Smear against Huma Abedin Endorsed by Michele Bachmann, Repudiated by High-Profile Republicans

Smear first made by Walid Shoebat last year

This one is being widely reported; from Politico:

They were long afraid to do it, but now conservatives have their knives out for Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Senators in her own party, congressional candidates, a lawmaker in her state’s delegation and leaders of the House Republican Conference are all lambasting the Minnesota Republican for saying the wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

..The Republican backlash against Bachmann started with Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) statement on the Senate floor Wednesday, saying she had made “sinister accusations.”

Rep. Jeff Flake, a conservative Arizona lawmaker running for Senate, tweeted “Kudos to @SenJohnMcCain for his statement on Senate floor yesterday defending Clinton aide. Well said.”

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) added: “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.”

John Boehner, meanwhile, stated that

“I don’t know Huma, but from everything I do know of her, she has a sterling character,” Boehner told reporters Thursday. “And I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”

McCain’s full speech can be read here. Bachmann’s accusation was made in a letter to Ambassador Harold W. Geisel, Deputy Inspector General at the Department of State, and co-signed by Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney, and Lynn Westmoreland.

I noted the conspiracy-theory about Huma Abedin in June last year; the subject appears to have been raised first by Walid Shoebat, in the wake of a failed conspiracy theory (suggested by Eleana Benador, who has handled PR for Richard Perle, James Woolsey, and Frank Gaffney) that Abedin’s husband Anthony Weiner may have secretly converted to Islam.

Shoebat suggested that Abedin’s family background put her in the same position as Eva Braun:

Imagine during World War II, the U.S. government accepted Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress or one of Hitler’s henchmen daughters to work with our State Department and even be with the Secretary of State 24/7?

RightWingWatch notes that the subject was raised again earlier this month by Frank Gaffney and Gen William “Jerry” Boykin. Boykin, egged on by Gaffney, explained that:

Secondly, Huma [Abedin] is not the only person who has penetrated our government and if you go back to the explanatory memorandum that is in our book, Sharia: The Threat, which was discovered in Annandale, Virginia in the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of their strategies was to penetrate our government and they have done so. If my mother or father was a known member of the Muslim Brotherhood it is highly unlikely that I would ever be able to get a security clearance so you have to ask yourself, why is this individual able to do that when no one else can possibly do that. So there is a willful blindness to what is happening. I believe in some aspects of this situation there is support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government, that sounds extremist but it is just a fact, it’s a reality.

In 2010, Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy produced a report entitled Shariah: The Threat to America (discussed here), to which Boykin also contributed; Boykin publicised the report in a letter to supporters which emphasised the dangers of Muslims being employed by the Obama administration:

The Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security recently swore in two devout Muslims in senior posts…. Was it not “Devout Muslim men” that flew planes into U.S. buildings 9 years ago? Was it not a Devout Muslim who killed 14 at Fort Hood?

…It’s not just about ONE mosque being built near the 9-11 catastrophe, it is about Sharia Law not stopping until they overtake each and every government on this earth…

The letter was written in Boykin’s capacity as “Grand Chancellor” of a chivalric order called “The Knights of Malta: The Ecumenical Order”; Boykin co-signed it with Nicholas Papanicolaou, the order’s “Grand Master” (the two men inducted Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff into the order last autumn).

Think Progress, following Adam Serwer at Mother Jones, notes that Bachmann has links to Gaffney – as does McCain himself. Serwer observed:

McCain inexplicably also defends Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy, as a “friend” despite the center’s role in providing “empirical” support for the absurd conspiracy theory that American Muslims are secretly trying to impose Taliban-style Islamic law on the United States. It’s Gaffney’s scurrilous reasoning masquerading as policy expertise that lead to Bachmann’s smearing of Abedin in the first place. 

Gaffney’s conspiracy-mongering is extravagant: just recently he shared a stage with phony “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem while Saleem explained that whenever Obama appears to pledge allegiance to the flag, he in fact holds his hand in a special way which shows that in reality he is praying to Allah. One conspiracy Gaffney was forced to back down from was his claim that the DOD’s Missile Defense Agency’s  logo represented the “morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo…” and was an act “of submission to Shariah by President Obama”. Alas, it turned out that the logo dated from 2007.

Boykin, meanwhile, has featured on his blog a number of times: while he remains most famous with the general public for the controversy over his comments reported in 2003 on how the War on Terror is a religious war, he is also a high-profile figure in the Christian Right, associated in particular with the neo-Pentecostal evangelist Rick Joyner.