Obama’s Benghazi Investigator: An Iran Sympathizer
By Matthew Vadum
The freshly appointed chairman of a federal investigation into the Benghazi massacre is an apologist for Islamic terrorism who has a cozy relationship with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
And to add insult to injury, at press time Tuesday evening the chairman of this new State Department panel, former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, was poised to participate in a panel discussion at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on “what role the faith community can play in fighting Islamophobia.”
The news comes on the heels of a new report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism that found that “scores” of known radical Islamists met with senior Obama administration officials during hundreds of visits to the White House.
Pickering’s appointment as probe chairman was announced in the Federal Register on October 4. The State Department “Accountability Review Board” headed by Pickering is tasked with examining the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012 deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and security personnel Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The problem is that Pickering has ties to the pro-Iran Islamist front group known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC lost an important defamation case in federal court last month in which it unsuccessfully argued the group was not a tool of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pickering is a member of the advisory board of NIAC. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from May 1997 through the end of 2000, according to a 2009 report titled “Rise of the Iran Lobby,” by Clare M. Lopez of the Center for Security Policy. He’s also vice chairman of international consultancy, Hills & Co., and co-chairman of the board of directors of the International Crisis Group (whose executive committee includes George Soros).
“Ambassador Pickering’s positions on Iran include calls for bilateral talks without preconditions and a plan for a multinational uranium enrichment consortium in Iran,” Lopez writes. “Iran has proposed a similar plan to the UN Security Council. Ambassador Pickering advocates a process leading to mutual diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States.”
“U.S. national security policy is being successfully targeted by Jihadist entities hostile to American interests,” she writes. One of these groups, NIAC, is involved in “a de facto partnership” with its better known but more notorious jihadist ally “the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other organizations serving as mouthpieces for the mullahs’ party line.”
This network “includes well-known American diplomats, congressional representatives, figures from academia and the think tank world.” NIAC and its predecessor group, the American-Iranian Council, have long “functioned openly as apologists for the Iranian regime.”
CAIR is an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood and was named by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 and 2008 Holy Land Foundation trials.
The panel discussion featured Pickering, Arab American Institute president James J. Zogby, American Association for Muslim Advancement executive director Daisy Khan, and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative.
Khan and Rauf are prime movers behind the proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
Khan is known for her over-the-top attacks on those who question the wisdom of building a Muslim holy site so close to the place where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in an Islamist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Asked in 2010 if America was “Islamophobic,” Khan replied that “It’s not even Islamophobia, it’s beyond Islamophobia — it’s hate of Muslims,” she said.
Of course use of the word “Islamophobia” is a tool of intimidation, calculated to silence the so-called Islamophobe.
If one fears Islamist ideology as an irredentist, imperialist, totalitarian force, one is rational. “Phobia” implies that one who fears or is skeptical of the intentions of Muslims is mentally unbalanced. The term is used the same way American leftists use the word “racist” to shut down debate.
While two George Soros-funded nonprofits, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters for America, are working overtime to try to convince Americans that this make-believe mental illness of Islamophobia is a threat to American democracy and pluralism, the embattled Obama administration has been in damage control mode for weeks as the president’s foreign policy aimed at appeasing totalitarian Islamic theocrats collapses. The administration has been sucking up to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a 57-state (56 sovereign states and the Palestinian Authority) group that considers itself the Caliphate reborn.
Americans’ civil rights and political correctness are weapons of infiltration used by our Islamofascist enemies. Just like our Soviet Communist enemies during the Cold War, Islamists are using Americans’ goodness and their sense of fair play, including an aversion to being accused of racial stereotyping, against America.
Hard data do not support claims that Islamophobia exists in the United States.
As Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in Commentary last year: “the notion of a rising wave of hatred against Muslims is unsupported by any statistical research.”
“When you consider that Muslims claim to have about the same number of adherents in this country as Jews and that anti-Jewish crimes have always far outnumbered those committed against Muslims, the media hysteria about Islamophobia is exposed as a big lie. But even if there are fewer Muslims here than their groups claim, the conclusion is unchanged.”
And there is credible evidence that Obama, who told the UN last month that “the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” is sympathetic to Islamists’ increasingly vocal demands for Saudi-style anti-blasphemy laws.
So, apparently, is Ambassador Pickering, which makes him unfit to head any probe of what happened last month in Benghazi, Libya.