Maybe they just don't trust him: Rohrabacher's little secret

Maybe they just don't trust him

by digby

Here's Politico with a story about California congressman Dana Rohrabacher:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday he was denied entry into Afghanistan because of his critical views of that country’s government. 
“Apparently, [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai just goes bananas every time he hears that I might be, in some way, coming into his country,” Rohrabacher said in a phone interview with POLITICO on Monday while he waited in Qatar for a flight back to the U.S.

Rohrabacher also suspected that Karzai was picking on him because he had opened a House investigation into corruption not only within the Afghan government but also Karzai himself.

The California Republican, who chairs the committee’s oversight panel, was stopped in Dubai Friday as part of congressional delegation on its way to Kabul. “Absolutely he believes his denial is based on his vocal opposition to [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai and Dana’s relationship with the former Northern Alliance leaders,” Rohrabacher spokesperson Tara Olivia Setmayer said.

Rohrabacher was a last minute addition to the trip led by Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) when another member dropped out a few days earlier. “When Karzai found out Dana was a part of the [congressional delegation], he told the State Dept the entire CODEL would be denied if Rohrabacher was included,” Setmayer said.

Rohrabacher said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally relayed Karzai’s message urging him not to join the delegation given how sensitive the relations between the two governments have been, particularly in light of alleged massacre of Afghan civilians by U. S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and the accidental burning of the Koran.

“She has some things she’s trying to accomplish and this might really jeopardize some of the efforts that she’s been making and would I consider not going,” he said of his conversation with Clinton. “I was not in any way trying to hinder job and I went out of my way to make sure that that was evident.”

The BBC first reported this and I wouldn't expect them to know the whole story of Rohrabachers notorious longterm relationship with the Taliban. But you'd think the Politico would:

Federal documents reviewed by the Weekly show that Rohrabacher maintained a cordial, behind-the-scenes relationship with Osama bin Laden’s associates in the Middle East—even while he mouthed his most severe anti-Taliban comments at public forums across the U.S. There’s worse: despite the federal Logan Act ban on unauthorized individual attempts to conduct American foreign policy, the congressman dangerously acted as a self-appointed secretary of state, constructing what foreign-affairs experts call a "dual tract" policy with the Taliban.

A veteran U.S. foreign-policy expert told the Weekly, "If Dana’s right-wing fans knew the truth about his actual, working relationship with the Taliban and its representatives in the Middle East and in the United States, they wouldn’t be so happy."
A November/December 1996 article in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs reported, "The potential rise of power of the Taliban does not alarm Rohrabacher" because the congressman believes the "Taliban could provide stability in an area where chaos was creating a real threat to the U.S." Later in the article, Rohrabacher claimed that:

•Taliban leaders are "not terrorists or revolutionaries."

•Media reports documenting the Taliban’s harsh, radical beliefs were "nonsense."

•The Taliban would develop a "disciplined, moral society" that did not harbor terrorists.

•The Taliban posed no threat to the U.S.

Evidence of Rohrabacher’s attempts to conduct his own foreign policy became public on April 10, 2001, not in the U.S., but in the Middle East. On that day, ignoring his own lack of official authority, Rohrabacher opened negotiations with the Taliban at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar, ostensibly for a "Free Markets and Democracy" conference. There, Rohrabacher secretly met with Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, an advisor to Mullah Omar. Diplomatic sources claim Muttawakil sought the congressman’s assistance in increasing U.S. aid—already more than $100 million annually—to Afghanistan and indicated that the Taliban would not hand over bin Laden, wanted by the Clinton administration for the fatal bombings of two American embassies in Africa and the USS Cole. For his part, Rohrabacher handed Muttawakil his unsolicited plans for war-torn Afghanistan. "We examined a peace plan," he laconically told reporters in Qatar.

After Taliban-related terrorists attacked the U.S. last September, Rohrabacher associates worked hard to downplay the Qatar meeting. Republican strategist Grover Norquist told a reporter that the congressman had accidentally encountered the Taliban official in a hotel hallway.

But that preposterous assertion is contradicted by much evidence.

If you were Secretary of State would you want a guy with his history going anywhere near Afghanistan? I'd guess that nobody trusts him --- not the US government, Karzai or the Taliban. Who would?