It has come to pass Peter Hoekstra is now on Trump’s Presidential transition team. Hoekstra, a former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chair and Michigan congressman has replaced Mike Rogers, also a former HPSCI chair and Michigan congressman to help lead the national security effort for the incoming administration. David Ignatius in the Washington Post claims GOP insiders consider him on the shortlist for CIA Director.
This means choppy waters ahead for CIA and likely the Intelligence Community as a whole. Along other highlights of his tenure in Congress, Hoekstra was the one who led the legislative charge to create a website that published a rough guide on how to build a nuclear weapon as well as erroneously claimed in 2006 the US found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
But CIA officials remember him best for being one of the two sitting Members of Congress who publicly accused the Agency of harboring al Qaeda sympathizers. (The other was his co-author, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum). In June 2006, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, they wrote:
People who leak the existence of sensitive intelligence programs like the terrorist surveillance program or financial tracking programs to either damage the administration or help al Qaeda, or perhaps both, are using the release or withholding of documents to advance their political desires. [bolding mine.]
When former New Republic reporter Spencer Ackerman asked a month afterward if he stood by his words that the Intelligence Community indeed harbors al Qaeda symps, Hoekstra responded:
“You have to hold that out as a possibility…I mean, every day—not every day, but on occasion, and more frequently than what we would like–we find out that the intelligence community has been penetrated, not necessarily by Al Qaeda, but by other nations or organizations that we are spying on. And so to rule out the possibility that there are people in the intelligence community that are doing this to help Al Qaeda, I think, would be naive.” [bolding mine.]
Later on in 2009, he broadened this “terrorist sympathizers” broadside to include folks in the military:
I‘m not only worried about these types of people potentially being in the military, I‘m concerned about these folks being everyday Americans around America, living among us, who may have become or are in the process of becoming radicalized.
It’s one thing for the ill-informed to rant about the supposed dupes in the Intelligence Community. But for the HPSCI chair to attack CIA for having terrorist sympathizers in its midst? And then stick to his guns?
And now Hoekstra is back in the saddle again, making real decisions for the incoming Administration.
Personnel is policy. There appear to be trying times ahead for CIA and the IC in general.
picture: Storm in the Sea by Cavalier Pietro Tempesta, or Pieter Mulier II (1637 – 29 June 1701)