Peter King Supported the IRA Before Hunting for Terrorists

The congressman said he wouldn't "morally blame" Irish militants for civilian casualties

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Before Rep. Peter King was holding hearings into why American Muslims aren't doing enough to stop terrorism, he was cheering on the IRA and absolving them of "moral blame" for their terrorism. In the 1980s and 1990s, King unequivocally supported the militant Northern Irish group despite its history of killing civilians, speaking at protests staged by Noraid, which the U.S. government claimed funneled guns and money to the IRA.

One Irish activist who worked with King on a peace deal in Northern Ireland (the photo above is of King posing with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on the steps of the Capitol in 1995) is now breaking with the congressman over his "strange journey from Irish radical to Muslim inquisitor," The New York Times' Scott Shane reports.

King's support for the IRA did not waver over the years, judging by his many statements about the group in the two stories below and dug up by Jon Stewart's The Daily Show last night:

1982: “We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.”

1985: “If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it.”

1987: "I'm the Ollie North of Ireland."

1995: "The moral standing of the IRA is equal to that of the British army."

A judge in Belfast once threw King out of the courtroom because King "was an obvious collaborator with the IRA," the judge said. Police picked him out for body searches at other trials.

But King denies that there's a parallel between the groups, because the IRA never attacked the U.S.--which seems to imply that it's OK to target British citizens--and said he would be investigating the Irish community if terrorists were recruiting from within it.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.