The company Brennan keeps
We all know what happens when the fox guards the chicken coop — or do we?
I can't think of another explanation for why the country hasn't melted down the Capitol switchboard with phone calls to U.S. senators beseeching them not to confirm John Brennan as the next director of the CIA.
More than any other Obama administration official, Brennan has openly cultivated groups in this country that I describe, with good reason, as being of the jihadist persuasion. How can such a man helm America's premier intelligence institution, which, at least ostensibly, is engaged in thwarting jihad?
Consider Brennan's interactions with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Despite evidence presented (and later upheld) in federal court during the landmark 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, which established ISNA as a Muslim Brotherhood organization and financial supporter of the terrorist organization Hamas (a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood), Brennan has continued to meet with ISNA officials and participate in ISNA events.
At ISNA's annual conference in 2009, for example, Brennan delivered the keynote address. As former FBI agent John Guandolo wrote recently in a paper he shared with me, Brennan continues to grant ISNA leaders access to senior government officials and supports their appointments to key intelligence positions.
“The current president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Magid, sits on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which reports directly to (Homeland) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano,” Guandolo writes. “With the support of John Brennan, Imam Magid works with the National Security Council, which has publicly applauded this Hamas supporter.”
So, the leader of a group that the U.S. government has designated as a conspirator to promote and finance Islamic terrorism is tapped to advise the same government on how to defuse Islamic terrorism — or, rather, what the government prefers to call “extremism.”
Last year, a reporter asked Brennan to assess extremely alarming evidence of Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the U.S. government brought forward by five House Republicans led by Rep. Michele Bachmann — “the National Security Five,” as Newt Gingrich would dub them. Brennan's reaction was to dismiss the charges and the elected representatives. “I have no idea what it is that they are making reference to,” Brennan said, “and I'm not even going to try to divine what it is that sometimes comes out of Congress.”
Given Guandolo's own counterterrorism expertise as an FBI subject-expert in Islam and professional observer of the Muslim Brotherhood, his charges carry heft. Detractors try to undermine them by resurrecting an inappropriate sexual relationship Guandolo had as an FBI agent with an FBI informant during a high-profile corruption investigation. This might be relevant if, for example, Guandolo were running for office as a traditional values candidate.
He is, however, trying to get information he discovered using his skills as an investigator into the public square for evaluation.
Diana West is the author of “The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization” and blogs at dianawest.net.