Opponents of Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel are fuming in the aftermath of sloppy work by their allies that has backfired and risks turning their cause into a joke.
The bumble: A thinly sourced claim that Hagel had taken money from a heretofore unheard of group called "Friends of Hamas," floated by the conservative website Breitbart.com, and sourced to Capitol Hill.
"This sort of thing drives me crazy because it undermines legitimate concerns about Sen. Hagel, his views and financial associations," said a Senate Republican aide involved with the anti-Hagel efforts. "In this business we deal in deceptions or the pursuit of deceptions and making up yet other groups like the Friends of Hamas distracts us from legitimate pseudoquestions that are being raised as to what private foreign foundations, Islamic groups, and wealthy foreign individuals are contributing to the Atlantic Council or investing in Sen. Hagel's firms."
A Breitbart spokesperson, asked about the mistake, blamed it on Democrats who planted the news surreptitiously in order to make a fool of the already embarrassing right wing news site. "Sources like the Onion are a liberal disease," he said. "They don't fool Democrats so much because the Democrats already have the disease."