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Patrick Poole

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July 16, 2012 - 11:00 am

Last month five members of Congress sent letters to the Inspectors General of the State Department, the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence asking for investigations into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in these agencies.

Citing specific cases, the letters were sent just one day after Neil Munro at the Daily Caller revealed that the Justice Department Inspector General had launched an investigation into the FBI’s ongoing contacts with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), despite a stated policy of having no contacts with the group after FBI agents testified and numerous exhibits were entered into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial that showed CAIR was a front for Hamas.

Even before the conclusion of the Holy Land Foundation trial, federal prosecutors had said in court filings in the Sabri Behkahla appeal that “Moreover, from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.” (pg. 58, fn 13)

That Inspector General investigation was launched after White House Director for Community Partnerships told Munro that the administration had “hundreds” of contacts with CAIR despite the FBI’s stated policy.

In February 2010 letter to members of Congress from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, he explained the evidence from the Holy Land Foundation trial implicating CAIR in the Hamas support conspiracy.

So that’s the context for the dust-up last week between Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Keith Ellison (Ellison is the first Muslim member of Congress). After the DOJ Inspector General announced he was looking into the FBI/CAIR contacts, the five members of Congress sent their letters to the respective Inspectors General asking them to investigate specific incidents of known or possible Muslim Brotherhood front group’s influence with these government agencies.

In response, last Thursday Ellison sent a letter to all five members demanding that they provide sources for the claims in their Inspector General request letters. Half of Ellison’s letter was an ad hominem attack on Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy. A number of media outlets, including the Huffington Post and Bachmann’s hometown newspaper, the St. Cloud Times, jumped into the fray attacking the signatories of the request letters for “Islamophobia” and ne0-McCarthism.

What they didn’t expect is that less than 24 hours later Bachmann would respond with a 16-page rejoinder with 59 footnotes to original sources backing up their claims.

I do note that the facts we presented in the Inspector General request letters are based on information presented by U.S. Government officials in court documents, court evidence, correspondence and briefings with Congress and public statements, in addition to known media reporting. These letters were far from sole-sourced as you maintain in your letter.

Throughout the letter, Bachmann notes that Ellison had deliberately misrepresented the facts stated in the Inspector General request letters to gin up his “Islamophobia conspiracy” accusations.

What follows is an impressive point-by-point systematic dismantling of Ellison.

Michele Bachmann Letter to Keith Ellison 2012-07-13

At the end of the letter, Bachmann states that since sending the June 13th letters, additional information has come forth to raise even greater questions:

Since we sent the Inspector General letters requesting further investigation, other shocking incidents have occurred. Chief among these was the decision just a few weeks ago by the State Department to give a member of an Egyptian designated terrorist group (which is still listed as such by the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism54) 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.55

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.56

She finishes the letter by observing the duplicity with which the U.S. Government has handled its Muslim outreach by saying one thing about terror-tied Islamic groups in federal court, and then pretending that such information doesn’t exist day-to-day:

Administration prosecutors and investigators have made statements backed up by considerable evidence in court raising serious concerns about many of the Muslim Brotherhood front groups, but the day-to-day operation of these departments and agencies continue “outreach” programs involving these exact same organizations as if the evidence presented in federal court or statements made in search warrant applications doesn’t exist.

In light of the information revealed during the Holy Land Foundation trial, the FBI officially cut ties with CAIR because of their activities in support of Hamas.57And yet just last month the new White House Director for Community Partnerships admitted that this administration has had “hundreds” of meetings with CAIR in spite of the FBI’s stated policy.58It has been reported the White House has worked to conceal these ties (in one case, with ISNA and MPAC).59

As members of Congress, we are charged to oversee and hold accountable all government agencies – a charge given to us by the Constitution on behalf of the citizens of the United States. To do anything less is to subvert the oaths we took as members to protect and defend the Constitution. For us to fail to demand action on the part of the Inspector Generals on this matter is to fail to uphold the oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

It has to be said that when it comes to federal prosecutors identifying Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States, Rep. Keith Ellison is no disinterested observer.

Back in December 2008, Ellison took a hajj trip to Saudi Arabia funded by the Muslim American Society (MAS).

But in fact, more than a year before, federal prosecutors also addressed the origins of MAS in the Sabri Benkahla appeal, stating that “MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” The Chicago Tribune in September 2004 wrote an extensive expose of MAS as a recruitment and ideological training ground for the extremist international Muslim Brotherhood.

As Fox News noted the following year when Ellison finally had to disclose in congressional filings that MAS had paid for his trip, Ellison had been a keynote speaker at the MAS 2007 and 2008 annual national convention. He has also been a regular speaker at events for CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which were identified by the Justice Department in the Holy Land Foundation trial as Muslim Brotherhood fronts.

So in this case we have a congressman with extensive and documented ties to organizations identified by the U.S. government as Muslim Brotherhood fronts going to the media and attacking fellow colleagues for raising the issue of Muslim Brotherhood influence in the federal government. Such is the Kafkaesque world we live in.

The media’s response to Bachmann’s letter over the weekend is also instructive.

An article published Saturday by Mark Sommerhauser at the St. Cloud Times notes Bachmann’s rejoinder to Ellison, but fails to deal with the issues it raises nor deal with the sources cited, which is precisely what Ellison demanded. Instead, Sommerhauser just rehashes most of Ellison’s talking points.

But he interpolates his own agenda into his article. For instance, he raises the Frank Gaffney issue again and attributes it to Bachmann:

Bachmann says in her new letter that Gaffney’s think tank wasn’t the sole source for her call for an investigation.

But in fact in the July 13th letter Gaffney is never mentioned nor referred to. Her letter states:

I do note that the facts we presented in the Inspector General request letters are based on information presented by U.S. Government officials in court documents, court evidence, correspondence and briefings with Congress and public statements, in addition to known media reporting. These letters were far from sole-sourced as you maintain in your letter.

So Sommerhauser just invents it to rehash Ellison’s attack on Gaffney.

And then there are some egregious factual errors in his reporting. For example, he states:

Some allege that members of the Brotherhood have ties to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

But there is no “allege” with respect to the Brotherhood’s ties to Hamas, for the founding Hamas Covenant (1988) specifically identifies the group as a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood:

Article 2: The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Moslem Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.

And finally when Sommerhauser covered Ellison’s letter on Thursday, he embedded the letter into his article. And yet with Bachmann’s rejoinder, he merely put a link to the letter. So much for the media’s supposed “objectivity”.

Yesterday, I emailed Sommerhauser about these concerns and almost 24 hours later still have yet to hear back from him. Go figure.

So the score so far in this dustup is Bachmann – 1, Ellison and the establishment media – 0.

Here is Ellison’s letter:

Ellison Letter 7-12-12

Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia. Follow me on Twitter.
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