Rep. West's Anti-Muslim Posse Prove They're Not Ready For Prime Time

July 26, 2011 8:15 am ET — Brian Powell

Rep. Allen

The press release issued by the little-known anti-Islam organization Citizens for National Security claimed that the group had a list of "thousands of names" of individuals connected with the Muslim Brotherhood. This list, they said, would be the highlight of a briefing yesterday on Capitol Hill that would feature Rep. Allen West (R-FL) and would accompany a detailed report on the dangerous and complicated conspiracy being waged against the American way of life by the Muslim Brotherhood through "hundreds" of Islamic organizations.

If the aims of CFNS were to be taken seriously, they failed soundly on all fronts. The briefing room was packed with journalists and concerned citizens eager to learn the identities of these purported traitors and terrorists, to hear from West on the subject of radical Islam, and to review the supposedly unprecedented research conducted by CFNS about this threat to our national security.

But there was no list, their report was missing crucial citations and West left ten minutes into the briefing after giving a brief perfunctory introduction. On top of the inept presentation, CFNS was forced to confront about a dozen students from American University who said they belonged to a local chapter of the Muslim Student Association — a group identified in the presentation as the "flagship" of the Islamist take-over of the United States.

CFNS's press release pointed out that the highlight of the briefing would be the "unprecedented list" of individuals who were found to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood. From the release:

A highlight of the briefing will be an announcement by Dr. Leitner of CFNS's development of an unprecedented list of individual members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., and the people and organizations with which they are associated.

"Thus far, this database contains thousands of names and hundreds of organizations, and is growing each day as the CFNS research project expands. It will soon be made available to the public," noted Leitner.

Similarly, the report handed out to the briefing's attendees, titled "Homegrown Jihad in the USA: Muslim Brotherhood's Deliberate, Premeditated Plan Now Reaching Maturity," indicated that the list was coming soon and baselessly tied Muslim-American organizations in general to terrorism. From the "report":

The present "Homegrown Jihad in the USA" project, produced by a CFNS Task Force, is soon to be supplemented with a sister report detailing the clandestine relationships between the leadership of a multitude of Muslim-American organizations, mosques, academic and business groups, and social and political entities. Many of the original leaders of these organizations are now serving prison terms for supporting terrorism.

No names were named, however, and Leitner admitted the list was not yet available. He even backtracked from the idea of making the list available to the public, saying that it would soon be released to "responsible parties" (a term he defined as "like law enforcement and that sort of thing"). Leitner offered no explanation for why his organization was holding a public briefing on information CFNS apparently doesn't want made available to the public.

Watch:

Instead, attendees were treated to a PowerPoint version of the CFNC's report on the Islamist infiltration of the U.S. — the culmination of 14 months of research, according to its introduction. The "report" was not short on headline-grabbing assertions about the dangers the Muslim community poses to our security (Wired's Spencer Ackerman has a good rundown of its claims, as well as an image of CFNS' sprawling infographic purporting to portray the Muslim Brotherhood "infiltration"). But the presentation was severely lacking in actual sources backing up their findings. During Q&A, Leitner was asked about the noticeable absence of citations in their document:

QUESTIONER: Do you have a list of references that we would have access to that cite your connections that you're drawing?

LEITNER: Yeah, we have a very detailed list of sources for the, for the open-source information, that we draw to come up with the conclusions...

QUESTIONER:  Will that be made public?

LEITNER: It will be made available upon request, I guess.

If their report was the priority, and not the infamous list of Muslim Brotherhood allies, CFNS would've been better served publishing it in something remotely resembling a credible or verifiable format. Offering no sources for a document based on research compiled by unnamed volunteers doesn't pass the laugh test.

Finally, we come to West. Without his patronage, the briefing could not have occurred on congressional grounds. West, however, was barely present. He gave a brief introduction of the group's executive director, then left the room within ten minutes. Any members of the public or the press hoping to ask him questions or hear him elaborate on the extreme claims made by CFNS were out of luck.

The contents of the report and their briefing made clear the extreme anti-Islamic views being propagated by CFNS. What was made even clearer, however, was the fact that CFNS is not ready to perform on a stage as big as our nation's capital. No group making false promises in press releases and publishing unverifiable "reports" should be taken seriously by anyone, even Rep. Allen West.

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