British Royal Wedding Threatened By Rep. Peter King's Favorite Terrorist Organization

April 18, 2011 2:01 pm ET — Brian Powell

Rep. Peter King

Since becoming the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has firmly denounced terrorism, saying the main responsibility of his committee is "to protect America from a terrorist attack."

But as recently as March 10, King has actually defended the terrorist organization known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), telling ABC News that "it was not their policy to attack civilians." Now, British security agencies have identified IRA threats against the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as against the 2012 London Olympics, that undermine his claim and once again lead to questions about his dedication to fighting all forms of terrorism instead of merely singling out the Muslim community.

In an ironic twist, King's IRA is distracting the focus of security agents away from the potential threat of radical Islam, a topic to which King is dedicating a series of congressional hearings. Australia's Herald Sun reported:

In the lead-up to the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, growing security concerns have seen counter-terrorism teams in England diverted from tracking Islamist outfits to examine the Irish threat, London's The Times newspaper reported on Monday. [...]

The threat is believed to come from dissident groups, one of which operates under the name Oglaigh na h'Eireann or "soldiers of Ireland", but multiple units are understood to be in operation.

Tory MP Patrick Mercer said police and army intelligence officers are concerned about at least three republican splinter groups.

"The timing of the royal wedding seems curiously close to Easter when Republicans will be looking for an excuse to act or demonstrate," he told London's Sunday Express newspaper.

Óglaigh na hÉireann is one of the names used by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, which King once described as the "brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry." As recently as March, King has defended his support for the IRA. The New York Times reported on March 8, 2011:

Of comparisons between the terrorism of the I.R.A. and that of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Mr. King said: "I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States."

He said he does not regret his past pro-I.R.A. statements. The Irish group, he said, was "a legitimate force" battling British repression - analogous to the African National Congress in South Africa or the Zionist Irgun paramilitary in British-ruled Palestine. "It was a dirty war on both sides," he said of I.R.A. resistance to British rule.

The resurgent threat of the IRA once again raises questions about whether King, as a supporter of an organization currently threatening terrorist acts against civilians, is the right person to chair the House Homeland Security Committee. The congressman has refused to expand the scope of his hearings and plans to continue his investigation into radical Islam by holding hearings later this year on "radical Muslims in prison."