November 16, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, someone the US labeled
a terrorist was released from Iraqi custody, the Operation Command
Tigris clashes with Kurdish forces resulting in injuries and death, a
hearing on Benghazi wastes a lot of time that apparently Democrats on
the Committee had to waste, Thomas Friedman 'cares' about Iraq
again, the Pentagon releases October Army suicide data, and more.
. .] Imran Samad, a resident of Kirkuk, believes political goals, not
terrorist threats, are behind the formation of the DOC. "We strongly
condemn the formation of DOC," he says.
adds that the government not only refuses to implement Article 140, but
is violating the constitution and imposing its will with force.
fought against former dictatorships and gave the finest sons of the
Kurdish people in order to gain freedom and independence, and the Shia
were supporters of the Kurdish people through previous periods. But now
that they have power, they have forgotten all that and want to govern
Iraq as Saddam did," said Samad.
Al Mada noted
earlier this week that Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani has
been attempting to work out a unified opposition position with Jalal on
this issue. Barzani issued a statement declaring that public opinion
is against it and that they have waited for Talabani to solve the issue
but no solution has come forward and what is taking place is
unconstitutional. The statement is posted on the Kurdistan Regional Government's website.
In the statement, Barzani notes that there were concerns and fears
about the formation of the so-called Operation Command Tigris and it
does nothing to help with the application of Article 140. Instead,
Operation Command Tigris was formed with intentions and goals that go
against the hopes of the Kurds, against the democratic process and does
nothing to help the Baghdad-government and KRG get along. Barzani notes
that he waited so that Talabani would have an opportunity to put into
play promises he had made about stopping the situation; however, that
has not come to be. All Iraq News pointed out
that State of Law MP Jawad Albzona immediately declared Barzani's
statement to be wrong and inaccurate. Not in the statement but also
pertinent, Nouri's refused to fund the peshmerga in the latest federal
budget which has caused additional problems.
QUESTION: On Iraq, is it correct that Iraq has released – I believe his last name is Daqduq? He's a --
Uh-huh, Daqduq, a top Hezbollah operative. Senator McCain is saying
it's an outrage; he apparently was responsible for the deaths of five
NULAND: Well, I'm going to refer you to the Iraqis for the precise
status, but as you know, we continue to believe that Daqduq should be
held accountable for his crimes. We've made this point very clearly to
the Government of Iraq. We – while we strongly object to his release,
we've been informed by the Iraqis that they determined that they were no
longer able to hold him under Iraqi law.
QUESTION: So I'm sorry, does that mean that --
MS. NULAND: So I guess – yeah, he's – they have said that he's been released, yeah. Never mind.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, so basically, you're saying he shouldn't be? I mean, is there (inaudible)?
NULAND: Yeah. We were – we didn't want it to happen and we were
concerned about it. We said that to the Iraqis. They have said back to
us that they didn't have a legal basis to continue to hold him. Let me
add to that that as with other terrorists who we believe have committed
crimes against Americans, we are going to continue to pursue all legal
means to see that Daqduq sees justice for the crimes of which he is
QUESTION: How would you do that? What can you do?
NULAND: Well, again, it all depends on the circumstances, but we're
going to continue to do what we can in this circumstance.
QUESTION: Can you take any retaliatory action against Iraq?
NULAND: I'm not going to get into hypothetical issues here beyond
saying that we've expressed our deep dissatisfaction with this action
with the Government of Iraq. We do have to respect the role of the Iraqi
So does that – when you say you're going to pursue all legal means,
does that mean that this Mr. Daqduq might be driving in a car someday
and get blown out of the air or blown --
MS. NULAND: I'm obviously --
QUESTION: -- or blown off the road? Would --
MS. NULAND: I think I said all legal means and I'm not going to --
QUESTION: Well --
MS. NULAND: -- get into hypotheticals.
Well, the drone – the Administration says that drone strikes are legal,
so all legal means could include that; correct?
