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|“||If you look at the application for a security clearance, I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background.||„|
|~ Allen West|
Allen Bernard West (born February 7, 1961) is an American political commentator, retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, author, and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. A member of the Republican Party, West represented Florida's 22nd congressional district in the House from 2011 to 2013. Since July 2020 he has served as the Chairman of the Texas Republican Party.
West was deployed to Kuwait in 1991 and Iraq in 2003. In 2003, West was charged in an incident that involved the beating and simulated execution of an Iraqi policeman. After an Article 32 hearing was held, West accepted non-judicial punishment, was fined $5,000, and allowed to retire as a lieutenant colonel.
After leaving the military, West moved to Florida, where he taught at a high school for a year and worked for a defense contractor, part of this time spent in Afghanistan as a civilian adviser to the Afghan National Army. West entered politics in 2008 as the Republican nominee for Florida's 22nd congressional district in 2008, losing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein. In a re-match in 2010, he won the seat, coinciding with significant Republican gains in the 2010 midterm elections.
West took office in January 2011 as the first African-American Republican member of Congress from Florida since Josiah T. Walls left office in 1876 near the end of Reconstruction. In Congress, West was a high-profile member of the Tea Party Caucus and the Tea Party movement.
Redistricting due to the 2010 census resulted in West switching to Florida's 18th congressional district for the 2012 House elections. He lost to Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy in what was the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history at the time.
Iraqi torture incident
While serving in Taji, Iraq, West received information from an intelligence specialist about a plot to ambush his unit. The alleged plot involved Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, an Iraqi police officer. West had his men detain Hamoodi. Soldiers testified that in the process of detaining Hamoodi, he appeared to reach for his weapon and needed to be subdued. Hamoodi was beaten by four soldiers from the 2/20th Field Artillery Battalion on the head and body. West then fired his pistol near Hamoodi's head, after which Hamoodi provided West with names and information, which Hamoodi later described as "meaningless information induced by fear and pain". At least one of these suspects was arrested as a result, but no plans for attacks or weapons were found. West said "At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It's possible that I was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi."
West was charged with violating Articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. During a hearing held as part of an Article 32 investigation in November 2003, West stated, "I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers." The charges were ultimately referred to an Article 15 proceeding rather than court-martial, at which West was fined $5,000. West accepted the judgment and retired with full benefits as a lieutenant colonel in the summer of 2004. Asked if he would act differently under similar circumstances, West testified, "If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can." At his hearing, West said that there were no ambushes against American forces in Taji until he was relieved of his leadership post a month later. After West's retirement he received more than 2,000 letters and e-mails offering him moral support. A letter supporting West was signed by 95 members of the U.S. Congress and sent to the Secretary of the Army.
- West has ties to the Outlaw Motorcycle Club and has spoken at several of their events.
- He defended one of his staff members named Joyce Kaufman after she endorsed lynching illegal immigrants who were found guilty of crimes.
- He has accused the Democratic Party of embracing Communism and using it to infiltrate the higher levels of the government, without any proof to back up these claims.
- West also once slandered eighty Democratic members of the House of Representatives by accusing them of being members of the Communist Party.
- During his 2010 campaign for office, journalists uncovered a paper trail showing that West had a series of unpaid debts. The IRS subsequently placed a lien on him.
- He has demonstrated himself to be homophobic and transphobic, believing that LGBT people shouldn't be allowed to serve in the armed forced and actively lobbying to prevent them from doing so.
- He also once stated that Joseph Goebbels would be proud of today's Democratic Party because "they have an incredible propaganda machine".
- During a March 2011 speech, West said that religious coexistence "represents something that would give away our country", without saying why.
- In a radio interview with Mark Levin in 2012, West called for the US army to stop following President Obama's orders. What West did not mention was that officers are constitutionally bound to follow the President’s orders unless they are illegal.
- Also, West said that members of the House of Representatives who wanted Obama to end the war in Afghanistan should be taken to the country and "get shot at a few times" to change their minds.
- He has called for the American media to be subject to censorship for supporting Julian Assange.