2008 Republican presidential nominee and Republican Senator John McCain today took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to slam Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and others who are demanding the U.S. government investigate Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Abedin is married to former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
“Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), apparently in need of some attention, has launched some sort of paranoid inquiry into whether the U.S. Congress has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Jason Linkins reported yesterday at The Huffington Post.
Some weeks ago, Bachmann sought the assistance of inspector generals in the State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice Departments, asking them to investigate potential “policies and activities that appear to be the result of influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bachmann told radio host Sandy Rios in June. “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.”
Practicing Muslim and fellow Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) didn’t take to kindly to Bachmann’s insinuations, and sent her a letter asking her to provide him with “a full accounting of the sources you used to make the serious allegations against the individuals and organizations in your letters.” He also warned her that there had better be “credible, substantial evidence” for her claims.
Well, today, Bachmann responded to Ellison with 16 pages worth of “evidence”implicating the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to whom President George W. Bush created a “special envoy” position in 2008, and advocacy groups like the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Bachmann doesn’t make clear what evidence connects these latter groups to “infiltration” — their mere existence seems sufficient to warrant her paranoia.
But by the far the strangest claim of “infiltration” that she cites is the one she leads off her letter with: longtime Hillary Clinton aide-de-camp Huma Abedin. In her letter, Bachmann tells Ellison that she is concerned about Abedin’s familial connections to the Brotherhood, and raises concerns over her security clearance.
Today, in response, Senator McCain, occasionally known to do the right thing (video), said:
“To say that the accusations made in both documents are not substantiated by the evidence they offer is to be overly polite and diplomatic about it. It is far better, and more accurate, to talk straight: These allegations about Huma, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant,” according to a report in the New York Daily News:
Abedin, of course, is the wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner. The two told People magazine that they’re back to normal after Weiner’s forced departure from office (and Weiner said he has no immediate plans to run for public office again).
Aside from his broader condemnation of the attacks on Abedin, McCain also spoke on a personal note:
“Some years ago, I had the pleasure, along with my friend, the Senator from South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham, of traveling overseas with our colleague, then-Senator Hillary Clinton. By her side, as always, was Huma, and I had the pleasure of seeing firsthand her hard work and dedicated service on behalf of the former Senator from New York – a service that continues to this day at the Department of State, and bears with it significant personal sacrifice for Huma.
“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.”
Yesterday as well, McCain also said that Sarah Palin was a better vice presidential candidate than Mitt Romney.
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