Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz made the stunning accusation today that an email record shows Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel openly discussing meeting a known Al-Qaeda operative.
Cruz was forced to retract the allegations, however, when it emerged that the “terrorist” in the emails is actually a fictional character in Showtime’s award-winning drama Homeland.
In an interview on Fox News, the freshman Tea Party senator told Megyn Kelly that his office had been working night and day to vet Hagel, and had discovered a “Smoking Gun” that should force the former senator and decorated Vietnam veteran to withdraw his nomination.
“Megyn, we were shocked to discover a blatant, direct connection between Chuck Hagel and Al-Qaeda,” Cruz said, “but on an email dated Dec. 11, 2012, Mr. Hagel sent the following email message to an old friend:
Yeah, I can’t wait to sit down with Carrie, Brody and Abu Nazir this week. I hear Nazir has a big attack planned for the finale. Should be great to watch.
Misil de Cruz
A stunned Megyn Kelly looked convinced by the seemingly damning email, and asked Cruz to continue.
“Now, Megyn when I researched Abu Nazir on Google I found that he is a dangerous international terrorist associated with Al-Qaeda. He’s been responsible for many attacks on our country. Honestly, I was surprised I had never heard of him before. He’s pretty high up.
“And I think it’s very, very troubling that our nominee for defense secretary is talking about ‘sitting down’ with this man, and his presumed associates, for a meeting.”
Cruz then looked straight into the camera, and addressed Hagel directly.
“Mr. Hagel, have you ever met Abu Nazir? If so, when did this meeting take place? What did you discuss at this meeting? And do you have any knowledge of Nazir’s attack on America? Who are ‘Carrie’ and ‘Brody’ and what is your relationship with them?
“The American people need answers now, Chuck Hagel. And if you can’t provide an explanation for this email within two hours – I am calling on you to withdraw your name from consideration.”
My So-Called Life of Crime
Within 20 minutes of the interview Hagel released a statement confirming what many viewers had already guessed, that the email in question was actually talking about the season finale of the television show Homeland.
“Senator Cruz, I have never met a man named Abu Nazir. Nor has anyone ever met with a man with such a name,” the statement reads.
“Abu Nazir is a fictional character on the Showtime series Homeland. Clare, Brody, and Nazir are all main characters in the show, and I ‘sit down’ with them every week because I am a huge fan.”
“Your childish attempt to connect me to international terrorism by hacking my personal emails has failed. I am referring the matter to both the Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee for further investigation.”
The Tea Party-backed Cruz has been a persistent critic of Hagel since president Obama announced his nomination, and has drawn stares in Washington for his dishonest, Joseph McCarthy-esque rants on the matter.
Homeland is an Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama about a CIA agent (Carrie) and an ex-soldier she believes has been turned into a terrorist (Brody).