The White House confirmed to TheBlaze that a Muslim Brotherhood lobbyist met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House in late January, but deferred to the Iraqi government as to why the lobbyist was part of a meeting with an Iraqi delegation.
The White House previously confirmed Asan Al-Tikriti’s presence, but hadn’t deferred responsibility to Iraq.
Al-Tikriti, a lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, joined the Iraqi delegation on Jan. 22 that included Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.
“Mr. Al-Tikriti was brought to the meeting by the Iraqi delegation to serve as a translator for Speaker al-Nujaifi,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told TheBlaze. “I’d refer you to the Iraqi government for more information on his role.”
TheBlaze contact the Iraq Embassy for comment Thursday morning but has not received a response as of press time.
The Washington Free Beacon reported on the meeting Wednesday.
Al-Tikriti is the chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation, the top political lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, and a group that British Prime Minister David Cameron called a “political front” for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the U.K. Telegraph.
Al-Tikriti defended Hamas in an op-ed he wrote for the Guardian in 2009 with a headline, “Hamas is not al-Qaida” that decried the “pro-Israel propaganda apparatus.”
A White House readout of the meeting made no mention of Al-Tikriti as a translator. The only member of the delegation mentioned was the Iraqi council speaker.
“Both sides reaffirmed the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq,” the official White House description of the meeting stated. “The president encouraged Iraq’s leaders to continue dialogue to address the legitimate grievances of all communities through the political process.”
“Both sides agreed on the need for both security and political measures to combat terrorism, and discussed efforts to formally integrate local and tribal forces into the state security structures consistent with the government of Iraq’s public commitments in recent days,” the readout continued. “President Obama and Vice President Biden also expressed the United States’ strong support for continued cooperation between local and tribal leaders and the Iraqi government against al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)/the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The president and vice president underscored that the United States stands with Iraq and its people in the fight against AQI/ISIL and other extremist groups.”
The photo was taken by White House photographer Pete Souza. The official White House caption says, “President Barack Obama greets Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqi Council of Representatives, after he drops by Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with the Speaker in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014.”
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