WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Thursday that he will have to give up his post as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee next year because of his party's term-limit rule. King said he's already overstayed the rule's six-year limit -- he's been the committee's top Republican for more than seven years, after first taking the gavel in September 2005.
Come January, King will lose the
"bully pulpit" he used to help keep 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheik Muhammad's
trial out of Manhattan, keep Guantanamo Bay's prison open, and draw worldwide attention and controversy with hearings on American Muslims and terrorism.
"It was the greatest experience
I've ever had," King said. "I'm very satisfied. As far as I'm concerned,
I achieved everything I set out to do."
As King steps down, the New York
congressional delegation not only loses its only committee chairman in
the House, but a member among GOP leadership who fought to keep federal homeland security money flowing to New York at a time of federal budget cuts.
But the committee also loses a
chairman who became a lightning rod for criticism, particularly from
liberal and Muslim groups, for his hearings on American Muslims and
Farhana Khera, executive director of the lawyer's group Muslim Advocates,
said she "breathed a sigh of relief" at the news. She said King's
hearings were a "witch hunt" that sowed "fear and hatred towards
But Frank Cilluffo, director of the
Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University,
said, "King poured his heart and soul into his job as chairman."...