The good news recently is that Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) will not head the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. To many, Republicans and Democrats alike, it's a mystery why soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would even entertain the thought of having a impeached judge with continuing ethics problems serve in such an important post.
Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat and former Border Patrol agent, is now Pelosi's choice. Reyes takes over the post in January 2007, becoming the first Hispanic to serve in the job which appears to be enough for the mainstream news media.
(A Google search of newspaper headlines shows that "First Hispanic Intel Chief" ranks number one for headlines about Reyes' appointment. Apparently that enough for the news media as far as qualifications.)
"We‘re going to do the oversight with the administration about how do we proceed and what are the options. How does intelligence play into that and how will we be able to operationally support what we are trying to accomplish getting out of Iraq," Reyes said about his agenda as chairman.
He has been an outspoken critic of the administration‘s warrantless domestic wiretapping program, so much of his time will be spent investigating President Bush's counterterrorism strategy. Even though it is neither a domestic program nor is it wiretapping, but since when have the ladies and gentlemen of the press let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Congressman Silvestre Reyes, now serving his fifth term, represents the 16th District of Texas in the House of Representatives. The 16th District of Texas includes the City of El Paso and surrounding communities and lies within the El Paso County boundary.
It is located at the westernmost tip of Texas along the Rio Grande River and across from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez comprise the largest border community in the United States. After serving his country in Vietnam, in 1969 he began his career with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in the Border Patrol. After serving as an agent, he was Assistant Regional Commissioner in Dallas, Texas for five years, where he had direct responsibility for administering a budget program exceeding $100 million for a 13-state area.
Reyes was then promoted to Sector Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol first in McAllen and subsequently in El Paso from 1984 to 1995. Reyes quickly became known as one of our government's strongest and most effective innovators in border management, but the flow of Mexicans into the United States continued during his watch.
In McAllen and El Paso, Reyes initiated programs such as "Operation Hold the Line," the Border Patrol's Canine Program, and the Border Patrol's National Anti-Drug School Education Program.
"Hold the Line" continues as part of the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (formerly the INS) strategy for the entire Southwest border and earned Reyes recognition from the White House, Congress, the Department of Justice and the INS, as well as numerous local, state, national and international organizations.
Reyes retired in December 1995 after more than 25years with the Border Patrol to run for Congress.
Colleagues say Reyes works closely with them -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- and has been hailed as "one of the most aspiring and active members in Congress, always ready to make a difference on Capitol Hill."
Reyes is considered the "go-to" Member of Congress on border security and immigration issues, and Members of the House of Representatives and Senators alike consistently seek out his opinion when developing pertinent legislation.
He's played a leadership role over the past nine years in developing the annual U.S.-Mexico Border Issues Conference in Washington, DC, which brings together policy experts, media pundits and the general public to explore and remedy the myriad challenges and needs facing the U.S.-Mexico border. Reyes has also played a leadership role in creating the annual Border Security Conference at the University of Texas-El Paso.
While Reyes is considered a "blue dawg" Democrat with an ACU rating of 45 in 2005, it remains to be seen how tight a leash Pelosi (ACU rating of ZERO) will keep him on. He may find himself at odds with his Democrat allies when it comes to issues surrounding border security, drug enforcement and other related intelligence issues.
Sources: US Congressional Record, US Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.