Mash-up: Hoekstra vs his past.
In a breathtaking display of hypocrisy, Pete Hoekstra, a Senate candidate widely ridiculed for leaking intelligence on numerous occasions while serving on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee (click here for an example), released an ad today saying an individual who leaks intelligence “is either an amateur who has no idea how much damage they’ve done, or they’re traitors to our country.”
Hoekstra’s handling of intelligence information has been criticized by numerous media outlets including:
- The Muskegon Chronicle: Hoekstra “Shouldn’t Be Making These Kinds Of Judgmental Missteps, Especially Ones With The Potential For Catastrophic Results.”[Muskegon Chronicle, 2/17/09]
- The Kalamazoo Gazette: Hoekstra, “Lucky So Far That No Harm Has Come To Him, His Colleagues or The Nation As A Result” Of Twitter Mishap. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 2/18/09]
- The Rachel Maddow Show: “The problem, of course, is that Hoekstra is probably the single worst person in the country to talk about leaks that compromise national security.” [The Maddow Show, 06/08/12]
While Hoekstra was widely condemned by Republicans and Democrats for the hypocrisy in his first broadcast ad during the Super Bowl in February, this follow-up ad again exhibits astonishing hypocrisy—and frankly, exceedingly poor judgment. Hoekstra must somehow believe that voters in Michigan have forgotten that the former West Michigan Congressman has a long record of leaking state secrets.
“Pete Hoekstra has repeatedly been ridiculed in the national media for leaking sensitive information, making this most recent ad breathlessly hypocritical,” said Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Time and again, Hoekstra has acted with incompetence when it comes to keeping sensitive national security information secret and has shown he can’t be trusted.
Congress may want to add a new rule to its security guidelines for official overseas trips: No twittering from war zones.
It might have come in handy last week when Representative Pete Hoekstra, who was traveling with a Congressional delegation to Iraq, posted several messages to his page on the micro-blogging Web site, Twitter, detailing his arrival and movement through the country — in real time.
New York Times, Feb. 9, 2009 LINK
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
The campaign for the Web site was led by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Pete Hoekstra landed in hot water this week after using his Twitter page to update the public on his precise whereabouts while traveling through Iraq and Afghanistan.
The revelation prompted the Pentagon to review its policy, which regards such information as sensitive, and lit up the liberal blogosphere with accusations of hypocrisy.
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee says he did nothing wrong. He pointed to announcements by other high-ranking officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which list the countries they plan to visit.“The policy that we have and that we did on this trip is consistent and well restrained from what other folks have done in the past,” said Hoekstra, R-Mich.
But the Holland Republican, who has decried the unauthorized leaking of classified information, provided far more details than a general itinerary, including at least a 12-hour heads-up that he was headed to Iraq.
It strikes us that Hoekstra, as high up as he is within the nation’s intelligence community in his capacity as ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, shouldn’t be making these kinds of judgmental missteps, especially ones with the potential for catastrophic results.
“Hoekstra posted a ‘tweet’ last week, writing: ‘Heading to Iraq and Afghanistan weds night. I’ll update on twitter and webpg as links are available.’ An update posted Thursday: ‘Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I’ve had bb (Blackberry) service in Iraq. 11th trip here.’ An update posted Friday: ‘Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here.”
Grand Rapids Press, 2/9/09
That issue aside, we look forward to Rep. Hoekstra’s forthcoming declaration that he and his Republican colleagues have violated their oaths of office by leaking classified information. Though given Hoekstra’s less than sterling reputation for logical consistency, maybe we shouldn’t hold our breath.
Talking Points Memo, June 2009 LINK
A senior intelligence official said this morning that ”there are concerns” about Hoekstra’s disclosure, noting that the information had not been published or confirmed before the Post article in such detail. A former intelligence official privy to details of the NSA’s programs said that it “would appear to be the case” that Hoekstra divulged too much information.
The Atlantic, Nov. 12, 2009 LINK