International Diplomat Steven Seagal Leads Rep. Keating Through Russia
You may know that Massachusetts Congressman William R. Keating was in Russia last week as part of a Congressional delegation investigating the root causes of the Marathon bombings. Keating came back impressed by the openness of Russian government and counter-terrorism officials in sharing what they knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and questioning whether U.S. intelligence agencies should have done more to prevent the attacks.
What you may not know is that this was all made possible by Steven Seagal.
That Steven Seagal? Say what? Look at these photos from the AP. Boom! Karate chop to everything that makes sense!
Seagal, who attended the news conference in the U.S. Embassy, is well connected in Russia. He met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, and last week paid a visit to Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman who rules Chechnya, a province in southern Russia that has seen two brutal wars between federal troops and Chechen separatists since 1994.
According to MSNBC, Seagal’s special relationship with Russia dates back to 2004, when the actor said he would “spend the rest of his life fighting terrorism” after visiting a school in the Caucasus town of Beslan where Chechen separatists took more than 1,100 people hostage during a three day crisis, killing some 380 of them.
It is not clear how effective Seagal’s career as a terrorism fighter has been, but it is clear that 1) nobody rocks yellow-tinted shades like Steven Seagal and 2) the members of congress traveling with Seagal were very thankful for his help, particularly Dana Rohrbacher, a Republican from California. More from the AP:
The congressman repeatedly thanked Seagal, who took credit for arranging the congressmen’s meeting at the [Russian intelligence agency, called the FSB], and said it helped avoid the experience of past foreign trips when all of the meetings had been arranged by the U.S. Embassy.
“You know what we got? We got the State Department controlling all the information that we heard,” Rohrabacher said. “You think that’s good for democracy? No way!”
Seagal also took the congressional delegation on a tour of that school in Beslan and was apparently going to lead the group to Chechnya as well, except that U.S. House of Representative rules prevented the members from flying on a private plane. Now that the trip is over, Keating and his colleagues are back home. No word on what Seagal is doing, but I’m pretty sure he’s probably fighting either tigers or human beings somewhere with Vladimir Putin.