Why all the hostility against investigating Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the US government?
The United States government is the world’s #1 target of foreign influence operations, as I teach in my graduate course on foreign propaganda.
So it is only proper that the proper federal authorities – Members of Congress, the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI, and inspectors general of various agencies – remain vigilant of foreign entities that attempt to manipulate public opinion or to target national decisionmakers.
Somehow, investigating Muslim Brotherhood influence operations here is off limits.
Some of our national leaders express a willful blindness about the Muslim Brotherhood. Last year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (pictured at left) testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular organization,” and that it had no “overarching agenda.” (See the ABC News video here.)
If one of my students made such a fictitious conclusion on a final exam, he would fail my course.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), corrected Clapper in a public statement: “I am concerned that the DNI’s assessment does not agree with recent public statements by senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood nor does it agree with the organization’s publicly stated goals,” Kirk said, calling the organization “radical.”
Indeed, through a spokesman, Clapper retreated from his comments. “He is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization,” his spokesman said.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has courted several Muslim Brotherhood front groups, said that some elements are violent and others are not, but refused to provide details.
Others, like Senator John McCain (R-AZ), agree that the Muslim Brotherhood is “anti-American” and even dangerous, but get hysterical at the idea that authorities investigate well-documented concerns about possible influence on US decisionmaking.
Even though the right-hand person to the current secretary of state reportedly is from a Muslim Brotherhood family – her late father, mother and brother were or are members of, or associated closely with, the organization and its front groups.
Did those family connections have any effect on the US policy to back the overthrow of the pro-American government of the Arab world’s largest populous country – leading to its replacement by the Muslim Brotherhood? Policymakers and the public are entitled to know. Five Members of Congress requested a probe to determine the Brotherhood’s influence in the State Department.
The hysteria against those lawmakers, amounting to ad hominem attacks from members of the legislators’ own Republican Party, was creepily vicious. McCain led the charge, in an odd breach of Senate decorum denounced a federal lawmaker by name from the Senate floor. He was echoed by the tearful House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and others, the attacks led to a curious circling of the wagons in parts of the media, including opinion outlets associated with the Republican Party.
Even William H. Webster, Jimmy Carter’s FBI director who became CIA director late in President Reagan’s second term, chimed in with a gratuitous personal attack on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), pictured, who was the lead signer of the letter asking for the investigation into possible Muslim Brotherhood influence operations against the government. Webster, generally considered an elder statesman in law enforcement and intelligence matters, made a downright weird comment to Newsmax (of all places), slamming Bachmann and calling her comments “morally wrong” and even “illegal.”
Wait a minute – Webster has a distinguished bipartisan career as a judge, FBI director for nine years, CIA director, and head of various government commissions relating to national security. Why in the world would he call a lawmaker’s expression of opinion, and call for a federal investigation, “illegal”?
What’s going on?
I know Michele Bachmann, and I once briefed her for three hours about Muslim Brotherhood influence operations to shape US foreign policy and national security policy. I know many others who briefed her, and the scholars, law enforcement and national security professionals and others who prepared the briefing materials. I know that they are completely justified in their concerns.
Now, when my colleague Diana West, the nationally syndicated columnist, wrote about the controversy, the Washington Examiner spiked her piece. The Examiner, which thrives on politics, didn’t even run news stories on the controversy, West writes.
Watch this issue, everyone. Lots of clues that there’s something deeper. For the past decade, the FBI has been relying heavily on the Muslim Brotherhood and its front organizations as secret sources against presently violent Islamist individuals and groups. I know this firsthand, from many inside sources, from two Muslim Brotherhood operatives who work through front groups, and as an eyewitness. Could the Bureau be using Webster and former FBI agents like Congressman Rogers to attack critics of the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to remain in favor with its Brotherhood collaborators? Rogers has even hinted that Rep. Bachmann should be kicked off the intelligence committee simply for asking for an investigation.
These actions tell me that Bachmann struck such a nerve that the Muslim Brotherhood told the FBI it would no longer cooperate unless she was shut down. Nothing else explains it.
Also for the past decade, the FBI, CIA, military, State Department, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies have contracted Muslim Brotherhood operatives as subject matter experts to brief and train federal personnel about Islam and Islamic radicalism – without disclosing their extremist affiliations. Could the Muslim Brotherhood be pressuring the FBI to do this if the Bureau wants its continued secret collaboration?
Is this why the federal government officially is interested only in fighting “terrorism” and “violent extremism,” but gives a pass to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that are extremist but not presently violent? Why, after more than a decade since 9/11, is our nation’s Director of National Intelligence so embarrassingly clueless about the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood?
I have my own sources and opinions, which I keep to myself for now. In the meantime, I’d like my students to consider the questions.