Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Blog

Tucked away in the basement of Rayburn House Office Building, a controversial private citizens' group - Citizens for National Security (CFNS) addressed a packed briefing room today in the nation’s capital. In front of a group of Capitol Hill staffers, press, and interested outside human rights groups, Congressmen Allen West (pictured left) quickly introduced his invited guest. In remarks that were surprisingly defensive, the Congressman thanked them for their research, concluded that his obligation as an elected official is to give voice to his constituents’ work, and then made a quick exit for the door.

What followed next may give some insight as to why. The group, led by Dr. Peter Leithner, a self-proclaimed counterterrorism expert, introduced slide after slide illustrating what was described as a conspiracy theory-type evaluation of prominent Arab and Muslim organizations. The thrust of the presentation was simple. According to Dr. Leithner, for over 50 years, the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to influence and undermine the American government. Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood has, through their U.S.-based affiliated “terrorist organizations,” promoted programmed sedition, hate crimes, murder, extortion, assassination, terrorist activity, alienation, and even treason. CFNS presented slide after slide of what it considers to be a complex web of terrorism which has been used to foster radicalization within U.S. borders. CFNS claimed a long-standing history of sedition by Islamic charitable organizations and political advocacy groups, and promised to release a database of names of so-called known terrorists, based not on their criminal charges or convictions but instead by their “known associations,"

After the presentation, Dr. Leithner opened the floor for questions. The room was notably divided; some noted the surreal nature of the presentation while others appeared at times to push for followup steps to be taken to get President Obama to formally label the Muslim Brotherhood and its “affiliates” as a terrorist group. The other part of the room, led largely by young student activists, repeatedly brought up issues of radicalization stemming not from the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood, but from the harsh and hateful tone the group (CFNS) has previously displayed.

At one point, and a young student from American University School of International Studies pointed out that the recent the terror attacks in Oslo, Norway had been perpetrated not by a Muslim or an Arab but by a white Norwegian man, 32 year-old Anders Behring Breivik – who was found to have quoted Daniel Pipes (a member of CFNS’s advisory group) no less than 11 times in his manifesto. In response, Dr. Leithner was unapologetic, and dismissed the man’s actions as an act of lunacy unaffected by Mr. Pipes's writing (despite the quotation), while at the same time labeling the Muslim Student Association as a terrorist group and held them responsible for radicalizing U.S. Muslims and other citizens. The hypocrisy was difficult to miss, and fairly indicative of the briefing as a whole.  Oh Congressman West, where have you gone?



Allen West Wrap Up...For now...

In an attempt to put Congressmen Allen West’s July 25th briefing by Citizens for National Security behind us, the following links provide additional insight on the details of the briefing. They are most certainly worth a good read.

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