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Posted at 4:20 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Pete King's three ring circus

By Greg Sargent

It looks like Pete King's hearings into Muslim radicalization are really shaping up as a three ring circus -- in more ways than one.

A Democratic staffer on the Homeland Security Committee, which is hosting the hearings set to begin on Thursday, points out that the committee has quietly divided its plan for the hearings into three separate panels -- separating Republicans from Democrats who might disagree with them on the issues in question.

For instance, the first panel features as a witness Dem Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, while the second features GOP Rep. Frank Wolf. Dems expect Wolf, who has a long history of doing battle with the Council of American-Islamic Relations, to support King's views of the threat of Muslim radicalization. Previously, Dems say, the plan was for Ellison to be on the same panel as Wolf, but now the two have been separated -- meaning that Dems won't be able to ask Ellison to rebut Wolf during hearings that are expected to attract national attention.

"This type of division based on party and ideology is curious. especially when the hearing is supposed to be combining thoughts to combat radicalization," one Dem staffer on the committee tells me. "Now, if Representative Wolf says something negative about Muslims, Mr. Ellison will not have the opportunity to rebut it. There is no rationale for this decision."

A spokesman for Wolf tells me the Congressman has no objection to sitting on a panel with Ellison. I've asked King's office for comment but have yet to get an answer.

Separately, the divided panels risk making the proceedings even more partisan than expected, potentially making the circus-like atmosphere even worse than it otherwise might have been. Stay tuned!

**********************************************************

UPDATE, 4:49 p.m.: The third panel contains the remaining witnesses.

By Greg Sargent  | March 8, 2011; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

Nothing like gaming the thang to get the answers you want.

Reminds me of my Rep. Burgess going on about getting folks to testify about how "bad" the ACA is, so I had to write him and "remind" him of all the folks out there who actually like it.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | March 8, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Did you catch my post to you, on the earlier thread, about Peter King's excuse for supporting the IRA. I pointed out that Qaddafi trained IRA members in Libya, and supplied them with shiploads of Weapons and Plastic explosives, yet Peter King is still defending his backing of the IRA even thought they were linked to the Libyan regime that planted bombs on passenger planes.

Time to hold hearings to look into why Peter King was enabling Qaddafi sponsored terrorists, instead of cooperating with the American Law enforcement agencies.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Go King! I support these hearings 100%.

"The House Homeland Security Committee chairman blasted the mainstream media on Tuesday, calling outlets “irresponsible” for criticizing the panel’s planned hearing on radicalization in the U.S. Muslim community.

"... King pointed to recent congressional testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder, and a speech by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, in which all expressed concerns over domestically recruited and radicalized terrorists.

“And you say I shouldn’t investigate that and I’m the one that’s irresponsible?"

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/148057-rep-king-on-media-criticism-of-hearing-why-are-they-attacking-me-in-such-a-rabid-way

Posted by: sbj3 | March 8, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yup, saw that, Liam, thanks...really amazing. no wonder Boehner is cool to these hearings.

Posted by: sargegreg | March 8, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

sbj3 quotes Rep King:
“And you say I shouldn’t investigate that and I’m the one that’s irresponsible?"

I'm with my Rep, Keith Ellison: the argument is not that he shouldn't investigate 'domestically recruited and radicalized terrorists,' but that he should not restrict that investigation to only radicalized muslims. Why does Rep King support the radicalization of domestically recruited non-muslim terrorists?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 8, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

This is selective religious discrimination . Otherwise , this committee should also have planned hearings concerning the Christian Militia , right wing extremists groups , kkk and other groups who have been involved in Oklahoma City , Federal Building bombings , abortion clinics' terrorist attacks and killings of innocent people . Should not this committee also plan future Congressional hearings of Irish Americans for their support of IRA , Jewish Americans for their support of Israel in human rights violations in Gaza , Italian Americans for their ties with crime mafia etc ? The GOP House after Gay rights , Women rights are now on attack mode on Muslim's rights . I strongly hope that if a Gay person , self respecting woman or Muslim votes for a Republican candidate after the completion of " Act I of the 112th Congress " , seriously needs their head examined . I don't care how conservative you are on any social issues, or even fiscal ones ! If a political party like the GOP , would single out a people following a Life style , Pro Choice women on health issues and a Muslim practicing a particular religion , can not and should not be trusted .

Posted by: dmfarooq | March 8, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@bsimon: That's just taking political correctness to an absurd degree - sorry, the suggestion to include anti-govt groups or gun rights groups is just missing the point entirely.

