

              The most important point is that Pelosi stuck to her guns and kept Harman out of the chair.  Harman's judgment has been distasterous for the country and the Democratic party, and Pelosi had a duty to all of us to keep her out of the chair of the intel. committee.  

              Pelosi delivered on this one.


              Religion is like Sodomy: Both may be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

              by Caoimhin Laochdha on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:06:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Too much is being made of this (4+ / 0-)

          We don't know a thing about what Reyes did at the meeting or what his agenda was.  Maybe he just went along to give Weldon some adult supervision.  Absent some public statements by Reyes to suggest that he thinks like Weldon, I'm inclined to think this is a complete non-issue.

        •  i don't think it matter (0+ / 0-)

 term of rightwing attack. Because if they start digging into that matter, they will end up with Bush and crew themselves.

          My question however is...what was he doing there? just odd.

        •  Kagro... (0+ / 0-)
          Thanks for being upfront and pointing out what many on this site are ignoring -- that you don't know much about this matter. I do know this, from personal experience -- Silvestre is an absolutely sober and credible man. He is not the nutcase that many here are alluding he might be. His "friendship" with the real nutcase at issue is most likely not any more than what Kennedy says when he gets up on the floor and states that someone like Frist "is my esteemed friend and collegue from Tennessee". Would we smear Teddy for saying this?

          Be assured that there is nothing, nada, zilch, to this crap, anymore than there is to the stories we hear about Reid having been in Abramoff's pocket on the flimsiest of "evidence".

          "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

          by chuco35 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:36:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No rules, but there's (4+ / 0-)

        still seniority.

        And I'm sure the story is credible. I'm just unclear on what it means. Did Reyes take up Ghorbanifar's cause? That would be godawful judgement. Did he just violate protocol? Just violate good taste by hanging with Weldon? What, exactly?

        Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

        by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:17:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No answer. (8+ / 0-)

          It is not even confirmed that Reyes had the meeting.  His office denies it.

          Delaware Dem 2008: The Front Page will never be the same.

          by Delaware Dem on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:22:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then, by definition, he's a liar! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Thanks. This whole thing stinks. Upon first reading the article, sounded to me like Reyes was positively filthy. Then re-reading, I couldn't figure out exactly how  ...

            Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

            by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:33:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hang On There... (3+ / 0-)

              ...before you call someone who is a genuingly good guy a liar. What, you believe everything the CIA says? You have a particularly good spot within the CIA to absolutely state that Reyes is a liar? The wingers are wrong when they call Reid corrupt and tie him to Abramoff, but whoever in the CIA that gave Rozen the information she used right? Why the fuck are you so willing to throw a good man under the bus so easily by smearing him as a liar? A little bit of benefit of the doubt for one of our guys, maybe?

              "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

              by chuco35 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:13:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well it doesn't make me feel particularly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smintheus, walkshills

          safer since Weldon was the guy screaming about terrorists in super markets.  The characterization of "good friend" gives one pause if its true.  I mean did Reyes respond to Curt with a, "Oh Curt, you're going a bit overboard." or did he say, "Oh yeah they will!" when Curt said stupid and insane stuff like that.  The last thing we need on the Intel Committee are more paranoid nutcases.  We need to remember that what goes into that committee is largely not available for public scrutiny and thus we have to trust the judgement and integrity of those who are on that committee to make the correct decisions.  That was my objection to Harman btw - she lost my faith.

          Hey and great diary Kargo X!!  New FPer!!  :)

        •  Ghorbanifar wanted them to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smintheus, VA Law Student

          He wanted them to take up his case to be a CIA Asset again.  The meeting took place against the advice of the CIA Station Chief in Paris at the time and without informing the US Ambassador.

          Let's be clear: Rozen's comment from Reyes' spokeswoman is that Reyes wasn't there.  However, the CIA Station Chief says that he was:

          Reyes' spokeswoman Kira Maas denies Reyes has ever met with Ghorbanifar.

          Then CIA station chief in Paris Bill Murray says in response to that: "Weldon, Ortiz and Reyes were part of a Congressional delegation which was in France in late August 2003 for a planned meeting that Weldon planned with his source. I was supposed to go to that meeting but had been given instructions not to after I had learned from my own sources that Ghorbanifar was going to attend the meeting. Therefore I called Weldon, I told him I wouldn't go to the meeting. I also told him his source's information was not very good. He told me that my superiors in Washington would not agree with that and had told him it was first class information. The meeting was held. Ghorbanifar attended."

          The contradiction deserves a resolution before Reyes officially becomes chairman.

          Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

          by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:24:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  but... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Delaware Dem, goodasgold

            It doesn't actually say there whether Reyes attended, just that the source in question didn't attend the meeting himself! Still, I don't really see how it matters one way or the other whether Reyes merely attended that meeting along with the rest of the delegation. I'd rather know about what he actually did since then.

            •  There was a spotter (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pb, smintheus, goodasgold

              Rozen reports that someone was sent to scope out the lobby to make sure the congressmen weren't set up:

              The embassy sent spotters to scout the hotel lobby and street out of concern that Ghorbanifar, considered a foreign agent for Iran, might try to set the congressmen up. The spotter in the lobby saw a group of congressmen in the lobby of the Sofitel waiting for the 9am meeting, and heard Weldon ask the concierge for a room for a secret meeting, and complain that the CIA was quote chickening out of the meeting again. The spotter saw Mahdavi and Ghorbanifar come in to the lobby, and the group including the congressmen and the Iranians take a seat at a table in a corner of the mostly empty lobby restaurant area. He was instructed not to linger after Ghorbanifar arrived and had made sure no one was around who would harm or set up the congressmen and left.

              The hysterical part is Weldon asking for a room for a secret meeting.

              Although it still doesn't definitively prove anything, it shouldn't be a problem for Reyes to settle the matter conclusively.

              Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

              by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:46:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You know, that's great and all, but... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pb, Delaware Dem, chuco35

            I agree that the conflicting "was he there/wasn't he there" should be resolved.

            But, even if it is resolved that he WAS there, I don't see how it matters. It was apparently Weldon's deal, which is completely unsurprising, and thus any presence by Reyes would have been as somewhat of a tag-along.

