Brown travels to South Asia on 1st foreign mission in new post

By Matt Viser Boston Globe Staff

No details given; aides cite possible security risks.

WASHINGTON — Senator Scott Brown is on a fact-finding mission to the volatile region of South Asia, getting his first taste of an overseas congressional trip as he seeks to bolster his foreign affairs credentials.

Aides to both Brown and to the trip organizer, Senator Thomas Carper, Democrat of Delaware, declined to divulge any details, citing the potential security risks of traveling in a dangerous region. Brown’s staff would say only that the trip was to South Asia.

The region would be a logical stop for Brown, who is on several key committees that would require firsthand knowledge of areas of strife.

His assignments include the Homeland Security, Armed Services, and Veterans Affairs committees. Brown, a Republican who is making his first trip abroad since being sworn in two months ago, is a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard and is expected to try to make a mark on military and veterans issues.

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said concerns about divulging too many details are justified.

“Security is always something we are mindful of with congressional visits to the war zone,’’ Whitman said.

Senator John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, often releases details of his overseas trips. Two weeks ago, when Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, led a delegation overseas, it was announced ahead of time that he and two other senators would travel to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan to meet with soldiers, military commanders, and foreign leaders.

Security concerns, however, were heightened after Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, sent a batch of updates on his Twitter account last year as he traveled on a congressional trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. (“Just landed in Baghdad,’’ was one posting, followed several hours later by “Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here.’’)  Continue…

Bryan Bender of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com.

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