There’s apparently a long list of things that DNI Clapper lied to Congress about, but as Ryan Mauro at the Clarion Project reveals, Brotherhood contacts are also on the list.
The story of the deception began when the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress on February 10, 2011 saying that the Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has described Al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”
In the same hearing, Clapper was asked by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) about the administration’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. He answered, “There have been outreaches to the Muslim community in general, but I guess we’re not aware of any direct outreach to these particular organizations. That is, if you’re speaking domestically.”
Was Clapper telling the truth?
Just four months later, on June 12, 2012, a 90-minute “Roundtable Discussion” took place at National Intelligence’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia. At the meeting, Clapper met in person with a representative of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Also present were National Counter-Terrorism Center Director Matthew Olson and Alexander Joel, ODNI Civil Liberties Protection Officer.
So that would be a firm “no”. And it’s not like ODNI wasn’t aware of the issues.
Declassified emails obtained by the Clarion Project show that staff inside the ODNI expressed concern about ISNA, even suggesting interagency intelligence-gathering on the organization. The author(s) of the internal emails also wanted intelligence gathering on the Council on American-Islamic Relations, another group labeled by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Like ISNA, the Justice Department listed CAIR as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.
The heavily redacted ODNI emails, written sometime between January 2009 and August 2012, read:
“I’m also interested if our team could work with the FBI and DHS on any Muslim Brotherhood collection and analysis opportunities such as looking at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) ongoing relationships with MB int’l leadership and enterprises.”
On June 10, 2010 an email was written by someone within the ODNI’s National Counter-Terrorism Center referencing internal discussions about engagement with Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups. It reads, “We have a large MB [Muslim Brotherhood] presence on the West Coast, and there has been some discussion here about engagement—both state and federal—with folks who are also MB members.”
This wasn’t a case where a Federal agency was clueless. Clapper and co. knew exactly what they were getting into and lied about it.