Rep. Steny Hoyer has represented – often controversially — the residents of Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties, as well as parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties, since 1981, making him the longest-serving member of Congress from Maryland.
But also being the home to significant military facilities like the Patuxent Naval Air Station, St. Inigoes, Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Hoyer — the minority whip and de facto leader of the Democrat’s shrinking moderate wing in the House — has received plenty of criticism over the impact of sequestration on the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, both of which are pervasive in the district he represents.
"Hoyer, he’s a shark who never sleeps … He’s a shark with a killer disposition,” Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver, a senior Black Caucus member, told Politico. But, he’s also brought home the bacon and also is a respected voice on defense and foreign policy who has worked to ensure passage of the annual homeland security, intelligence and defense authorization bills.
Despite Hoyer’s support for the military and Intelligence Community, Charles “Sam” Faddis, who has officially thrown his proverbial hat into the ring to challenge Hoyer for his long held seat in Congress, offers on-the-ground experience, and knows all too well the dangers the US faces. Consequently, Faddis could prove formidable — he’s a man whose own intelligence, military and foreign policy experience can’t be disputed, and could be the battleground he ultimately debates with Hoyer, who some Democrats see as a moderate. Still, Faddis may have the ability to be a forbidding challenger given his background and the significant military and Intelligence Community presence in Maryland’s 5th District he’s vying to represent.
Faddis served more than 20 years in the CIA as a Clandestine Services operations officer who led the first CIA team into Iraq nine months in advance of the post-9/11 2003 invasion of that nation.
He’s already received endorsements from several Maryland State Senators and former ranking military officers, including Ret. Lt. Col. Bill Cowan (USMC) and Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, US Army (retired).
After serving abroad in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe, Faddis retired in 2008 as head of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center (CTC)’s Weapons of Mass Destruction unit charged with pursuing terrorists’ weapons of mass destruction programs around the globe. He’s also managed large organizations, worked across the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense, and has been involved in national security matters at the highest levels of government. He’s also spent more than his share of time running sources and covert action operations in the field.
Prior to joining CIA, he was a US Army Armor and JAG officer who later served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington.
To say Faddis has a keen understanding of the national security threats facing the United States and its allies would be a gross understatement. He understands all too well the challenges faced by the men and women protecting us from these threats. Since his retirement, Faddis wrote two no holes barred best-selling books, Beyond Repair: The Decline And Fall Of The CIA, and, Willful Neglect: The Dangerous Illusion Of Homeland Security.
“Threats abroad and at home are multiplying. We are fighting the equivalent of a multi-headed Hydra, and Hercules is nowhere in sight,” Faddis told Homeland Security Today. “We are not safer that we have been. To the contrary; at no time since 9/11 has the threat level been so high.”
“What we need is neither hysteria nor complacency. We need pragmatic, clear-eyed real world solutions. Bureaucracy and paperwork do not stop terrorists. Professionals who know their trade do.”
Faddis said, “This administration has attempted to fight monsters with wishful thinking and press releases. We have effectively abandoned control over our southern border. Middle-aged Central American couples with children walk into this country unhindered everyday, but somehow we are expected to indulge the fantasy that we can stop terrorists from taking the same route.”
“An entire new terrorist nation state has emerged in the Middle East, and our allies are in fullretreat, but we are expected to cling to the fantasy that the situation is under control,” Faddis continued, adding, “The Iranians are bragging about taking over Arab capitals and on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon, and American officials are describing Tehran as a force for stability in the Middle East.”
“What we need is not nation building exercises or more adventures in being the world’s policeman,” Faddis said, saying, “What we need is a tight focus on our national interests and the use of overwhelming force where and when we have determined it is critical that such force be used. We define the interests that are threatened. We make a cold, calculated decision as to whether or not to intervene. If we do intervene, we go in with all resources at our disposal. We achieve victory. We come home.”
“Domestically,” he said, “we need to stop indulging the fantasy that paperwork and process stop terrorist attacks. We do not need more forms or more meetings. We need competent, well-trained people and concrete, practical measures to secure passenger rail, chemical plants, nuclear plants, sporting venues and other high value targets.”
“The threat posed by jihadists in general has changed,” but “it has not gone away,” Faddis previously told Homeland Security Today. The veteran terrorist hunter said “Al Qaeda Central has been severely degraded,” but said “lots of other regional affiliates have sprung up and are prepared to give battle.”
“If we maintain our vigilance and continue to take the fight to the enemy, we can manage this threat,” Faddis said. “But,” he stressed, “if we get lazy and complacent and give the jihadists the time and space to regroup, we will pay a price!”