MS. NULAND: I am not going to get into anything along those lines.
All right. Then the other thing about Daqduq is, is it all upsetting to
you that after spending billions and billions of dollars to oust Saddam
Hussein and create a democracy in Iraq, one the previous Administration
was very, very high on, is it at all upsetting to you that you seem
zero influence with this government now?
NULAND: First of all, I'm going to reject the premise of that. There
are many, many things that we work together with the Iraqis on, both in
terms of the internal situation in Iraq as well as our regional work
together, not least of being Syria and our efforts to ensure that Iraqi
air and land space is not abused to arm the Syrians. There are many
things that we work together on. But as I said, we objected very
strongly to this particular decision, and we've made that clear to the
The shortest version on Daqduq? He's said to be responsible for many deaths. Including five Americans. From the May 18th snapshot
Dropping back to earlier violence, Christine Show (Daily Mail) reports,
"The wife of a U.S. Army captain who was killed while deployed in Iraq
is stunned that the person named responsible for his death will be
freed. Charlotte Freeman of Temecula, California expressed her dismay
when she learned on Wednesday night that Ali Mussa Daqduq was cleared of
all charges in the 2007 attack that killed Brian Freeman, 31, and four
other U.S. soldiers."
Barack Obama made a deal with a terrorist group in Iraq. Daqduq and
others behind the killing of the five Americans were in US custody in
Iraq, in US prisons in Iraq. Barack began letting them go. Dropping
back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot
:This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times
of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have
been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody
Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of
murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly
did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five
British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US
military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to
do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to
Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive
topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S.
and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea
of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format,
and we told them that if they want to participate in the political
process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we
mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political
process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars
or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and
they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it.
At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even
broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press
the issue and got the standard line from the department's
spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq,
the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or
otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what
Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the
American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were:
Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N.
Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of
Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York;
and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the
five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali
are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states
that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the
release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did?
Somebody needs to answer for it."
League of Righteous would publicly rebuke Barack later noting that they
did not feel he'd lived up to the deal they'd made. They'd refuse to
release the corpse of a British citizen as a result. Then, months and
months later, they would. By that point, the terrorist group was very
clear in public remarks that they'd made a deal with the White House.
Daqduq was not part of the deal. He was an outsider. As the US
military began drawing down and getting rid of prisoners, it could have
brought Daqduq to the US to try him. Several senators suggested just
that. They were ignored. And no one was to worry, the White House
insisted, because they had assurances from Nouri's government.
has Nouri's word ever been reliable? After it was announced Iraq would
be releasing him, that he'd been tried and found innocent, the White
House began fuming.
But they still did nothing.
believe Daqduq is guilty. I also believe that sometimes the guilty
walk. In the best cases, we have a human justice system, not a perfect
justice system. In the best cases. Iraq is not the best case. And
I've called out the 'justice' system there many times. But if someone
is found innocent, then that's the verdict. And the White House was
wrong to pressure Iraq to hold someone who had been found innocent.
Nouri was wrong to agree to do so for several months. He was found
innocent. I think he's guilty. Sometimes the guilty walk. It's not
fair but neither is life.
While I'm not going
to rage at the Iraqi justice system over this, I will point out that the
White House screwed this up from day one. They never should have been
releasing any of the killers. It was not in the interest of the
American people or the US military to let the killers of 5 US soldiers
walk. It certainly wasn't in the interest of the American people or the
US military to let the killers walk to score brownie points with the
government of England. That was Barack's first mistake. Everything
that followed was one long mistake including but not limited to trusting
Barack needs to answer for his
actions but, sadly, the White House press corps makes clear that they
don't care about this story -- repeatedly makes clear. By contrast,
veterans, service members and military families make clear, when we
speak to them, that this matters.
