LANSING – In a breathtaking display of hypocrisy, Pete Hoekstra, a Senate candidate widely ridiculed for leaking intelligence on numerous occasions while serving on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee (click here for an example), released an ad today saying an individual who leaks intelligence “is either an amateur who has no idea how much damage they’ve done, or they’re traitors to our country.”
Hoekstra’s handling of intelligence information has been criticized by numerous media outlets including:
· The Muskegon Chronicle: Hoekstra “Shouldn’t Be Making These Kinds Of Judgmental Missteps, Especially Ones With The Potential For Catastrophic Results.”[Muskegon Chronicle, 2/17/09]
· The Kalamazoo Gazette: Hoekstra, “Lucky So Far That No Harm Has Come To Him, His Colleagues or The Nation As A Result” Of Twitter Mishap. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 2/18/09]
· The Rachel Maddow Show: “The problem, of course, is that Hoekstra is probably the single worst person in the country to talk about leaks that compromise national security.” [The Maddow Show, 06/08/12]
While Hoekstra was widely condemned by Republicans and Democrats for the hypocrisy in his first broadcast ad during the Super Bowl in February, this follow-up ad again exhibits astonishing hypocrisy–and frankly, exceedingly poor judgment. Hoekstra must somehow believe that voters in Michigan have forgotten that the former West Michigan Congressman has a long record of leaking state secrets.
“Pete Hoekstra has repeatedly been ridiculed in the national media for leaking sensitive information, making this most recent ad breathlessly hypocritical,” said Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Time and again, Hoekstra has acted with incompetence when it comes to keeping sensitive national security information secret and has shown he can’t be trusted.
On no less than four major occasions during his tenure on the House Intelligence Committee, Hoekstra got himself in hot water for sharing classified information that weakened American national security and put American soldiers at risk. His actions even led, one occasion, to a former Armed Services aide saying Hoekstra had “placed people in harm’s way,” and, on another occasion, caused the Department of Defense to review how they communicate information to members of Congress [CQ Today, 2/10/09].
The following samples the national and Michigan coverage that Hoekstra received following his numerous intelligence leaks.
· In 2009, Hoekstra Leaked Sensitive Information from Iraq, via Twitter, about the locations of American soldiers, putting the soldiers in harm’s way and our national security at risk. [Grand Rapids Press, 2/9/09]
· In 2009, Hoekstra revealed secret intelligence to the Washington Post that showed the Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, and a radical cleric, Anwar al-Aulaqi, had conversations before the fatal shootings, and that al-Aulaqi was under surveillance. [Think Progress, 11/09]
· In 2008, Hoekstra actually revealed classified information in an opinion piece about how intelligence leaks undermine US intelligence operations. [ABC News, 8/07]
· In 2006, Hoekstra fought for the declassification of 50,000 boxes of secret documents and posting them online. The documents included directions for building an atomic bomb and nerve gas. The website was later taken down over national security concerns. [Washington Post, 3/17/06]
· Former Republican Congressional Aide Said Hoekstra’s Disclosure “Probably Placed People In Harm’s Way.” In February 2009, CQ Today reported: “A former Armed Services aide who is a Republican and a military veteran was more blunt. ‘By relaying that information and telegraphing what they were doing, he probably placed people in harm’s way,’ said the aide, who requested anonymity because his company deals with Hoekstra’s office. ‘It’s just common sense.’” [CQ Today, 2/10/09]
After the Iraq-Twitter location incident, Hoekstra’s spokesperson said “posting Twitters gives people as much insight as possible into the sights and sounds of [Hoekstra’s] activities”; following outrage at Hoekstra’s 2006 plan to release the 50,000 boxes of documents, Hoekstra’s spokesperson said “complaints about the site ‘didn’t sound like a big deal.’”
To highlight Hoekstra’s long history of leaking sensitive information, the Michigan Democratic Party launched the Pete Leak-A-Lot Hoekstra website today. Found at www.pete-leak-a-lot.tumblr.com, the site chronicles Hoekstra’s most serious security breaches, including when he tweeted his location in Iraq against Department of Defense orders, and his plan to release 50,000 boxes of documents from Iraq, that contained directions for making nuclear weapons and nerve gas. Visitors to the site will be able to vote for Hoekstra’s most damaging national security leak.