A genuine American hero, Sen. John McCain, has issued a stinging rebuke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to Michele Bachmann and her four co-conspirators in Congress, saying their “sinister accusations” with respect to Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood were “an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen,” have “no logic, no basis, and no merit,” and “need to stop now.”
Bachmann’s former presidential campaign chief, Ed Rollins, who served as national campaign director for the Reagan-Bush ‘84 campaign, said Bachmann was guilty of a “grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior,” called on her to apologize, and condemned Bachmann’s comments as equivalent to those of the late Sen. Joe McCarthy’s discredited anti-Communist witch hunt of the 1950s.
When will Republican officeholders in Minnesota (PDF) – particularly in the 6th Congressional District — stop sucking up to Bachmann, show some political courage, and stand up to the conspiracy nut?
STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON THE MATTER OF RECENT ATTACKS MADE ON HUMA ABEDIN
July 18, 2012
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today delivered the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate on the matter of recent attacks made on Huma Abedin:
“Mr. President: Rarely do I come to the floor of this institution to discuss particular individuals. But I understand how painful and injurious it is when a person’s character, reputation, and patriotism are attacked without concern for fact or fairness. It is for that reason that I rise today to speak in defense of Huma Abedin.
“Over the past decade, I have had the pleasure of coming to know Huma during her long and dedicated service to Hillary Rodham Clinton, both in the United States Senate and now in the Department of State. I know Huma to be an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working, and loyal servant of our country and our government, who has devoted countless days of her life to advancing the ideals of the nation she loves and looking after its most precious interests. That she has done so while maintaining her characteristic decency, warmth, and good humor is a testament to her ability to bear even the most arduous duties with poise and confidence.
“Put simply, Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully. I am proud to know Huma, and to call her my friend.
“Recently, it has been alleged that Huma, a Muslim American, is part of a nefarious conspiracy to harm the United States by unduly influencing U.S. foreign policy at the Department of State in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist causes. On June 13, five members of Congress [Reps. Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney, and Lynn Westmoreland] wrote to the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of State, demanding that he begin an investigation into the possibility that Huma and other American officials are using their influence to promote the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government. The information offered to support these serious allegations is based on a report, ‘The Muslim Brotherhood in America,’ produced by the Center for Security Policy.
“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.
“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. Nor does either document offer any evidence of a direct impact that Huma may have had on one of the U.S. policies with which the authors of the letter and the producers of the report find fault. These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And they need to stop now.
“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 aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sect or ethnicity, but by a set of enduring, universal, and equal rights that are the foundation of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry, and our identity. 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.
“Our reputations, our character, are the only things we leave behind when we depart this earth, and unjust attacks that malign the good name of a decent and honorable person is not only wrong; it is contrary to everything we hold dear as Americans.
“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.”
Related reports and opinion
Michele Bachmann demands investigations into the Muslim Brotherhood’s “deep penetration” into the U.S. government
Rep. Michele Bachmann introduces Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, Va., May 3, 2012. (Photo credit: AP /Jae C. Hong via Salon.com)
By Alex Seitz-Wald
July 13, 2012
The tide of Islamophobia that threatened to drown the political scene in the summer of 2010 during the debate over what critics called the “ground zero mosque” [link added] has since receded and Muslim conspiracy theories have largely vanished from the political debate. But with another election looming, the tide may be rising again, and Rep. Michele Bachmann is predictably already ahead of the crowd.
The Minnesota Republican, joined by Republican Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland, sent letters to the inspectors general of five government agencies responsible for national security to demand they investigate infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood into the highest reaches of the federal government.
In particular, Bachmann singled out Huma Abedin, the wife of former congressman Anthony Weiner and a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In case Abedin hasn’t already been through enough already, Bachmann is now questioning her loyalty to the U.S. by asserting that Abedin has three family members who are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood (Abedin is Muslim). She’s been targeted before by anti-Muslim activists, and Bachmann notes that Abedin’s position “affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.” Bachmann also claims the state has “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.”
Another letter targets the Department of Defense, which Bachmann et al. accuse of failing to “characterize accurately the jihadist motivations” of Maj. Nidal Hassan [link added], the Army psychiatrist accused in the Fort Hood shooting.
A third letter went to the Department of Homeland Security, alleging the department is covering up the Muslim Brotherhood threat by developing an official lexicon that obfuscates its danger. Yet another letter went to the Department of Justice inspector general warning that officials there had been meeting with Muslim groups that she accused of being “fronts” for the Brotherhood.
