Republican Senator Caught Nodding Off During Intelligence Briefings
This post originally appeared on the Washington Monthly.
Sen. Kit Bond (R) of Missouri is the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite his frequent confusion about matters of national security. This week, an explanation for why Bond seems to frequently say things that don't make sense became clearer.
The Justice Department hosted a classified briefing for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss the attempted car bombing in Times Square. Bond reportedly had some trouble. ( via Faiz Shakir)
Bond emerged Tuesday from a briefing arranged by the Justice Department for members of the intelligence panel and said he's "not convinced by the information I've seen so far that there was adequate confirmable intelligence" to make the Pakistani Taliban connection [...].
One person who was in the room for Tuesday's intelligence briefing said Bond appeared to fall asleep for 10 to 15 minutes, but that he and other senators had spirited exchanges with the briefers. [emphasis added]
Bond, in addition to his frequent errors of fact and judgment, has complained incessantly of late about the Obama administration's reluctance to share sensitive national security information with him. Maybe officials did share the information, but Bond nodded off?
Indeed, just yesterday, Bond insisted on national television that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab "shut up" after being informed of his rights -- a claim that's the exact opposite of reality. Isn't it possible that when briefed on the Abdulmutallab case, Bond was "resting his eyes," which is why he doesn't know what he's talking about?
For what it's worth, the increasingly confused Missouri senator is retiring this year. Under the circumstances, that's clearly for the best. But in the meantime, would it be unreasonable to raise the notion of having Senate Republicans replace him with someone more knowledgeable (and less sleepy) as ranking member on the Intelligence Committee? It's an extremely important post, with access to some of the nation's most sensitive secrets, and if Kit Bond isn't quite up to the job anymore, perhaps it's better for all of us if he were to gracefully step aside.