This is simply stunning.
On February 10, 2011, Director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, appeared before the House Select Intelligence Committee. In response to a number of questions from Rep. Sue Myrick (R-9th Dist. NC) regarding the threat posed by The Muslim Brotherhood, Gen. Clapper made this outrageous statement:
“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, the betterment of the political order in Egypt and etcetera. [Interruption by Rep. Myrick in attempt to refocus]. In other countries, there are also ‘chapters’ or franchises of The Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in the pursuit of violence, at least internationally. And with that, since there are entities associated with The Muslim Brotherhood here in the United States I will ask [FBI] Director Mullens to speak to that.”
And “speak to that” Director Mueller did. Perhaps Mueller failed to get the memo from the Administration on whitewashing the MB. Maybe he has yet to succumb to the zombie spell. In any event, Mueller had no difficulty stating that, “I can say at the outset that elements of The Muslim Brotherhood, both here and overseas, have supported terrorism.”
To which I fully expected Director Clapper to jump in and respond with something like, “Yes, of course, terrorism, but not, you know, violent terrorism.”
Most news organizations are, strangely enough, not including Mueller’s comments but you can view them on C-SPAN. The relevant portion with Rep. Myrick begins at the 1:22:22 mark. Rep. Myrick recites some very devastating information about the MB which makes Clapper’s remarks all the more outrageous, not to mention non-responsive— something that seems to irritate Myrick to no end.
What does this say in a larger sense?
For one thing, I think we are witnessing (perhaps it is more accurate to say, we have been witnessing for some time now) the ultimate Dumbing Down of American government. Anyone can now trot up to Capitol Hill and testify about international terrorist groups if Gen. Clapper is any measure. I can only shudder to think what Clapper would say about those secular Hezbollah do-gooders. This is our Director of National Intelligence! This guy is theoretically in charge of all the other intelligence services in order to provide a coordinated and comprehensive picture of, among other things, significant threats to the U.S.
Maybe I am over-reacting here. Maybe the House Select Intelligence Committee just decided to post a sign-up sheet outside the chamber door and Clapper was the first guy on the list. He isn’t really the DNI, is he?
Does anyone else want to sign up?
A word of caution. Do not sign up to testify before a Congressional committee on weighty topics like national security or international terrorism, unless you have your own spokesperson who can issue “clarifying” statements if you happen to make a fool of yourself.
That makes Clapper one, lucky guy. Before the D.C. sun had set, a spokesperson for the DNI “clarified” Clapper’s remarks:
“To clarify Director Clapper’s point, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak’s rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation. He is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization,” DNI spokesperson Jamie Smith said.
Nice save. You, er, figured that out from the inclusion of “Muslim” in the name, did you?
The spokesperson claims that Clapper was merely making a point about the MB’s participation on the political system. Was that Clapper’s point? Watch the video yourself and decide.
Clapper’s point seemed to be a direct response to Rep. Myrick’s concerns about the radical nature of the MB, particularly considering Myrick’s with the damning statements from the F.B.I.’s own investigation of the MB and its involvement in sponsoring terrorism that grew out of the Holy Land Foundation case.
Clapper’s testimony seemed designed to blunt Myrick’s protrayal of the MB as a radical Islamist group with a very definite agenda to subvert Western democracies. Clapper’s statement seemed calculated to portray the MB as a non-violent, almost benign or even benevolent presence in Egypt. It is the equivalent of, “Don’t be silly, Congresswoman, the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t have any grand plan for promoting an Islamic caliphate and universal muslim rule.”
Why would Clapper, an important voice of the Administration, want to mischaracterize the MB in this way?
Part of the reason may be simple damage control.
Flopping about like a freshly caught fish, the Obumble Administration cannot make up its collective mind on whether or how to respond to events in Egypt. Perhaps Clapper’s testimony reflects an effort to re-cast the MB as secular and moderate in order to claim, after the MB takes power in Egypt and bares its feral teeth, that they are shocked, shocked!
This is something like a 2011 re-make of the 1979 movie classic, Jimmy Carter and Khomeini, where Obama plays the role of heartbroken lover, surprised to find that the moderate, secular Muslim Brotherhood that promised they would respect him (and political liberties) in the morning is a radical Islamist afterall. The problem with re-makes, of course, is that we have seen it before. We know how the 1979 movie ended and no amount of re-casting by Obama is going to change things this time around either.
But there is something more than just damage control here. These statements are so far off the mark that they seem almost delusional. I would not be the first one to raise that possibility.
Look at the sorts of things Clapper said in that one, short statement. The MB is an “umbrella term”? No, it’s not. The Muslim Brotherhood is a very definite and distinct group, founded in 1928 in Egypt with the stated goal of restoring fundamentalist Islam to dominance throughout the Middle East and beyond. From Egypt, the MB has inspired and/or formed off-shoots— Clapper uses the term “franchises”– in other countries. Like Hamas.
And what about his claim that there is “no overarching agenda” ? If you watch the C-SPAN video from 1:22:22 on you will see that Rep. Myrick gives ample evidence of the MB’s overarching agenda and that agenda is not confined to Egypt but includes the U.S. as well.
Still it is difficult to believe that even this Administration could be so deluded. Andrew McCarthy suggests that this is more of a case of willful stupidity.
It may be simply that and no more. But there is a nagging uneasiness. If it is not delusion nor cynical damage control or willful stupidity, that leaves one, very disturbing possibility.
After watching this Administration over the last 2+ years, seeing the repeated follies and seeming mistakes over and over, one cannot help but wonder whether this is intentional. How could an Administration be so thoroughly and consistently incompetent? As the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally. The Obama-Squirrel, however, seems to be avoiding the nuts and throwing out the ones that have been collected after decades of hard work by others.
The situation in Egypt bears watching, not only because of the important geopolitical implications, but because of what it may or may not say about the larger policy goals of this Administration.