Fox News’ Greta van Susteren last night became the sixth journalist to interview Mitt Romney without asking him about the conservative conspiracy theory alleging that the Muslim Brotherhood is using supposed ties to an aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to infiltrate the U.S. government. Two surrogates for Romney’s campaign have defended that conspiracy during the past week, while Republican leaders like John Boehner and John McCain have condemned it.
On June 13, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) sent letters to several Inspectors General asking for an investigation into “the direct influence within the intelligence community of Muslim Brotherhood operatives.” In her letter, Bachmann referenced Huma Abedin, the State Department’s deputy chief of staff and a longtime Clinton aide. Bachmann claimed that Abedin “has three family members” who are “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper has noted that “neither Congresswoman Bachmann nor her four colleagues have actually provided credible evidence, just insinuations.” Similarly, The Atlantic investigated the allegations and found that “from person to person, you kind of have to do a somersault to get from Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Bachmann’s allegations have been condemned by the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, among others.
Former ambassador (and Fox News contributor) John Bolton, who has endorsed Romney and has a formal role with the campaign as a surrogate, defended Bachmann’s letter during a July 24 appearance on the radio show of Frank Gaffney, a birther who has been one of the driving forces in conservative media behind the Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy. Bolton said of the controversy: “What is wrong with raising the question? Why is even asking whether we are living up to our standards a legitimate area of congressional oversight, why has that generated this criticism? I’m just mystified by it.”