New Chief of Staff Kelly Thanked CAIR

White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly (Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly (Photo: Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images)

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U.S. President Donald Trump announced July 28 the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Rence Priebus and his replacement with Secretary of Homeland Security General John Kelly.

As we just covered, Kelly’s department wrote a thank-you letter to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in May, a group that the Justice Department identifies as a Muslim Brotherhood entity. CAIR was also designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing trial. CAIR was specifically listed as part of the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which is a secret body established to covertly assist the Hamas terrorist group.

The letter, originally published by Pamela Geller, was authored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. It states that it was written at the request of General Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security. It was written to CAIR-Florida official Hassan Shibly, whose extremism I originally exposed in 2010 before he joined CAIR and underwent their moderate makeover.

There is still hope that Kelly’s name was only included in the letter as a procedure. It’s possible that this is routinely done to flatter the recipient of the letter and Kelly does not have direct knowledge of when his name is used. But it’s still wrong. At the very least, Kelly did not align DHS with Justice Department (and therefore FBI) policy prohibiting using CAIR as a liaison partner with the Muslim community.

Priebus left the Trump Administration after the president appointed businessman Anthony Scaramucci as the new Communications Director, prompting the resignation of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Then, Scaramucci went on a foul-mouthed tirade about Priebus to a reporter.

What is of concern to our topic is that Scaramucci also lashed out at Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, a supporter of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Foes of the Brotherhood need as many allies in the administration as possible.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposes designating the Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and is going to bat for Qatar and Turkey. National Security Adviser McMaster is also reportedly opposed, as would be expected from his staunch stance against using terminology like “radical Islam” and his endorsement of a book with the premise that only “militant Islamists” are our enemies, not non-violent Islamists.

Now, we have someone as the new Chief of Staff who authorized the writing of a thank-you letter to CAIR.

 

Ryan Mauro
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.