By Robert Dreyfuss
I’d call Frank Gaffney an intellectual bomb-thrower—but, he’s not an intellectual. Instead, he treats politics and national security the way James Holmes treats movie-theater patrons: don’t worry about aiming, just shoot to kill. Fortunately for his victims, Gaffney mostly fires duds, such as the ones he’s been shooting lately at Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, whom Gaffney calls an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, is also married to former Representative Anthony Weiner (ofWeinergate), who was one of the most pro-Israel members of Congress while in office, which (as Jon Stewart pointed out) makes Abedin deep-cover, indeed!
Gaffney, of course, is the extreme-right-wing chief of something called the Center for Security Policy. AsRightWeb and SourceWatch report, Gaffney is involved in, connected to, or cited by anti-Muslim crazies who oppose mosque-building, generated volumes of conspiracy theories, and he was even cited by the Norwegian terrorist who killed scores of campers in 2011. How far right? For years I’ve watched Gaffney’s Islamophobic and ultrahawkish antics, including a long-running battle he’s had with Grover Norquist, the taxophobic head of Americans for Tax Reform. Years ago, while writing a profile of Norquist for The Nation, I watched Gaffney denounce some of Norquist’s conservative allies for (gasp!) wanting to cut waste, fraud and abuse out of the Defense Department budget. Never! Shrieked Gaffney. More to the point, Gaffney blistered Norquist for his ties to (gasp!) Muslims, including the fact that Grover married a Palestinian Muslim. Gaffney’s constant refrain is expressed most neatly by a report published by CSP called: “Shariah: The Threat to America.”
In other words, he’s a nut case—although, on CSP’s various boards of “regents” and advisers have been folks such as Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and many others.
But his latest broadside against Huma Abedin, by all accounts an accomplished, middle-of-the-road public official, may take the cake—in this case, the nut cake. Gaffney found willing accomplices in Representative Michele Bachmann and a coterie of fellow ultra-right members of the House of Representatives, and their absurd diatribe against Abedin led John McCain, the Arizona Republican, to denounce Bachmann et al.
Does this have any lasting political meaning? Well, since large numbers of Republican-leaning voters consider Barack Obama to be a Muslim, and since even some Democrats in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia agree, the answer might be: Yes. Unless Gaffney and his ilk are once and for all exposed as kooks.
In her jihad against Abedin, Bachmann spewed out a stream of letters to half a dozen top US officials, including John Brennan, Obama’s top adviser on terrorism; the director of National Intelligence; and many others. To get a flavor of the letters, I urge you to read one or two. Among them: a letter to the deputy inspector general of the State Department. That letter reads, in part:
According to “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within,” a product of the Center for Security Policy, the [State] Department’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members—her late father, her mother, and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.
Need it be added that the “connections” she talks about are nonexistent and that Bachmann lists literally dozens of organizations as Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated or suspiciously too Muslim-looking in her letters.
Joining Bachmann’s errant jihad were four other less-than-stellar members of the House: Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland.
Fortunately, rather than rely on pro-Obama, obviously Muslim-tainted sources to rebut Bachmann, we can quote a speech from Senator McCain on the Senate floor:
These allegations about Huma and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant.
The letter 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. 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.
These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.
I have every confidence in Huma’s loyalty to our country, and everyone else should as well. All Americans owe Huma a debt of gratitude for her many years of superior public service. I hope these ugly and unfortunate attacks on her can be immediately brought to an end and put behind us before any further damage is done to a woman, an American, of genuine patriotism and love of country.
Ultimately, what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a nation, and who we still aspire to be. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.
Well, not quite. In a July 18 response to the furor, Bachmann responded thus:
The letters my colleagues and I sent on June 13 to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State—and the follow up letter I wrote to Rep. Ellison on July 13—are unfortunately being distorted.
I encourage everyone, including media outlets, to read them in their entirety. The intention of the letters was to outline the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group’s access to top Obama administration officials.
Most recently, the State Department shockingly decided to give Hani Nour Eldin, a member of an Egyptian designed terrorist group, a visa to not only enter the country in violation of the federal laws prohibiting material support for terrorism, but to be granted a meeting inside the White House with National Security Council officials.
The terror group member used the opportunity of his White House visit to call for the release of the imprisoned leader of his organization, the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, who is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later planned terror plots inside the U.S.
This is just the latest example of the dangerous national security decisions made by the Obama administration. I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces.
Yes, indeed. Read them in full.