            Honestly, I almost wish that Reyes WAS there, because then at least we'd have had a member of the opposition present to observe the goings on at this "secret meeting". No secret deals being forged and whatnot that the Dems don't know about.  Ghorbanifar is toxic, yes, but "meeting with him" is hardly an indictment of Reyes. The indictment here is that the meeting with Mr. Toxic Arms Dealer Ghorbanifar was apparently SET UP by Curt Weldon, so he gets the negative mojo on this one. Thank god Weldon was recently voted out. Reyes participation is suspect and deserves inquiry, but its hardly damning.

            •  It matters because (0+ / 0-)

              it calls Reyes' judgment into question.  Even if he tagged along, it would be easy to say what he was doing if he wasn't at the meeting.

              Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

              by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:47:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bullshit! (0+ / 0-)

                Even if he was there, you don't know shit about why or what -- at least not to question Silvestre's judgement.

                "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

                by chuco35 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:19:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's rich (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I can't question his judgement?  The hell I can't and I am.

                  You're right: I don't know why or what but that shouldn't stop me from asking.

                  Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

                  by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 11:00:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What's Rich... (0+ / 0-)
                    ...Is your flat out and ill-defined speculation, about a genuingly good guy. A guy who voted against the war and has resisted Bush's agenda every step of the way.

                    "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." Bush on Osama-3/13/02

                    by chuco35 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 11:09:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I didn't say he wasn't a good guy (0+ / 0-)

                      and from what I know, he'll be a decent chair. I simply want an answer to the question of what he was doing at the time in question.  That's a reasonable question to ask.  Just because we're in the majority doesn't mean we can't ask questions.  If there's nothing there, then it's an easy question to answer.

                      Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

                      by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 11:30:42 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Why were they in Paris together? (0+ / 0-)

            What would Weldon be doing in France?

            Winning without Delay.

            by ljm on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:40:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  More importantly (4+ / 0-)

        Rozen has been tracking this story for a long time. It's not like she went out and shopped for a reason to discredit Reyes.

        The takeaway, to me, is that Reyes does not seem AS compromised as Weldon. He's not, AFAWK, digging up old chemical dumps in Iraq and declaring them WMDs. But I think we ought to keep our eye out for him ad-libbing intelligence maneuvers.

        The CIA will tell anyone who asks that Ghorbanifar is bad news, as bad as Chalabi. We really can't have our Chair meeting with such loons.

        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

        by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:24:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's probably not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smintheus, VA Law Student

          as compromised as Weldon.  But there are questions that should be answered.  If there's really nothing to this, then it should be an easy resolution.

          Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

          by mini mum on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:28:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  and since he's denied the meeting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VA Law Student

            took place, the first and easiest question to focus on is whether he's being truthful. If not, then he should be pitched out on his ass.

            Can you imagine what damage could be done, if the Chair of the House Intelligence committee could be subject to blackmail by anybody (Ghorbanifar? Bush?) who had evidence of the meeting?

        •  While that may be true as a rule, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          this may be a misstep, it does not seem clearly disqualifying.  As a Congressmember, I can imagine wanting to see Ghorbanifar face to face -- to take his measure, find out what sort of arguments he makes, what it is he wants.  It's not letting himself be propositioned that would bother me, but letting himself be seduced.  I've seen no inkling that he has done so.

          You're right, though, that this behavior would not be acceptable in the Intel Chair.  Reyes seems like a bright guy and I expect that he will understand that.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:52:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

        If there were, then Harman and Hastings would both have to get tossed.  That doesn't mean that having considered the top two in seniority and decided against them, Pelosi should then just disregard the third most senior.

    •  Smear Campaign? (0+ / 0-)

      Is he or is he not friends with Curt Weldon?
      Did he or did he not go with Weldon to meet with Ghorbanifar? (NOTE: Ole Manucher is partly responsible for convincing the amateurs who currently run our foreign policy that attacking Iraq would provide a springboard for toppling the Iranian regime -- his "informing" included the line "You won't be surprised if you find that Saddam Hussein is on one of the Iranian islands.")

      I mean, let's be serious.  It's great to have a Latino Democrat chair a committee.  But this one?  Let's not let defense of the interests of the Latino committee cloud judgment about someone who may very well have been intensely involved in the worst military blunder in 2000 years.

      •  Clarification (0+ / 0-)

        By "this one" I meant "this particular Congressman".

      •  It is a smear. A Kossack Swiftboating. (3+ / 0-)

        Delaware Dem 2008: The Front Page will never be the same.

        by Delaware Dem on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:23:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  DD, are you specifically pointing at (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          KX, or am I misinterpreting your "smear" statement?

          If you think it is a smear, is the prospect link somehow innappropriate or speculative?  And what is the motive for smearing if you believe it is one?

          9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

          by Prof Dave on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:28:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was not KX who discovered this (0+ / 0-)

            Go to my diary today, and down in the comments, a number of Kossacks began disseminating this information.  

            Delaware Dem 2008: The Front Page will never be the same.

            by Delaware Dem on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:48:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Further, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pb, Major Danby, greenchiledem

            if everything in the Prospect link is true, then what is Reyes guilty of?  Meeting with someone who did not get what he wanted from the meeting.

            For Christ sakes.  

            Delaware Dem 2008: The Front Page will never be the same.

            by Delaware Dem on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:50:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Shades of Harry Reid and the Boxing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Colorado Luis, pb


              Worth keeping an eye on? Yes. But worth loudly legitimizing as a real concern at this point? No.

              Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

              by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:52:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pb, GussieFN, Prof Dave, greenchiledem

                If you want to keep an eye on it, fine.  I don't think there is anything there.

                But a number of Kossacks are on the warpath just over the Prospect piece, making it more than a real concern, but a scandal.  

                Totally uncalled for and not based in truth.

                Delaware Dem 2008: The Front Page will never be the same.

                by Delaware Dem on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:54:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pb, greenchiledem

                  I think this is a mountain/molehill thing after reading it all - even if he did attend that meeting.

                  This is not important, and will be forgotten soon enough.

                  I don't think this is an issue where we need to help the R storyline that Ds are just as bad as Rs, which in my opinion this seems designed to do among D activists and voters.

                  9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

                  by Prof Dave on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:59:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  molehill? (0+ / 0-)

                    Reyes has denied the meeting took place. If that's false, then he's a liar.