Posted by: sbj3 | March 8, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

dmfarooq - Pete King was on one of the talking head shows a few days ago saying that the difference between homegrown militia types and al Queda types is that the aQ types are sympathetic to an international organization that we consider an enemy.

I'll never understand why matters of the constitutionality of free association never come up in these hearings. Just because the US declares war on a particular ideology doesn't mean that the citizens of this country have to renounce it. That's the whole point of free association.

Posted by: willows1 | March 8, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer!

"The Obama administration is implying that it’s Peter King who’s stigmatizing and demonizing an entire community. I’ll tell you who stigmatizes and demonizes the Muslim community: the Fort Hood shooter who jumps on a table and shouts “Allahu Akbar” as he shoots 13 American servicemen. That’s a way to stigmatize and demonize a community.

"The Pakistani immigrant who becomes a naturalized American and then plants a bomb in Times Square and proudly tells a judge he wanted to kill as many Americans as possible. Or Anwar al-Awlaki, the preacher in Yemen, who was a native [born] American, preached in a Falls Church mosque to a couple of the 9/11 attackers, now in Yemen inciting people around the world to attack Americans.

"Look, it is not stereotyping to say that the overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the world, particularly on Americans, is because of Islamism. It’s not the IRA, it’s not the Tamil Tigers, it’s not the Basque terrorists. There’s a thread connecting them – it’s political Islam. That is a fact, it’s not a stereotype."

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/261652/krauthammers-take-nro-staff

Posted by: sbj3 | March 8, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

We should start investigating all Italians to ensure there are home grown mobsters loyal to the Italian Mafia and Cammora.

Same goes for the Irish and the IRA.

Same thing goes for Protestants and White Supremacy groups that associate themselves with Nazi's.

These are all areas that need investigation.

Especially the Italians. I'm certain Mob Killings > Radicalized Killings tbh.

King is chasing fairy dust. Criminals will be criminals and will have any number of justifications to cross the line from being a fairly stable member of society to a being a killer. Some of those criminals latch onto radical Islam. Some criminals latch onto white supremacist hate speech. Others latch onto the monetary rewards of organized crime.

In the end, they are criminals. But if King wants an investigation, I say let him. He just has to be careful not to alienate too many. In the end, justice will prevail and King will move on.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | March 8, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"especially when the hearing is supposed to be combining thoughts to combat radicalization,"

C'mon...do they all believe that ALL of us just fell off the turnip truck.

These hearings are purely political theatre so the self aggrandizing King can manipulate fear to the R's advantage. Gee have we ever seen this movie before...again..and again..and again...

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 8, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"That's just taking political correctness to an absurd degree - sorry, the suggestion to include anti-govt groups or gun rights groups is just missing the point entirely."


Being concerned about homegrown terrorism that's not conducted by muslims is political correctness run amok? What about Tim McVeigh? Eric Rudolph? Ted Kazynski? All these people killed innocent people indiscriminately for political reasons. Throw in the RNC Welcoming Committee which didn't kill, but certainly did threaten and, dare I say, terrorize. Why would including that class of terrorist in King's 'investigations' be missing the point? I would think the opposite. What's the upside for excluding non-muslim radicals from his investigations?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 8, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

SBJ

You're a logical dude so perhaps you can explain this to me...

"I’ll tell you who stigmatizes and demonizes the Muslim community: the Fort Hood shooter who jumps on a table and shouts “Allahu Akbar” as he shoots 13 American servicemen. That’s a way to stigmatize and demonize a community."

Then logically are we to assume that Scott Roeder shooting a Physician in cold blood while this Physician was serving as an usher in his CHURCH demonizes the entire Fundamentalist Christian Community? Do the many other myriad crimes against health care providers delivering a LEGAL service in the attempt to terrorize them mean that we should demonize Clawrence because he is anti abortion.

Does the man who flew his plane into the IRS building because he was against taxes mean we should be concerned about Scott, Q.B. and libertarians like the Paul family because they are against taxes.

Do we really need to go link for link to see who has committed more violence in America..Muslims...or "radicalized" Christian anti-abortionists.

C'mon SBJ you far too smart...and honestly I thought Krauthammer would be far too smart to offer up such a horribly flawed analysis.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 8, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Peter King must be channeling Joe McCarthy. If the FBI or other law enforcement authorities had any evidence that anyone regardless of their religion, etc, was aiding and abetting, terrorists, or withholding information, they would be arresting those people already.

