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In their State Department letter, the five single out Abedin as someone who, according to the Center for Security Policy report, “has three family members — her late father, her mother and her brother — connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.” They also cite several other administration employees at other departments who they say may be connected.
The lawmakers also specifically accuse Clinton and the State Department of having “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.”
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist political party founded in Egypt with affiliates throughout the Arab world. While the group won recent Egyptian elections, they have been rebuffed by Libyan voters. During last year’s “Arab spring,” speculation in the U.S. centered on the potential dangers of the brotherhood taking hold, while others wondered whether they might be a moderating force to more extreme elements.
But conspiracy theories abound about the brotherhood’s influence on U.S. politicians in both parties. Among the Center for Security Policy “Muslim Brotherhood in America” report’s key findings was an unsubstantiated allegation that “the Muslim Brotherhood was helped in its efforts to achieve information dominance over the George W. Bush administration, thanks to collaboration between a top Muslim Brotherhood operative, Abdurahman Alamoudi, and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist. In addition to al Qaeda financier Alamoudi, Norquist helped mainstream in the Bush campaign and/or administration five other Muslims with extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Norquist and the center’s leader, Frank Gaffney, have sparred over the issue for years. In a 2003 open letter to Gaffney, Norquist accused him of racial prejudice and religious bigotry.
Emily Pierce contributed to this report.