                    Further, he could easily be subject to blackmail by anybody who has evidence that he attended the meeting. Great person to put in charge of a critical committee. It's not as if there weren't dozens of other Representatives who weren't also qualified to run the committee, right?

                    •  I have to say (0+ / 0-)

                      that it is quite a jump.  I realize that he is a politician, but it seems to me that the source of this story has more to gain by lying that Reyes has to lose by lying.  Why would he lie?  If he told the truth about it, what would it possibly hurt?

                      So basically, this is a story about someone potentially lying.  There are piles of Rs that lie incessantly, and we have one guy who is getting his tailfeathers singed because one news outlet and his story aren't the same?  When a leadership post is at stake, and many have motive to kill his ascention to this post?

                      I think I'll wait for this to develop more before engaging my outrage.

                      9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

                      by Prof Dave on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:21:59 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  has it not been confirmed then (0+ / 0-)

                        that Reyes was in Paris at the time reported? That fact alone, I'd say, goes a long way toward making this issue worthy of discussion.

                        Reyes might have plenty of reason to deny that such a meeting occurred. For example, it might get in the way of committee appointment(s).

        •  OK - that was informative (0+ / 0-)

          DD - I don't get it.

          Reliable reporting indicates that Reyes met with Ghorbanifar.  Now I think it's also interesting that he met with Ghorbanifar with Weldon, who is also reportedly Rep. Reyes' friend.  How many nuts like Weldon like to hang out with people who disagree with them?  Not many.

          So then there must be some kind of meeting of the minds between Reyes and Weldon.  That, in and of itself, is creepy.  However, that he would then agree to meet with a guy like Ghorbanifar, who is a serial fabricator and quite possibly working in the interests of the Iranians (who had the MOST to gain from luring us into the Iraq quagmire), with his buddy Weldon who bought into everything Ghorbanifar said...well, that's just not who we need running the House Intel the very least, it seems that he might be really gullible.

          I want to dig into this, because I think it's news that raises questions.  However, dismissing it out of hand, for no particular reason other than your faith that there's no there there doesn't seem prudent to me.

          •  You know, having friends is good in DC (4+ / 0-)

            It helps to get things done.  I'm not worried that Reyes was Weldon's "friend," whatever that actually means in Congress.  It doesn't mean he was licking his fur.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:54:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Loretta Sanchez... (4+ / 0-) next senior on Strategic Forces Subcommittee of Armed Forces.  Reyes has been the ranking member in the 109th, but presumably will give up his two subcommittee ranking positions for Intelligence Chair.  John Spratt (SC) is second on this subcommittee, but is Ranking on Budget, and so will presumably go there.  Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) who knocked off Dornan to win her Orange County seat, is next.

      Here's a pic of Reyes (they're fairly scarce).  This one's from an event promoting math education, with Apollo Ohno as its ranking celebrity:

      As I've mentioned elsewhere, the right wing (Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, Lou Dobbs types) are going to throw a holy fit when they figure out that Reye's official House website is bilingual.  You can read it en español!!

    •  As an hispanic, ITA. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Colorado Luis

      Yes, things in an ideal world would be colorblind.  However, considering our numbers and the 60% who broke for us last time AND the growing importance of the voting bloc, I am glad Pelosi made this choice.

      I predicted it three weeks ago on mydd.  And people were disagreeing left and right.  But, I trusted Pelosi's political acumen, and knew she'd make the right choice.

      Latino's needed someone, some hispanic face, in the limelight.  

      Make robo-calls illegal. But if we can't, then let's use our own against the Repugs. Beat em at their own game. Now no longer a HillaryGuy: AL GORE in 2008!

      by HillaryGuy on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:51:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "God is not finished with me yet" - Hastings (4+ / 0-)

    No, I suspect not.

    But that may not be a good thing in your case.

  •  CBC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nina Katarina, Rolfyboy6, Major Danby

    shouldn't be angry over this one. Frankly, at the risk of sounding offensive, there are plenty of African-Americans in key positions already. Clyburn is Majority Whip. Conyers and Rangels have key committee chairs.

    I kind of like having Reyes as chair because he is a former border patrol agent. He can perhaps working improve intelligence as it relates to Homeland Security. For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:12:05 AM PST

  •  So Reyes is accused of what, exactly? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Olds88, pb, DBunn, greenchiledem

    Violating protocol?

    Is there any there there? What came from this meeting? Did Reyes go to bat for Ghorbanifar?

    Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

    by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:14:17 AM PST

    •  Meeting with someone. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, Harkov311, greenchiledem

      I truly believe this is a swiftboating of the worst our own Kossacks.

      Unbelievable.   We want people to be so clean that we will invent dirt just to clean it.

      Delaware Dem 2008: The Front Page will never be the same.

      by Delaware Dem on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:21:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm curious (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick, pb, mcjoan, jxg, eph89, viget, esquimaux

        Have you followed Rozen's extensive reporting on this meeting, going back (IIRC) about a year? Because, for starters, she's not DKos, she's Laura Rozen, a respectable journalist with a strong track record, on this and other stories. And, secondly, as someone who HAS been following her reporting on this, I think her past reporting on it stands up well.

        I'm not saying this is a disqualifying event. But I do think it worth tracking. We've got Iran-Contra II just waiting to happen, and if it's going to happen, I'd rather we had the oversight in place to prevent it from getting as far as the last Iran-Contra got.

        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

        by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:29:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But what is Rozen implying? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Delaware Dem, Major Danby

          Reyes stands accused of being Weldon's friend and violating protocol? Or actually acting on Ghorbanifar's behalf?

          There's a pretty wide gulf between the two things, and some conflation going on.

          Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

          by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:37:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  C, none of the above (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B

            Yes, it is a violation of protocol. It's a worthy concern; it was a meeting just like this, involving some of the same players, that is suspected to be at the root of the Niger forgeries. There's a reason you follow protocol in meetings like this, and it's to avoid anyone free-lancing on covert ops and foreign policy.

            But also, meeting with Ghorba is, at the least, a tremendous lapse of judgment. That would be true even if just on the basis of his actions during Iran-Contra, in which he made wild promises that turned out to be busts. But he has been doing more of the same recently, notably (among other things) as Dick Cheney's spy on the Khalilzad/Iran negotiations earlier this year. Ghorba's job was to make sure nothing constructive came of the negotiations.