The final letter went to the Office of Director of National Intelligence, stating, “we request that your office conduct a formal investigation or evaluation into the extent to which Muslim-Brotherhood tied individuals and entities were involved in” actions they deem improper.
The Associated Press
By Steve Benen
The Maddow Blog
July 16, 2012
How can one tell for sure that there’s an election coming up? Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is busy trying to generate new fears about Muslims. Alex Seitz-Wald took a look at the right-wing lawmaker’s new conspiracy theory, which is every bit as ridiculous as the previous ones. …
The new witch hunt appears to have begun in earnest a few weeks ago, when Bachmann told a fringe religious right activist that “there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood” and that security agents are no longer allowed to learn about terrorist attacks.
But intensity of the nonsense has only grown since. Bachmann suspects pro-Muslim forces have not only secretly gained influence in the State Department, but have also secretly gained influence at the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice. She also wants the Office of Director of National Intelligence to do an internal investigation to determine “the extent to which Muslim-Brotherhood tied individuals and entities were involved” in DNI activities Bachmann doesn’t like.
Perhaps now would be a good time to note that, just last year, Bachmann was named to the House Intelligence Committee and won the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.
Incidentally, Bachmann doesn’t have credible evidence to bolster her strange theories, but that’s apparently beside the point — McCarthyism isn’t about proof; it’s about irrational fear and sowing seeds of distrust.
In 2010, the far-right used this effectively with the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.” It’s reassuring that, at least for now, those who aren’t laughing at Bachmann are ignoring her.
Bachmann, conservatives push Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy (MSNBC “Hardball,” July 16, 2012) – Chris Matthews talks to Brian Levin, Director of the Center for the Studies of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino, and political analyst Ron Reagan about the conspiracy theory drummed up by Michele Bachmann and three other members of Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the American government. (06:15)
By Mark Sommerhauser
St. Cloud Times
July 10, 2012
The Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamist movement that recently came to power in Egypt, has made “deep penetration” within the U.S. government, according to Rep. Michele Bachmann, and she wants an investigation of its influence within five federal agencies.
The former Republican presidential candidate and four other members of Congress singled out the movement last month in letters to federal defense, diplomatic, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. …
Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia joined Bachmann in co-signing the letters, which went to the State Department, the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
By Editorial Board
St. Cloud Times
July 11, 2012
Given her abysmal speaking habits involving facts, truth and accuracy, you can’t help but be skeptical.
Still, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s recent challenge to five powerful federal offices about their interactions with the Muslim Brotherhood certainly comes with a little more “meat on the bone” than her typical political bombshells. …
We encourage her to provide more details. … We make that request because her initial comments to a syndicated radio show sounded more like political bombshells than questions deserving serious answers.
In the letters, Bachmann and her co-authors believe the brotherhood wants to destroy Western civilization and that these federal agencies have allowed the brotherhood to exert too much influence on President Barack Obama’s administration. The letters cite a variety of examples, some of which seem to have merit and others of which reiterate Bachmann’s penchant for drama where there is none. …
Protecting this nation’s security, not to mention the freedoms in its First Amendment, are of paramount concern to all Americans. That’s why Bachmann must provide more details and these agencies must provide more answers.
By Mark Sommerhauser
St. Cloud Times
July 14, 2012
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is asking how a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got security clearance given what Bachmann describes as the aide’s family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Bachmann also says an investigation of “potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration” of President Barack Obama’s administration is needed because of interactions between federal agencies and what she calls U.S. front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamist group that recently came to power in Egypt.
The comments come in Bachmann’s new response to U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s call for Bachmann to back up the information on which she based a request for federal investigations into whether the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government. …
Bachmann, R-Stillwater, responded Friday with a 16-page, 59-footnote letter to Ellison. The letter contains additional details about the June 13 allegations made by Bachmann and Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga. …
One of Bachmann’s June 13 letters singles out Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.
Bachmann’s letter says three members of Abedin’s family have had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, notes that her job affords her routine access to Clinton, and says the State Department has taken recent actions “that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.” …
A Brotherhood-backed candidate, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president of Egypt earlier this year.
