Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011, at 9:29 AM
Josh Gerstein has a perfect primer for Rep. Peter King's hearings on Islamic radicalism, which will start at 9:30.
In the last five years, House and Senate committees have held at least 22 hearings focusing on the problem of radicalized American Muslims plotting terrorist acts or joining Al-Qaeda and similar groups, according to congressional staffers. The investigations have also been bipartisan, convened by the likes of Maine Senator Susan Collins — a moderate, low-key Republican — and former Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat. While King has been slammed for focusing solely on Muslims — the title of his investigation is "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response" — five Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearings since 2006 have had the phrase "violent Islamist extremism" in their descriptions.
The point is that the controversy over the hearings is mostly about King, who commands media attention like some lost member of the Kardashian family, and who, in the 1980s, was a loud American advocate for the IRA. (This is a liberal obsession that finally made it into the New York Times over the weekend.) I'm on the Hill today for this regardless, and will cover it on twitter at
in case I can't cover it fully here.