Former National Security Council / State Department official (1993-2000), Eric Schwartz is the latest to come out against Michele Bachmann’s questions about the background of Huma Abedin. Given what happened at the State Department during his time there (Abdurahman Alamoudi was an Islamic affairs advisor in the Clinton administration during the late 90’s and is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for terrorist fundraising), he should be conceding Bachmann’s point about wanting to know more about how Huma was vetted.
To this point, no one seems to know. Her defenders, like Schwartz, just want it to be taken on faith. That’s unacceptable in light of what we now about Alamoudi… and in light of what we know about Huma. What we do know either warrants further vetting or warrants knowing how thoroughly she was vetted.
Via the Star Tribune:
As a former official at the National Security Council and the State Department, I can attest to the critical importance of sustaining the integrity of our national-security institutions. The question is not whether we face threats, but rather how we make Americans safer while ensuring our values.
As reflected in an Aug. 2 commentary (“We must not go easy on radical Islam”) by one of the authors of the congressional letter, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., views vary widely about the Muslim Brotherhood — and about the possibility for constructive engagement between U.S. officials and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a leader in the movement. And while a new administration — whether led by Mitt Romney or Barack Obama — is likely to engage politicians in Egypt connected to the Brotherhood (as the Bush administration sought to do after the 2005 elections in Egypt), debates on this question will continue.
Though he issues a full disclosure about the fact that he knows Huma personally, Schwartz waited until halfway through the article to do it.
Pressed by reporters, former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich defended the inquiry, arguing that “there weren’t allegations, there was a question.”
Full disclosure: I’ve worked with Huma Abedin. And like Sen. McCain, who condemned the congressional letter, I know her as a patriotic, honorable, dedicated and hardworking public servant.
But as stellar as they are, Abedin’s qualities are not the issue. The issue is the poison of public innuendo. Innuendo is not the wild claim, the allegation of wrongdoing, which can be easily discredited. Rather, it is the remark, the hint — or, to use Gingrich’s term, the “question” — that creates the suggestion of guilt without any accusation of wrongdoing.
Does the letter fit that definition?
Abedin is the only State Department official other than the secretary mentioned in the letter, which asserts the Muslim Brotherhood is engaged in information operations. It alleges that Abedin has potentially nefarious connections and asks about Muslim Brotherhood agents in the U.S. government.
That’s innuendo. It’s damning, and unless subjected to the disdain it deserves, it imposes upon its target the impossible task of proving his or her innocence when he or she has not been accused of any wrongdoing. And it comes in all shapes, sizes and political ideologies.
We may just be getting somewhere. Schwartz is now on record, publicly stating that he knows and has worked with Huma. When did he start doing so? How soon after Huma began working for Hillary Clinton in 1996 did Schwartz get to know her? Does Schwartz know anything about how she was vetted?
Obviously, if Bachmann’s concerns are addressed and something is found, Schwartz has all but told us it would be a huge embarrassment to him. After all, he knows Huma to be “patriotic” and “honorable”.
As to Schwartz’s point that Bachmann’s concerns are all about “innuendo”, he makes the charge without addressing the concerns. In layman’s parlance, we call that a “smear”.
This is as far as Schwartz goes……
…the letter states that Ms. Abedin has family members “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.” It makes note of her access to the secretary of state and asks the inspector general to identify whether any U.S. citizens may be agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Instead of addressing the facts that every member of Huma’s immediate family – including Huma herself – has served or continues to serve (Huma’s mother and brother) on the Board of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) with the backing of Abdullah Omar Nasseef, a man with distinct and multiple ties to organizations (Rabita Trust, Muslim World League, the IIRO) found to have connections to al-Qaeda, Schwartz flies right by those and accuses Bachmann of “innuendo”.
Another group that has been found to be suspected of fundraising for Hamas and al-Qaeda – The SAAR Foundation, should be of concern to Schwartz. None other than Abdurahman Alamoudi worked there as an executive assistant to the president before getting his position at the State Department in 1997.
Check out what Newsmax quoted Alamoudi as saying in late 1996, soon before he landed his State Department gig:
“I think if we are outside this country, we can say oh, Allah, destroy America, but once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it. There is no way for Muslims to be violent in America, no way. We have other means to do it. You can be violent anywhere else but in America.”
In a report by the Hudson Institute, Alamoudi was identified as someone with significant power and influence inside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Muslim Students Association (MSA):
ISNA announced in November 1987 that it had formed is own PAC (ISNA-PAC), with Abdurahman Alamoudi as the “leading force” of the ISNA-PAC. Alamoudi had been the ISNA regional representative for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area (and was previously president of MSA and executive assistant to the president of SAAR).
1987? Ten years later, Alamoudi was working inside the U.S. State Department. Perhaps if he had been vetted properly, he never would have gotten the job. Certainly, Mr. Schwartz would agree.
Again, to be fair, the Alamoudi affair is a stain on both the Clinton and Bush administrations. He worked for the State Department under Clinton and wielded political influence with Bush.
Allowing the infiltration of the State Department by individuals with Muslim Brotherhood connections is not unprecedented; the case of Alamoudi proves that.
Perhaps Mr. Schwartz should answer some questions as well. Questions like:
- Why do you ignore the fact that Huma Abedin’s brother – Hassan – served as a fellow at a place (OCIS) where the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader – Yusuf al-Qaradawi – served as a Board member?
- Why do you ignore the fact that the founder of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) – Abdullah Omar Nasseef – served as OCIS Board Chairman over Qaradawi?
- Why do you ignore Huma’s mother’s leadership role in the Muslim Sisterhood?
- And why do you ignore the fact that Huma herself served on the Board of the IMMA for at least 12 years before taking her job at the State Department?
- Why do you ignore the fact that there is no record of Huma Abedin denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood (unless it’s on her Security Clearance Form 86 that we still haven’t seen)?
- Wouldn’t you at least concede that Huma may have a slight conflict of interest? After all, her family has ties to the Brotherhood, which is made up of groups and sub-groups that seek the destruction of the United States.
In light of how poorly Alamoudi was vetted (if at all) and in light of Huma’s very quantifiable familial connections to the Brotherhood, Bachmann is well within her right to ask the following question:
How well was Huma vetted?
**UPDATE** It appears Cliff Kincaid over at America’s Survival has done some research on Schwartz and it turns out the former NSC official has connections to George Soros and Sandy Berger:
Schwartz, executive director of the George Soros-funded US Connect Fund, worked under Clinton’s disgraced National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, and brags that he “initiated and managed the White House review that resulted in U.S. signature of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” an entity that could prosecute American soldiers and citizens for “war crimes.”
Berger pleaded guilty in 2005 to stealing highly classified documents from the National Archives. Two years after this, however, Berger and Schwartz teamed up to write an article advocating “global engagement” by the U.S.
Well, there’s another in a long line of questionable individuals John McCain, John Boehener, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, and Jim Sensenbrenner are lining up with against Michele Bachmann.