Allen Quist is rightfully taking a lot of heat in the media for claiming that lefty meanies were making things up about him, but his latest seemingly cray-cray statement about a hijacked drone isn't completely off the mark.
Covering last night's campaign town hall in North Mankato, Moniz reports in Quist promotes his candidacy at Kato meeting:
He said he would be willing to make deeps cuts into the military because there is significant overspending in the U.S. military budget, citing items like host military bases in several other countries. The large cuts could be made without an expense to the military capability of the U.S. He also emphasized shifting the funding to finance high-technology projects like anti-hacking protections and preventing other nations from interfering with radio frequencies.
At this point, Quist made the confusing statement that Chinese operatives had hacked the U.S. drone that crashed in Iran last December. No official report could be found to support Quist's claim. Quist said he heard his story from several sources and had presumed it to be public knowledge.
Last December, the Christian Science Monitor reported Downed US drone: How Iran caught the 'beast':
Iran is pushing the propaganda advantage after showing it captured an intact US stealth drone on a spying mission 140 miles inside Iran.
Hours after Iran state TV displayed the cream-colored American bat-wing RQ-170 "Sentinel" drone – its undercarriage hidden by banners of a US flag, with stars replaced by skulls and marked with anti-US slogans – Iranian officials said the spy craft was proof of enduring US hostility toward Iran.
A few days later, the CSM interviewed an Iranian engineer who explained how the Iranians exploited a known vulnerability in the drone GPS system to bring the unmanned plane down.
Where do Chinese hackers enter the story? On page 3 of a follow-up by CMS, Did Iran hijack the 'beast'? US experts cautious about bold claims:
One cyberwarfare expert says it might have been possible for the Iranians to cyberjack the drone – but only if they got help from Russia or China. Both nations have world-class cyberwarfare expertise and "may be projecting their own intentions" by helping the Iranians on this, writes James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in an e-mail interview. . . .
The story behind the capture is disputed, but cyberwarfare experts suggest that the incident underscores the need for improved cybercommunications systems:
Still, most experts consider it more likely that the drone failed for mechanical or other reasons and glided to a rough landing. Experts also question why Iran would divulge how it accomplished such an important technological feat.
"If you had that kind of capability you would not want to reveal it," adds Raduege. "That's why I think this is more about showing off how high-tech we are to take control of a US asset. It's false claims and wishful thinking."
Iran refutes the mechanical-failure theory by arguing that the drone, which is still largely intact, would have suffered more damage from a rough landing – although several experts noted that the landing gear has been obscured, suggesting precisely this sort of damage. Meanwhile, the information on the alleged Iran hack was not made public but rather was uncovered in a Monitor investigation in which the source was initially unaware that the material would be published.
Regardless of who is right, the incident points to important cyber lessons, experts say.
"There's no question that cybercommunications systems on the battlefield will have to get better in the long run," says David Aitel, president of Immunity Inc., a Miami-based cybersecurity company that specializes in offensive cybersoftware. As more drones enter the battlefield, a fleet of drones would have to "talk to each other" in ways that can't be disrupted by the enemy.
According to the Mankato Free Press's report on the Town Hall, Quist thinks that China had a much more direct role in landing the drone:
Quist offered no specific cuts in government services or entitlements that he would favor, other than eliminating a federally-funded peat-bog study in western Minnesota. He did say he would reduce military spending, an untouchable spending category for many Republicans.
"Can we make reductions in defense spending? Yes we can. And, frankly, I think we have to."
Quist said the focus needs to be on high-tech warfare, accusing China of hijacking the U.S. drone that landed in Iran late last year.
"That was done by Chinese scientists who took over the controls of the drone and landed it," he said. "I mean, this is modern warfare."
Quist's low-tech problem
Meanwhile, Quist is being dogged by not-so-high tech devices, namely, David Brauer's acquisition of a microcassette player for the tape of the 1994 interview he conductedwith Quist at the St. Peter Country Kitchen. In Audio: Allen Quist's 'genetic predisposition' interview from 1994, Brauer writes:
Earlier this week, First Congressional District Republican candidate Mike Parry made a big issue of primary opponent Allen Quist’s political misstatements, including a 1994 quote where Quist said men had a “genetic predisposition” to lead the family. According to New Ulm Journal reporter Josh Moniz, “When Quist was questioned about it at a July 12, 2012, town hall in Rochester, he responded that people were making things up.”
If so, I can say only, “Mr. Quist, stop lying about my record.”
Read the rest at Minnpost. The fracas about quotes has made its way back to Mother Jones' Tim Murphy, whose earlier article, If You Thought Michele Bachmann Was Out There..., prompted the question at the Rochester Town Hall that provoked Quist's quip about lefties making things up.
