John Podhoretz, the New York Post columnist and author, is on the warpath over remarks made today by National Intelligence Director James Clapper:
This is 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-coloured 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.
OK. So what did General Clapper say? The nut paragraph, courtesy of Politico:
“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,” Clapper said. “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.” (our bold)
Is General Clapper stupid? No. Is he naive? No. Does he really believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is the United Way of Egypt? No. All those things being true, why would a senior intelligence figure of the United States government say what Gen. Clapper just said to Congress?
It appears tactical. Egypt is at a very sensitive stage of “transition.” Having everybody included in the negotiations regarding how that transition plays out is critical to US interests. Chaos is not a viable option. Clapper giving the Muslim Brotherhood a big bear hug makes it more difficult for them to disrupt the transition process.
Either that or General Clapper is a fool. Either way, the right-wing rush is on to have him sacked. The public flogging begins tonight.
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