More recently, Faddis discussed with Homeland Security Today the danger of terrorists using Cobalt 60 in a dirty bomb.
“In an era of career politicians and charlatans who attempt to parlay time behind a desk in Washington into so-called counterterrorism experience, Faddis is the real deal,” Vallely said. “He is a true leader who took the first CIA team into Iraq nine months in advance of the 2003 invasion of that country.”
Vallely said, “Faddis has a keen understanding of the national security threats facing this nation and the challenges faced by the men and women protecting us from those threats. He has spent the six years since his retirement writing and commenting widely on national security and terrorism threats, and he seeks now to take that experience to the halls of Congress where it is so sorely needed. I recommend him without reservation.”
“I want to make a strong personal endorsement for my friend Sam Faddis,” said Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, USMC (retired). “Sam is a retired CIA operations officer and true leader who knows first hand the threats facing this country both here and abroad. He served in the Near East, South Asia and Europe for 20 years, took the first CIA team into Iraq in 2002 nine months in advance of the invasion of that country, and retired as head of the CIA unit charged with pursuing terrorist weapons of mass destructionprograms worldwide."
Continuing, Cowan said Faddis "has run large organizations, worked with entities across the US Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense and been involved with national security and foreign policy matters at the highest levels of our government … I absolutely recommend Sam without reservation, confident of his ability to contribute to our nation at a time when true, experienced leadership is so necessary.”
“I served with some of the best leaders in the world, and Sam Faddis is one of the best of the best. Sam is a leader in the truest sense of the word. He is one of a rare breed who accomplishes seemingly impossible missions while simultaneously taking care of his people,” said Sid Crews, US Army Special Forces, retired. “Moreover, his moral compass bears true and he always shows the intestinal fortitude to speak up for what is right without fear of the personal cost.”
“While serving with Sam in Iraq,” Crews said, “I saw him lead the way through a myriad of situations where the way ahead was unclear, the guidance from Washington was murky at best and the possible consequences of a misstep were enormous. I never saw him flustered or at a loss for how to proceed. To the contrary, I saw him repeatedly make quick, hard calls and then stand behind his decisions. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. Our leaders in Washington are called upon everyday to make decisions weighing directly on the lives and security of our citizens and our men and women in uniform. We need people making these decisions who have been in harm’s way and have demonstrated that they have what it takes to lead … Bottom line – Sam Faddis would make a fine congressman and has what it takes to get America back on track.”
Jimmy Byars, a retired US Army Delta Force Special Missions Unit leader, said, “Sam and I have known each other for 20 years. We have worked together abroad on numerous occasions on sensitive operations. Sam is a leader [who] has integrity, stands up for his people and calls it like he sees it. I have seen him repeatedly, under extreme pressure, make hard calls and rapid decisions. He is bright. He is articulate. He is also unafraid to tell Washington the reality of the situation on the ground, even when it is not what the men and women behind desks back home want to hear. We need more people with that kind of moral courage leading this country right now.”
Faddis had the following to say on specific homeland and national security issues:
“We are the world’s leading power, and we will remain so for the foreseeable future. We need to be engaged abroad and to keep our alliances with key nations strong. It is not our job, however, to be the world’s policeman nor should we be engaged in ruinous nation-building exercises abroad. When and if we get involved in the internal affairs of another nation it should be because we have identified key national interests of the United States of America, which justify such intervention.”
“We need to maintain a strong defense against both conventional and unconventional foes. The world is a dangerous place, and it is filled with individuals, groups and nations, which wish us ill. This does not mean, however, that we cannot find savings in defense spending. The waste and inefficiency found in other parts of the federal government extend to defense as well, and we need to put this to an end.”
“It is imperative that we control our borders and control the flows of immigrants into this country. It is also necessary that we admit that for decades we have talked out of both sides of our mouths on this issue. We have claimed that we were opposed to illegal immigrants while simultaneously reaping the rewards of their labor in our service, construction and agricultural sectors. As a result we now have something in the neighborhood of 11 million individuals here who have nolegal status but have been members of our society for years. We need to resolve this issue. I support a path to legalization with appropriately stringent requirements, as long as it is preceded by enhanced border security and the rigorous enforcement of employment eligibility requirements. We must gain control of our borders first before we can consider any path to legalization.”
Editor’s note: Faddis appeared with Homeland Security Today Editor-in-Chief Anthony Kimery in "Biopocalypse," an episode of the SyFy Channel TV series, "Joe Rogan Questions Everything." Filmed in Los Angeles in August 2013, Kimery and Faddis discussed the dangers of bio-terrorism, designer-hybrid pathogenic threats and unregulated DIY-bio genetics labs.