Appearing on a radio show on Tuesday, John Bolton, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s top foreign policy adviser, defended Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s (R-MN) call for an anti-Muslim witch hunt investigation to determine whether U.S. officials have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“What I think these members of Congress have done is simply raise the question to a variety of inspectors general in key agencies,” Bolton told former Bachmann campaign adviser Frank Gaffney, the man most frequently credited with inspiring Bachmann’s latest anti-Muslim conspiracy. “Are your departments following their own security clearance guidelines, are they adhering to the standards that presumably everybody who seeks a security clearance should have to go through, are they making special exemptions? What is wrong with raising the question? Why is even asking whether we are living up to our standards a legitimate area of congressional oversight, why has that generated this criticism? I’m just mystified by it.”
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations defended Bachmann’s call for an anti-Muslim witch hunt after conspiracy talk show host Glenn Beck, Republican talk show host Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) took Bachmann’s side, even though other top Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have publicly come out against her comments.
And while Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), who both sit with Bachmann on the House Intelligence Committee, joined the chorus of criticism on Wednesday, they might not matter as much as they’d hope thanks to the Romney campaign’s top foreign policy adviser calling an anti-Muslim witch hunt a “legitimate area of congressional oversight.”
After Bachmann and four other Republican members of the House wrote letters asking for an investigation of potential ties between Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the new ruling party in Egypt, Clinton’s convoy in Egypt was targeted by a crowd of angry protesters who pelted her car with tomatoes. Abedin also received a death threat and subsequently took on security personnel.
Despite the fact that the Republican Party’s last presidential nominee called Bachmann’s allegations “unwarranted,” “unfounded,” “specious and degrading,” that same Republican Party just four years later appears to be moving in a completely different direction and embracing what both The New York Times and the Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) call “McCarthyism.”
“The honorable public service of these individuals deserves better treatment than political theatrics characterized by half-truths, overblown accusations and guilt by association,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad explained to Bachmann in a letter sent last week.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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