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OC has got John Campbell in Congress. We’ve got Dana Rohrabacher. We’ve got (for now, at least) Ed Royce. But hard as it may be to believe, the worst Congressperson in OC may be yet to come.
Rep. Darrel Issa, the Scourge of San Diego County, is trying to win election to the new district CA-49 — which would move him into southernmost OC. And man, is that a killer.
The very wealthy Congressman, who ironically is apparently nevertheless permanently unable to buy a clue, may have topped himself earlier today when he released sensitive documents about our operations in Libya, as part of his flailing investigation into the murders of diplomatic staff in Benghazi, that … how shall I put this? …
FAILED TO REDACT OUT THE NAMES OF LIBYANS WHO HAVE BEEN SECRETLY COOPERATING WITH US, TURNING THEM INTO RIPE TARGETS FOR AL QAEDA AND OTHER TERRORISTS.
(Yes, headline font — I think that that IS the best way to put that!)
Honestly, Issa’s Democratic opponent Jerry Tetalman could be an algae slick at this point and his presence in Congress would still do less to embarrass and humiliate Orange County than would Darrel Issa.
The apparent hastiness of Issa’s action was driven by what he seems to consider to be an extremely important national security concern: the need to embarrass President Obama before Election Day, on any grounds whatsoever. And if a few patriotic Libyans who see their country’s democratic future as being bound to that of the U.S. get killed — well, he apparently considers that a small price to pay. And if it’s more than a few killed — well, it’s not even clear that Issa knows how to count.
This is, by the way, the same thing about which the government has complained in respect to the Wikileaks disclosures. But to me, that’s not the best analogy. That analogy would be to Scooter Libby and others in Vice-President Dick Cheney’s shop blowing secret CIA agent Valerie Plame’s cover out of a desire to get revenge on her husband for refusing to go along with the Bush Administration’s lie that Iraq had acquired uranium-rich “yellowcake” — and act that was also expected to lead to the, um, “liquidation” of intelligence assets who had been known to be cooperative with Plame under her “cover identity.” I never heard exactly how that worked out, but I’ll bet that it was not pretty.
This, too, is not pretty — and it could set our efforts way back in terms of supporting a friendly and democratic government in Libya. The lesson here is: Republicans cannot be trusted with national security. Issa should of course be asked to resign from the Committee he chairs — and, just to make sure that he doesn’t get put into that prime seat for irresponsible action again, no one in the U.S. should vote for a Republican for Congress this year. Maybe that will get the message across.
OK, rant over — you’d probably like proof of all this. Here are as many excerpts as I can legaly quote from the story from the esteemed foreign policy journal with the apt name of Foreign Policy, which I certainly hope you’ll read:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) compromised the identities of several Libyans working with the U.S. government and placed their lives in danger when he released reams of State Department communications Friday, according to Obama administration officials.
Issa posted 166 pages of sensitive but unclassified State Department communications related to Libya on the committee’s website afternoon as part of his effort to investigate security failures and expose contradictions in the administration’s statements regarding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
“But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.
“Much like WikiLeaks, when you dump a bunch of documents into the ether, there are a lot of unintended consequences,” an administration official told The Cable Friday afternoon. “This does damage to the individuals because they are named, danger to security cooperation because these are militias and groups that we work with and that is now well known, and danger to the investigation, because these people could help us down the road.”
One of the cables Issa released identifies by name a female human rights activist who was trying to create an anti-violence campaign in Benghazi — and who secretly came to the U.S. for our assistance in doing so. But for this leak, no one would know that she had any association with the U.S. She now fears for her safety.
(Heck of a job, Issa!)
An Issa spokesthrall claims that the State Department had had an opportunity to work with Issa’s committee to identity sensitive information in the documents before their release — a claim to which a State Dept. spokesperson said: ”Many of the documents the committee posted weren’t provided by State. So there wasn’t any discussion about their sensitivity prior to the committee revealing them for all to see. Had State been given that opportunity, we’d have taken it and pointed out what documents needed to be handled with extreme care so as not to endanger anyone.”
But it’s always someone else’s faultthan Issa’s — Orange County’s aspiring new political embarrassment. (Reps. Campbell and Rohrabacher — I guess you’ll just have to try harder!)