July 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm
By Jonathan Mattise
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney wants a thorough study into whether the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the federal government and holds powerful positions in Washington.
The Tequesta Republican is one of five congressional leaders urging officials to find out how much influence over policy the Muslim Brotherhood has at the federal level. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., addressed Inspectors General of five government agencies in a letter that claims Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been “enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.”
Bachmann singles out Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, as an example of a “serious security concern” because Bachmann alleges Abedin has three family members tied to the Muslim Brotherhood — a group bent on “destroying Western civilization from within,” the letter states.
The issue has stirred up opinions on national television airwaves — supporters say the investigation is long overdue; critics decry it as a witch hunt reminiscent of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s 1950s search for Communists in the government. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., bashed the accusations Wednesday.
Rooney spokesman Michael Mahaffey said the outcry has focused on comments about Abedin, and the media attention has missed the bigger point.
“The tragic events at Fort Hood in 2009 proved that our enemies will go to great lengths, including infiltrating and recruiting members of our military, to commit acts of terror against American citizens,” Rooney said through Mahaffey. “I regret that Mrs. Abedin has become the media focus of this story, because the intention of the letters was to bring greater attention to a legitimate national security risk.”
Rooney joined the push as a fellow member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence alongside Bachmann. Accompanying the two are Republican U.S. Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. Rooney represents most of St. Lucie and Martin counties, but is running for an agricultural district to the west this election season.
“We need our top security agencies to investigate thoroughly the degree to which members of this organization are active in our defense and intelligence communities, and what impact that has on our national security,” Rooney said in Bachmann’s release.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and a Muslim, pressed Bachmann to provide proof. Bachmann followed up with a 16-page letter with 59 footnotes rehashing Abedin’s family ties and other claims. Abedin is married to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.
On the Senate floor Wednesday, McCain called the claims against Abedin “attacks” with “no logic, no basis and no merit.”
“These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been showed to harm or threaten the United States in any way,” McCain said.
Bachmann’s letter decries federal involvement with groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Society of North America, which she claims to have ties with the Brotherhood.
Ellison didn’t buy it.
“It’s 16 pages worth of false allegations, just regurgitated nonsense,” Ellison told CNN. “Sixteen pages doesn’t take nothing and turn it into something. It’s still nothing.”
Mahaffey said the proof is well laid out in Bachmann’s letters.
“It’s easy for (Ellison) to say it’s nonsense or draw references to Islamophobia,” Mahaffey said. “But the evidence is there.”
Mohammad Hussein, who worships at the Stuart Masjid mosque on Southeast Dominica Terrace in Stuart, said he was surprised to see Rooney tied into the search. But it wasn’t surprising to see the claims stirred up around election time, he said.
“The whole thing just doesn’t make sense,” Hussein said. “They’re just blowing smoke. To me, it’s an obvious case of propaganda.”