The facts of the case are these: in 2003 Diana Tejada entered into a fraudulent conspiracy with Lebanese national Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini, with the aim of securing permanent US residency for the latter (there was also and investigation whether Mr. Tarhini had links to ‘extremist groups,’ but nothing was ever confirmed). Money changed hands. For the next five years Ms. Tejada continued to misrepresent her relationship with Mr. Tarhini, despite official inquiries by immigration services; her eventual confession took place in November, which was one month after she joined current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staff. Despite her confession, Ms. Tejada was not charged with any crime at all, let alone a felony; in fact, Ms. Tejada was misidentified as still being at her former job (La Raza) by immigration officials at Tarhini’s deportation proceedings. Harry Reid’s office has fired Ms. Tejada only in the last month (she was an official Reid spokesperson for the latest DREAM Act push), and claims that they had no prior knowledge of her activities: this has been contradicted by Fox’s own sources, which insist that Tejada’s confession was partially motivated by concerns relating to her new job with Harry Reid; and that in any case it would be standard operating procedure for the Senate Majority Leader to be made aware of a situation of this magnitude that involved one of his own aides.
And this is where it frankly beggars belief that Senator Reid was unaware of the situation. Tarhini’s being the subject of a counter-terrorist investigation, coupled with the news that his partner in conspiracy was also an aide to the Senate Majority Leader, would have absolutely required that the Senator be informed at what could have been a hideously dangerous security leak in his own office. It is much less difficult to believe that Senator Reid was told, concluded that the situation was not actually all that dire, and simply arranged matters so that his new aide – and more importantly, himself – wasn’t dragged through the wringer of an official investigation. And in late 2008/early 2009 that may have seemed a reasonable decision.
Unfortunately, in late 2010 that looks suspiciously like a callous indifference to national security and an arrogant abuse of political power. Not to be cliched about this, but here goes: this raises serious questions, that must be answered.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: In point of fact: yes, politicians can be that stupid. In fact, doing something stupid is how they usually trip and fall from the high places.