Special to WorldTribune.com
By Cliff Kincaid
The head of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) is defending controversial State Department official Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is suspected of playing a role in Obama administration “engagement” with the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood.
Neera Tanden, president and CEO of CAP and Counselor for CAP’s Action Fund, has sent out an email defending Abedin and asking that Rep. Michele Bachmann be thrown off the House Intelligence Committee for asking questions about the vetting process that Abedin was supposed to go through.
“Michele Bachmann has gone from outrageous to dangerous,” Tanden said in her email to CAP supporters.
Tanden is a former Obama administration official whose previous claim to fame was working for the Obama White House to pass Obamacare. Her work at CAP apparently includes supporting the Obama administration’s policy to “engage” with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is believed Abedin is right in the middle of that, by virtue of her position as State Department deputy chief of staff.
CAP is the organization that hired Van Jones before he took his job as White House “Green Jobs Czar” and then re-hired him after his communist background came to light and he lost his job in the administration.
Tanden said in her email to CAP supporters that the problem was not Abedin’s access to classified information but Bachmann’s. She urged House Speaker John Boehner to remove Bachmann from the Intelligence Committee. “Rep. Bachmann’s antics have proven that she can’t be trusted to act in our best interests,” said Tanden.
Boehner, as well as Sen. John McCain, had criticized Bachmann for merely asking questions about Abedin’s fitness for her position. But they didn’t indicate familiarity with or knowledge of Abedin’s security clearance form, known as Standard Form 86, or the “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.”
Despite the claims of “witch hunt” and “McCarthyism” that are echoed in the liberal media, especially by Anderson Cooper of CNN, Bachmann and other members of Congress simply want to know whether Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood connections were disclosed and/or examined when she gained access to national security information.
Their letter to the Inspector General of the State Department points out that Abedin “has three family members — her late father, her mother and her brother — connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” and that “Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.”
The matter can be resolved, if the media are truly interested in getting to the bottom of the controversy, by demanding access to Abedin’s Standard Form 86, which she was supposed to fill out before getting her State Department job. House Speaker Boehner could also demand a copy.
Did she disclose her family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as to Saudi Arabia, where she once lived and was raised?
“It is required that job candidates complete the questionnaire and other required forms thoroughly, honestly, and with candor,” the State Department says.
For its part, the White House says it is committed to transparency and open government. Releasing Abedin’s form is a test case and a way to start resolving the controversy.
The questionnaire for national security positions is a 127-page document which asks for such information as relatives and associates, foreign activities, foreign countries visited, the use of illegal drugs, and involvement in groups dedicated to terrorism or the overthrow of the U.S. government.
The State Department says, “Eligibility for access to classified information, commonly known as a security clearance, is granted only to those for whom an appropriate personnel security background investigation has been completed. It must be determined that the individual’s personal and professional history indicates loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and sound judgment, as well as freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion, and a willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling, and protection of classified information.”
It is not surprising that CAP would spring to the defense of Abedin. Matt Duss, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, wrote an article, “Talking to the Muslim Brotherhood (finally),” in which he defended the administration “reaching out to parties and Islamic movements” but at the same time raised concern about “the group’s most prominent affiliated cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, [who] regularly issues the grossest anti-American and anti-Semitic slanders on his Al- Jazeera show.”
AIM has called on Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, to investigate Al-Jazeera, on the grounds that it functions as a mouthpiece for terrorist groups. He has not undertaken such an investigation.
CAP, however, works openly with Al-Jazeera. When CAP released a report that purported to examine a conservative network of people and groups described as “Fear Inc.” and said to be guilty of “Islamophobia” toward Muslims, one of the authors, Wajahat Ali, went on Al-Jazeera to promote the claims.
Wajahat Ali and Matt Duss collaborated on another article that attempted to explain why Sharia, or Islamic religious law, “is not the threat conservatives claim it is.” The authors expressed particular concern that the Center for Security Policy had authored a major report advocating that supporters of Islamic law be barred from holding positions of trust in federal, state, or local governments or the armed forces of the United States.
Last August, CAP sponsored an event designed to counteract the movement to prohibit the adoption of Sharia in the U.S. The group also opposed Rep. Peter King’s hearings on how Muslims in the U.S. are being radicalized to carry out terrorism.
Conservative writer Daniel Greenfield says, “A more accurate name for CAP would be the Center for Islamist Progress.”