Even in a building of, ahem, unusual individuals, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst stands out. For one thing, he’s about a foot taller than everyone else. Then there’s his odd way of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. There’s his love for air conditioning—a trip to the Senate can feel like a trip to the Arctic Circle. He’s also supposedly going to run for U.S. Senate, although he hasn’t announced his candidacy. And of course there’s his history in the Central Intelligence Agency.
Since he was the only state lawmaker I know of to hold a press conference on Osama bin Laden’s death, the link between the news and his history with the Agency was hardly subtle. But it sure was interesting.
His own remarks were rather predictable. “We know we have very dangerous people out in the world who hate Americans,” he explained. “And more than they hate Americans, they hate freedom. They hate the fact that we have a free society and we believe in religious tolerance. So they’re making war on us.”
He even warned other terrorists that “if you harm Americans, America will not sleep. We will track you down. And we’ll take as long as it takes until we get ya.”
But after his three minutes of remarks, the reporters in the room got curious. What was his own view of the event in light of his work history? What exactly did he do?
“What I can tell you,” he began, “is when I was in college … a very very smart and very knowledgable lawyer happened to be the dad of my college roommate. He had been in the CIA for years.”
He couldn’t tell us much beyond that. He was a case officer abroad. He “ran agencies.” (For more on Dewhurst’s CIA history, check out our October profile.)
He was drawn, he said, to “the high professionalism, the dedication, the intelligence level of men and women who were willing to make a career out of being in the shadows, not being seen, to protect Americans.”
But while he’d resigned 35 years ago, Dewhurst wanted to make sure the reporters understood he was very much “in the loop.” He gave us a brief history of US-Pakistan relations since 9/11. In the ’90s, he said, he’d been on “very highly classified presidential committee” as a presidential appointee. He still had friends in Washington, he told us, who knew of over 12 foiled terrorist plots on American soil. He was planning to call for more details about the bin Laden mission.
“Since I heard the news, I just thought of the millions of human hours and the dedication of thousands of hours of our intelligence professionals,” he said.
“I can’t go into details,” he said ominously, “but the capabilities that the United States has developed over the years is nothing short of breath-taking.”
The guy sure made himself seem exciting and mysterious. What an operative! Then he went back to the Senate, to wield the gavel in a chamber where members can’t find the trust or will to pass a budget.