Murphy follows up today with GOP Candidate Comes Clean on Gay Bookstore Sting:
Allen Quist has a LexisNexis problem. In May, I reported on the Minnesota GOP congressional candidate's history of out-there statements (comparing a gay counseling clinic at a state university to the Ku Klux Klan) and actions (like going undercover at bath houses and adult bookstores in order to prove that they had become a "haven for anal intercourse"). Quist, who is seeking the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in a district that leans ever-so-slightly Republican, is hoping support from the Christian Right and an endorsement from Rep. Michele Bachmann can carry him to victory in the mid-August primary.
These days, Quist would prefer to focus on issues like the national debt instead of, ahem, congress. But the questions about Quist's past statements came anyway, and the candidate initially took an odd approach: he pretended none of it ever happened.
At a town hall meeting in Rochester in mid-July, Quist was asked directly about my piece, specifically an anecdote about him comparing a gay counseling center at Mankato State University to the KKK. "I just want you to know, that's a total invention from some lefty that doesn't like me," Quist said. "I mean that is absolute total bull."
But there was a paper trail. . . .
Murphy also picks up on some of Parry's own malarky:
The campaign of Mike Parry, Quist's rival in an August 14 GOP primary, has been attacking Quist's oddball history. (It was their most recent salvo, on Tuesday, that prompted Quist's apology.)
While Parry may be hoping to distinguish himself from his investigating opponent, his tea party-flavored positions could present an obstacle to his congressional hopes. As Sally Jo Sorenson at the blog Bluestem Prairie notes, Parry recently sponsored legislation to set up a legislative commission on the United Nations' Agenda 21, a non-binding document never ratified by the Senate, that outlines basic principles of sustainable development. (Some conservatives, including Bachmann, believe Agenda 21 is part of a nefarious one-world plot to force humans to return much of rural America to the wildlife.)
As Bluestem has pointed out, Quist is a frequent anti-Agenda 21 speaker.
Murphy believes that the bickering helps Walz:
Indeed, neither candidate has caught much traction; Parry had just $30,000 cash on hand, according to his July quarterly fundraising report to the Federal Elections Commission—considerably less than Quist's $165,000, though it's worth noting that almost all of Quist's money came from a personal loan.
The clear winner in all of this is, in other words, is Walz . . .
How is this playing in the district? Mark Fischenich, who looked at both candidates' zany statements in yesterday's Mankato Free Press (Previous Quist quotes resurface and Parry shrugs off his controversial tweets), reports in Quist holds town hall meeting in North Mankato; Candidate talks about national debt, largely ignores Parry attacks:
In a week dominated by talk of Republican congressional candidate Allen Quist's past, the retired St. Peter farmer spent an hour in North Mankato Thursday night talking about the issues he cares about.
The town hall forum came less than three weeks before voters will decide whether to send Quist or state Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, up against Democratic Congressman Tim Walz on Nov. 6. A former Bethany Lutheran College instructor, Quist gave a 20-minute lecture focused on the national debt before responding to questions from a friendly audience of about 70 people. . . .
While Quist didn't directly attack Parry from the podium, fliers were passed out addressing Quist's statements about homosexual promiscuity and his 1988 visit to a Mankato adult bookstore in search of evidence of the gay sex he believed was occurring there.
"The Mike Parry campaign has now gone almost completely negative," the flier began. "His negative attacks focus on personal matters, not on policy. ... Why is Mike Parry afraid to engage in a genuine debate?"
The most important difference between the two candidates, Quist said, is that he is pledging to balance the federal budget in an unambiguous time period (five years) while Parry offers only a vague promise to eliminate the annual red ink at some point in the future.
KEYC-TV reports in GOP Congressional Primary Gets Rough:
The race for the Republican nomination in the first congressional district has morphed into a mud-slinging contest between the two candidates.
Less than three weeks away from the primary election, Republican candidates Mike Parry and Allen Quist are busy trading jabs over each other's past controversial statements... statements they each say make the other unelectable. . . .
UPDATE: Statement from Congressman Tim Walz's Re-election campaign"While Senator Parry and Former Representative Quist are trading attacks, Tim Walz is staying focused on breaking the gridlock in Washington by passing legislation to help our soldiers find jobs when they return home, working on a bipartisan compromise on the Farm Bill and bringing his colleagues together to pass a bipartisan highway bill that puts Americans back to work.Senator Parry and Representative Quist won't be able to break the partisan gridlock in Washington when they can't break the gridlock in their own party."
Fischenich notes that Parry and Quist meet tonight on Almanac. It's must-see tv for both Minnesota political junkies and drone fans. Bluestem can't wait.
Update: Tom Scheck has more in GOP race between Parry and Quist gets nasty.
Images: This photo released on Dec. 8, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show the chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh (l.) listening to an unidentified colonel as he points to US RQ-170 Sentinel drone. Sepahnews/AP via CMS (above); Allen Quist by Ken Avidor. A favorite image on Bluestem since Ken first shared the image with us in 2010 (below).
Related posts: Mike Parry shrugs off "Dems & Pedophiles" tweet
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