Michele Bachmann's Smear of Huma Abedin: From Fringe Conspiracy to the Halls of Congress

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s much-maligned witch hunt against Muslim-Americans working in the Obama administration, including top State Department official Huma Abedin, is the outgrowth of a festering conspiracy theory that has been gaining traction in right-wing circles, where Obama is viewed as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood if not a secret Muslim himself.

One of the main perpetrators is Frank Gaffney, whose Center for Security Policy is cited by Bachmann in her letter to the inspector general [pdf]. Gaffney is a birther have resulted in him being driven out of even conservative gatherings. He believes that President Obama is “America’s first Muslim President” who is leading an Islamist left-wing “Red-Green axis” and intends to become a dictator. Not only does Gaffney think that Muslims should be prosecuted for practicing Sharia and that New Jersey’s Republican governor Chris Christie is guilty of “misprision of treason” for appointing a Muslim-American judge, but he also seeks the establishment of a House Anti-American Activities Committee. While speaking with Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin earlier this month, Gaffney asked Boykin about Huma Abedin’s “very extensive ties, family and personal, to the Muslim Brotherhood” and identified her as an “enemy inside the wire.”

Gaffney: General Boykin, we were talking before the break about an issue that I know as we’ve been discussing is of great concern to you, the Muslim Brotherhood and its rise, the extent to which it is being enabled in that rise by the Obama administration. I’d like to turn to a subject that I know you’ve also given a lot of thought to, particularly as a man who has spent many years as an intelligence professional, namely the counter-intelligence threat posed by the Brotherhood in our own country. Recently as you know Rush Limbaugh has lit up an individual with very extensive ties, family and personal, to the Muslim Brotherhood and who is at the moment the deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of State, her name is Huma Abedin. What do you make, as an intelligence professional, make of what is going on here. Huma Abedin is not alone as we’ve identified in our course, the Muslim Brotherhood in America: the Enemy Within, there are a number of others, but what is going on here and why is the Obama administration seemingly so clueless about this enemy inside the wire?

Boykin, a proponent of banning mosques and stripping Muslim-Americans of their First Amendment rights and a consistent purveyor of wild and outlandish conspiracies, said Huma Abedin’s position is proof that “there is support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government.”

Boykin: I would not begin to try and explain the actions of the administration because it is beyond anything that I can possibly claim. 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.

So while Bachmann’s reprehensible and baseless charges against Abedin and other officials may be raising eyebrows in Congress and even among her fellow Republicans, they are nothing new on the right.