Like the ghosts of Shakespeare's Banquo or Dickens' Jacob Marley, the specter of the late commie-hunting congressman from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, will always be with us. It is summoned up today, by some on the left, who use it as a tool to thwart legitimate questions about people and ideologies that seek to destroy America.
According to many commentators, the McCarthy spirit has inhabited Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann. In several letters to high-ranking government officials, Ms. Bachmann has raised questions about Huma Abedin, a Muslim-American, who is deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mr. Bachmann's concern is Ms. Abedin's relatives in the Middle East some of whom -- such as Ms. Abedin's mother -- she claims "are connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations." Ms. Abedin's job, according to Ms. Bachmann, "affords her routine access to the secretary and to policy-making." And, as a result of that access, says Ms. Bachmann, "The State Department, and in several cases, the specific direction of the secretary of state, have taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests."
Sen. John McCain says Ms. Abedin is "a dedicated American." Even if he is correct, the larger issue is being obscured. Many in government and the media don't want to face the possibility that infiltration is a tactic of Islamic extremists who repeatedly say they want to destroy not only Israel but the "Great Satan" America. Such objectives should be taken seriously, given their violent history.
If you revile Rep. Bachmann, perhaps former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is more to your liking. Charles Moore of the London Daily Telegraph writes that Mr. Blair "...now thinks he underestimated the power of the bad 'narrative' of Islamist extremists. That narrative -- that 'The West oppresses Islam' -- 'is still there; if anything, it has grown.' It seeks 'supremacy, not coexistence.'" Mr. Blair also expressed fear that "The West is asleep on this issue."
Mr. Blair's view is echoed in "Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat" a new book by Michael Widlanski, a specialist in Arab politics and a former journalist for mainstream publications such as The New York Times, the Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution and The Jerusalem Post. Mr. Widlanski's main point is that political correctness has stifled the West's ability to understand and fight terror.
Among Mr. Widlanski's criticisms is that the West "came to rely on 'experts' without field experience in, or scant knowledge of, the Middle East: people who do not speak the languages, did not study the cultures and do not know the history. Even worse, some 'experts' have been forgiving and even sympathetic to the terrorists and their aims."
National Public Radio reported last month that "The FBI has conducted more than 100 investigations into suspected Islamic extremists within the military."
What else would infiltration look like? It's more than an academic question, or a subject for spy novelists. Those who attack Michele Bachmann should answer it.
It might look like CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, which sent a nasty letter to Ms. Bachmann concerning her comments about Ms. Abedin. CAIR's executive director, Nihad Awad, wrote: "We remain eternally grateful that, like Sen. Joseph McCarthy before you, your power is limited, enumerated and constrained by our nation's constitution."
According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report (GMBDR), "an intelligence digest covering developments in the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood network," documents released in the 2007 Holy Land trial in Dallas, in which federal prosecutors brought charges against the Holy Land Foundation for funding Hamas and other "Islamic terrorist organizations," revealed the founders and current leadership of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood. A recent post on the GMBDR website discussed an interview with the deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in which he confirms a relationship between his organization and CAIR.
Investigative research posted by the GMBDR "has determined that CAIR had its origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and CAIR and its leaders have a long history of defending almost all individuals accused of terrorism by the U.S. government, frequently calling such prosecutions a 'war on Islam.'"
In 2009, according to GMBDR, a U.S. federal judge ruled, 'The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA (Islam in North America) and NAIT (North American Islamic Trust) with (Holy Land Foundation), the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas."
This is what infiltration looks like.
Government and media elites may not like to hear it from Rep. Bachmann, but suppose her concerns are valid? If people are uncomfortable with her, they can listen to Tony Blair. All ties between Americans and Islamic extremist groups need further and serious investigation.