Just hours after National Intelligence Director James Clapper made the shocking statement this morning that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “secular” organization, his office tried frantically to “clarify” his remarks.
In a statement to ABC News, Jamie Smith, director of the office of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said Clapper was commenting on the political system in Egypt rather than the make up of the group itself:
To clarify Director Clapper’s point — in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak’s rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation — he is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization.
But that’s now what he said, and the damage may already be done. Soon after Clapper made the statements, numerous news outlets picked up on the incredible remarks, made at a House Intelligence Committee hearing and contradicted by FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The Blaze even featured a video of a Muslim Brotherhood leader commenting, just hours before Clapper testified, on bringing Egypt under Sharia law.
Fox’s Megyn Kelly reacted live on air, reminding her audience that Clapper is the same guy who was embarrassed when ABC’s Diane Sawyer stumped him about terrorists being arrested in London:
The ever-vigilant ABC reporter Jake Tapper wrote on his blog, “The Muslim Brotherhood is quite obviously not a secular organization,” and went on to quote a Council on Foreign Relations background statement on the Muslim Brotherhood that said:
[L]ike other mass social movements, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is hardly a monolith; it comprises hardliners, reformers, and centrists, notes terrorism expert Lydia Khalil. And some hardline leaders have voiced support for al-Qaeda or use of violent jihad. For instance, as recently as 2006, Khalil points out, a member of Brotherhood elected to parliament, Ragib Hilal Hamida, voiced support for terrorism in the face of Western occupation. Instances like these raise questions over the group’s commitment to nonviolence.