Thursday, May 14, 2009

After Years of Countless Intelligence Briefings, Silvestre Reyes' Lack of Current World Affairs is Appalling

Speaker designate Nancy Pelosi chose Reyes as the new head of the intelligence panel primarily because Pelosi wanted somebody who would be more aggressive in standing up to the Bush policy on the war in Iraq. It certainly did not hurt Reyes is Hispanic and Hispanics played a significant role in changing the Congress from Republican to Democrat.

Mr. Reyes has served on the House Intelligence Committee since 2001 and has been briefed countless times on Iraq, Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Kurds, Sunni and Shiites along with travel to Iraq five times, Afghanistan three times and recent trips to Lebanon and Israel.

As the Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, Reyes was asked last back in 2007 by national security editor Jeff Stein, a reporter with Congressional Quarterly, whether al-Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. "Predominantly -- probably Shiite," Reyes replied.

Reyes could not describe Hezbollah and incorrectly described al-Qaeda's Islamic roots in a recent interview.

From Osama bin Laden down, al-Qaeda's leadership is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

In fact, U.S. officials blame al-Qaeda's late leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a story published online, Reyes responded "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah" and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o'clock?"

The Texas congressman later added: "Speaking only for myself, it's hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories."

He doesn't know who or what is Hezbollah (the Shi'a Islamist terrorist and political organization based in Lebanon and backed by Iran and Syria), it is utterly incomprehensible after years on the Intelligence Committee; Mr. Reyes would not know the name of one of the most noted terrorist groups in the world. Mr. Reyes is simply out of touch with world affairs and does not have the qualifications required to be the highest ranked Congressmen in the House Intelligence Committee.

As alarming as not knowing about Hezbollah, Mr. Reyes lacks understanding of the al-Qaida terrorist network and other Islamist extremists.

Reyes didn't know that al-Qaida was a Sunni organization, and couldn't pin down Hezbollah's Shiite affiliations, during the interview

The differences between the Sunni and Shiites are more than semantics. Islam's 1,400-year-old rift is playing out in deadly fashion across Iraq, where ordinary citizens are caught in a crossfire between insurgents, terrorists and militias motivated by politics and religion.

The 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, known in Lebanon as the July War and in Israel as the Second Lebanon War, was a military conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel, primarily between Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military.

We commend the Speaker for acknowledging the importance of American Hispanic participation at the chairperson level but Mr. Reyes is an embarrassment to the Hispanic community. It is important to appoint Hispanics but pales to the welfare of the United States. Astute intelligence gathering, analysis and oversight has a significant role in national security.

The House Intelligence Committee chairman becomes one of the most important persons safeguarding our nation. We need someone capable of discernment of intelligence information and the ability to provide oversight to protect Americans.

It is time to rescind Mr. Reyes from chairman of the Intelligence committee America & Democrats now needs to change direction. Mr. Reyes does not understand the intricacies and complexities of intelligence gathering required at the macro intelligence level. When you have the ranking republican Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan) as the spokesman of the intelligence committee controlled by democrats, you have a problem.

Mr. Reyes is no leader. Remember Sanford Bishop was passed over for the chairmanship by Pelosi because he is a BlueDog & does not see eye to eye with Pelosi on key issues. She wanted a patsy who would cater to liberal interest. Mr. Reyes has to go & put someone who has knowledge on World Affairs.

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