Friday, November 17, 2006

Hastings Would be Security Risk as Intel Chair

Some expect Nancy Pelosi to name Florida Representative Alcee Hastings to chair the House Intelligence Committee. Government watchdog group Judicial Watch is warning Pelosi that Hastings is unfit for the position because he is a security risk:
(Washington, DC) -- Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi, urging the soon-to-be House Speaker to reject Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings for the chairmanship of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Multiple press reports suggest Hastings may assume the chairmanship with Pelosi’s approval when the new Congress convenes in January.

Rep. Hastings, the letter notes, is one of only six federal judges to be removed from office through impeachment, and has accumulated “staggering liabilities” ranging from $2,130,006 to $7,350,000.
The financial liabilites alone make Hastings a security risk. In the early nineties my job for a small defense contractor required a clearance from the Defense Intelligence Agency. The spook that visited us every few months never asked about anyone being a communist, but he wanted to know who had a new car, or who might be having trouble meeting the mortgage. Betrayal of public trust for financial gain is much more common than treason for ideological reasons.

And the reason for Hastings' impeachment and removal from the bench indicates a willingness to betray the public trust for money:
On August 3, 1988, the House of Representatives adopted articles of impeachment against then-Judge Hastings. After a trial, he was convicted by the Senate and removed from office on October 20, 1989, for perjury and conspiracy to obtain a bribe. As The Washington Post reported in 1989, the Senate found that Hastings “engaged in the bribery conspiracy and repeatedly lied under oath at his [criminal] trial and forged letters in order to win acquittal.”
It's hard to determine whether Hastings' presence in Congress is the result of stupidity among the voters in his district or the unwillingness of the Press to inform the voters of his background. If Pelosi decides to appoint Hastings to chair the Intelligence Committee there will be no doubt of the reason. The same sort of stupidity that inspired Pelosi to endorse John Murtha for majority leader.