U.S. Director of National Intelligence: The Muslim Brotherhood is … “largely secular”; Update: Video added; Update: MSNBC analyst in disbelief; Update: Clapper’s office “clarifies”

posted at 2:30 pm on February 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

I’m looking for video (Megyn Kelly played a bit of it a little while ago) but for now Politico’s write-up will have to do. Remember this guy? He was the one who got the deer-in-the-headlights look back in December when Diane Sawyer asked what he thought of the London terror plot that had been busted a few hours earlier. His office said afterward that he hadn’t been briefed on it because he was tied up all day with the Korean standoff. Fair enough.

What’s the excuse this time?

In response to questioning from Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) about the threat posed by the group, Clapper suggested that the Egyptian part of the Brotherhood is not particularly extreme and that the broader international movement is hard to generalize about.

“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’…is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam,” Clapper said. “They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera…..In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.”

The Brotherhood uses the slogan, “Islam is the answer,” and generally advocates for government in accordance with Islamic principles. The movement has as a broad goal unifying what it perceives as Muslim lands, from Spain to Indonesia, as a “caliphate.”

Walid Phares reacted in disbelief when Kelly read him the quote on Fox; I’m told that when Richard Engel heard it on MSNBC, he called it a “head-snap moment” and proceeded to debunk it straightaway. (Hoping to get video of that, too.) This isn’t the first time an administration advisor has tried to whitewash the Brotherhood recently either. Bruce Riedel, who chaired the 2009 review of AfPak policy for the White House, was urging Daily Beast readers not to fear the Brotherhood all the way back on day three of the protests, before they had even broken really big yet. I warned you the next day that we’d be seeing more of that as Mubarak lost his grip: If, as it appears, regime change and democracy are a fact of life, the White House will want to make them seem as innocuous as possible to blunt any “who lost Egypt?” voter backlash here. And now here’s our very own DNI spinning like a gyroscope.

Read Tom Joscelyn’s response to Riedel about the Brotherhood as a corrective to Clapper’s comments. You’ll be pleased to know that this isn’t the only whitewash on the wires either: WaPo has an op-ed today from a member of the Brotherhood itself insisting that his group and the west needn’t be enemies. Although, interestingly, even he can’t quite bring himself to repeat Clapper’s falsehood:

Because we are an Islamic movement and the vast majority of Egypt is Muslim, some will raise the issue of sharia law. While this is not on anyone’s immediate agenda, it is instructive to note that the concept of governance based on sharia is not a theocracy for Sunnis since we have no centralized clergy in Islam. For us, Islam is a way of life adhered to by one-fifth of the world’s population. Sharia is a means whereby justice is implemented, life is nurtured, the common welfare is provided for, and liberty and property are safeguarded. In any event, any transition to a sharia-based system will have to garner a consensus in Egyptian society.

Exit question from John Pohoretz: Time for Clapper to go?

Update: Here’s the vid. Click the image to watch.

Update: And here’s the clip I mentioned earlier of Engel, who’s spoken to members of the Brotherhood many times. He calls Clapper’s remarks a “complete misreading” of the movement. Click the image to watch.

Update: His office had a few hours to put some spin together, annnnnnd here’s what they came up with:

Jamie Smith, director of the office of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence later said in a statement to ABC News: “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.”

That’s from Tapper, who merrily piles on with a few quotes reminding readers of just how anti-secular the Brotherhood is.

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If Clapper is this out of touch with reality, he should step down.

Kjeil on February 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Exit question from John Pohoretz: Time for Clapper to go?

He’s an incompetent loose cannon. GET. HIM. OUT.

NTWR on February 10, 2011 at 7:31 PM

U.S. Director of National Intelligence

Oxymoron alert.

Scrappy on February 10, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Bye, Clapper… and take Obysmal with you.

n0doz on February 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM

These people are running our country. Is there something wrong with that guy???

oldyeller on February 10, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Gov. Palin was right.

You are as good as the advisers you surround yourself with.

