A media storm ensued after accusations made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) that a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was working to push Muslim Brotherhood interests in the U.S. government. But the attention often omits a host of other players in the affair: Bachmann’s four Republican House colleagues that co-signed her letters to the Inspectors General of several U.S. government agencies and the other victims of the smears. One from each cohort came into stark focus today during a Homeland Security Department (DHS) oversight hearing.
During the hearing, Bachmann letter co-signer Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) furiously questioned Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Gohmert’s interrogation focused on Mohamed Elibiary, a member of DHS’s Combatting Violent Extremism Working Group (CVE), who was named in the letter to DHS.
Gohmert asked Napolitano about his previous request for information on accusations made by all the usual Isamophobic bloggers that Elibiary leaked classified information to the media. Napolitano called Gohmert’s claim “inaccurate,” adding, “What bothers me, quite frankly, are the allegations that are made against anyone that happens to be Muslim”:
NAPOLITANO: I found out that the statements that have been made in that regard are false. They are misleading and objectionable, and I think they’re wrong.
GOHMERT: You need to know that you have people who are lying in your department. … Are you saying …it is a lie that Mohammed Elbiary downloaded material from a classified website using the secret security clearance you gave him? Are you saying that is a lie?
NAPOLITANO: I’m saying that is inaccurate. That is incorrect. … I’m saying that he as far as I know did not download classified documents. [...]
GOHMERT: It did not bother you that he accessed some information?
NAPOLITANO: He accessed some information. What bothers me, quite frankly, are the allegations that are made against anyone that happens to be Muslim.
Gohmert insists he’s not singling out Muslims because of their religion. “You see me hugging Muslims around the world, because the ones I hug are our friends.” The exchange went further down hill from there, with Gohmert repeatedly interrupting and yelling at Napolitano. Watch the video:
The letter Gohmert co-signed with Bachmann to DHS’s Inspector General names Elibiary as having “extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood” and that he has “sympathy for Islamist causes.” It accuses him of “gain(ing) access to classified documents” and cited other “undue, and potentially dangerous, exercised by such individuals.”
The potential danger posed by Elibiary might come as a shock to the F.B.I., which gave Elibiary an award last fall for “his extraordinary contributions to specific cases in support of the FBI’s counterterrorism mission.”