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In unusual move, House panel votes to deny Dem. Alan Grayson classified information

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(Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel / June 7, 2010)

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At this rate, citizens in Florida may want to start thinking about asking for their money back.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., is paid $174,000 to represent residents in Florida’s 9th congressional district, but if he’s not being taken seriously in the U.S. House of Representatives, are the folks getting their money’s worth?

In what Politico described as “a highly unusual move,” the House Intelligence Committee voted to deny Grayson access to classified information that played a role in President Obama’s call for a military strike in Syria.

The decision was not a partisan play, as the vote to deny Grayson access to some of the information was unanimous, Politico reported. The committee has 12 Republican lawmakers and 9 Democrats.

Other records were denied to him on a 14-1 vote. The sole dissenter being Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who may be even further left than Grayson, if that’s possible.

Politico expands on the reason behind the denial:

The committee’s decision Wednesday to deny the sensitive materials to [Grayson] was driven in part by a heated House floor speech he gave in June in which he displayed and discussed a “top secret” PowerPoint presentation National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the Guardian and the Washington Post, a Hill staffer familiar with the situation said.

Under rules pertaining to classified information, people with security clearances are not permitted to publicly discuss or confirm leaked information that has not been officially declassified.

According to Politico, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, sent Grayson a letter explaining the denial by saying requests are decided by considering “the sensitivity to the national defense or the confidential conduct of the foreign relations of the U.S. of the information sought…the likelihood of its being directly or indirectly disclosed [and] the jurisdictional interest of the member making the request.”

All of which suggests Grayson cannot be trusted to keep his mouth shut with classified information, with the denial serving as a likely consequence for his continued outlandish behavior as a member of Congress.

Grayson is best known for taking to the House floor and saying “Republicans want you to die quickly,” in response to their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. It seems the only thing dying quickly these days is Grayson’s career as a lawmaker.

“I felt I had been sold a pig in a poke,” Grayson said of his request. ”I was asked to vote to go to war…on the basis  of a four-page summary prepared by proponents of war that had only information in their favor…What I’ve done, I think conscientiously, is to try to ascertain the facts.”

Continue reading at Politico

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Tom Tillison

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