Alex Massie

Peter King Watch | 11 January 2010

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British readers probably don't need any reminding that Congressman Peter King (R-NY) spent decades raising money for the IRA and championing their cause at every available opportunity. However my experience is that plenty of Americans remain all too unaware of his terrorism-supporting record.

Happily the nice folk at the Daily Beast asked if I'd compile a quick refresher course, detailing some of King's more egregious soft-on-terrorism moments. So here it is.

It's also worth recalling that though King "broke" with the IRA in 2005 (so long ago!) and called for their disbandment he was still happy to shill for the Republican movement in the aftermath of the murder of Robert McCartney in a Belfast pub. As he told me, the murder was the sort of "pub dispute that could have happened in any city in the US" and that "we shouldn't rush to be too sanctimonious" about it. But of course it wasn't the murder - horrific though it was - that was the point. Rather it was the cover-up and the intimidation of dozens of witnesses ("This is IRA business") that demonstrated how the Republican movement was, literally, a mafia operating as a state within a state (or, if you prefer "statlet") that appalled so many decent people. 

Remarkably, Congressman King is now the ranking Republican member on the House Homeland Security Committee. Equally remarkably the American media almost never mentions his long-standing support for terrorism. I recall an especially egregious example of this: after the 7/7 bombings in London, MSNBC asked King for his opinions on the outrage without once mentioning that he'd spent decades supporting an organisation that was also keen on blowing up London...

So, unless or until he's redistricted out of existence Peter King will remain, from a British perspective, America's Worst Congressman.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticsiraterrorism