Rehberg Games – Spy Plane Somersaults

Day 3: August 1, 2012

A sky-high lie

It’s Day 3 of the Rehberg Games, our series examining Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s long career of political gymnastics and wrong priorities for Montana.

FORWARD SOMERSAULT: Rehberg recently demanded an end to the policy of using unmanned drones to “spy on American citizens.”

This past June, Rep. Rehberg fired off a letter to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency demanding an immediate end to “the invasive policy of using unmanned drones to monitor private farms and ranches.” –Rep. Dennis Rehberg, 6/6/12

But Rep. Rehberg supported the unpopular Patriot Act, which allows the government to spy on law-abiding citizens, five different times. [HR 2975, Vote 386, 10/12/01; HR 3162, Vote 398, 10/24/01; HR 3199, Vote 414, 07/21/05; HR 3199, Vote 627, 12/14/05; S 2271, Vote 20, 03/07/06;]

BACKWARD SOMERSAULT: Rehberg admitted EPA drones don’t exist, then blamed his mistake on someone else.

The Billings Gazette reported: “After telling the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to ground surveillance drones allegedly spying on American farmers and ranchers, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., acknowledged the drones don’t exist. In a statement issued by his office Monday, Rehberg acknowledged there aren’t any drones spying on farms and ranches to enforce the Clean Water Act. Rehberg’s staff blamed President Barack Obama for the mix-up.” [Billings Gazette, 6/19/12]

Rehberg wouldn’t identify where he heard about EPA drones. “We can only go so far with what we read in the news,” Rehberg’s office said. [Billings Gazette, 6/19/12]

The Washington Post also weighed in: “[Rehberg’s conspiracy theory] was a blood-boiler of a story, a menacing tale of government gone too far… The only trouble is, it isn’t true. It was never true.” [Washington Post, 6/16/12]

POINT DEDUCTION: Oops! Rehberg’s letter about fake spy planes is still online.