Rep. Michele Bachmann says the Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamist movement that recently came to power in Egypt, has made “deep penetration” within the U.S. government, and she wants an investigation of its influence within five federal agencies.
The Muslim Brotherhood, perhaps the world’s most influential Islamist organization, has long sought to unite traditional Islam with modern democracy in Middle Eastern nations. Its global influence further increased when one of its candidates, Mohamed Morsi, was declared winner of Egypt’s 2012 presidential election.
But Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and four other members of Congress see the Muslim Brotherhood as a domestic threat.
The lawmakers singled out the movement last month in letters to federal defense, diplomatic, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, requesting investigations into whether — and through whom — the Muslim Brotherhood is exerting influence within President Barack Obama’s administration.
Bachmann, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, ratcheted up the rhetoric in an interview last month with radio host Sandy Rios.
“It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bachmann said. “It appears that there are individuals who are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have positions, very sensitive positions, in our Department of Justice, our Department of Homeland Security, potentially even in the National Intelligence Agency.”
When asked to explain Bachmann’s concerns, her spokesman, Dan Kotman, said he had nothing to add to what’s in the letters to federal agencies.
Meanwhile, Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minneapolis, said in a statement that he’s puzzled by Bachmann’s comments. Ellison, the first Muslim-American elected to the U.S. Congress, said he doesn’t understand why Bachmann would make such accusations through the press if she has information that’s as sensitive as she claims.
“If she has sources for this type of information, she owes it to the country to reveal them to the proper authorities, but definitely not this way,” Ellison said. “If she doesn’t have this type of information, she should not be whipping up fear and hysteria about a very important matter.”
Letters name names
Bachmann’s letters are addressed to the inspectors general — the independent offices within federal agencies responsible for ensuring they operate efficiently and legally — for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., joined Bachmann in cosigning the letters, which cite people or actions by the agencies that raise the lawmakers’ concerns.
The letter to the State Department singles out Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and asserts that three of Abedin’s family members are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. It says Abedin’s position affords her access to Clinton, and adds that the department has “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.”
The letter to the Department of Defense charges the U.S. Army with failing to “characterize accurately the jihadist motivations” of Major Nidal Hassan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter.
The letter to the Department of Homeland Security says the department has developed a lexicon, or official vocabulary, that obscures America’s jihadist threat.
“Its approved words effectively equate those perpetrating this threat with ones said to arise from ‘Christian patriots,’ ‘constitutionalists’ and ‘militia extremists,’ ” the letter said.
Spokespersons for the Inspectors General at the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice declined comment on specifics of the letters Monday, while the Departments of State and Defense didn’t immediately respond.
A spokesman for the Office of Director of National Intelligence, Michael Birmingham, said he expects a response to Bachmann’s letter is forthcoming from the inspector general for his agency, I. Charles McCullough III, who also oversees the entire federal intelligence community.