It sounds to me like Peter King is demanding that Muslim Americans start spying on all their neighbors, without any reason to, other than to keep Republicans from scapegoating the entire community. It smacks of how the East German Stasi operated.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

for the benefit of bsimon and ruk, let's repeat:

"The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the world, particularly on Americans, is because of Islamism."

Posted by: sbj3 | March 8, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

We Irish are a very suspect bunch. I promise Peter King that I am going to start keeping a close eye on myself, and if I catch myself acting suspicious, I am going to turn myself in.

I think Peter King should already turn himself in for having associated himself with the Qaddafi sponsored IRA. Come on Peter, do the right Irish thing; turn yourself in, or at least hold hearings to explore why you did not cooperate with the authorities on your connections to Qadaffi.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the world, particularly on Americans, is because of Islamism."


Are you changing the parameters? I thought we were talking about domestic, home-grown types. If the concern is about the radicalization of American citizens, why give anyone a free pass for not fitting a particular demographic?

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 8, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

SBJ

"The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the world, particularly on Americans, is because of Islamism."

Says who? Link please. In addition define your "terror attacks". Are you speaking specifically of death? Violence? Raw numbers of victims? Raw numbers of incidents?

BTW I mean here in the U.S. We are singling out AMERICAN Muslim congregations not those "around the world". Where did you ever dig up that non sequitor?

Seriously SBJ you're flailing logically today. Nobody would deny that Imams in many FOREIGN countries are radicalizing their flock...with relative ease in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where we have murdered so many innocent Muslims like the nine innocent Afghan teens we just wasted. How hard would it be for an Imam in one of those places to preach an eye for an eye...oops wait that's from the Hebrew Bible not the Koran.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 8, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

SBJ is once more talking out of his Arse.

The majority of Muslim Terrorist attacks are not on Americans; they are on fellow Muslims.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, and I could argue that I consider La Cosa Nostra and Mara Salvatrucha terrorists because they terrorize my community. They are most likely 100% Catholics committing the atrocities they commit. Sure, those two don't claim they are committing the crimes in the name of their religion but since 100% of them are Catholic, should we begin to isolate out Catholics?

They are criminals. The religion is happenstance.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were more self proclaimed Catholics that were murderers per total Catholic population than Muslims that were intent on killing people in the name of Allah per total Muslim population.

I'm not exactly sure my point is coming across but I don't believe local American Muslim communities are any more at fault than local Catholic communities are for the violence that comes from its members.

Criminals are criminals. They just have different motivations to commit crimes is the way I look at it.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | March 8, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I find the hearings a travesty and mockery of what it means to be an American. The fact they are separating the hearings out by ideology just shows you Republicans know this and yet are determined to go ahead with this despite the shame that will forever haunt these hearings.

I am strongly reminded of McCarthy's communists under every bush hearings. That too was an utter and complete travesty and is recognized as such by most historians now.

Posted by: Alex3 | March 8, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"These hearings are purely political theatre so the self aggrandizing King can manipulate fear to the R's advantage. Gee have we ever seen this movie before...again..and again..and again..."

Rukidding NAILS it.

Posted by: Alex3 | March 8, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

‎1. Rig a system where all the wealth flows to you and all the risk flows to everybody else
2. Keep the suckers er, um, citizens just comfortable enough to be nervous
3. Sell them a bunch of books convincing them that they're victims...
4. ......of an identifiable group to hate/fear (See King Travesty)
5. Bring to a quick, rolling boil or keep simmering as needed.
6. Serve cold.
Works every time. Same as it ever was.See More

Posted by: Alex3 | March 8, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated to this particular topic, but if Republicans think Walker should compromise, why don't they just write the new bill without the collective bargaining language in it and pass it? Do they think Walker will veto it?

(also, I don't know how laws are passed in Wisconsin, so this might not make any sense at all)

Posted by: DDAWD | March 8, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

OT but this story is tragic.

What a disgrace this country is becoming because of religious fanatics. Their fanaticism is blurring the individual freedoms.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/38204_Nebraska_Anti-Abortion_Law_Forces_Mother_to_Watch_Her_Baby_Die

Posted by: mikefromArlington | March 8, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The Fitzgerald Brothers control both branches, and Walker recently appointed their 67 year old father as head of the Wisconsin State Patrol, even though he had no experince with that State Police Agency.

