Last night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow accused Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and current gubernatorial candidate, of leaking sensitive intelligence information to the press. Hoekstra told the Washington Post this week that Maj. Nidal M. Hasan had e-mail conversations with a radical Yemeni cleric, Anwar al-Aulaqi. Maddow excoriated Hoekstra for letting Aulaqi know that his e-mail is being monitored:
MADDOW: Why is it Pete Hoekstra who’s taking it upon himself to tell the press that this radical cleric is having his email read by U.S. intelligence agencies? The FBI had not said publicly that this cleric had been emailing Hasan. The CIA, the NSA, the White House — nobody else had reported this cleric was e-mailing Hasan. This is just Pete Hoekstra letting us know — and letting the radical cleric who is under surveillance know — that he’s under surveillance.
Maddow’s guest, The Nation’s Chris Hayes, said Hoekstra’s reputation is “of an epic grand-stander.” Watch it:
Asked if there was a concern that Hoekstra was leaking sensitive information, a Republican spokesman for the House intelligence committee told Maddow’s show, “I do not know, guessing, since [Aulaqi] was deported, he knew he was a target anyways.” Maddow noted that Aulaqi wasn’t “deported,” but rather left the country voluntarily, according to the 9-11 Commission. (Aulaqi had contacts with some of the 9-11 hijackers.)
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) said, “I am disappointed that some have rushed to the news media with unfounded information in order to gain headlines.”
Hoekstra has been trying to use the Ft. Hood shootings to engage in a political attack against Obama, claiming “administration officials delayed briefing members of Congress about the alleged gunman,” thus raising “red flags” about what the White House was hiding. “What do they know that they don’t want us to know?” Hoekstra said on Fox News.