& -Huff Post Politics
In explosive testimony Tuesday, a witness before a Senate panel about Islamic terrorism accused the two Muslim members of Congress of having attended an event organized by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The charge was leveled by Chris Gaubatz, a “national security consultant” who has moonlighted as an undercover agitator of Muslim groups that he accuses of being terrorist outfits, and it was directed at Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.). At the heart of his accusation is the attendance by those two members at a 2008 convention hosted by the Islamic Society of North America — a Muslim umbrella group, which Gaubatz claims is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I attended a convention in Columbus, Ohio, in 2008, organized by Muslim Brotherhood group, ISNA, and both the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons had recruitment and outreach booths,” Gaubatz said in his testimony. “Both Congressman Keith Ellison, MN, and Andre Carson, IN, spoke at the Muslim Brotherhood event.”
Allegations that Ellison and Carson are secret Muslim agents with extremist leanings are usually found among fringe groups online, often discussed in dire tones on poorly designed websites. Rarely, if ever, do such sentiments get read into congressional testimony, with the imprimatur that offers.
Responsibility for this rare instance lies with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who oversaw the hearing as chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts and whose staff likely saw the testimonies of the witnesses.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) later addressed Tuesday’s hearing and defended Ellison.
“He is my congressman. He is a man of great patriotism,” she said, adding that he has advocated for additional funding for efforts to detect what attracts young people to join terrorist groups.
An aide to Ellison confirmed that he did attend the 2008 ISNA convention. He’s gone to a few of the group’s conventions, in fact. Carson’s office didn’t return a request for comment. But news reports show that both he and Carson led a discussion at the 2008 convention on how to mobilize Muslims politically. President Barack Obama has addressed the group as well, though only via a video recording.
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