The title of a New York Times article by Raymond Hernandez reads, “Weiner’s Wife Didn’t Disclose Consulting Work She Did While Serving in State Dept.”. However, the headline for another story pops up in the eighth paragraph when a potentially very interesting claim is made. Take note of when Abedin allegedly stepped down as Deputy Chief of Staff for Hillary.
Ms. Abedin reached her new working arrangement in June 2012, when she returned from maternity leave, quietly leaving her position as deputy chief of staff and becoming a special government employee, which is essentially a consultant. A State Department official said that change freed her from the requirement that she disclose her private earnings for the rest of the year on her financial disclosure forms. Still, during that period, she continued to be identified publicly in news reports as Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff.
Officials in the State Department and Clinton circles seem especially sensitive about the arrangement, and no one would speak about it on the record. Earlier this month, Mr. Weiner released a copy of the couple’s 2012 tax return showing that they had income of more than $490,000.
According to the Times’ sources, Abedin stepped down as Deputy Chief of Staff for Hillary in June of 2012 but continued to be identified as Hillary’s Deputy Chief of Staff – without any announcement by the State Department to the contrary – before Hillary stepped down as Secretary of State seven months later.
Something else happened in June of 2012 as well, the 13th to be exact. That is the date of a letter sent by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Tom Rooney (R-FL) to the State Department’s Deputy Inspector General. That letter specifically named Huma Abedin and her familial connections to the Muslim Brotherhood:
“…the Department’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.”
It is not clear if the letter had anything to do with Abedin ‘quietly’ stepping down at around the same time the letter was sent, largely because of the State Department’s secrecy.
The letter to the State Department’s IG office was one of five sent to various IG’s. Several individuals were named but by far, Abedin’s name caused the most controversy; her ties to the Brotherhood through her mother and brother – as well as her work at the IMMA – are indisputable.
Had an announcement been made in June of 2012 that Abedin was stepping down as Deputy, it clearly would have fueled the controversy. Nonetheless, two questions need to be answered:
1.) Why did Abedin step down as Deputy Chief of Staff when she allegedly did?
2.) Why was it kept secret for nearly a year?
As to the issue of secrecy, the subject of the New York Times article is Abedin’s refusal to disclose her consulting work while she was still at the State Department.
It is also, indeed interesting that the news of Abedin’s ‘quiet’ departure comes at a time when the State Department is under quite a big microscope over Benghazi. Again, we have expressed – as have others – interest in knowing to what extent Abedin was involved in Benghazi-gate.
Then again, how silly of us. That was before we knew – as well as everyone else – that she stepped down in June of 2012.
Perhaps Anthony Weiner’s decision to run for mayor of New York City might start bringing some interesting things to light after all.