It’s been four years since Coleen Rowley unsuccessfully challenged Rep. John Kline for his seat in Congress. But she isn’t done with him just yet.
The former FBI agent, who once famously blew the whistle on the Bureau’s failure to prevent 9/11, sat in Kline’s Washington office Tuesday hammering away at some of the same issues she ran on in 2006. On this trip to the nation's capital, the agent-turned-activist focused on ending America's wars in the Middle East.
“The question is how can we succeed in ‘winning’ the [war on terrorism]?” Rowley asked a Kline aide, surrounded by eight other Minnesotans in a tiny conference room. The Republican congressman was not in the office – still flying in from Minnesota.
“Does he go to any of the funerals?” she inquired, as the aide took notes.
On the cost of the wars: “If you’re conservative, how can this be sustained?”
Hours earlier, the one-time Time Magazine Person of the Year stood in front of the White House as police arrested nine Minnesotans participating in a civilly disobedient “die-in.” Rowley, who says she has never been arrested, opted not to spend the night in the clink.
Prior to the arrests, a group of about two dozen Minnesotans including Rowley attracted some attention on Pennsylvania Ave. when they threw decorated shoes at a giant red sign reading “occupation” – an homage to the footwear that almost hit President Bush just over a year ago.
“We believe that if we want to really win the hearts and minds, we cannot use this terrible bombing and drone bombing that is killing civilians,” Rowley said of the group’s mission. “It will never be won this way.”
After a full morning of activism and discussions, Rowley, running behind the pack, bumped into a familiar face in the hallway of the Longworth Office Building – John Kline. The retired marine colonel, who supports sending more troops to Afghanistan, didn’t bother re-igniting the debate with his former opponent, however.
“Where did you do this? On Pennsylvania?” asked Kline, still bundled in a coat and scarf, as Rowley hurriedly briefed him on their morning activities.
As the two parted ways, Rowley made sure the congressman got the message.
“We left questions,” she said.
Check back tomorrow for a video of the protest.