Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is Sensenbrenner's son a leaker?

Was it Jim Sensenbrenner's son who leaked the Canadian memo awhile back that caused Barack Obama some problems over his stance on NAFTA?

Dan Bice asks the question in the Journal Sentinel "Dogged" blog.

Young Sensenbrenner indignantly denies it.

And at this point it doesn't much matter.

More intriguing are questions of how and why he got the job in the Canadian embassy in Washington in the first place. The Toronto Star reports:
The ambassador, Michael Wilson, didn't want him there.

The diplomatic corps on Pennsylvania Ave. didn't want him there and ultimately were so distrustful of the son of a right-wing Republican congressman, they muttered that they wanted his door left open so they could hear who he was talking to.

But officials in Stephen Harper's office wanted him there and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day particularly wanted him there, based on Sensenbrenner's long links, dating back to school days, with the former Reform party, the precursor of today's government in Ottawa.

It wasn't the first time a partisan posting trumped diplomacy at a Canadian mission, but his appointment was rare in that he seemed to work under the radar, having won the post by telling his buddies in Ottawa that he could do a better lobbying job of Congress than the diplomats already there.

When the Toronto Star first looked into Sensenbrenner's short-lived, no-bid contract last year, he had not registered as an agent for a foreign government, even though he won plaudits for opening some Republican doors on Capitol Hill.
But here's the strangest part of the story:
The push to get him on the payroll came particularly from Day, sources said, when he took over the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative file, the name given to the Republican move to require all Canadians crossing the U.S. land border to carry passports or secure driver's licences.[Canada opposed that move.]

His father also stood as an impediment to everything the embassy staff was fighting for.

Jim Sensenbrenner, chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee before Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, is a hawk on immigration and authored the Enhanced Border Security Act of 2002. He was also the man who introduced the U.S. Patriot Act.
Young (27) Sensenbrenner's name is Frank, named for the great-grandfather who was president and CEO of Kimberly Clark and who invented Kotex. F. James Sensenbrenner's first name is also Frank, as is his cousin's, F. Joseph Sensenbrenner, onetime Madison mayor. (What you can learn on this blog is endless, although perhaps useless.)