From Terrorist Bagman to Homeland Security Overlord: The Curious Career of Peter King

Posted: January 5th, 2011 by Militant Libertarian

by William N. Grigg

In the person of Congressman Peter King (R-New York), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, the abstraction called “hypocrisy” has acquired tangible human form. After spending decades canvassing his fellow Irish-American Catholics to raise money for terrorists in Northern Ireland, King has promised to conduct a wide-ranging investigation of American Muslim congregations and cultural organizations in search of people providing “material support” for Islamic terrorism.

“We have to break through this politically correct nonsense which keeps us from debating and discussing what I think is one of the most vitally important issues in this country,” King insists. “We are under siege by Muslim terrorists and yet there are Muslim leaders in this country who do not cooperate with law enforcement.”
King has also demanded that the WikiLeaks whistleblower organization be designated a terrorist organization. He insists that the group provided “material support” to terrorism by publishing hundreds of thousands of pages’ worth of previously classified documents, many of them describing criminal acts and institutionalized corruption on the part of policy-makers in the U.S. government.  It’s reasonable to suspect that King’s antipathy toward WikiLeaks is inspired, at least in part, by personal concerns.
Among the documents made public by WikiLeaks is one that could be of particular interest to King — a February 2010 CIA “Red Cell Special Memorandum” — an “out-of-the-box” analysis examining “what it would mean for the US to be seen … as an incubator and `exporter of terrorism.'” For example: “Some Irish-Americans have long provided financial aid and material support for violent efforts to compel the United Kingdom to relinquish control of Northern Ireland…. The US-based Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID), founded in the late 1960s, provided the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) with money that was frequently used for arms purchases.”

NORAID was designated by the Justice Department as an arm of the IRA more than thirty years ago. King, whose Long Island district has a large and well-organized Irish-American constituency, was one of the group’s most effective fundraisers and one of the IRA’s staunchest supporters.

“We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry,” King declared during a 1982 rally on behalf of the IRA in Nassau County. The “Provos” heartily reciprocated King’s affection.

“During his visits to Ireland, Mr. King would often stay with well-known leaders of the IRA, and he socialized in IRA drinking haunts,” recalled Irish journalist Ed Moloney, author of thedefinitive work A Secret History of the IRA, in a 2005 New York Sun profile written after King’s tardy and reluctant break with the group. “At one of such clubs, the Felons, membership was limited to IRA veterans who had served time in jail.”

Granted, many honorable and decent men — both from Northern Ireland and elsewhere — have become familiar with the inside of a prison cell. But the ex-convicts with whom King socialized during his visits to Ireland generally weren’t innocent political prisoners.

King (center) meets with supporters of a  Malachy McAllister, a convicted Irish terrorist.

King served as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee from 2005 until the Republicans lost their majority in the 2006 mid-term election. During his last stint in that post, King used his influence to intervene on behalf of Malachy McAllister.

In 1981, McAllister served as an armed lookout during an ambush of an English policeman outside a pub in Northern Ireland. The victim, it must be said, was a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, a paramilitary occupation force that became notorious for beating and otherwise mistreating innocent people. McAllister served three years in a British prison for his role in the ambush.

In 1988, after McAllister was released from prison, he narrowly escaped being killed by a Loyalist paramilitary gang that opened fire on his family’s home in Belfast. The McAllisters fled to Canada, and in 1996 and settled in Wallington, New York. Seven years later the McAallisters’ home came under armed siege once again — this time by agents of the Department of Homeland Security, who carried out a 5 a.m. raid to enforce a deportation order. The family was to be expelled on account of what the agency called McAallister’s “terrorist activities” a quarter-century ago.
A stay was issued while the deportation order was examined in the courts. King used the interval to lobby Homeland Security Commissar Michael Chertoff. In a letter to Chertoff, King insisted that McAllister’s  family would likely be murdered if they were sent back to Northern Ireland.

McAllister, like many Catholics in Ulster, endured inexcusable treatment at the hands of  British occupation forces and Loyalist thugs. He admits to committing the acts for which he was incarcerated, but describes himself as a combatant in a civil war, rather than a terrorist. That distinction is difficult to defend in light of the fact that McAllister was a member of the Irish National Republican Army (INRA) — the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP).

Whatever the merits of the Irish Republican cause, the INRA was not created merely to obtain independence for Northern Ireland, or to defend the rights of an abused minority. The group, which budded off from the “official” IRA in 1974, was a tiny, ultra-violent Leninist cell within the IRSP. While the Party specialized in political agitation, the INRA carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortion, and other forms of “direct action” that frequently targeted helpless civilians.

