Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says National Intelligence Director James Clapper categorizing the Muslim Brotherhood as largely secular and very heterogeneous “startled” him, and CIA Director Leon Panetta’s early Thursday public announcement, that President Hosni Mubarak would resign, was “bizarre.”
Noting he has known Clapper a long time, and considers him “very competent,” Gingrich Thursday told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that nevertheless, “I was startled by his statements today.”
“They patently do not represent the long history of the Muslim Brotherhood. They don't represent its effect in other countries. They don't represent how various Arab leaders see them,” Gingrich said. “If you talk to the Saudis or Syrians, they will tell you the Muslim Brotherhood scares them to death.
“This was an organization founded a long time ago for the purpose of cleansing the Arab world, and the Muslim world, of western influences,” he continued. “It is an organization which says, basically, it is committed to Allah. That the Koran is its law. That the Jihad is its way. And that dying in the manner of Allah is its method.
“Which part of that is secular? The fact that under Mubarak's police state they've had to simulate being secular, tells you nothing about their goals,” Gingrich added. “Their goals are the destruction of Israel. The destruction of western influence in the Middle East. The creation of a society which accepts Sharia.”
When Hannity asked Gingrich what he thought of Thursday’s Egyptian confusing chain of events, the former speaker – and possible presidential candidate – noted the Obama administration added to the “bizarre” situation.
“Well, the first bizarre thing of the day was the director of central intelligence publicly announcing that he thinks Mubarak is going to be gone,” Gingrich said. “And there were two reasons that was very bizarre: the first is, the director of central intelligence ought to brief the president, and in certain circumstances ought to brief the Congress. But he has no business saying things publicly that undermine one of our allies.
“I mean, it was an amazingly amateurish performance all the way around,” he said. “And you look at this stuff and you think, this is the most incompetent performance since Jimmy Carter presided over the collapse of the American alliance in Iran in 1978-79.”
Hannity asked how the Obama administration can recover from its reaction to the Egyptian turmoil.
“The same way they've recovered from their total failure in North Korea, the same they recover from the total failure in Iran. They ignore it,” Gingrich said. “I mean, this administration simply papers over every disaster and goes back to business as usual.
“I think that the gradual erosion of our position over the last two years has been extraordinary around the world,” he added. “And that we people realize: this is a very weak government led by a group of amateurs in foreign policy,”
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