Head of Homeland Security: White House Will Continue to Host Members of Designated Terrorist Group

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano arrives to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee on July 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress on that the United States should expect more visits from members of a designated terrorist organization.

The comments, coming from the head of a department tasked with keeping America safe from terrorist threats, are jaw-dropping.

“I think you are right in pointing out that as we move forward we are going to continue to have visitors to this country that the State Department and others feel are useful to bring to the country to have discussions moving forward, who say they are members of the political party that in the past have been so designated,” Napolitano told committee chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) during the hearing this morning.

Napolitano was justifying the government’s decision to invite Hani Nour Eldin — an Egyptian parliamentary member elected as a member the Islamic Group (Gamaa Islamiya), which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department — to the White House to meet with high-ranking Obama administration and State Department officials.

After King reminded her that Eldin is a member of a designated foreign terrorist group, Napolitano replied, “I think we have to add more nuance to that.”

“We have to know what the group was. Is it now a political party that is running the government of a country that has strong ties to the United States?” she said. She also added that Eldin was properly “vetted” before he granted entry into the U.S. “Everyone who looked at this person felt confident that he was not a security risk to the White House or to the United States,” she said.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“But with all this vetting, the fact is, on his own Facebook page he said he was a member of the Islamic group, which is a designated foreign terrorist organization,” King replied.

King was clearly not appeased with Napolitano’s answers. He went on to accuse the Obama administration of breaking the law in opening the White House doors to a member of a terrorist organization.

“It appears as if the law was not complied with in that he did not apply for a waiver, Congress was not notified, which is also required,” he told the DHS head. “It does not appear that either the letter or the spirit of the law was complied with.”

“On the process, that’s a fair point to make,” Napolitano later conceded.

King pointed out that in the 1940s some State Department officials argued that Chairman Mao, a brutal Chinese revolutionary, was an “agrarian reformer” and Cuba’s Fidel Castro was labeled as a “Jeffersonian Democrat” by some in the 1950s. He said the agency is making the same mistake with some radical Islamic groups in trying to reason and work with them.

Watch the video of the hearing below:

(h/t: Washington Examiner)

130 Comments