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Reid Impugns Judicial Nominee Henry Saad Based On Confidential FBI Report

The Washington Times reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's penchant for off the cuff remarks (witness last weeks "loser" comment) has surfaced again, this time in a particularly slanderous fashion.

Minority Leader Harry Reid strayed from his prepared remarks on the Senate floor yesterday and promised to continue opposing one of President Bush's judicial nominees based on "a problem" he said is in the nominee's "confidential report from the FBI."

Those highly confidential reports are filed on all judicial nominees, and severe sanctions apply to anyone who discloses their contents. Less clear is whether a senator could face sanctions for characterizing the content of such files.

"Henry Saad would have been filibustered anyway," Mr. Reid said on the floor yesterday, about the Michigan Appeals Court judge who is nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

"All you need to do is have a member go upstairs and look at his confidential report from the FBI, and I think we would all agree that there is a problem there," Mr. Reid continued.

Republican staff members and supporters of Mr. Bush's nominees were outraged.

"Can you think of a better way to trash someone's reputation?" Sean Rushton of the conservative Committee for Justice asked after seeing a transcript of the remarks. "Say that there is bad stuff from an FBI investigation in a file somewhere and leave that hanging. This is character assassination of the lowest order and completely improper."

Reid's spokesman Jim Manley defended the statement, "The fact that there's an issue regarding Henry Saad's background is well-known."

Let's see what Google has to say about a phrase that appears in the reports of the June 2004 closed door session where the background investigation was discussed. Here's a search for a phrase from the Detroit Free Press account of the session:

"information from Saad's FBI background check" [Results 1 - 5 of 5]

That pretty much shoots down Reid's "well known" defense.

So what exactly was discussed at that "well known" meeting? According to the Free Press account:

After spending more than an hour Thursday in a rare private meeting, a Senate committee again delayed a vote on whether to recommend Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Henry Saad to a seat on the federal appeals court.

Saad was nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bush in November 2001. Michigan's Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have been blocking his nomination because Republicans blocked two of President Clinton's nominees for the 6th Circuit.

Michigan's Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have been blocking his [Saad's] nomination because Republicans blocked two of President Clinton's nominees for the 6th Circuit.

Levin and Stabenow testified Thursday during the private meeting. They said before the meeting that they would discuss information from Saad's FBI background check that raised doubts about his ability to serve, but they wouldn't elaborate. One topic that was expected to be discussed was an e-mail message Saad sent to a friend last fall that was inadvertently sent to Stabenow. In the message, Saad said Stabenow was 'abusing the system and undermining the constitutional process' by opposing his nomination. He added, "perhaps someday she will pay the price for her misconduct.' The e-mail has been released before, but Democratic staffers released it again Thursday.

Hatch said after the meeting that no new charges were levied against Saad.

Is it possible that the errant e-mail sent by Saad (humorously recounted in this Washington Post article) was the major topic of the closed door meeting? Did Stabenow contact the FBI about the "perhaps someday she will pay the price for her misconduct" line, which in the context of the short message was indicative of an electoral comeuppance.

In short I suspect that is the entire story behind Reid's smear. Saad evidently wants the report released to prove there's noting actually in it, but since neither Saad nor Reid can cause the background report to be made public the only thing known about it it the insinuations floated around by the ranking Senate Democrat.

Democrats who loudly trumpeted that there was a bipartisan call for investigation into the Valerie Plame affair (we supported the special prosecutor and the recusion of Attorney General Ashcroft), should join us in calling for a Congressional investigation into Reid's reprehensible use of classified information to slander a judicial nominee.

Additional Coverage:

PoliPundit, Ace of Spades HQ, Capitain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin

Update: Byron York provides additional detail to the contention that the e-mail message is what Democrats are referring to.


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» Joust The Facts linked with Empty Barrels Make The Most Noise

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» Baseball Crank linked with POLITICS: Secrets and Smears

Comments (16)

You'll be waiting for that ... (Below threshold)
Laura:

You'll be waiting for that till the cows come home.

What's particularly reprehe... (Below threshold)

What's particularly reprehensible in the present climate is playing the "secret FBI files" card against an Arab-American.