It’s quite likely that some of the money raised by Peter King on behalf of NORAID wound up funding the INRA’s rampage. The group also received financial aid and training from Libya and the PLO.

The group’s objective has never been merely to reclaim Ulster from England: It is committed to the unification of all 32 counties of Ireland in a socialist “worker’s republic” of the kind that has been such an unqualified blessing in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Like other “liberation” movements of a similar vintage, the INRA cynically invested its Leninist political agenda with religious language and symbolism.

The INRA’s cadres and supporters saw the group’s terrorist campaign as, literally, a holy war.  And Peter King, the once and future chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, gave eager and unapologetic material support to that terrorist jihad.

Despite King’s backstory, his unqualified support for open-ended war abroad and authoritarian measures at home has made him a favorite of Fox News and other elements of the War Party’s media apparatus. Commentator Jim Kouri, a vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, commends King for his support for “those on the frontline of the war on terrorism,” which supposedly offers a favorable contrast to the record of “`useful idiots’ …  such as Rep. John Conyers, who actually supports Fifth-Column Islamic groups against his own nation.”
After all, didn’t Conyers spend decades raising money for terrorists allied with Libya and the PLO, and then use his political clout on behalf of a would-be cop-killer who belonged to a Leninist criminal gang? No, wait a second: That was King, not Conyers.
“Liberators”? IRA rep Gerry Adams and Fidel Castro.
King’s opponent in the recent mid-term congressional election tried, without success, to make an issue of the incumbent’s support for Irish terrorism. Some of King’s supporters attempted to dismiss the matter by pointing out that the IRA and its offshoots have never been a threat to the United States. Of course, the same is true of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Islamic terrorist groups that have long considered themselves to becomrades with the IRA in the struggle for global “liberation.

As Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, King will be the tribune of a large and growing “anti-Sharia” constituency, which is composed of people who insist that every mosque should be treated as a jihadist recruitment center and weapons depot. From that perspective — as articulated by Frank Gaffney, its most forceful exponent — anybody who believes in and practices the religion of Islam should be presumptively regarded as guilty of sedition.

With Sinn Fein official Martin McGuiness, 2000.
Historian Sharon Davies points out that the unfolding “anti-Sharia” campaign updates and transposes a very similar crusade from a century ago:
“In the early 1900s, many Americans were genuinely frightened by the perceived religious threat of the Roman Catholic Church and the suspected imperialistic intentions of its leader, the Pope. He was plotting the overthrow of the United States, warned the feature, to `make America Catholic.’ His foot soldiers, tens of thousands of Catholic men who called themselves the Knights of Columbus, were busily stockpiling arms and ammunition in the basements of their churches, all in preparation for the day when their papist leader would give the signal for the violent insurrection to begin.”

Fear of a Papist Holy War was propagated by widely read and hugely influential anti-Catholic publications,  promoted by a revived Ku Klux Klan, and coalesced into state “convent inspection laws” permitting warrantless searches of monasteries, chapels, and rectories. Peter King’s career almost seems like a perverse attempt to validate the work of those early 20th Century anti-Catholic bigots.

Between 1971 and 2005, about 1,800 people in Ireland were killed by IRA bombers and gunmen; the equivalent death toll in the United States would be  360,000 people. During that generation-long onslaught, the IRA “made the car-bomb the modern terrorist weapon du jour and perfected the manufacture of fertilizer-based home-made explosives of the sort now routinely used by jihadists,” observes historian Moloney.

Peter King “owes his political career almost entirely to the ties he forged” with the people who carried out that bloody campaign, Moloney concludes. King’s very first act after being elected to his congressional seat “was to jump on a plane to Belfast for a rousing celebration in the Felon’s Club.”

“Behind every great fortune, there’s a crime,” wrote Balzac. It’s tempting to say the same of political careers, but this isn’t strictly true: Crime is integral to politics. After all, politics is the business of managing the State, which as Murray Rothbard pointed out is nothing but organized banditry.

Peter King apparently isn’t equipped with either a conscience or a sense of irony, so he isn’t likely to appreciate the fact that his political career perfectly encapsulates the process through which petty thugs are transmuted into “statesmen.”

Your donations help keep Pro Libertate on-line. Thanks, and God bless!


Comments (3)


  1. Sean says:

    Your ignorance on this topic is incredible.

  2. Sean says:

    Mr. McAllister has support from both parties. Republican Congressman Peter King of NY and Chris Smith of NJ and Democrat Senators Chuck Schumer of NY and Bob Menendez of NJ. The man even has the support of Secratary Hilliary Clinton.

Leave a Reply