Last June, Rep. Michele Bachmann and four Republican colleagues sent letters to the Inspectors General at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State, asking them to investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood—the ideological wellspring from which such terrorist outfits as al Qaeda and Hamas first emerged—might be gaining undue influence over high-level U.S. government officials. One letter, for instance, noted that Hillary Clinton's closest aide, her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, "has three family members … connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations."
A few days ago, when Bachmann was reassigned to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the left-wing activist group, People For the American Way (PFAW)—which had originally launched an unsuccessful petition drive to have the congresswoman removed from that Committee last year—decided to revive that effort. By PFAW's telling, some 178,000 people have signed the petition thus far.
According to PFAW president Michael Keegan, Rep. Bachmann's warnings amount to nothing more than a "smear campaign" of "baseless conspiracy theories" designed to ruin "the reputations of honorable public servants." PFAW spokesman Drew Courtney accuses Bachmann of engaging in "reckless extremism" aimed chiefly at "making headlines and pandering to the Tea Party." And PFAW's online strategy manager, Ben Betz, derides Bachmann's "Islamaphobic fear mongering" and her "disregard for honesty." These accusations are entirely consistent with PFAW's previous claims that "right-wing anti-Muslim activists," filled with "anti-Muslim paranoia," routinely "demoniz[e]" and "vilif[y]" members of the Islamic faith in an effort to stoke Americans' "irrational fears." Such conservative activists, says PFAW, "sanction and encourage [the] persecution" of Muslims while aiming to "prevent" them from "freely worshiping and practicing their religion."