            A good analogy would be if someone went to a meeting with Chalabi in 2002, accompanied by James Woolsey and/or Richard Perle, against the wishes of the CIA. Illegal? Nope. Stupid? Yes. Reflecting very badly on taht person's judgment? Yup. Meriting that person ongoing observation, to make sure Chalabi didn't given them anything they used? Yup.

            This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

            by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:43:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  See, you're getting all of that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pb, Delaware Dem

              from a careful reading between the lines--and you in particular are excellent at between-line-reading, for which I salute you.

              But 1) according to Delaware Dem, Reyes's office denies the meeting took place. 2) We simply have no clue what happened. Maybe Reyes was there, tugging on Weldon's leash. Maybe he was there, rolling over for Ghorba. We don't know. But front-paging this, and poring over the entrails is way premature. Especially as this falls oh-so-conveniently into the 'Pelosi can't made a good decision' frame, and the 'no Democrat is good enough to Chair Intel' frame.

              As Chris Bowers says, "Outside of issues relating to corruption, Democrats must never criticize each other in the same manner that Republicans criticize Democrats." And this just isn't yet an issue relating to corruption. If it becomes one, full speed ahead. But let's not jump the gun. Or mix the metaphor. Whatever.

              Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

              by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:50:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Reading between the lines, perhaps (0+ / 0-)

                Or, reading all of Laura's reporting on this, going back a year.

                And I agree, we don't know what happened.

                But that's why, for Congressmen who want to remain above suspicion, follow protocol when they meet with known agents of foreign governments. THis is akin to meeting with a lobbyist but not declaring the meeting.

                I'm not saying this should disqualify him. I'm saying it reflects bad judgment, because no matter what happened at the meeting he conducted the meeting in such a way that was suspicious. Had he followed protocol, that wouldn't have been the case, and he'd have had an easy case to say, "nothing there."

                This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

                by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:03:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then perhaps our sole (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  disagreement is how we (the netroots) ought to respond when allegations are made about a newly-appointed Democratic committee chair. We don't even know if this happened, yet we're pushing a certain narrative, here. How does this serve us? Rozen will continue to investigate, as she should, and if she ever finds anything meaningful against Reyes, then we should howl. But howling before then, at smoke and suspicion, is counterproductive, and undermines our party.

                  Frankly, we don't even know if this was bad judgment. I hesitate to give this much benefit of the doubt, just as I hesitate to give less, but we simplly don't yet know enough to say. Perhaps the alternative (Weldon meeting Ghora alone?) was worse, in Reyes's judgement. Who knows? Not us.

                  Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                  by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:14:40 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    We still disagree strongly on the judgment issue.

                    Look. You can meet with someone following the protocol designed to assure everyone that what happens at that meeting is above suspicion.

                    Or you can choose to violate protocol.

                    If you chose to violate protocol with, say, Jack Abramoff, it would certainly raise eyebrows. Whether or not he dealt you a free golfing vacation, there are so many other examples where, when he met with people outside of protocol, he dealt them golf vacations, that denying you received one would ring hollow. This, IMO, is similar.

                    If you're going to meet with a known crook, you sure as hell had better make sure you do so in a way to make it easy to prove there was no cause for concern.

                    That's what protocol is for--to make it easy for you to remain above suspicion. Choose to violate it, and you've got the burden of proof that there was no funny business.

                    This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

                    by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:26:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We don't know enough (0+ / 0-)

                      to pass judgement on his judgement. Maybe he didn't even attend the meeting! If he didn't attend, was this still bad judgement?

                      How binding is protocol? I don't even know what violating protocol means, really. Is this a set of written agreements? Is it just the ways things are done? Do you have any idea?

                      If Reyes notified the embassy, then met Ghorba to discuss God-knows-what, that's fine?

                      Was Ghorba handing out cash and vacations, like Abramoff? And weren't Abramoff's gifts illegal? I mean, isn't that the problem? If Ghorba was known to have broken the law in outside-of-protocol meetings with congresspeople, then meeting with him outside-of-protocol is a serious lapse of judgement, yes. If Ghorba was simply known to talk dangerous crap in outside-of-protocol meetings with congresspeople, and Weldon told Reyes, "Hey, Sil, I'm meeting the Ghorbmeister in three minutes, and I'm thinking of buying a jetpack from him, wanna come? I might also tell him some national security secrets!' then I'm sure we can criticise Reyes so easily.

                      Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                      by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:50:28 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Response (0+ / 0-)

                        First, yes, if he had notified the embassy, it would be much less of a problem.

                        Second, I'm not sure you really know who Ghorba is. Because he has been involved with lawbreaking after outside-of-protocol meetings with US officials. You do remember Iran-Contra, right? Well, he was the worst of the brokers from the Iranian side. You meet Ghorba, and the assumption is--because that is what he does for a living--that you're brokering off-the-books covert ops.

                        I just don't understand why you'd think freelance foreign policy is somehow less problematic than bribery? Either way, it's about illegal influence and bypassing representative democracy.

                        Mind you, I'm not accusing Reyes of accepting illegal influence. I'm saying he broke protocol in a meeting in a meeting with a guy for which officials of the US have already broken the law (and been convicted) by using him to conduct illegal covert ops.

                        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

                        by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 11:27:47 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, first, (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          you're saying Reyes broke protocol and you have no idea if that's true. I imagine you're right, and he did ... but we could both be entirely wrong.

                          Second, as far as I know Ghorba is a dangerous liar and an arms-dealing middleman slimebag ... but I'm not sure if he broke the law in meetings, I mean. The way that a meeting with Abramoff often went hand-in-hand with an illegal bribe or whatnot. (In fact, was Ghorba ever charged with a crime? That's not really my point, I just realized I don't know ...) What I'm awkwardly saying is: listening to someone fabricating intelligence and looking at his forged documents isn't a crime, is it? Unlike accepting golf getaways from lobbyists. To me, and if that's correct, that's an incredibly important distinction. The conference-room behavior of one slimebag is legal. The other is not.

                          But that's all sort of by-the-by. I don't see any freelance foreign policy here. I see a meeting with a shadowy bad actor who's been incredibly influential, and I can imagine a number of good reasons for that ... including some that don't allow for protocol. Now, some of those reasons are utterly unlikely, but I see no reason to presume that Reyes is guilty of even bad judgement until more information emerges. And I see plenty of reasons to presume his innocence, until--and if--we learn more.

                          And you also don't quite know what 'protocol' is, either? This is the sort of accusation--'he violated protocol!'--that could be serious, or utterly trivial. Are we talking about the same protocol that Al Gore violated in the timing of his endorsement of Howard Dean? Or something far, far more grave?

                          Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                          by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 11:56:11 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm guessing... (0+ / 0-)

                            That if any one person is responsible here for 'breaking protocol', it was Weldon, as it seems he was the one in the majority and running the show, not Reyes (or Ortiz, Velazquez, or Brown, for that matter...)

                          •  Yeah, I imagine you're right, but (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I have a more important question: how much of a bloggeek need you be, to get a thrill from talking with emptywheel, just because she's ... emptywheel?

                            I really need a hobby.

                            Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                            by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:11:55 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  heh. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Join the club! Wait, this isn't a hobby? :)

                          •  In fact... (0+ / 0-)

                            Here's Rozen's story back when Weldon was to blame:

                            Moreover, said Murray, Weldon himself violated U.S. government protocol by failing to report his encounters with Mahdavi in France to the U.S. ambassador when asked whether he planned any meetings there while being hosted by the embassy in April 2004. According to Murray, Weldon denied he had planned any meetings -- and then proceeded to meet with both Mahdavi and Ghorbanifar, the subject of the CIA burn notice, at the Sofitel hotel around the corner from the U.S. Embassy.

                            And she got the date wrong, too--she just recently corrected it to August 2003.

                          •  Response (0+ / 0-)

                            Well, look at it this way.

                            Abramoff bribes someone. But the actual act is in voting a certain way in response for the bribe. The meeting that sets it up is just one aspect of the crime.

                            Ghorba negotiates illegal covert ops with someone. The actual act is in selling arms to our mortal enemies then helping the Americans funnel the money to fund an illegal foreign policy. The meeting that sets it up is just one aspect of the crime.

                            And again, you're underestimating Ghorba's role. It's not that he's a fabricator (though he is that). It's that he sets up covert ops or conducts illegal spying activities that thereby bypass normal oversight. Is that happening here? Dunno. But again, that's what he does for a living. That's why meeting him outside of normal channels looks terrible. Again, it's like meeting Abramoff outside of declared meetings.

                            And no, Ghorba has not been convicted. But it's hard for US to convict a spy from another country (particularly one who doesn't hang out in the US that much) for taking advantage of us. It is, however, illegal for our officials to conduct foreign policy that directly violates a law; it is illegal for our officials to sell arms to a country we've got laws against selling them to; it is illegal for our officials to launder money. That's all stuff that the guys who have worked with Ghorba in the past were convicted of.

                            And as to protocol. Here's the concern. The meeting closely resembles a meeting that Michael Ledeen, (accused spy) Larry Franklin, and Harold Rhode had in Italy in (IIRC) 2001, that Ghorba brokered. Here's a description:

                            The first meeting occurred in Rome in December, 2001. It included Franklin, Rhode, and another American, the neoconservative writer and operative Michael Ledeen, who organized the meeting. (According to UPI, Ledeen was then working for Feith as a consultant.) Also in attendance was Ghorbanifar and a number of other Iranians. One of the Iranians, according to two sources familiar with the meeting, was a former senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who claimed to have information about dissident ranks within the Iranian security services. The Washington Monthly has also learned from U.S. government sources that Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, attended the meetings, as did the Italian Minister of Defense Antonio Martino, who is well-known in neoconservative circles in Washington.

                            Alarm bells about the December 2001 meeting began going off in U.S. government channels only days after it occurred. On Dec. 12, 2001, at the U.S. embassy in Rome, America's newly-installed ambassador, Mel Sembler, sat down for a private dinner with Ledeen, an old friend of his from Republican Party politics, and Martino, the Italian defense minister. The conversation quickly turned to the meeting. The problem was that this was the first that Amb. Sembler had heard about it.

                            According to U.S. government sources, Sembler immediately set about trying to determine what he could about the meeting and how it had happened. Since U.S. government contact with foreign government intelligence agencies is supposed to be overseen by the CIA, Sembler first spoke to the CIA station chief in Rome to find out what if anything he knew about the meeting with the Iranians. But that only raised more questions because the station chief had been left in the dark as well. Soon both Sembler and the Rome station chief were sending anxious queries back to the State Department and CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., respectively, raising alarms on both sides of the Potomac.

                            Same protocol violation: you bypass the CIA and the Embassy, thereby taking the meeting outside of normal channels. ANd really screwing the Ambassador, who may be called on to explain your activities.

                            Now it's not really clear what happened at that Italian meeting--people have alleged that it included some work on the forgeries, on other Italian intell projects for the US, or just set up back channel involvement from Iranian groups we had no business working with. But that's the point--it's   off-the-books foreign policy again, with two of the same players from Iran-Contra (Ledeen and Ghorba).

                            Add in the fact that Weldon has been accused of being an agent of a foreign government (Russia, but with ties to Italy and weapons appropriations), and the meeting just stinks.

                            This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

                            by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:43:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay, I'm convinced (0+ / 0-)

                            regarding Abramoff/Ghorba and meetings. Good points.

                            And I imagine you're right that I'm underestimating Ghorbanifar, too: but I think you are underestimating, or at least prejudging, Reyes. Is there a pattern of this sort in his past? Does he have a history of backing illegal covert ops?

                            You've convinced me that this looks like terrible judgment, based on the one article, but I see no indication that it actually was. There are a number of perfectly good explanations ... and when we leap immediately to the presumption of bad judgment, we're playing the Republicans' hand for them.

                            This doesn't mean we ignore Democratic corruption: not at all. It means we look twice before we leap on a Republican narrative of Democratic bad judgement re. national security.

                            Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                            by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:19:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My point is just this (0+ / 0-)

                            You've convinced me that this looks like terrible judgment,

                            If you want to be Chair of the Intelligence Committee, the appearance of terrible judgment is problem in itself.

                            This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

                            by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:23:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And my point is that the appearance of terrible (0+ / 0-)

                            judgment is something over which we don't have much control, in this media environment.

