Friday, December 01, 2006

House intelligence

While your blogstress has always had mixed feelings about the well-versed but not-always-stalwart Jane Harman (Calif.), who has served, lo, these last few years as the ranking Democratic member on the House intelligence committee, you cybertrix hardly knows what to make of the naming of Silvestre Reyes (TX) by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead the committee.

The muckraking Laura Rozen, your Webwench's colleague on TAPPED (the Weblog of The American Prospect Online) details a meeting with Manuchar Ghorbanifar of Iran-Contra fame in which the new committee chairman joined the tainted Republican Curt Weldon (Penn.) for a discussion of God-knows-what.

Pelosi's issue with Harman is reportedly that the Speaker's California colleague has not protested loudly enough against the Bush administration's assault on civil liberties. And your ecrivaine agrees, for the most part. On the other hand, Harman is smart and serious, and came across as impeccably credible in her outings on the Sunday chat shows.

Silvestre is an improvement over the man who was said by the media to be the Speaker's early favorite -- Alcee Hastings, who was impeached while serving as a federal judge after being charged with taking a bribe. He was later acquitted of the bribe charge by a federal jury.

This whole deal, however, reeks of bad politics. Here you have three people who represent the underrepresented contstituencies in national politics: a woman, a black man and a Latino. Yet you, the first female speaker, choose to throw the woman under a bus, and to limit your appointment to a choice between two men of minority backgrounds who appear to ethically challenged, when -- in your supreme role as Speaker -- you could have chosen a person from a minority background who does not appear to be ethically challenged. I must admit to being a bit befuddled by the Speaker's moves.

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