Last week, 25 Republican senators wrote a letter to a former member of their caucus and the man President Obama wants to lead the Defense Department, demanding full disclosure of his financial dealings. To date, Sen. Chuck Hagel has demonstrated afresh his contempt for the legislature by declining to do so.
To their credit, the senators, including the Republican leadership and every member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have thrown down the gauntlet. They warned Mr. Hagel: “Your refusal to respond to this reasonable request suggests either a lack of respect for the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent or that you are for some reason unwilling to allow this financial disclosure to come to light.” The signers added: “Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.”
It may be that the Hagel appointment has been effectively checkmated. Should the nominee continue to stonewall, even Democrats — who are under immense pressure to hew to the party line but were privately appalled by his performance during a confirmation hearing two weeks ago — get a face-saving way to disassociate themselves from this loser.
Mr. Hagel may have, as a practical matter, no choice but to try to brazen it out. Breitbart.com last week quoted Senate sources as saying that among the requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is one listing “a group purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’” At this writing and absent the requested disclosure, it cannot be determined whether Mr. Hagel is literally associated with the “friends” of a designated terrorist organization. The mere fact, though, that it seems entirely plausible — given the nominee’s record of hostility toward Israel and his affinity for its enemies (including Hamas’ longtime sponsor, Iran) — his refusal to make the sort of disclosure expected of all Cabinet appointees should be the last straw for Senate Republicans and Democrats alike.
What is incredible is that Mr. Obama’s candidate to lead the Central Intelligence Agency could reasonably be considered a friend of Hamas as well. After all, he has been among the Obama appointees to engage with a group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). No fewer than four federal judges have, in connection with the 2008 federal prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation on terrorism financing charges, concurred that CAIR is a Muslim Brotherhood front.
Indeed, in the course of that prosecution, the government established that CAIR was founded in 1993 for the purpose of providing political and fundraising support for Hamas. Yet on John O. Brennan’s watch as counterterrorism czar for the first term of the Obama presidency, administration officials have, according to one, met “more than 100 times” with representatives of this terrorist organization’s U.S. influence operation.
Even more alarming, as Steven Emerson and John Rossomando make clear in a must-read analysis of Mr. Brennan’s record published last week by the indispensable Investigative Project on Terrorism, the CIA director-designate agreed to demands made in 2011 by CAIR and other Islamist and leftist groups to politicize the training of intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security and military personnel. In a letter dated Nov. 3 of that year, Mr. Brennan promised that an interagency review and new guidelines would “address the valid concerns” raised by this insidious Red-Green axis.
Among other things, the guidelines promulgated under Mr. Brennan’s supervision required the purging of hundreds of documents and training materials from the files of the FBI and other agencies on the grounds that they might “offend” Muslims such as the Islamists of CAIR and other friends of Hamas. Experienced trainers including Maj. Stephen Coughlin — a former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the nation’s pre-eminent authorities on the enemy threat doctrine of Shariah — were barred from providing instruction at the CIA and elsewhere. Also, “community partners” (read, senior officials of CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood fronts who profess to be “leaders” of the Muslim-American community) are to be consulted before any trainers or training materials are used to prepare with federal funds to counter “violent extremism.”
Despite this record and myriad other examples of what is, at best, Mr. Brennan’s willful blindness to the threat posed by Islamists and both violent and pre-violent jihad — in which Shariah obliges them to engage — not a single member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence used its hearing on his appointment last week to question the nominee on this score. A second hearing on Tuesday, this one behind closed doors, offers another opportunity to do so. Will it, too, be missed?
During the Cold War — our last epic struggle with a totalitarian ideology — it would have been unimaginable for individuals who were friends of the KGB or associated with those who were to have been nominated to lead the Pentagon or the CIA, let alone both. As Rep. Trent Franks, a member of a courageous group Newt Gingrich has dubbed “the National Security Five,” said on the House floor last week: “I believe the success of the [Muslim Brotherhood’s] ‘stealth jihad’ has been significantly enhanced by remarks and public statements made by John Brennan over the past four years. He should, therefore, not be allowed anywhere near — let alone be given the responsibility for running — America’s premier intelligence agency.”
Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, has said he will insist on 60 votes to confirm Mr. Hagel. The same should apply to Mr. Brennan and any other friend of Hamas. A true friend of Hamas is, by definition, an enemy of ours.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is now president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio.”