Yesterday, the Defense Dept released
the US Army's suicide numbers for last month: "20 potential suicides:
five have been confirmed as suicides, and 15 remain under investigation"
which is an increase of five from September's numbers. DoD notes that
2011 resulted in 165 deaths confirmed as suicides and that 2012 has
seen 105 confirmed and 61 which are still being investigated. So if all
under investigation currently were to be ruled suicide, October will be
the month that 2012 surpassed 2011 for number of army members taking
their own lives (166 is the number of suicides if the 61 under
investigation end up determined to be suicides). With two months of
data remaining for the calendar year, it is likely 2012 will see an
increase in the number of suicides. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
's Tom Tarantino offers at Huffington Post
battle against IEDs required a $45 billion investment in armored
vehicles, which have been credited with saving thousands of troops'
lives. Protective undergarments to shield service members from blasts
have also been fielded. In April, the Army issued a request for proposal
for more gear. The fight to protect service members and prevent
military suicide will necessitate a different but equally forceful
response. We need a unified effort from Congress, the Administration,
the Department of Defense, as well as public and private groups at the
local, state, and national level.
is a must in this endeavor. As Congress heads back to Washington, they
have the opportunity to seize the initiative and fight for veterans.
Votes have been cast and elections have been won or lost, but before the
new Congress takes over--which by the way will have 16 veterans from
Iraq and Afghanistan--the 112th can leave their mark. With only about 15
working days, they'll need to avoid sequestration and prevent the
nation from falling off the fiscal cliff, pass a defense authorization
bill, and tie up loose ends in a veterans omnibus bill that hopefully
will protect student vets, improve women's health care at the Veterans
Administration, and help prevent suicide. This short session will be
jam-packed, with much to accomplish in a short period of time, but now
is not the time for rest. The 2.5 million veterans who served our nation
in Iraq and Afghanistan have done their part, and now it's time for
elected officials to do theirs. There is simply too much at stake for
more jockeying that favors politics over solutions. It's time for the
112th to step up to the plate, lead, and show veterans that they've got
Critical mental health
legislation is sitting on members of Congress' desks and needs to be
acted upon. Senator Patty Murray's Mental Health Access Act of 2012
would improve access to support services and care for service members,
veterans, and their families. The legislation will require DoD to create
standardized a suicide prevention program and require the department to
oversee mental health care to ensure that best practices are
implemented. Understanding the toll that prolonged wars take on
families, the legislation would expand eligibility for VA mental health
services to family members, helping them to get the care and support
needed. Lastly, the act would require VA to establish reliable measures
for mental health and adopt an effective staffing plan in order to best
serve veterans. Congress needs to act, or veterans will be left behind.
also, before beginning," declared US House Rep Illeana Ros-Lehtinen
yesterday morning, "I want to assue the families and friends of four
brave Americans killed in the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi and
our diplomatic personnel serving in high risk posts worldwide, that we
are committed to identifying what went wrong and what needs to be done
to prevent any further American lives from being lost in such attacks.
Our thoughts and our prayers are also with those wounded during the
attack as they face a long and difficult recovery."
is the Committee Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Yesterday they held a hearing into the September 11, 2012 attack on the
US Consulate in Benghazi that killed Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone
Woods and Chris Stevens. Democrats at the hearing did themselves no
favor by not knowing four names. I'm being really kind due to space
limitations and we will let those Democrats remain as nameless as they
let Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods be yesterday. They should
be ashamed of themselves for repeatedly saying "Chris Stevens and three
other Americans." But we'll be kind and not humiliate them by naming
them -- well not all of them.
If US House Rep
Frederica Wilson truly believes the four killed are "heroes," she damn
well needs to be able to name all four and not just Chris Stevens. US
House Rep Jean Schmidt (a Republican) was able to name each of the four
and why they were present in Libya. It's four names. You don't look
like you respect the four or consider the four people -- let alone
heroes -- when you can't even remember or mention their names. It's
embarrassing and it's shameful and, as a Democrat, it's sad to sit
through this crap over and over, this empty rhetoric from Democrats who
can't even get their staff to write down the other three names for them
before the hearing started. US House Rep Eni F.H. Faleomavaega used the
term "heroes" and he was the only Democrat who was able, during the
hearing, to name all four. Anything he said in that hearing carried
weight because he came in knowing there were four and, in the hearing,
he noted all four by name. It's not that difficult, as he proved, but
it does go to whether you look believable (as he did) or you just look
like you're grandstanding as Frederica Wilson and so many others on the
Democratic side did.
