In a move that has struck many observers as being straight out of the “red-baiting” playbook of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is accusing the Obama administration of being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which she said was busy working toward “America’s demise.”
Bachmann specifically singled out Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying Abedin had “routine access to the secretary and to policymaking” and was therefore dangerous to the nation. Abedin, a Muslim of Indian and Pakistani heritage, is married to former New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish.
Bachmann’s bizarre claims have brought condemnation from the right and from the left, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, who denounced Bachmann from the Senate floor yesterday.
He defended Abedin and called Bachmann’s comments “specious and degrading.”
He said Abedin was a “hardworking and loyal servant of our country and our government.”
“These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit,” McCain said. “They need to stop now.”
The State Department said Bachmann’s remarks were “vicious and disgusting lies.”
Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said on CNN, “This is McCarthyism at its worst,” referring to the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose name became synonymous in the 1950s with his accusations of Communist infiltration in all walks of American life. “This is one of those moments when you can’t stay silent,” Ellison said.
Bachmann initially sent letters to oversight agencies in five federal departments, warning of the Muslim influence and requesting formal investigations into what she says are “influence operations” by the Brotherhood, an Islamic political organization.
The letters were co-signed by Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Trent Franks of Arizona, Thomas Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. They cite research by a group called the Center for Security Policy, which was founded by Frank Gaffney, a controversial figure who writes frequently about the threat of Shariah, or Islamic law, in the United States, and who has said he was an informal foreign-policy consultant in Bachmann’s recent presidential bid.