, here's a snippet of a Congressional Quarterly interview
with incoming House intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX):
Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.
We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorismâs major players.
To me, itâs like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Whoâs on what side?
The dialogue went like this:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
âAl Qaeda, they have both,â Reyes said. âYouâre talking about predominately?â
âSure,â I said, not knowing what else to say.
âPredominantly â probably Shiite,â he ventured.
He couldnât have been more wrong.
Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, theyâd slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.
Ladies and gentlemen, your new intel committee chairman.