Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood: Bachmann vs. McCain
By Robert Spencer:
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is at the center of a firestorm over her request that the State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice Departments, investigate
potential “policies and activities that appear to be the result of influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.” This is an entirely legitimate call, as Bachmann abundantly illustrated in a 16-page letter
to Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), laying out the reasons for her concerns. Yet even Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who should know better, has upbraided Bachmann, criticizing her for including Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, among those she noted for having Brotherhood ties.
McCain declared in a statement on the Senate floor
that “recently, it has been alleged that Huma, a Muslim American, is part of a nefarious conspiracy to harm the United States by unduly influencing U.S. foreign policy at the Department of State in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist causes.”
McCain, brimming with righteous indignation, thundered: “These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And they need to stop now.”
He explained that the letter Bachmann and several other Representatives sent asking for an investigation into Muslim Brotherhood influence in the government “alleges that three members of Huma’s family are ‘connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.’ Never mind that one of those individuals, Huma’s father, passed away two decades ago.”
However, in her letter to Ellison, Bachmann explained that much more was behind her concern about Abedin than guilt-by-association based on family members: “The concerns about the foreign influence of immediate family members is such a concern to the U.S. Government that it includes these factors as potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining a security clearance, which undoubtedly Ms. Abedin has had to obtain to function in her position. For us to raise issues about a highly-based U.S. Government official with known immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations is not a question of singling out Ms. Abedin.
In fact, these questions are raised by the U.S. Government of anyone seeking a security clearance.”
And in Abedin’s case, there are ample reasons for raising these questions. Her father, Syed Z. Abedin, was a professor in Saudi Arabia who founded the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs, an organization supported by the Muslim World League, a Brotherhood organization. Her mother, Saleha Mahmoud Abedin, is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, the Brotherhood’s adjunct organization for women. The Brotherhood itself is in its own words, according to a captured internal document, dedicated to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.”
All that leaves McCain unmoved, for he goes on to assert that “the letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision, or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government. Nor does either document offer any evidence of a direct impact that Huma may have had on one of the U.S. policies with which the authors of the letter and the producers of the report find fault.”
However, it is odd that McCain would expect Bachmann to produce the outcome of an investigation before any investigation has even taken place. As Bachmann noted, “these questions are raised by the U.S. Government of anyone seeking a security clearance.” So why should Huma Abedin be exempt? Would an official who had family connections with the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nations be similarly exempt from scrutiny? If not, why should someone with familial connections to a group dedicated to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within”?
As Bachmann pointed out in her letter to Ellison, the Muslim Brotherhood ties of Abedin’s mother, father and brother have never been a secret, and have long been noted in the international press. Abedin herself has never publicly distanced herself from the Brotherhood, or explained how her worldview or her vision of Islam differ from that of her parents or brother.
So by what moral calculus can it possibly be “sinister,” as McCain put it, to ask that Abedin be subjected to the same scrutiny that would be focused upon anyone seeking a security clearance that would allow access to sensitive material comparable to that which she enjoys?