Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other representatives are now being accused of McCarthyism over the letter they sent to defense, diplomatic, intelligence, and law-enforcement agencies asking them to investigate Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government. The implication is that Bachmann, like McCarthy (at least according to liberal myth), hurled false accusations damaging to the careers and livelihoods of innocent people. What no one is bothering to establish, however, is that the allegations are actually false, much less that they will damage anyone’s career.
The questions swirling around Department of Homeland Security official Mohamed Elibiary are a case in point. Bachmann’s letter to DHS’s inspector general states that Elibiary has “extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood” and “sympathy for Islamist causes,” and accuses him of “gain(ing) access to classified documents.”
Last week, Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), one of the signers of the letters asking for investigation of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration, asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about Elibiary. Gohmert put this question to Napolitano: “Are you saying before this Congress right now, that as secretary of Homeland Security, that it is a lie that Mohamed Elibiary downloaded material from a classified website using the secret security clearance you gave him? Are you saying that’s a lie?”
Napolitano responded: “I’m saying that is inaccurate. That is correct.” But when Gohmert pressed her on what was inaccurate about it, Napolitano began talking about prejudice against Muslims, and then said: “I’m saying that he … as far as I know … he did not download classified documents.” Gohmert saw through that immediately, responding: “One of the games that gets played by some people who come up here and testify is that they have somebody not provide them with adequate information so that they can come in her and say ‘so far as I know,’ ‘not to my knowledge,’ that kind of thing, and they obscure the truth.” Then he asked Napolitano: “Has Elibiary’s status on Homeland Security Advisory Council changed?” Napolitano said that it had not.
Thus it is clear that Elibiary has not suffered any career difficulties because of these allegations. It is also clear that as long as Barack Obama remains president, he will not. Napolitano, in fact, was anxious to protect him, parrying Gohmert’s questions and only reluctantly giving him straight answers.
So where is the McCarthyism? Is it that the allegations against Elibiary are self-evidently false?
Not by a long shot. Napolitano did not refute investigative journalist Patrick Poole’s findings, reported at PJ Media last year. Poole noted that “Elibiary may have been given access to a sensitive database of state and local intelligence reports, and then allegedly shopped some of those materials to a media outlet.” According to Poole, Elibiary approached “a left-leaning media outlet” with reports marked For Official Use Only that he said demonstrated rampant “Islamophobia” in the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The media outlet declined to do a story, but what was Elibiary doing shopping the Official Use Only documents in the first place?
Poole checked with Steve McCraw, director of the Texas DPS, who “confirmed that Elibiary has access to the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest (HS SLIC) database, which contains hundreds of thousands of intelligence reports and products that are intended for intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies.” Said McCraw of Elibiary: “We know that he has accessed DPS documents and downloaded them.”
There have been questions about Elibiary’s true allegiances for years. He was one of the speakers at a December 2004 conference in Dallas titled “A Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary.” The visionary in question was none other than the founding father of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini.
When I questioned him about his appearance at such a conference, Elibiary claimed that he hadn’t known what kind of conference it was going to be, although he didn’t explain why he went ahead and appeared there anyway once he found out. Among those who found this explanation wanting was journalist Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News, whose skepticism angered Elibiary. The great moderate subsequently threatened Dreher, telling him: “Expect someone to put a banana in your exhaust pipe.”
Yet despite all this, Elibiary still got his appointment to the DHS Advisory Council. Mohamed Elibiary has risen as far as he has without ever being properly vetted because government and law enforcement officials, and the media, are so avid to find a moderate Muslim who will stand against Islamic jihad terrorism that they will accept virtually anyone’s claim to be just that, no questions asked.
The case of Mohamed Elibiary, whether or not the allegations against him are true, should lead officials to take the recent call for an investigation more seriously, and to be more careful in the future. Maybe it could even lead them to adopt a more realistic view of Islamic belief and its implications for terror and national security. But it won’t.