There's lots of speculation going on over the fast-breaking events in Egypt -- but Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's claim yesterday on Capitol Hill that the Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular" and has "eschewed violence" doesn't need to be speculated upon.
The Brotherhood has not only described itself as an Islamist group, committed to implementing Sharia law, it spawned Egyptian Islamic Jihad -- which offed Anwar Sadat in 1981 and later joined forces with Al Qaeda. Another Brotherhood offshoot is Hamas, the terrorist group that holds Gaza in its bloody grip. It's no fan of the Camp David peace accords with Israel, either.
Though Clapper's office has reportedly "clarified" his remarks, the damage has been done. The DNI's testimony makes it appear that the U.S. government either doesn't know the facts on the ground in Egypt or has mistakenly concluded that we shouldn't be concerned about the Brotherhood being large and in charge of that strategic Mideastern country. Either case is troubling.
Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and former deputy assistant secretary of defense. This op-ed appeared in the New York Post Opinion section on February 11. To read more op-eds on the turmoil in Egypt and other topics, click here.
Peter Brookes is Senior Fellow, National Security Affairs at the Heritage Foundation and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs. He is a Navy veteran. Follow him on Twitter@Brookes_Peter.