Long live King of HomelandBy Michael Goodwin
New York Post
November 7, 2010
The GOP takeover in the House likely means Long Island Republican Pete King will head the committee on Homeland Security. That's the good news.
Here's the great news: His first order of business will be to slaughter some sacred cows.
"We've never had a hearing on the president's plan to close Gitmo," King told me last week. "We never had a hearing on the massacre at Fort Hood. Or on the plan to hold the 9/11 trial in New York courts."
He sees those and other hot-button topics, off limits under a Democratic Congress, overripe for examination. They are part of his plan to take a harder look at terrorism, especially Islamic radicalization in America.
"I definitely intend to look at how mosques and prisons are being used to radicalize people and turn them toward violence," King said.
The son of a former New York City police lieutenant, King, who opposes the Ground Zero mosque, is not afraid of the profiling debate on airline security.
"If an Irish guy is bombing planes, I have no problem paying more attention to Irish guys than Italian or Jewish ones," he said. "If we suspect people from Yemen or Pakistan, it makes no sense to be searching everybody from Kentucky or Luxembourg."
King thinks Obama's team has come a long way from its dopey early days of calling Iraq and Afghanistan "overseas contingency operations" and terror attacks "man-caused disasters." And he gives it high marks for thwarting the attempt from Yemen to explode bombs on cargo planes, a point he made personally to the president when Obama called after the election.
King and Obama have a friendly relationship, and Obama once offered to make him ambassador to Ireland. But King has no illusions he'll be singing "Kumbaya" with the president.
"The way he frames it, no Republican idea can ever be a good idea," King said. "He looks upon us as the Philistines, as people who are not as smart and sophisticated as he is."