They all must be saying the same think so Obama doesn’t have to use his pea brain.

oldyeller on February 10, 2011 at 8:40 PM

If Clapper is this out of touch with reality, he should step down.

Kjeil on February 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

He’s no more out of touch than his boss.
The essence of this tragedy, [9-11-01] it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.” — Barack Obama, September 19, 2001

Just like the rest of this administration, he is a “perfect” reflection of his boss.
Muslim (Brotherhood) is their first name for Allahs sake!


There is nothing more democratic than a lynch mob.

Pole-Cat on February 10, 2011 at 8:46 PM

I think even the audience of The View must think Clapper’s an idiot.

BuckeyeSam on February 10, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Actually, the audience of the View won’t know what to think until Whoopie or Joyless tells them what to think. But I get your point…

bofh on February 10, 2011 at 9:19 PM

If Clapper is this out of touch with reality, he should step down.

Kjeil on February 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

He may very well be “out of touch”. But I for not one moment believe that his comments didn’t come straight from the top. They, the administration, ALL believe this. Obama while not quite commenting this way, has all but said he’d have a dialogue with his Muslim brothers………errrrrrrrrr The Muslim Brotherhood.

capejasmine on February 10, 2011 at 9:40 PM

They, the administration, ALL believe this. Obama while not quite commenting this way, has all but said he’d have a dialogue with his Muslim brothers…

capejasmine on February 10, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Exactly. This moron is not the least bit out of step with the rest of the dhimmi morons in the administration of Our Idiot President.

Jaibones on February 10, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Inept all

wepeople on February 10, 2011 at 11:10 PM

ISLAM – Function: noun
Etymology: Arabic islAm – submission/surrender (to the will of ALLAH)
And there you have it; it’s just that simple.

You are a slave to the will of Allah.

Judeo-Christian INDIVDUAL Free Will (aka Freedom) is a sin.
This in a nutshell is why they hate Jews and Christians.

On one side you have Judeo-Christian INDIVDUAL Free Will
On the other you have Slavery to ______(fill in the blank)
Islam = Slavery to Allah
Communism = Slavery to community
Socialism = Slavery to society
Nazi-ism = Slavery to nation
Liberalism = Slavery to victimhood
Progressivism = Slavery to change

Islam (slavery) CANNOT exist in a democracy. Islam CANNOT coexist with a democracy, for all the same reasons that slavery can’t. Islam will tolerate democracy, like it does with everything else, just long enough to subvert it, then destroy it.

You cannot make any distinction in Islam between the religion, the culture, the law, the politics, the ideology or the government: in theory or in practice for one simple reason, Islam itself forbids it. So any distinctions we might wish upon Islam are in fact MOOT, and actually quite silly on our part. It is beyond me why nobody gets this. Islam is totalitarian to the nth degree.

Pole-Cat on February 11, 2011 at 12:20 AM

They have gotten too use to the media not fact checking what they say… Any one of Obarry’s crew could stand in the sunlight and state that it was night time… and do so expecting not to be called on it.

They’ve gone down the rabbit hole folks…

RalphyBoy on February 11, 2011 at 2:40 AM

What we are seeing is ‘Smart power’ in action…

zoyclem on February 11, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Did this guy get most of his intel from CNN or MSNBC? More and more I’ve decided that these people are lazy, letting others do their work for them. They probably sit around in a circle meeting with like ilk and drink coffee. Why are we paying them the big bucks to do this? Maybe Issa should investigate the Natl Sec budget, too.

Kissmygrits on February 11, 2011 at 9:38 AM

These people are running our country. Is there something wrong with that guy???
oldyeller on February 10, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Rhetorical I assume? This regime has is marching us to doom at an alarming pace.

FireBlogger on February 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Clapper must leave the building

Wade on February 11, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with Clapper mentally. He always looks…out of it.

PattyJ on February 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM

So Claude Clapper from Cleveland copped a conception that the caliphate is of no concern.
With apologies to Johnny Carson and Jack Webb

Bevan on February 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM