"Stay away from Kevin Gordon. He's hot. He is using your name in Hialeah."
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If they consider the issue at all, Americans probably expect the person in charge of overseeing their nation's spies to be smart, insightful and thorough -- but above all else, he or she must be able to keep a secret. As the debate builds over who will next lead the House intelligence committee, at least one conservative publication has asked whether the Democrats' presumptive pick, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), has whispered secrets that ruined federal investigations.
When the House impeached federal judge Alcee Hastings in 1989, 16 of the 17 counts had to do with a bribery allegation dating to 1981, as we detailed yesterday. But one count was different, the National Review's Byron York noted a few days ago, and it cuts to the very core of whether Hastings is suitable to chair the House intelligence committee.
It was an accusation that in 1985, he leaked secret government information that ruined three FBI probes.
The House voted to impeach Hastings on that count, known as "Article XVI," but the Senate unanimously voted to acquit, blasting the House prosecutors for using "weak" evidence, leaving "gaping holes" in their proof and "fail[ing]. . . to identify any credible motive" for Hastings to leak the information.
What happened? Did Hastings leak a secret? Or was the case as weak as the senators said?