Conservative Media Ignored Security Threats To Attack Pelosi's Use Of Military Aircraft


While the tragic shooting at a public event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was done by a mentally unstable individual, and while there is no apparent connection to any political party, the current political rhetoric has reached an unacceptable level. Media Matters revisits instances in which conservative media figures ignored or minimized security threats against Nancy Pelosi in order to attack her for using a military aircraft. In fact, the Department of Defense provided the plane as a security measure after the 9-11 attacks -- a measure that was also provided to former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Conservative Media Attacked Pelosi For Using Military Aircraft For Travel

  • Dobbs Criticized Pelosi For Having Authority To "Make Use Of Military Aircraft Whenever She Sees Fit." [CNN, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/5/07]
  • Luntz Denied Pelosi's Private Aircraft Is "A Security Issue." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/7/07]
  • Mark Levin: "Doesn't [Pelosi] Have A Big Military Jet? Why Is It That These Politicians Can Live Like Kings And Queens?" [ABC Radio Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 11/24/08]
  • Gingrich Said Pelosi's Aircraft Is "A Misuse Of Air Force Personnel. I Think There's No Practical Reason For It." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 12/4/08]
  • Hannity: "Why Is It We're Not Demanding That Princess Pelosi Get Off Her Private Jet?" [ABC Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 12/4/08]
  • Hannity Rips "Princess Nancy Pelosi" Over "Her Private Jet." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 12/19/08]
  • Gingrich: "There's No Reason For Anyone But The President And Vice President Of The United States To Have That Level Of Security." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 12/19/08]
  • Hannity: "Why Should [Pelosi] Get A Plane? Why Do I Have To Pay For Her Plane?" [Fox News, Hannity, 2/5/09]
  • Luntz Slammed Pelosi For Having "One Of These Huge Jets," Which Should Be "Given Back To The American People." [Fox News, Hannity, 7/26/10]

Military Aircraft Was Used By GOP Speaker As A Security Measure After 9-11 Attacks

Bush Press Secretary Snow Noted Former GOP Speaker Hastert Used Military Aircraft. On February 7, 2007, Bush administration press secretary Tony Snow said:

After September 11th, the Department of Defense -- with the consent of the White House -- agreed that the Speaker of the House should have military transport. And so what is going on is that the Department of Defense is going through its rules and regulations and having conversations with the Speaker about it. So Speaker Hastert had access to military aircraft and Speaker Pelosi will, too. [Bush White House Archives, 2/7/07]

Snow: "It Is Important For The Speaker To Have This Kind Of Protection And Travel." Snow also said:

[A]s Speaker of the House, she is entitled to military transport, and that the arrangements, the proper arrangements are being made between the Sergeant of Arms office in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of Defense. We think it's appropriate, and so, again, I think this is much ado about not a whole lot. It is important for the Speaker to have this kind of protection and travel. It was certainly appropriate for Speaker Hastert. [Bush White House Archives, 2/8/07]

House Sergeant At Arms: "It Is Reasonable And Prudent To Provide Military Aircraft To The Speaker For Official Travel Between Washington And Her District." On February 8, 2007, House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood said:

As the Sergeant at Arms, I have the responsibility to ensure the security of the members of the House of Representatives, to include the Speaker of the House. The Speaker requires additional precautions due to her responsibilities as the leader of the House and her Constitutional position as second in the line of succession to the presidency.

In a post 9/11 threat environment, it is reasonable and prudent to provide military aircraft to the Speaker for official travel between Washington and her district. The practice began with Speaker Hastert and I have recommended that it continue with Speaker Pelosi. The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable. This will ensure communications capabilities and also enhance security. I made the recommendation to use military aircraft based upon the need to provide necessary levels of security for ranking national leaders, such as the Speaker. I regret that an issue that is exclusively considered and decided in a security context has evolved into a political issue. [, 3/11/09]

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