Pelosi's intel committee plan unraveling?
by skeptic06, Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 03:57:31 PM EST
The story so far: Pelosi hates Harman and wants to suck up to the CBC; she proposed to install Hastings as HIC chair; Hastings was a crooked judge; lots of folks have been saying Don't do it!
I've tracked the saga here since May.
All this time, there seemed to be a safe compromise candidate available: Silvestre Reyes, #3 Dem on the HIC now. I had no information on the guy - mostly because I never looked - and was happy to pencil him in as the tertium quid (or should that be deus ex machina?).
However a commenter in a thread topped by a piece earlier today by Chris praising Pelosi's sagacity in dumping Harman flagged a TAPPED piece by Laura Rozen with some alarming news (if it's kosher) about Reyes.
It starts like this:
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.
This may not yet be lifting your skirts up. But the more you dig - or, in my case, scraped with a toothbrush - the more names with alarming bios come out of the woodwork.
Ghorbanifar, for instance, was the middleman dealer in the Iran Contra business.
More recently, he has, it seems, been touting his intelligence wares - shades of Ahmed Chalabi - among impressionable Yanks since December 2001.
None more impressionable than GOP rep Curt Wheldon, who apparently used Ghorbanifar's best stuff for a book under the scholarly title Countdown to Terror: The Top-Secret Information that Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America... and How the CIA has Ignored it.
Weldon, who has troubles of his own - a fat novel in themselves - seems at one stage to have run a virtual one-man State Department.
Also cited by Rozen as present at the Ghorbanifar/Weldon/Reyes meeting was Dem rep Solomon Ortiz.
Why should two TX reps (Reyes in the 16th, Ortiz in the 27th) cultivate an interest in Iranian exiles?
Ortiz is ranking member on the Readiness subcommittee of Armed Services - I don't know if there's a plausible connection there.
(The names of neither Reyes nor Ortiz crop up in the pieces: perhaps they're there in the stuff the pieces link to - I've not checked.)
What all this needs is someone to do a whole lot of actual journalism on it.
But - it wouldn't take evidence of unethical or criminal conduct by Reyes to make him unworthy of being on the list for HIC chair: already what Rozen tells us about the meeting with Ghorbanifar - on which I'd be looking for corroborative sourcing - suggests a lack of judgement on Reyes' part.
The more fundamental question, however, is of what the Reyes case tells us about the judgement of the presumptive Speaker.
What did Pelosi know, and when did she know it? I'm not prejudging the answer - but, if the Rozen piece checks out, there will certainly need to be one.
Update [2006-11-18 13:5:15 by skeptic06]:
Rozen's piece has a couple of updates.
I'm staying well clear of anything that might be thought to be an attempt to corroborate her story.
The bottom line seems to be that she has not fully tied down Reyes's presence at the Ghorbanifar/Weldon/Ortiz meeting, though she
had understood from a reliable source that he was there.
But that Reyes's office has resoluted declined to tell her where he was at the time of the meeting, if, indeed, he wasn't at said meeting.
And he's a Blue Dog. (Just saying...)
Update [2006-11-19 17:24:30 by skeptic06]:
Under the heading of hostages to fortune, general web mooching comes up with a nice quote from Pelosi on the occasion of Jefferson's ejection from Ways and Means:
This is not about a court of law. This is about a higher ethical standard, and you know when it isn't being met.
You certainly do.