The New York Times dragged a big fat red herring across its front page yes terday, announcing that House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King -- whose hearings on Islamist extremism open in Washington today -- was once upon a time a supporter of the Irish Republican Army.
As if nobody actually knew that.
As if it were remotely relevant to the subject of King's hearing -- the distressing regularity with which home-grown Islamists are revealed to be plotting acts of domestic terror.
And as if anyone ever declined to walk through Times Square for fear of being blown up by a rabid Irishman.
"The fact is," King told the Times, "the IRA never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States."
That's not true of everyone.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood gunman who murdered 12 soldiers and one civilian.
Faisal Shahzad, who planted a deadly car bomb in Times Square last May.
Khalid Aldawsari, the college student from Saudi Arabia arrested last month for allegedly plotting a chemical attack on US targets -- including former President George W. Bush's home.
King wonders how they came to be radicalized. He wonders also why the NYPD and FBI admit that Muslim communities "do not give the level of cooperation they need" to root out such extremism.
It's not a question of targeting Muslims, he says. But the fact remains that jihadists are "being recruited from within the Muslim community, just like the Mafia came from the Italian community [and] the Westies from the Irish community."
And while it "might be politically correct . . . it makes no sense to talk about other types of extremism, when the main threat to the United States today" is Islamist radicalism.
We trust Pete King to handle these hearings responsibly and to remain focused on the issue at hand.
Because, like most problems, shining a public spotlight on it can only help.