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Terrorist Organizations to Visit the United States

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is nothing like being vilified to get your senses acutely attuned. We had a hearing in Judiciary last week--on July 19, actually--in which Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano appeared. During the exchange that I had with Secretary Napolitano, I said these words. They're from the transcript:

And this administration seems to have a hard time recognizing members of terrorist groups who are allowed into the White House. You're aware of that happening, aren't you?

Secretary Napolitano: Absolutely not.

This week, apparently, somebody brought her back into the loop when she testified before Pete King's committee. There are a couple of articles here about it that are rather interesting. One is from The Hill, by Jordy Yager, apparently posted today, July 26:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers on Wednesday that a member of an Egyptian militant group labeled by the United States as a terrorist organization was vetted by three U.S. agencies before visiting the White House. Napolitano said the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service all thoroughly examined the Egyptian man, Hani Nour Eldin, before his visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with Members of Congress and senior administration officials.

Then there is a quote in the article from Secretary Napolitano that says:

``As we move forward, we are going to continue to have visitors to this country that the State Department and others feel are useful to bring to the country, to have discussions moving forward, who say they're members of a political party that in the past has been so designated.''

Another quote:

``He was vetted before he got a visa against all known terrorists and other databases for derogatory information. None was found. As he entered the United States, we, too, vetted him against all of our holdings, including terrorists and information from a variety of sources, and no derogatory information was found. Before he entered the White House, he was vetted a third time by the Secret Service. No derogatory information was found. So then we can have some confidence that this was not a security breach in that sense.''

Napolitano said she knew ``of no such intention'' by U.S. officials to release Abdel-Rahman, the Blind Sheikh.

Chairman King said, ``The administration, whether it's this administration or another administration, may feel that some of these people can be dealt with, can be worked with, but if that's to be done, to me, it would seem it would have to be an open process, a transparent process, where Congress and the people would know who was being let into this country.''

Napolitano, according to the article, conceded that King made a ``fair point'' and that she would look into whether efforts were taken to notify Members of Congress.

It's a little pesky detail. There do happen to be laws on the books that were apparently ignored in that process.

The problem is, when the Secretary of Homeland Security says there is no derogatory information, when the information we have indicates he is a member of a group that we have named as a terrorist organization, then it would seem that the obvious thing would be the fact that he is a member of a known terrorist organization, which would, to most of us, or at least to many of us, be considered derogatory information. The fact that we can't dig up minute details of specific acts of misconduct, nonetheless, should not be necessary when someone is a known member of a terrorist organization, an organization designated by this government to be ``terrorist.'' It's an amazing thing.

But then we're told in an article by Joel Gehrke from The Washington Examiner on July 25:

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress today to expect more members of designated foreign terrorist organizations to visit the United States.

``I think you are right in pointing out that as we move forward we are going to continue to have visitors to this country that the State Department and others feel are useful to bring to the country to have discussions moving forward who say they are members of the political party that in the past have been so designated,'' Napolitano told House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King during a committee hearing this morning.

Napolitano was defending the decision to host Hani Nour Eldin--a member of Egyptian Parliament elected on the political party platform of the Islamic Group, which the State Department has designated a foreign terrorist organization--at the White House.

Just as a reminder, Mr. Speaker, in our hearing, I said these words:

This administration seems to have a hard time recognizing members of terrorist groups who are allowed in the White House. You're aware of that happening, aren't you?

Her answer: Absolutely not.

So the evidence seems to be pretty clear. He was a member of a known terrorist group. He was allowed into the White House, but the answer by the Secretary of Homeland Security to that happening was: Absolutely not.

She didn't say that we had vetted him many times and that, even though he was a member of what we in the State Department had designated as a terrorist organization, we still thought he was safe. She said it just absolutely did not happen. Absolutely not.

The article goes on from The Washington Examiner:

``I think we have to add more nuance to that,'' she said, when King mentioned that Eldin is part of a designated foreign terrorist organization. ``We have to know what the group was. Is it now a political party that is running the government of a country that has strong ties to the United States?'' She added that he went through three stages of vetting, and ``everyone who looked at this person felt confident that he was not a security risk to the White House or to the United States.''