US House Rep Dan
Rorabcher noted that at last month's House Oversight Commitee he
specifically asked the State Dept's Charlene Lamb (who "was specifically
responsible for what level of spending they would have for security at
the Benghazi Consulate") if "budget concerns were actually part of her
decision not to increase the level of security, she stated emphatically,
no, that was not part of it. Democrats who spoke before Burton looked
foolish to those of us at that October hearing.
looked even worse when, after Burton spoke, they tried to state that
the attack was Republicans fault. Well, the White House blamed a
YouTube video, I guess their lackeys in Congress would be quick to blame
Republicans. There are a great many strong Democrats in Congress on
this issue. I'm not tarring and feathering all Democrats in Congress as
"lackeys" but if you sat through yesterday's hearing you would realize
that a number acted like lackeys. For an example of a non-lackey, you
can see US House Rep Karen Bass. She focused on the issues. I didn't
always agree with her conclusions but she was there for the issues the
attack raised and made that clear in her words and the way she conducted
herself. Another one worthy of praise would be US House Rep Albio
Sires. He also made the focus the violence and the dead and wounded.
He wasn't in campaign mode or of the mistaken belief that the White
House hired him as defense counsel. By contrast, a little weasel
named Eliot Engel wasted his time and mine. Now his life is clearly
unimportant as evidenced by "we will never forget them" to refer to four
Americans he can't name (he can only name Chris Stevens) but my time is
valuable and I'm not sitting through a hearing on Bengahzi to listen to
an idiot yokel with an ugly mustache insist that determining blame is
"political." Not since Engel rubbed shoulders with raving lunatic who sees Hitler as a "good
" has he come off so deranged.
is about 4 people who are dead and it is important to understand how
they died because things will happen, even tragic things, but mistakes
can be corrected and fixed so that they do not duplicate. There are
people serving all over the world -- including in places where the
"United States" is not said, it is spat. These people are doing a job
the government has tasked them with and they have a right to expect a
level of safety. They also need to know that if they are attacked and
wounded or killed, the government body that provides oversight of the
executive branch, the Congress, will stop at nothing to get the best and
most full answer as to what led to their deaths.
Illeana Ros-Lehtinen: The coordinate, pre-planned and brazen attacks
against the US Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th was an outrage.
Also disgraceful is the sad parade of conflicting accounts of the attack
that we have received from administration officials in the weeks and
months since. Successive revelations and public reports indicate that
the administration failed to adequately protect the American Consulate
and denied Consulate requests for additional security. It has come to
light that the administration was warned of the deteriorating security
system in Benghazi one month before the attack on September 11th with
the personnel stationed at the post asserting that they could not
withstand a coordinated assault. We also know that our consulates
sustained two previous attacks this year and that they were
approximately ten Islamic militia and extremist training camps nearby
yet the administration denied repeated requests for additional
security measures. We have also learned that the Consulate alerted both
Libyan authorities and the administration about members of the Libyan
security forces possibly compromised with ties to extremists -- as they
were caught photographing the Consulate prior to the attack and still
the Consulates requests for additional security for additional security
were ignored. The Consulate even warned that the situation was
trending negatively and that the daily pattern of violence was the new
normal given the minimal capabilities of the Libyan security
forces. These revelations make clear that the security situation was
deteriorating and that the administration was aware that the security
was grossly inadequate. Undersecretary [Patrick] Kennedy publicly
testified that the assault on September 11th was an unprecedented
terrorism attack by dozens of heavily armed men. This explanation is
before the Committee were the Government Accountability Office's
Michael Courts, RAND Corporation's William Young, Heritage Foundation
James Jay Carafano and the American Acdemy of Diplomacy's Ronald E.