                            Howard Dean appeared to have bad judgment with the 'Scream.' Al Gore appeared to have bad judgment by claiming he'd invented the internet. Nancy Pelosi appeared to have bad judgement for pulling Jane Harman's hair because they wore the same dress to school.

                            We can't afford to promote these appearances. There's an entire Right Wing Noise Machine constructed for that purpose, and we have to take care not to echo its sentiments. Sometimes that means holding off, for a while, on the rush to judgment of Democrats.

                            Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                            by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:42:01 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  not worth Dems discussing? (0+ / 0-)

                what if it turns out that Reyes is lying?

                •  Then we discuss. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  But until then, we're simply pushing a damaging narrative.

                  Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                  by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:15:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  will that be before or after (0+ / 0-)

                    he's blackmailed over his denials, or the GOP in Congress begin raising questions about his integrity? This issue has been floating around for weeks, at least since Laura Rozen wrote about it. I don't see how it does harm to face up to facts on the FP here that everybody in the loop must have been discussing.

                    •  I'm not sure this is (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      blackmail-ready. And how do we face up to the facts? We don't know the facts. That's my point. Let the GOP accuse Dems before anything incriminating is known, like they do with Harry Reid. Reflexive suspicion of elected Dems may be their job, but it's not ours.

                      Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                      by GussieFN on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:37:19 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  I would have met with Chalabi under those (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pb, Gator Keyfitz

              circumstances, without a doubt.  As an opponent I would have been happy to meet with him, because it would give me added credibility in future discussions about him, and about the broader issues at hand, with my colleagues.  I don't think that, without more, the meeting alone would necessarily reflect stupidty or bad judgment.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:59:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well ... (0+ / 0-)

              If you go on an overseas trip with Crazy Curt Weldon you're probably going to get caught up in something.

              At least Reyes didn't go on Weldon's Iraq caper where he was hunting for WMD like he was Indiana Jones.  

        •  Why not suspend judgment (0+ / 0-)

          on Reyes?  If he was at the meeting, isn't it entirely possible that he simply wanted to size up Ghorbanifar and/or see what kind of b.s. Weldon and "Gorba" were cooking up?  If this is the worst dirt anyone has on Reyes, I don't have a problem with him.

    •  This a guilt by association (6+ / 0-)

      and that association is not even proven.  Nor is there any assertion that attendence at the meeting with Ghorbanifar resulted in anything of any sort.  

      Reyes is in the Intel business from being on the Intel Cmte.  So he can therefore be accused of it.  OK.

      It's all from a single source, an individual's blog, it's all based on the respect that some people have for an individual writer's word and reputation.  There's a "she said/he said" here.  I'd want to see more before jumping on this wagon.

      •  Guilt by association (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B

        Only problem is, Ghorbanifar has burn notices going back to the 1980s. In intelligence, that kind of association is guilt indeed.

        Two more points. The "blog" in question is TAPPED. Laura has published aspects of this story going back quite some time, and the aspects relating to Weldon and Ghorba's surrogate have all been verified. Laura has an excellent track record as a published journalist.

        And actually, Laura cites two sources, one of them named as Station Chief Bill Murray. Sure, it may be he said-she said, the CIA against Reyes. But if so, than Murray would probably not go on the record, don't you think?

        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

        by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:37:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shocking (0+ / 0-)

          Ghorbanifur is a notorious legend.  Maybe Reyes wanted to see for himself.  What is alleged to have resulted from this meeting?  I seem to be missing that part.  That Ghorbanifur wanted to get back into the game?  Did he as a result of this meeting?

        •  you too? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Putting aside the facts that (a) Reyes' office denies this, and (b) apparently it was a Congressional delegation, not just Weldon and Reyes palling around, explain to me what stigma is attached to merely meeting with someone--anyone. Joe Wilson met with Saddam Hussein, so what does that make him? Sure, we should pay attention to see if any actually incriminating details come out, but at the moment, I'm not seeing it.

          •  Joe Wilson (0+ / 0-)

            Met with Saddam in an official role under the auspices of the US government.

            The reason you have protocol for meetings like this (which is what Reyes and Weldon violated, assuming the two sources who reported to Laura, including one on the record, are right) is to prevent anyone from free-lancing covert ops and foreign policy. The reason why such protocol would rule against a meeting with Ghorba is because he, personally, has a history of carrying out freelance covert ops for Americans.

            So maybe it just doesn't look good. But it doesn't look good. It's not a great thing for the rising Chair of our intelligence committee, if all the freelancing covert creeps out there believe they can propose any manner of wacky ops with him.

            This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

            by emptywheel on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:52:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  but that's the thing... (0+ / 0-)

              It's not a great thing for the rising Chair of our intelligence committee, if all the freelancing covert creeps out there believe they can propose any manner of wacky ops with him.

              They can propose whatever they want--what I'm interested in is what he's done in response. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Reyes went to this meeting, along with Weldon and whatever other Congressmen were in the delgation. So he listens to what the fabricator has to say... in the future, does he say, "Wow, that guy was a really good source", or "Now I know that what Weldon says about X is full of crap, because it came from that guy"? Also... who else was in that delegation, anyhow, and did anyone else in it refuse to attend (besides, perhaps, Reyes)?

            •  protocol my ass (0+ / 0-)

              members of the minority party, and pariahs in the majority party like weldon, have no access to "protocol"

      •  If there's guilt by association (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it should be because he had the bad sense to be a friend of Curt Weldon's. :)~

        The fact is, the Democrats are the Party of "We" while the Republicans are firmly established as the Party of "I."

        by The Lighthouse Keeper on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:18:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dang. (8+ / 0-)

    You're already FP?  There's no kind of freshman orientation period where we get to haze you and give you your committee assignments (I'm on Regulatory Issues, Select Committee on Troll Removal and Judiciary) while the lame ducks start moving to the cubicles in the basement?

  •  welcome aboard the front page (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, sardonyx, walkshills, Major Danby

    I sort of suspected that Reyes would be the choice.  If Pelosi were not going to grant the wishes of the CBC appointing an Hispanic made a certain amount of sense, even though in my opinion the best choice for the position was Rush Holt.

    Oh well, that's why I'm a blogger and she will be Speaker?


    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:18:51 AM PST

  •  It figures (9+ / 0-)

    You get your front page post up, and some idiot comes along and posts right on top of it.

