Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca testified before the House subcommittee on Homeland Security today and, before he was done, had accused a Republican congressman of acting "un-American." The dust-up occurred when Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana raised questions about Baca attending ten fundraisers for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The congressman called the group radical, and Baca bristled at the implication. KPCC's Kitty Felde was there:
Baca interrupted, saying "and I’ll be there 10 more times."
Baca said CAIR did not support terrorists. "That is my experience, that is my interaction. And if you want to support that, you’re on your own."
Fighting mad, he cited his four decades in law enforcement, his service in the Marines, and his many trips to Israel. He said, "the security of Israel has always been at the forefront of my thinking. And for you to associate me somehow through some circuitous attack on CAIR, is not only inappropriate, it is un-American."
Souder said he didn’t question the sheriff’s patriotism – only his relationship with one group.
"When a member of Congress is that misinformed, you gotta question whether or not they understand what their constitutional obligations are when it comes to public safety," Baca said afterward.
Photo: Kitty Felde / KPCC