That means that the Fitzgeralds will never allow any bill to be written, that Walker does not want to be introduced.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

That response was to DDAWD's question.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi all,

Not much to add to my comments from yesterday on this topic except to reiterate that this is completely inconsistent with American values. There is no justice in singling out a religion because an incredibly small minority of it's adherents may pose a risk to our safety because:

1) Hearings about domestic terrorism could be held without singling out Islam

2) physical safety is an important but not all-important value; it must be weighed against the value of liberty or else the sacrifice of thousands of lives to secure our freedoms has been incredibly wasteful

3) singling out Islam may not even make us physically safer anyways, since it's likely to inflame the very passions that radicalize people in the first place.

Where's my happy hour roundup darn it?

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 8, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Liam.

And happy Mardi Gras, everyone. Always bittersweet to see another one go.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 8, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/happy_hour_roundup_201.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 8, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "SBJ is once more talking out of his Arse.

The majority of Muslim Terrorist attacks are not on Americans; they are on fellow Muslims."

I believe you are misreading the quote.

"The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the world, particularly on Americans, is because of Islamism."

Two separate assertions, both of which strike me as true at first read:

1. The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the world (no matter who is targeted) is because of Islam-ism.

2. The overwhelming majority of terror attacks on Americans, is because of Islamism.

Having said that, King's hearings strike me as counterproductive unless he's going to conduct actual oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and not just have a show.

A better approach was mentioned by NYT columnist Roger Cohen a few weeks ago:

"Enchassi, the imam, had invited the local head of the F.B.I., special agent James Finch, to speak. As he placed the microphone on Finch, he joked: “This is something you’ve not seen before — an imam wiring the F.B.I.!”

Finch, an African-American, stood in front of the congregation and declared: “I’ve come here today to tell you that the F.B.I. stands ready to investigate any violation of the civil rights of our citizens in the state of Oklahoma, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We are very aggressive in prosecuting civil rights violations, hate crimes, including religious discrimination and defacement or damage to any religious property. All persons in the United States have the freedom to practice their religions without fear of violent acts. If you are threatened in any way, call the F.B.I.”

There was an approving murmur through the mosque — a modest building. As I watched this scene — a black cop telling Muslim Americans about their civil rights and what the F.B.I. and the attorney general would do to enforce them — I could only think of the long journey traveled by the United States from its “original sin” of slavery, through the civil war and Jim Crow, on through the long civil rights campaign and the King assassination, to the once unthinkable thing: the election of an African American to the nation’s highest office.

It takes a long time — centuries — to establish that all men really are created equal; and that “certain unalienable rights” belong to all citizens rather than to all citizens except those of a certain color. Even then bigotry rears its head — as it had in Oklahoma.

Finch, flanked by Sandy Coats, a U.S. attorney for Oklahoma, finished with these words: “I love this country and have to uphold its laws. The buck stops with me. I am the face of the F.B.I. Hold me accountable if something is not investigated because I am passionate about ensuring people’s rights are upheld.”"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25iht-edcohen25.html

The Muslim American whose civil rights you protect today is the same Muslim American who will report something they see or hear about tomorrow.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 8, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, it is a sort of ridiculous for to have America invade Iraq, which had not attacked us, and when they attack us for invading and destroying their country, and causing many of their people to be killed or displaced, to then start counting their resistance as terror attacks on Americans.

If we had not invaded Iraq, for no good reason, we would not have lost more lives over there, than we lost on 9/11.

Of course western nations have a history of occupying Muslim countries, and the US has a fairly recent history of stationing military forces in them.

I can not recall a single Muslim nation having military bases in the USA. Can you?

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Congressman King's own diocese


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/04/nyregion/despite-bishop-s-apologies-sexual-abuse-issue-lingers.html?ref=williamfmurphy

I'm sure he will hold hearings on his own church. LOL

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/a-secret-shame-inside-the-latest-scandal-to-rock-the-catholic-church-1739889.html

Posted by: MerrillFrank | March 9, 2011 2:21 AM | Report abuse

SBJ sounds like his doctor would need a nuclear powered hydraulic speculum to get his head out of his ạss.

Just about every act of terrorism and political violence in the USA since 9/11 has been from right wingers, and other sorts of mentals.

And 9/11 probably could have been averted if Bush hadn't decided to ignore that PDB for whatever was his priority at the time.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 3:16 AM | Report abuse

The fascist Tea Party is destroying this country that I love.

I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | March 9, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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