By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Too often members of the mainstream media are content to marginalize those with whom they disagree, and mock experts as dark conspiracy theorists rather than rebutting their points. When the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) held its first conference exposing the Benghazi scandal, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank followed this derogatory playbook to the letter.
Now, it seems, The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein is also content to emulate Milbank’s distortions, and to simply mock that which he knows little about. His August 18 column, “AIPAC Chose A Peculiar Admiral For Its Memo Against The Iran Deal,” calls esteemed CCB member Admiral James “Ace” Lyons a figure who “hasn’t operated at the heights of political power,” and casts it as “peculiar” that Admiral Lyons’ name would be listed among other national heavyweights.
Lyons is a retired four-star admiral who was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which at that time was the largest single military command in the world. “As the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations from 1983 to 1985, he was principal advisor on all Joint Chiefs of Staff matters.” He also served as the senior military representative to the United Nations, and is far from a babe in the woods when it comes to navigating the politics of power. Following the Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983, the first military person that then-CIA Director William Casey sent for was Ace Lyons. Admiral Lyons was clearly a major player at the highest levels of government.
But facts don’t matter to Stein—he has a phony narrative to sell. “Instead, he [Admiral Lyons] has spent his time peddling dark conspiracy theories that probably explain why he doesn’t support the deal with Iran,” writes Stein.
“In particular, Lyons is of the firm belief that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood,” he argues. “Elsewhere, he said the Muslim Brotherhood has ‘carte blanche entry into the White House’ and in effect has ‘become an effective cabinet member.’”
The Investigative Project on Terrorism has provided a detailed analysis of several members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who are official advisors to the White House or various agencies within the Executive branch. The question for Stein, and for the public in general, is whether or not we should care about the influence of the MB on this and other administrations.
Stein must not be aware that earlier this year President Barack Obama invited a number of radical Muslim leaders to the White House to discuss “‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ and banning Muslim terrorist profiling by federal law enforcement,”according to Investor’s Business Daily. The IBD editorial board wrote about several of those visitors:
- “Imam Mohamed Magid, who preaches at a fundamentalist Northern Virginia mosque that has listed a number of trustees and major donors whose offices and homes were raided after 9/11 by federal agents on suspicion of funding terrorists.”
- “Azhar Azeez, president of the Islamic Society of North America, a known radical Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front group that remains on the Justice Department’s list of unindicted terrorist co-conspirators.”
- “Hoda Hawa, national policy adviser of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which was founded by known members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement.”
MPAC’s “leadership praised Hezbollah and Islamist leaders like [Hassan] al-Banna in the 1990s, opposed the designations of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups in 2003, and promoted the [Muslim] Brotherhood as a moderate force and potential U.S. ally in 2010,” wrote Ryan Mauro for The Clarion Project in 2013.
“It remains unclear why President Obama remains a stalwart believer that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates should be treated as legitimate political entities, when history reveals the organization as one with radical goals,” reportedBreitbart last February. “Both Former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and ISIS ‘caliph’ Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi were members of the Brotherhood. Its current spiritual leader, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has a knack for bashing Jews and praising Nazis. The Muslim Brotherhood’s motto remains: ‘Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.’”
President Obama has been unduly influenced by this radical group during both terms in office. “And I remind you that as [President Obama] was giving that [2009 Cairo] speech, two very important things that people forget about it,” saidjournalist Ken Timmerman at our Benghazi conference last year. “First of all, he was in Cairo, Cairo University, and there was an important person who was not even invited—not just not there, but wasn’t even invited.”
That person was then-Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak. “And sitting behind the President of the United States as he’s giving this speech, so they’re pictured in all of the news footage of it, are top members of the Muslim Brotherhood—at that point still an outlawed group, although tolerated by the Mubarak regime,” continued Timmerman.
As the CCB Interim Report exposed, “The U.S. facilitated the delivery of weapons and military support to al Qa’eda-linked rebels in Libya.”
“With allegiances like these, Lyons seems to think, it’s no wonder Obama struck such a bad deal [with Iran]—indeed, it’s a shock he pursued any concessions at all,” writes Stein.
As we have reported, it was President Obama—not Iran—who made concession after concession as part of the flawed Iran deal. This disastrous arrangement will guarantee that Iran acquires nuclear weapons.
It is Admiral Lyons’ historical memory that shines a light on the danger of President Obama’s decision to give in to this totalitarian regime’s demands.
Lyons explained at last year’s conference how the U.S. had plans to take out the Islamic Amal, the “forerunner to Hezbollah,” immediately after the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing.
“We had the photographs. We were going to make it look like a plowed cornfield in Kansas. We had the planes loaded,” said Admiral Lyons, then Deputy Chief for Naval Operations.
“And, at the meeting they go around the table, they brief [Ronald] Reagan, and it gets to [Caspar] Weinberger and he says, ‘I think there are Lebanese army troops in those barracks,’” said Admiral Lyons. “And okay, lo and behold, come back, and no, there are no Lebanese army troops in those barracks. But this time, and I get this direct from Bud McFarlane, who is the National Security Advisor, Weinberger starts waving his arms and so forth: ‘We’re going to lose all our Arab friends if we go ahead with this strike.’”
“We never got the orders to strike,” said Admiral Lyons. “And of course, what was the message? The message became Osama bin Laden’s rallying cry: ‘The Americans can’t suffer casualties. They will cut and run.’”
President Obama recently excused the concession to let Iran enrich uranium during an August 9 appearance on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show. “And we did not have the support of that position among our global allies who have been so critical in maintaining sanctions and applying the pressure that was necessary to get Iran to the table,” Obama said. Apparently that was the same reason for all of the other concessions as well. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute notedthat “Obama and Kerry crossed off every one of their own red lines” in pursuit of this deal..
Like Weinberger, Obama is clearly more concerned about his international legitimacy, and legacy, than standing up to Iran. His continuing support for the Muslim Brotherhood agenda also undermines our national security.
This could serve as a “teachable moment.” Should the Muslim Brotherhood be viewed as some benign, moderate organization? Or instead as the organization that spawned Al Qaeda and other significant terrorist organizations?
Each and every candidate from both parties should be asked whether he or she believes the United States government should receive counsel from the Muslim Brotherhood or entertain their influence. And that is especially true for Hillary Clinton, whose top aide and confidant, the controversial Huma Abedin, has strong family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.