They know no limits watch (WaPo
The Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence suspended a mid-level Democratic staffer Tuesday based on a suspicion that he may have been connected to the leak of a politically damaging intelligence report almost a month ago, according to Republican and Democratic congressional sources.
The action by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), which has drawn sharp criticism from Democratic panel members, was described by legislators of both parties as another example of the increased partisan infighting that has damaged the workings of the intelligence panel during this election year.
"The chairman's unilateral action is without basis and an abuse of his power to provide security accesses," Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the panel, said yesterday. "There is no evidence to suggest that the professional staff member in question did anything wrong," she added.
Late yesterday, Washington lawyer Jonathan Turley sent a letter to Hoekstra and Harman saying he represented the staff member involved, Larry Hanauer, whose name had been leaked to the media. Turley wrote that he wanted an expedited review of his client's role "to clear his name at the earliest possible date." He said there was "not a single scintilla of evidence suggesting that Mr. Hanauer had any role in the leaking of the NIE," or National Intelligence Estimate, and that he was drafting a sworn statement to that effect.
Adding to the political overtones, several Republican lawmakers issued news releases yesterday condemning leaks and praising Hoekstra -- including House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.).
If they do crash and burn on November 7th, nothing could be sweeter. But anything's possible and nothing should be taken for granted.