THE PLANK DECEMBER 12, 2006
This is really, really disturbing: Silvestre Reyes, soon to be the next House Intelligence Committee chair, flubbed a foreign policy quiz from Congressional Quarterly ... and flubbed it badly:
Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite?
The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
"Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said.
Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.
But Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda.
Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"
You'd think he would have known the answer to the first question just by reading an occasional article in the Times or the Post. Anyway, Alcee Hastings isn't looking so bad right now. --Isaac Chotiner