Here’s what James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, had to say about the Muslim Brotherhood at a House Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday (emphasis added):
“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ … is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera. … In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.” … He said the group fills a vacuum caused by the absence of government services, but added, “It is not necessarily with a view to promoting violence or overthrow of the state.”
John Podhoretz of Commentary was apparently as startled as I was by these remarks. He called Clapper’s assessment
one of the most reckless and irresponsible statements ever made publicly by an American official at a critical and delicate moment. If one of the key figures in the making of the administration’s foreign policy is already making excuses for the Muslim Brotherhood, the president needs to signal immediately that the United States does not view this evil and destructive force with rose-colored glasses. Hard to say how Obama can do that in a way that will be meaningful and still allow Clapper to remain in his office.
So just what the hell was this? A simple gaffe? Too detailed. A calculated sound byte intended to give the Brotherhood a false sense of security? Oh, they’re feeling secure, all right. Between this clown and CIA Director Leon Panetta getting his Mubarak intel from CNN, US intelligence is the gift that keeps on giving.
There are two possibilities, and they’re both appalling. One is that Clapper knew everything he was saying was a gross distortion of reality but said it anyway, thereby deliberately misleading the American people and giving aid and comfort to a group whose interests are completely antithetical to those of the United States. The other is that Clapper is genuinely ignorant of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, a thought that is just about as unnerving as can be imagined.
If it needs to be to pointed out to the Director of National Intelligence that Google is his friend, we are in a boatload of trouble, folks. I wish I was kidding.