At a Romney campaign event in Virginia on Monday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took questions over his weekend op-ed defending the practice of questioning prominent Muslims in government jobs over alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other Republican lawmakers have been wrapped on the knuckles by prominent members of their own party for requesting an investigation into the supposed infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the U.S. government, and the role of Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide, in the organization. And while Gingrich deliberately did not mention Abedin in his Sunday evening op-ed, when asked by ThinkProgress on Monday, he defended Bachmann’s call for an investigation into Abedin’s loyalty:
ADAM PECK: Do you think it was fair for the “National Security 5″ to explicitly name Huma Abedin in this letter?
GINGRICH: I think all they asked for was an investigation. I can’t imagine, given our track record over the last 70 years, that we want to start with the principle that anybody is automatically exempt. And therefore I think it’s not illegitimate to raise the question, it’s not a question I raised in my piece…Who’s offering advice to Secretary Clinton? I think it’s totally legitimate to ask that question.
What Gingrich failed to mention is that the appropriate questions have already been asked of Abedin and every other member of the Obama administration. As the top aide to the Secretary of State, Abedin would have underwent a thorough background and security check before assuming her position within the State Department. It seems Gingrich has stricter standards than the nation’s top intelligence agencies, which cleared Abedin.
Gingrich also makes the incorrect assumption that simply raising questions is a harmless exercise. In the weeks since Bachmann’s letter became public, Abedin has been subjected to direct threats on her life, and the NYPD has given her a security detail.