Robert Novak

 Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch supporter of the Bush administration's national security policy, has gone to the House floor to call for removal of a senior official in the Department of Homeland Security.

 Rohrabacher said retired Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes, now a Homeland assistant secretary, in 1999 as Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director fired Afghan analyst Julie Sirrs for "insubordination." Disobeying orders, she risked her life to go into northern Afghanistan and get information about forces that were holding out against the Taliban.

 Sirrs asked for help from Rohrabacher, who has specialized in Afghanistan policy since his days as a presidential aide in the Reagan White House. She told him she was fired by Hughes and stripped of her security clearance. Rohrabacher has appealed to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to get rid of Hughes.


 The unexpected landslide victory in Tuesday's South Carolina Republican primary runoff for senator by Rep. Jim DeMint over former Gov. David Beasley raises Republican hopes of winning the Senate seat held for 38 years by Democrat Ernest F. Hollings.

 Republican Gov. Mark Sanford has said privately there is no way that Beasley, defeated for re-election as governor in 1998, could win the Senate seat. Republican hopes of beating the Democratic nominee, State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum, had faded with Beasley as front-runner for the GOP nomination and first-place finisher in the first primary two weeks ago.

 DeMint's free-trade votes in the House did not wreck his campaign, indicating that protectionism is increasingly less effective politically in South Carolina.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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