    Sorry about that.  My power flickered back to life, and I wanted to get a post out before I was plunged back into the ice age.

    Listening last night to News & Notes on NPR, their ever-present Republican talking point generator insisted that Republicans didn't make choices this way, and that the person with the most time on committee automatically got the slot, with or without the nod from the leadership.  Anyone happen to know if there's any truth in that?

    •  That's definitely not true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      walkshills, DBunn

      The Rs set up a new system rewarding loyalty over seniority back when the Rs took the House in 1994.  It increased the party uniformity and unity, and played its part in lemming-over-cliff-itis that we just witnessed.

      Don't have time to dig for links right now.

      9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

      by Prof Dave on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:32:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suspected as much (0+ / 0-)

        But naturally, not one reporter on the show raised a moment's objection to idea that Republicans ran a pure meritocracy while Democrats were all about playing favorites.

        •  hey devilstower... (0+ / 0-)

          ...congrats for the fp, and you've already gotten your power back?

          Luckily I never lost mine, but there are plenty around here who have.  It's gonna be cold this weekend...

          People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

          by viget on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:38:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We were out from 10PM to 11AM (0+ / 0-)

            Long enough that the house got down to 50.  I just talked to a friend who is still out.

            It was one thing to be without power for four days this summer, but this... they better get moving, or it's going to get ugly.

            •  Yes, I heard Charlie Dooley on KMOX... (0+ / 0-)

              ...he sounded really stressed.  St. Louis County, especially up north is a nightmare.  They don't have enough shelter space to keep people warm.  And I hope people realize that they're going to have to turn off their water if they don't want to wreck their house.

              Ughh... I hope Ameren gets its ass in gear.

              People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

              by viget on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:36:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Trees (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I've got one tree down across my deck, another leaning on my garage, and a third down across the drive.  It's going to take a thaw plus a lot of ax swinging before I can move.

                I can only imagine what things are like beyond my little road.  Rather than the 1" of ice followed by 8" of snow predicted, we got freezeing rain all night long.  I've never seen an ice storm go on so long.

        •  It plays into the normal Dem story (0+ / 0-)

          and it is old and tiresome.

          I am glad that Kos is putting for the effort to build an infrastructure for our side.  It is oh-so-obvious that we need it - case in point right here.

          9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

          by Prof Dave on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:42:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Find out what happens next week on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Delaware Dem, walkshills

    As Congress Turns...

  •  Crazy Curt Weldon... (5+ / 0-)

    ...wasn't all that crazy. He had access to information we don't have, plus he took it a little further than we might, plus he's a chummy guy who counts on personal relationships in ways that don't always work out for the best politically (not to mention, in the eyes of the law).

    If Silvestre Reyes was palling around with Curt, it may mean he's just a little more open-minded and curious than your average congress-critter. For someone chairing the "intelligence" committee, we need that, right?

    •  It might. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, Rolfyboy6, SusanG, AlphaGeek, walkshills

      That's the fun of the post. There are no clear answers to anything yet.

      Even the internal politics of it look like they were custom-made. The racial and gender politics alone make it a compelling story for Congress watchers. Throw in the murkiness of the intelligence world in general, and Weldon in particular, and the screenplay writes itself.

      Well, maybe nobody but us comes to the movie, but whatever.

  •  I don't think going to meetin' with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, Luetta

    Weldon is going to be viewed by anyone as a disqualification (unless there is a lot more to the story).

    •  Going to a meeting with Ghorbanifar (0+ / 0-)

      is much worse. The guy is political death. A professional seller of crap information aligned with the Iranian government. According to Woodward, he was in contact with Cheney giving him bad tips on Iraq WMDs. The CIA has him on a do not speak list.

    •  Lying about would be seriously bad news though (0+ / 0-)

      I'm going to choose for now to believe Rep. Reyes, because Murray the CIA guy wasn't at the meeting, and so far no one who was has contradicted Reyes' spokesperson.

      Which brings us to Rep. Ortiz. Has Laura Rozen, or another Capitol Hill reporter, asked him about Reyes' attendance at the meeting, and his own?

  •  Welcome to our new FP overlord, Kagro X (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rolfyboy6, walkshills

    Kos couldn't have made a better choice.

    More on topic, I submit that it would be difficult to find federal legislators with experience in intelligence or intel oversight who don't have some sort of "interesting" prior history.  While it may not rise to the level of entanglement in spook-wannabe activities (see: Weldon) many of the legislators in this community have some past or present relationship with the intel world.

    That said: Congressmen clumsily brokering intel deals overseas?  WTF?  I thought that's what the professionals in State were for...


    "Watching George Bush trying to govern is like
    watching a monkey trying to f**k a football."
    I'm a libertarian, pro-2A capitalist Democrat.

    by AlphaGeek on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:31:47 AM PST

  •  Reyes... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the impression I get was that Reyes was genuinely concerned but after wandering about with Weldon for a bit realized that his job was to keep Crazy Curt in line and that this was truly a bust.

    In other words, a mistake but one he realized.

  •  So good to see you on the FP Kargo X! (0+ / 0-)

    Excellent post.

  •  Maybe not as bad as it seems. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, Delaware Dem

    While going on a trip anywhere with Curt Weldon is probably not a good sign, the fact is that Ghorbanifar didn't get what he wanted, which he surely would have if it had been ONLY Weldon at the meeting.

    Based on Weldon's history, there's no way he would have refused Ghorbanifar anything. So it's possible Reyes was a moderating influence here. Hopefully we will hear a more full accounting in the near future.

  •  POP! Frame your first front page post... (0+ / 0-)'s a good'un.

    Why couldn't Pelosi just choose a knight in shining armor for these posts?

    Oh's Congress.


    "Judge me on the content of my character, not the underwear on my head."

    by Bill in Portland Maine on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:38:25 AM PST

  •  Er, sort of meta.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...but what's the protocol for your FP posts and the TNH?  Will they be crossposted? Or will only your diaries?

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    by viget on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:40:03 AM PST

  •  A Good Compromise (0+ / 0-)

    I think it is a good compromise for Pelosi.

    BlueSunbelt.Com  Progressive Netroots Community for the South and Sunbelt (Beta Launch Winter 2006)

    by Rob on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:44:13 AM PST

  •  I'm Confused (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This story seems to imply s0ome sort of misconduct misconduct by Reyes.  But I'm seriously confused as to what he supposedly did wrong.

    1.  He is friends with Curt Weldon?
    1.  He attended a meeting with Manucher Ghorbanifar regarding his desire to be a paid US intelligence asset?
    1.  He violated protocal by not informing the US ambassador to France?

    Seems like lots of innuendo and little to no substance.

    •  apparently... (0+ / 0-)

      Because Reyes did his job by going with a Congressional delegation led by Curt Weldon and apparently composed of at least five House members (and at least one House staff member, Douglas C. Roach), because Weldon allegedly didn't inform the ambassador to France of this alleged secret meeting, and because Reyes may or may not (his staff says 'not', Rozen says 'may') have attended said alleged secret meeting in the first place... Reyes isn't fit to be chair. I'd say at this point it's practically all innuendo, and no actual substance.

  •  Laura Rozen brought up the Ghorbanifar thing (0+ / 0-)

    a few weeks back, yet Pelosi seems to have shrugged it off. Don't understand why she didn't just bring in somebody else than Reyes. The Intelligence Committee is not one that functions by seniority, so nobody has any right to expect the chairmanship of it.

  •  bill hicks (0+ / 0-)

    no text.  just go listen to him.   While i have hope for people like webb and tester the rest of these spineless fucks make me sick.  

    i'm an athiest pacifist but i have an urge to enlist in an army that will fight these rich useless white fucks.  

    •  If all this means what I think (0+ / 0-)

      Then I'm right there with you. I was afraid of this kind of thing happening. I thought the Nov. 7 message was loud and clear. Now we have to start bitch slapping our own?

      I think, therefore I think I am

      by ackermanniac on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 02:58:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You go to committee chair assignments (0+ / 0-)

    ... with the congress members you have, not necessarily the ones you wish you had.

    I'm not familiar with the membership of the Intel Committee but I can imagine a situation in which Reyes is the best available choice, despite warts or more serious shortcomings.

    To me, all this once again reminds us that reforming our party and our government is a long term project that will require long, close attention and steady pressure.

  •  I was enjoying Texas being chairmanless (0+ / 0-)

    they deserved it after the crap they've visited on the country between chimpay, delay, and the mid-census redistriting, to say nothing of the state's republican party platform and the seat of the oil industry causing nearly all of our foreign policy problems.

    Other than a few bloggers I like to read, Texas is one state I'd love to show the door if they'd like to secede.

  •  Hold the Line (0+ / 0-)

    Y'all should decide if you're happy with Hold the Line, which is the border patrol initiative Reyes headed, which sealed off the border through El Paso, forcing migrants to go further afield to cross.  His technique was copied elsewhere, such as in San Diego.  He had the support of most El Pasoans (who are majority Hispanic).  El Paso is a Hispanic/Democratic stronghold of Texas - but they are, by-and-large, far more conservative than you are, here.  A strong majority would choke if they read this site.  And they are his constituency - not you.  

  •  What happened to the candidacy of Holt? (0+ / 0-)

    I thought Rush Holt from NJ, with a physics & technical background, would have made a good choice. Was he too junior, or was it the Hispanic caucus at the head of the trough?

  •  please don't perpetuate the MSM's spin... (0+ / 0-)

    But as little as Pelosi could afford another embarrassing entanglement over yet another internal matter

    Murtha losing the election for Majority Leader was a dissapointment for Pelosi, not an embarrassment.  I was quite annoyed to read the NYtimes today and see they are still framing Pelosi's relationship with Harmon as a "fued" and her problems with Harmon glossed over as "not having challenged the Bush administration enough."

    They should have made mention of her rubberstamping of Bush policies, or claiming that a constitutional lawyer was needed to study the legality of warrantless wiretapping when she's a Harvard trained lawyer.

    •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

      It was hyperbole. I started out by noting that Hoyer v. Murtha "mattered" a whole lot more to the blogosphere than it did to the Caucus, who didn't imbue it with ideological value at all.

      It was really the craft of writing the piece that brought me to that choice of words, more than anything else.

  •  fuck all of you swiftboaters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    seriously- up your asses with a flagpole.

    curt weldon was a pariah in the majority party. reyes was a member of the minority party. the majority party in question is ruthlessly predatory and fascist. arranging even a series of off-the-record visits abroad with any manner of shady characters associated with iraq does not in any way constitute a lapse of judgment.

    there is no suggestion anywhere reyes benefitted from any of this personally or politically, or even attempted to do so. this is pure swiftboating, an illusory "charge" designed to neuter reyes before he even assumes his chairmanship.

    i hope reyes answers any question about this by saying "the bush administration was financing a criminal named chalabi to fabricate a rationale for this war, and to understand what was going on in the criminal class you have to talk to some shady characters."

  •  committee locator (0+ / 0-)

    As investigations begin rifling down the pike, it seems to me that for the lurker on the go...

    tying Congressional hearings/investigations to committees(subcommittees?) and the members on those committees; creating a "database" of public comments/commentary; prosecutory/defensive alike, and directly linking those members to there respective districts will aid 2008 campaigns/constituents.

    Much like tomTech's Campaign Search! "locator",

        House Financial Services Committee
    Barney Frank - d 01 - MA-04
    Michal Oxley - r 01 - OH-04
    ...down the list...
    John Campbell - r 36 - CA-48
    ps. I know Oxley is out.

        House Government Reform Committee
    Henry Waxman - d 01 - CA-30
    Tom Davis - r 01 - VA-11

    when you get 'em down, just keep kicking!

    by winny joculus on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 02:33:55 PM PST

  •  Cut to the chase. What does this mean? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winny joculus

    Is this someone who is going to expedite subpoenas or block them?

    I think, therefore I think I am

    by ackermanniac on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 02:54:21 PM PST

    •  I'm thinking expedite. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I don't know yet whether that'll be a good thing or a bad one. And of course, whether it's good or bad will depend a lot on where you're standing when you make the call.

      I could see it meaning he becomes a pit bull and a hero to progressives with his aggressive pursuit of the deep, dark truths...

      ... while at the same time and with the same actions becoming an "overaggressive" or even "embarrassing" pariah among the "serious-minded" and "responsible" Democratic leadership.

      We'll all find out together.

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