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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood Supports Terrorism, FBI Chief Testifies

As the world fixates on Egypt and aftershocks in the Arab and Muslim world, Congress is now turning its attention to the Muslim Brotherhood and its global reach.  And not a second too soon, as people are waking up to the insidious penetration of the MB and its affiliates all across the world, including here in Michigan.  While many in Congress have danced around the Muslim Brotherhood, House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL) urged:
the unequivocal rejection of any involvement by the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists who may seek to exploit and hijack these events to gain power, oppress the Egyptian people, and do great harm to Egypt's relationship with the United States, Israel, and other free nations"
Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers, new chair of the House Permanenet Select Committee on Intelligence, convened his first committee hearing on the subject, with a heavy-hitting lineup of the Beltway's intel experts
What FBI Director Robert Mueller testified at the hearing should jar all Americans out of a fog of delusion and denial.  Mueller told members of the Intel Committee that "elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose ideology has inspired terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, are in the United States and have supported terrorism here and overseas."

Yet the A-Team was disgraced by the glaring gaffe of James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence,  who testified, contrary to our own US State Department,  that the Brotherhood was  largely a secular group.  Clapper's comments provoked quite a stir.

Here are just two reports on reactions from one of our go-to sites on foreign policy, The Cable, and the authoritative  Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Kirk to Clapper on Muslim Brotherhood: WTF?

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is only one of the many people in Washington who are scratching their heads today after the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was mostly a "secular" group.

"The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood' is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam," Clapper told the first ever hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence under new chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI).
ABC News was quick to point out that he U.S. State Department's Background Note on Egypt describes the Muslim Brotherhood as a "potent political and religious force."
Clapper's public affairs chief Jamie Smith "clarified" the remarks, telling ABC that Clapper really meant to say that "in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak's rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation - he is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization."
But the gaffe was enough to invoke the ire of many in Congress, who are warning about the risks of the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power. Kirk, who was a Naval intelligence officer, issued a statement criticizing Clapper Thursday afternoon.

"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's statement read. "As the world watches these historic events unfolding in Egypt, the United States should support an orderly transition to democracy that prevents the radical Muslim Brotherhood from grabbing power."

The debate over the real identity and role of the Brotherhood is just starting in Congress, and was at the top of lawmakers' concerns at Wednesday's hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"Now the White House is reportedly making matters worse by apparently re-examining its position on dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood, but also stating that a new Egyptian government should include a whole host of important nonsecular actors," Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) said at the hearing. "The Muslim Brotherhood had nothing to do with driving these protests, and they and other extremists must not be allowed to hijack the movement toward democracy and freedom in Egypt."

Over at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), one of Israel's strongest Congressional supporters, also called hearings to address the Muslim Brotherhood and ongoing aid to Egypt.

Both Ros-Lehtinen and her Democratic counterpart, former Committee Chair Howard Berman (D-CA) issued tough warnings about the MB.

In a statement issued after news of Mubarak's resignation, Ros-Lehtinen said:
Now that the immediate demands of the Egyptian people have been met, steps must be taken for the prompt commencement of a calm and orderly transition process towards freedom and democracy in Egypt. This transition must include constitutional and administrative reforms, starting with the repeal of the emergency laws. These are necessary for legitimate, democratic, internationally recognized elections to take place with peaceful, responsible actors who will not only advance the aspirations of the Egyptian people, but will continue to enforce Egypt's international obligations.
The Egyptian military can continue to play a constructive role in providing for security and stability during this transformational period. The U.S. and our allies must focus our efforts on helping to create the necessary conditions for such a transition to take place.  We must also urge the unequivocal rejection of any involvement by the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists who may seek to exploit and hijack these events to gain power, oppress the Egyptian people, and do great harm to Egypt's relationship with the United States, Israel, and other free nations.
Said Berman: "Like many I am skeptical about the Muslim Brotherhood's commitment to democracy. The Brotherhood wants Egypt to be governed by religious law rather than man-made law, a problematic position for a democrat. It has a bloody history," he said. "Even in the best-case scenario where the Brotherhood proves itself fully committed to democracy, there is every reason to believe it will try to influence the Egyptian government in ways that undermine U.S. interests and that will make Egypt a regressive, less-tolerant place."

For more reaction from the Hill to Mubarak's departure and the fear of the MB, check out Boomberg's reporting here    
Posted by MT Beadle

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