Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Obama Administration Stonewalls On Why It Invited Terrorist To White House

Last week, Eli Lake reported on a routine meeting of Egyptian legislators with Obama administration officials on the relations between the US and Egypt. It was supposed to be routine--no one expected that a member of a terrorist group was among those invited to the White House:
Instead, the visit this week looks like it’s turning into a political fiasco. Included in the delegation of Egyptian lawmakers was Hani Nour Eldin, who, in addition to being a newly elected member of parliament, is a member of the Gamaa Islamiya, or the Egyptian Islamic Group—a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The group was banned under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and is now a recognized Islamist political party. Its spiritual leader, Omar Abdel Rahman—also known as the “blind sheik”—was convicted in 1995 of plotting attacks on New York City landmarks and transportation centers, and is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina federal prison.
When the story broke, the Obama administration promised an investigation.
And they did.

But Jennifer Rubin writes that the Obama administration is now refusing divulge what they discovered about why a member of a terrorist group was given access to the White House.

Rubin notes that in response to the question whether the White House considers it a mistake to have allowed Hani Nour Eldin access, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said:
Well, let’s start with the fact that we have an interest in engaging a broad cross-section of Egyptians who are seeking to peacefully shape Egypt’s future. The goal of this delegation, as you know, was to have consultations both with think tanks but also with government folks, with a broad spectrum representing all the colors of Egyptian politics: liberals, Islamists, Salafists, women, Bedouin Christians. We were encouraged that they were willing to travel, that they were open to meetings with us, et cetera.

...Again, with regard to this case, we pledged to you that we would look into it. We did look into it. But I can’t get into any further details with regard to the how, why, where of the issuance for all of the reasons that we usually state.
With regard to the broader principle of engaging a broad cross-section of Egyptians, as I said, we think that’s a good thing to do.

But in terms of specific questions on the visa issuance, I’m not going to – I’m not at liberty to get into anything further.
If Nuland's glib whitewashing to terrorist groups is indicative of Obama's White House policy, then Obama is no friend of either Israel or the Middle East.

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