King charged the Obama administration with violating a law in hosting Eldin at the White House. ``It appears as if the law was not complied with in that he did not apply for a waiver, and Congress was not notified, which is also required. It does not appear that either the letter or the spirit of the law was complied with.''

When King reiterated that complaint about the process by which Eldin was allowed into the country, Napolitano conceded, ``On the process, that's a fair point to make.''

There is a reason we have laws, and you would hope that someone who is a Cabinet official in the top position of our Homeland Security would think that it is important to comply with the law.

Just as we've seen massive amounts of money go to places that have leaders who say they want to eliminate Israel and the United States, we see this kind of conduct from this administration.

And I have reporters asking me if I want to apologize for five separate letters that were written to five separate inspectors general of five different departments with different facts pertaining to that department in each letter, and the facts in the letter are true. The simple question was not an accusation or allegation, because it's pretty obvious there is influence by the Muslim Brotherhood in America. The question is: How much influence is there, and where is it coming from? It is an amazing thing to see all of this transpire.

Obviously, it's great fun and sport to attack a messenger that is not liked by certain people in the media, but what we keep seeing that is amazing and that is happening with what was once the proud tradition of journalism in America is our national security being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Why isn't the mainstream media making a big deal about a Secretary of Homeland Security who one week says, Absolutely not, it was not a member of a known terrorist organization that got in the White House, and a week later she admits, It did happen, but we properly vetted him three different times?

I hear about what apparently is being grossly overlooked also that I get as I speak to Muslims in other parts of the world who are our friends, who have fought with us, who have buried family members and loved ones because they want to live in freedom like we do. They don't want a strict group like the Taliban dictating their lives. They're moderate Muslims who want to live in peace. What they keep bringing home to me is what this administration misses entirely. When the President of the United States, when the leaders of this country, this administration, meet with members of known terrorist organizations and will not meet with our Muslim friends who have fought with us instead of against us from other parts of the world, the message has a chilling effect on our friends wanting to continue to be our friends because it appears to be the most dangerous place in the world to be, in the category of ``friends'' with the United States, because it means this administration is one step away from abandoning them in favor of ties and relationships with groups that we know have been terrorist organizations.

It's not just the meeting with. It's not just a danger or lack of danger of someone coming into the White House. Of course they can check them with the metal detectors to make sure they're not carrying anything. It goes beyond that. It devastates our friends. It destroys hope around the world for people who are hoping that we'll stand up as we once have, not for the Muslim Brotherhood who want an international caliphate which includes the United States and the United States to be added to the 57 Muslim states that comprise the OIC; it's what we're doing to our friends.

I hope and pray that people in the mainstream media will get past the enjoyment of vilifying and trying to destroy the messenger and look at the message, that they'll get beyond the lazy tactics of calling someone, getting with someone and saying, ``What's your opinion about these allegations?'' and getting a response of, ``Well, gee, we don't think there is anything to them,'' instead of digging the facts out and presenting them as the once proud journalist tradition was here in America. There are still journalists doing it, but I hope that that practice will be extended. We're hurting ourselves, but unfortunately we also hurt our friends when we do that.

Mr. Speaker, for those who say there is no evidence of any Muslim Brotherhood influence in America, I would urge them to go back and review the evidence in the convictions of the Holy Land Foundation trial obtained in November of 2008 before this administration began embracing the named coconspirators like CAIR and ISNA, when they were named as coconspirators of supporting terrorism. I would hope they would go back to the 1995 trial where Andrew McCarthy did a stellar job, and the Clinton administration awarded him for his incredible work in proving that there are people in America who want to establish shari'a law as the law of the land and subvert our Constitution. He proved it beyond a reasonable doubt among some wonderful New York citizens in New York City.

And as Andrew McCarthy has asked: ``What's happened since 1995 to make that evidence no longer true?'' It was true then; it's true today.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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