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Pelosi passes Hastings for Intel chair

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061128/ap_on_go_co/house_intelligence Pelosi passes Hastings for Intel chair By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2006
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061128/ap_on_go_co/house_intelligence

      Pelosi passes Hastings for Intel chair

      By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour,
      44 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - In a decision that could roil Democratic
      unity in the new House, Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi
      passed over Rep. Alcee Hastings (news, bio, voting
      record) Tuesday for the chairmanship of the
      Intelligence Committee.

      Hastings, currently the No. 2 Democrat on the panel,
      had been aggressively making a case for the top
      position, supported by members of the
      Congressional Black Caucus.

      Critics pointed out that he had been impeached when he
      was a federal judge and said naming him to such a
      sensitive post would be a mistake just as the
      Democrats take over House control pledging reforms.

      "I am obviously disappointed with this decision,"
      Hastings, D-Fla., said in a statement thanking his
      supporters. "I will be seeking better and bigger
      opportunities in a Democratic Congress."

      He learned his bid for the chairmanship was
      unsuccessful during a closed-door meeting with Pelosi
      on Tuesday.

      In a statement, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Hastings has
      made national security his highest priority. "He has
      served our country well, and I have full confidence
      that he will continue to do so," she said.

      In a sign of the bitterness that has surrounded the
      debate, Hastings closed his statement by saying:
      "Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."

      The Black Caucus had no immediate comment.

      A Democratic congressional aide, who spoke on
      condition of anonymity about internal party
      deliberations, said Pelosi has not yet decided who
      will get the position when the new Congress convenes
      in January.

      Rep. Silvestre Reyes (news, bio, voting record),
      D-Texas, is next in line in seniority and is
      considered a strong contender for the job. Still,
      naming him would be a snub to the current senior
      Democrat on the panel, Jane Harman of California. Her
      committee leadership term expires at year's end, and
      she could be reappointed by Pelosi. Yet the two are
      believed to have deep differences.

      Hastings, who came to Congress in 1992, was charged in
      an FBI bribery sting but acquitted by a federal jury
      in 1983. Some judicial colleagues said Hastings
      fabricated his defense, and their allegations led to
      his impeachment by the U.S. House in 1988. He was
      removed from the bench by the Senate the following
      year.

      In 1997, the Justice Department found an agent had
      falsely testified against Hastings, but no action was
      taken to reopen his case.

      In 2000, Democrats passed over another member of the
      Congressional Black Caucus — Rep. Sanford Bishop
      (news, bio, voting record) of Georgia — for the senior
      Democratic spot on the intelligence panel. Party
      leaders had agreed to give the position to Harman when
      she ran for Congress after an unsuccessful bid to be
      California governor.
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