Bachmann’s attacks on Muslims drawing bipartisan rebukes (Kevin Diaz, Star Tribune, July 19, 2012)– U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is facing a public firestorm over her accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the federal government and working for “America’s demise.” Her attacks, including one directed at Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, prompted Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, to denounce her from the Senate floor on Wednesday, where he defended Abedin and called Bachmann’s comments “specious and degrading.” The State Department also weighed in, saying Bachmann’s remarks were “vicious and disgusting lies.” … Read more
Bachmann’s former campaign chief — Shame on you, Michele (Edward Rollins, FoxNews.com, July 18, 2012) — I have been a practitioner of tough politics for many decades. There is little that amazes me and even less that shocks me. I have to say that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s outrageous and false charges against a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin reaches that threshold. … Read more story
Bachmann battered over infiltration accusation (Mark Sommerhauser, St. Cloud Times, July 19, 2012) — Sen. John McCain has denounced what he calls “sinister accusations” by Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other lawmakers about a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made as part of Bachmann’s call to investigate if the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government. … [That], plus blistering rebukes from Clinton’s office and Bachmann’s former presidential campaign chief, Ed Rollins, were among a mounting bipartisan backlash to a key part of Bachmann’s broad-ranging Brotherhood comments, after the Times reported on them last week. … Read more
Huma Abedin attacks by Michele Bachmann condemned by John Boehner, Marco Rubio (The Huffington Post, July 19, 2012) — Boehner warned that lawmakers shouldn’t make such serious allegations without anything to back them up. … Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) weighed in on Twitter, writing, “Rep. Bachmann’s accusations about Sec. Clinton aide Huma Abedin are out-of-line. This kind of rhetoric has no place in our public discourse.” And on Thursday morning, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he didn’t “share the feelings” expressed in the lawmakers’ letters. … Read more
Bachmann’s politics of slime (Washington Post Editorial, July 19, 2012) — It would be simple to ignore the baseless and paranoid assertions of Ms. Bachmann were she not a member of Congress and an also-ran in the recent race for the Republican presidential nomination. Her status doesn’t confer respectability on her views … but it does call for a response, if only to restore a dose of rationality to the public discourse. … Ms. Bachmann’s accusations are in the squalid tradition of McCarthyism and other shameful chapters of our history in which politicians have slandered their rivals as un-American, allied with enemy forces or guilty by association with shadowy forces. Her tactics are no less ugly than those of her predecessors. … Read more
Michele Bachmann, have you no shame? (Seattle Times Editorial, July 19, 2012) — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann often plunges recklessly into controversy, but her latest sally is most damaging: an attack on the reputations of an individual and five federal-government departments. … Bachmann’s claim that Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, deserves the same censure in Congress that Joseph McCarthy received for his witch hunt for Communists 60 years ago. … Read more
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich.
(Photo credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP via USA Today)
By Susan Davis
June 20, 2012
The two top members of the U.S. House intelligence committee disassociated themselves from the tone and substance of allegations by Rep. Michele Bachmann, a panel member, that an investigation is warranted in suspected efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the federal government.
“We are in a special situation as members of the intelligence committee, and we get a lot of briefings and to deal with the issue of terrorism and those types of thing,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., the committee’s top Democrat, told USA TODAY. “It’s unfortunate that someone like Michele would make that kind of comment without facts.” …
Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a former FBI agent, said Bachmann’s assertions about the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration efforts are false.
“That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee, and I can say that on the record,” he told USA TODAY, aligning himself with party leaders who have defended Abedin. “I have no information in my committee that would indicate that Huma is anything other than an American patriot.”
Rogers said Bachmann’s efforts were an individual decision that was not part of any committee action. “This was not an activity that was sanctioned as any intelligence committee matter.”
Rogers and Ruppersberger declined to comment on whether they have confidence in Bachmann’s ability to serve on the intelligence panel. The committee is one of three — ethics and rules are the others — that are appointed by the House speaker. The membership of other committees are determined by a broader group of lawmakers.
Boehner was asked Thursday whether he was considering removing Bachmann from the panel he put her on. “I don’t know that that’s related at all,” he said.
Ruppersberger said he is confident the U.S. government is capable of monitoring and preventing the kinds of threats alleged by Bachmann.
“We have to be very concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood, with their past record and what they represent. But believe me, we are very good at intelligence. We have the best intelligence agencies in the world, and that’s why our country is still safe because we are able to gain the intelligence to protect our country,” he said. “We’re very much focused on all groups that could be a threat to world peace, to our country and to our citizens.”
