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Boehner: attacks on Abedin 'pretty dangerous'

Boehner: attacks on Abedin 'pretty dangerous'
Boehner: attacks on Abedin 'pretty dangerous'

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and a handful of right-wing colleagues recently launched a bizarre crusade, urging executive branch agencies to launch investigations to determine whether the Muslim Brotherhood has "infiltrated" the American government. Most notably, Bachmann is concerned about Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is Muslim.

Yesterday, to his credit, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) condemned the offensive effort, and today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made related comments to reporters.

Boehner said he did not know Abedin well, but that "from everything that I know of her she has a sterling character. I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous."Boehner is the latest high-profile GOP official to criticize the charges by Bachmann and four other GOP lawmakers that Abedin could be using her position at the State Department to aid the Muslim Brotherhood.

It's worth noting that Boehner last year gave Bachmann a spot on the House Intelligence Committee, giving her access to the nation's most sensitive secrets. Asked today if he might consider removing her from the intelligence panel, the Speaker added, "I don't know that that's related at all."

Well, it's "related" to the extent that the House Intelligence Committee appears to have an unhinged extremist who's trying to lead a witch hunt that Boehner himself considers "pretty dangerous."

Still, the House Speaker deserves credit -- it's not common for Republican leaders to publicly rebuke members of their own caucus, so Boehner's comments are certainly welcome.

For what it's worth, Bachmann defended herself in an interview with Glenn Beck -- no, seriously, that's who she talked to yesterday -- says she did not "infer" that Huma Abedin is "working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood."

But Bachmann's letter (pdf) to the State Department's inspector general really did say Abedin "has three family members -- her late father, her mother and her brother-- connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making."