Excellent point crank.<br /... (Below threshold)

Excellent point crank.
This whole thing revolves around the judicial fillibuster. Its this kind of crap that should be pushing the Republicans towards "the option" not that at this point Im in full agreement with it but with Reid smearing qualified candidates in an off hand flippant manner, he should be forced to say what he alluded to or receive atleast a censure for the senate. the Democrats are playing hardball. Somebody send the Senate Republicans a little legislative Viagra, this damn stalemate is making me mean.

Henry Reid is a LOSER... bu... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Henry Reid is a LOSER... but so are his constituents. Oppose, oppose, oppose is what they have been ordered to do!...It is such a anti American way of doing business. This is not for the people, by the people under majority rule. This is not the democratic process working the way it is supposed to work. This is Socialism at it's best.

Nice post skybird, we demac... (Below threshold)
Literate:

Nice post skybird, we demacrat's appreciate your decription of us crinamals. Now crawl back under the rock you came out from, or maybe go get yourself one those education thangs.

Correction ^^Harry Reid^^..... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Correction ^^Harry Reid^^...

I wholeheartedly agree, all... (Below threshold)
minnie:

I wholeheartedly agree, all of the Democrats currently serving should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law. Why does it seem like lately only Republicans are getting caught ass-raping their wives and turning classified documents over to foreign powers? It's just not fair.

In the meantime, I encourage every right-thinking American to get out and publicly flush a Koran down the toilet. I notice that some weak-hearted so-called "Christians" (in name only) like Condi Rice are now apologizing and running away from the allegations that triggered wide-scale riots in Muslim countries.

Now is the time to support Our President and Christ by refusing to acknowledge that this is a "sacrilege" or in any way anything to be ashamed of.

Kevin!!!!!!!! Your site is ... (Below threshold)

Kevin!!!!!!!! Your site is beng taken over by ........ayyyyeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shouldn't Reid be sanctione... (Below threshold)
Alex:

Shouldn't Reid be sanctioned for professing to know the contents of the confidential FBI report? After all, he is not a member of the Senate judiciary committee or from the nominee's home state, which means he should not be able to see the reports at all.

As a practical matter, it s... (Below threshold)
ts:

As a practical matter, it seems doubtful to me that the FBI report actually carries a formal classification (Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, etc.) since it has no bearing on national security. It is more likely confidential in the law enforcement sense of the word. The difference is not just semantics. Having said that, however, according to the rules under which the Senate operates, Reid should not even have seen the FBI report to begin with, since he does not sit on the Judiciary Committee and is not form Saad's home state. There is more than a tinge of irony that the Dems are howling about rules changes when their leader can't even seem to follow the ones they have now.

Senate Dems are masters of ... (Below threshold)

Senate Dems are masters of misdirection. It's all they have left, and the newsies in the Washington press corps are their biggest fans.

Conjecture and "some people... (Below threshold)
aasleka:

Conjecture and "some people say" lines are not proof. I have seen no evidence to support your claims. Try to keep the facts straight and possibly pull the GOP talking points out of your ass long enough to realize there is most likely something wrong with this nominee.

Reid is that most vile of c... (Below threshold)

Reid is that most vile of creatures, an elected politician who uses distortions, innuendoes, and outright lies to promote his partisan and self-serving agenda.

Of course, he can easily prove my opinion wrong, by releasing the salient portions of that FBI report. What's that you say, Senator? you can't do that, because it's confidential? Maybe we could get aasleka to drop the dime instead.

Reid is in violation of Sen... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Reid is in violation of Senate rules. Only members of the senate committee are allowed access to unsubstantiated, unsworn statements and FBI reports regarding a nominee. Reid should be investigated by the Ethics Committee and the DoJ. Of course, the MSM is too busy looking into DeLay's trips to look into Reid's shenanigans.

I'm not surprised -- Reid is almost as bad as Senator Patrick "Leaky" Leahy.

Outright lies and innuendos... (Below threshold)
aasleka:

Outright lies and innuendos to achieve personal agendas?
You do know Bush was told before the state of the union that the "yellowcake" deal was false right? I mean it was a press release from the CIA even though the director took the bullet. You also know that Bush planned war without Congresses consent and massaged the evidence to suit a case for war.
Where is your outrage?


Hypocrites.

ISN'T HARRRY REID JUST AFRA... (Below threshold)
KEN KOCHER:

ISN'T HARRRY REID JUST AFRAID A LIFE LONG CATHOLIC LIKE THE HORABLE JUDGE SAAD IS PRO_LIFE???




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