Neumann. The hearing was over half-way over before the first of the
four witnesses even read from their prepared remarks.
came about because nearly every member of the entire House Committee on
Foreign Affairs had an opening statement to make. Some were
worthwhile. US House Rep Dan Burton, for example, used his opening
remarks to provide background on the previous public House hearing on
this issue. In doing so, he reminded about witness testimony -- witness
testimony that didn't get reported but was offered to the House
US House Rep Dan
Burton: Let me just start off by saying that we had a hearing on this
issue on the Government Reform and Oversight Committee [for coverage of
that hearing, refer to "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "2 disgrace in the Committee hearing," "The White House's Jimmy Carter moment" and "What we learned at today's hearing"]
shortly after this tragedy occurred and that a lot of the information
that we received from government officials -- publicly and privately --
does not comport with the testimony of the people who were at that
hearing. The people who were at that hearing consisted of Eric
Nordstrom who was the Regional Security Officer for the US Mission in
Libya, Lt Col Andrew Wood who was in charge of the military escort team
there, special operations command support team. It was also Charlene
Lamb who was in charge of all of the embassies and consulates around
the world as far as the security was concerned who incidentally said
when the attack took place she was following it in real time immediately
because she was in Washington in her office at the time. Then we also
had Patrick Kennedy who's testified numerous times about this issue.
And the thing that bothers me the most is that Lt Col Wood, in charge of
the security forces -- the SST -- and Eric Nordstrom, the Regional
Security Officer, said time and time again they needed more security --
particularly at Benghazi and they were denied. In fact, even though
Nordstrom tried to get more security at Benghazi, he was told, "You're
asking for the moon and the stars." Now they were supposed to have five
people there but there was an unwritten law, I guess, that you could
only have three there. And yet when Mr. Nordstrom and Lt Col Wood went
down and checked the area out, there were three. There's supposed to
be five. The unwritten rule: there's supposed to be three. But there
was only one there. Only one. The security was lax. There were 230
different kinds of incidents -- some pretty strong attacks, some not so
strong. But nevertheless, the security officer in charge and the Lt Col
in charge of the security people there contacted Washington time and
time again and said, 'We need more security. There'a s threat of an
attack.' There had been one attack in Benghazi where they blew a hole
in the compound wall and yet time and again Ms. Lamb and Mr. Kennedy
continually said, 'No, we don't need those.' No, we don't need those.
And they tried to cover their fannies a number of times in their
testimony here in this body -- or in this house and it does not comport,
it is not consistent with what Mr. Nordstrom who is in charge of that
region and Lt Col Woods said. This is not only a tragedy, it's a
perfect example of malfeasance at the State Dept.
questions did come, you wondered why they even bothered? US House Rep
Brad Sherman came with talking points prepared. But why he thought the
GAO would have information that's not part of what they are tasked with
raises more questions about Brad Sherman than it does about the GAO.
That's a shame because Sherman did have something worth saying. It
wasn't a question for the witnesses but it was something people need to
think about: What is the value of having a State Dept presence on the
ground in ___? This is worth exploring.
House Rep Gary Ackerman thought his time for questioning was a time to
emote heavily -- that gawdy yellow flower on his lapel wasn't attracting
enough attention? He also thought it was time to define "malfeasance
-- which is the malicious and knowing evil doing." No, that's not what
it means. Instead of suggesting people grab a mirror, Ackerman should
pick up a dictionary. Websters says malfeasance is "wrongdoing or
misconduct." And if you're going to talk stench, or "ask not who the
guilty party is," don't show up looking like you're attending a social
in Mayberry with a flower pinned flat to your jacket -- with stem and
with stem exposed. For those feeling my critique offers no substance, I
believe I was matching the same level of substance Gary Ackerman
offered. In fact, I easily surpassed him.
