Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Those Multiple Choice Pop Quizzes Sure Are Tough

I've learned better over the years than to overrate these kind of anecdotal stories. However, they're still fun. And if the Bush presidency has taught us one single lesson, it is that perhaps it'd be a good idea if we elected wiser, better informed politicians to office in our government. Sadly, initial indications are that this batch of Democrats may not be much better. We'll see. But shame on Incoming Speaker Pelosi for not selecting the more-qualified Rep. Jane Harmon or better-informed Rep. Sanford Bishop for this critical House chairmanship.

Incoming House intelligence chief botches easy intel quiz

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam - Sunni or Shiite - Reyes answered "they are probably both," then ventured "Predominantly, probably Shiite."

That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.

Reyes could also not answer questions put by Stein about Hezbollah, a Shiite group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations that is based in Southern Lebanon.


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