Beyond Bachmann: A challenge for the GOP (James Zogby, The Huffington Post, July 21, 2012) — First, it appears that in picking on Abedin, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s long-time aide, Bachmann and company took the “witch hunt” a step too far. Having been by Mrs. Clinton’s side since her days as First Lady, Huma Abedin is known and deeply respected in Washington and beyond. During the past two decades, Abedin has been repeatedly vetted by the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. That Bachmann would hurl bizarre charges and flimsy allegations at Abedin and her family suspecting them of “Muslim extremist” ties based on no hard evidence other than their faith and where they lived, was considered by many an outrage. … Read more
Chris Usher / The Associated Press via Star Tribune
Michele Bachmann’s dangerous paranoia (Los Angeles Times Editorial, July 20, 2012) — In the 1950s, Sen. Joe McCarthy and other paranoid anti-communists saw Reds under the bed – and in the State Department. Today a fringe group of conservatives believes similarly that Islamic fundamentalists have infiltrated the deepest recesses of the American government. In refuting such an aspersion made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) against a State Department official, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has struck a profile in courage that should encourage other conservatives to distance themselves from crackpot conspiracy theories. … Such delusions have consequences. … The notion of an Islamic Fifth Column in this country is poisonous not only to domestic tranquility but also to effective diplomacy. Leaders of both parties should repudiate it. … Read more
Michele Bachmann’s verbal bomb-throwing (Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial, July 21, 2012) — The Michele Bachmann who makes many Minnesotans wince returned this week. The relative respite the state had lately enjoyed from her verbal recklessnessended in spectacular fashion, as she and four congressmen on the GOP’s far-right fringe launched a broadside against a high-ranking State Department official — which she then punctuated with a swipe at Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. … We cannot recall a more brazen breach of collegiality within the state’s congressional delegation. If Bachmann has hard evidence linking Ellison to the Muslim Brotherhood, she is obliged to publicly produce it. If she does not, she owes him and his district a prompt apology. Refusal to produce either should lead to censure by the U.S. House. Bachmann appears to be back in prepresidential campaign form, tossing rhetorical bombs with little concern for the damage she inflicts. There may be no convincing her to change her ways. But Sixth District voters have it in their power to disconnect their region’s reputation from hers. … Read more
McCarthyism redux: Bachmann’s wild claim deserves condemnation (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 28, 2012) — Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has never been one of the most respected voices in Congress. In her brief run for the Republican presidential nomination, she could not broaden her appeal much beyond Tea Party activists and far-right nativists. … The congresswoman has used only a guilt-by-association argument to make her case … It all sounds familiar. Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy used similar tactics in the 1950s when he insisted Communists had infiltrated the State Department. … Read more
A baseless attack; McCarthy-era tactics can’t be allowed to go unchallenged in Washington (Las Vegas Sun, July 29, 2012) — Rep. Michele Bachmann and four of her congressional colleagues … haven’t offered any real proof. Instead, they have relied on rumor, innuendo and things they found on the Internet. Given the gravity of their allegations, that is unconscionable. They have smeared the name of Abedin and others without any evidence. This is reminiscent of the McCarthy era, when a whisper of a connection to Communism was enough to scuttle a reputation and sink a career. … [W]e would say to Bachmann and those who allow her to continue her un-American activities: You, too, have done enough. Have you also no sense of decency? … Read more
McCarthyism: Rumbling again (Charleston Gazette-Mail, July 29, 2012) — A half-century ago, flamboyant Sen. Joseph McCarthy was censured by Congress because he falsely accused many Americans of being treasonous secret communists. Now, a Tea Party leader and failed presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is playing the same witch-hunt game. … Tea Party leaders — especially Bachmann — have a ludicrous streak. She and her husband operate a clinic that claims to turn gays “straight” through prayer. Apparently she has expanded to smearing Muslim-Americans. … Read more
“[Bachmann's Democratic challenger] Jim Graves defends Muslim Brotherhood, mocks Michele Bachmann for warning of Brotherhood. Support Bachmann and Don’t Let the Muslim Brotherhood Win This One!” (Political ad by the National Republican Trust PAC, YouTube user NRTPac, Sept. 18, 2012)
Related reports on this site
10 Reasons Republicans Should Repudiate Bachmann (Aug. 13, 2012)
Bachmann Now Sees al-Qaida Influence in U.S. Government (Aug. 11, 2012)
Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Church Condemn Bachmann (July 27, 2012)
Video courtesy of Jim Graves for Congress
Michele Bachmann’s Record of Reckless Conspiracy Theories (July 24, 2012)
Michele Bachmann’s Blooming Paranoia (Oct. 23, 2010)
Bachmann’s Brainwashing Paranoia (MSNBC “Hardball,” April 7, 2009) – U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is warning that a new bill expanding the AmeriCorps community service agency could lead to the “brainwashing” of America’s youth. (02:34)
Bachmann Conspiracy Nation (Feb. 20, 2010)
Bachmann Says “I’m Not a Kook” (March 28, 2009)
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