House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: Let's start by going on the record again
so that all may hear this, my last colleague's statement
notwithstanding, the lady who made the -- the official, I should say,
happens to be a lady, who made the decision at the State Dept what level
of spending would be spent for security for the Benghazi Consulate
testified under oath that there was no budget consideration whatsoever
in her decision. Under oath. Anyone suggesting otherwise should not be
pointing fingers at hypocrisy at this side of the aisle. This is not
"just a cover up of a third rate burglary." We have four of our
diplomatic personnel dead and it is not a McCarthy era tactic to demand
accountability and to demand that the American people are not
misinformed about it to the point that they don't know what the threat
And that's a real shame and why the hearing so frustrating. At the end of last year, I sat through a hearing where Rohrabacher went out of his way to praise Ackerman
to say Ackerman was right and he (Rohrabacher) was wrong. To praise
his colleague across the aisle (the topic was Iraq, Rohrabacher admitted
-- in a public hearing -- that Ackerman was correct about Iraq and that
he should have listened to him). And yet now it's descended into a
stream of insults launched by Gary Ackerman who is more intent on play
White House Consel than he is on serving in Congress and finding out why
four Americans died. Barack promised unity. No surprise that the
House Foreign Affairs Committee is as split as the country. Rohrabacher
launched no personal attack on Ackerman. Ackerman was not defending
himself. If he were, I wouldn't be objecting. But as with so many
other Democrats on that hearing, we couldn't get to reality because they
wanted to talk (imply) McCarthyism and other crap that had nothing to
do with the hearing. They wanted to scream and holler -- and Ackerman
screamed -- and it was so unprofessional, it was so immature that I'd
hoped waiting a day would let me find something of great value in this
hearing that I made time to attend. There was nothing. Well maybe
there was one thing.
House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: Alright, now in terms of money for
diplomatic security, let's note that this year the State Dept has
requested $1.4 billion for worldwide security for its facilities and its
personnel and in addition, they have requested $215 million for the
Bureau of Diplomatic Security. That comes to $1.6 billion. At the same
time, this administration wants to give Iraq $850 million to train a
police force and $900 million for military financing which comes to $1.7
billion. How can the Obama administration and members of this
Committee justify giving more money to Iraq for its security than we are
giving to the protection of our diplomats? I don't expect you [Michael
Courts] to answer that.
And Courts couldn't. But maybe someone can. It's a question worth asking.
On Benghazi, Ruth
noted last night in "A layer of the lie peels back
that the White House appears to have been playing lawyerly offering
technically true statements about the attack if you split it -- as they
appear to have done -- into two attacks and not one. They call the
first attack the one on the Consulate and the second attack the one on
the safe house. Congress needs to explore the White House statements
with that in mind. If that is what they are doing, it does not mean
they have been truthful. In fact, it argues they have been deliberately
misleading. Lastly, John Glaser (Antiwar.com) reports
the former CIA Director (as of last Friday) David Petraeus testified to
Congress today in a closed-door hearing and "Petraeus maintained that
he consistently referred to the Consulate attack as the work of
terrorists when talking to Congressional intelligence committees and
other government agencies of the Executive Branch." Glaser goes on to
offer the uninformed opinion that Republicans have used the issue as "a
political football." He can make that claim because he hasn't sat
through any of the public hearings on this matter. I have. And, as a
Democrat, I would love it if Gary Ackerman and company weren't
disgracing themselves, but they are. And when John Glaser can explain
what charges of McCarthyism and other crap served up by Democrats during
these hearings has to do with four dead Americans, I might take his
opinion seriously. Until then, he's just doing rip and write and
doesn't know what he's talking about. He's made this mistake before
with regard to Congressional hearings. Maybe it would be smarter for
him to stop offering his opinion on hearings he has not attended?