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. 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. As Alex Seitz-Wald reports for Salon:
As evidence, she pointed to Abedin’s late father, Professor Syed Z. Abedin, and a 2002 Brigham Young University Law Review article about his work. Bachmann points to a passage saying Abedin founded an organization that received the “quiet but active support” of the the former director of the Muslim World League, an international NGO that was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe in the 1970s through 1990s. So, to connect Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood, you have to go through her dead father, to the organization he founded, to a man who allegedly supported it, to the organization that man used to lead, to Europe in the 1970s and 1990s, and finally to the Brotherhood.
And from there, all connections lead to the obvious Islamofascist puppetmaster: Kevin Bacon, star of Footloose.
Seitz-Wald goes on to point out what would normally be a sticky logical problem for this conspiracy fantasy: Abedin is the wife of Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman from New York who is well-known for being one of the most relentlessly pro-Israel politicians in America. But if you recall, the sharia-paranoiacs have an answer for that, too. (It involves the wild notion that Muslim infiltrators positioned Abedin into her marriage to Weiner, or that Weiner himself is a secret Muslim, depending on the direction the wind is blowing that day.)
At any rate, if the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to infiltrate Congress, why wouldn't they do it the way everyone else does -- cut huge campaign checks and get their lobbyists to offer legislators lavish rewards for writing legislation?