Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson departed from his predecessor’s dismissive stance about a potential breach of classified information to a man with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, saying it’s “problematic.”
“I agree that unauthorized exposures of government information is problematic,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked Johnson if he thought it was a serious matter when someone on the Homeland Security Advisory Council used a secret clearance to download documents and shop them to the press.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Gohmert recounted to Johnson his questioning of former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano at Judiciary hearings in 2012 and 2011 relating to Homeland Security Advisory Council member Mohammed Elibiary. During her tenure, Napolitano appointed Elibiary to the Advisory Council and, according to Gohmert, he gained secret security clearance through Napolitano to downloaded classified information that the Texas Republican says Elibiary later shopped to a reporter.
Gohmert Questioning Sec. Napolitano in July of 2012
Napolitano shot back at Gohmert’s accusations at a July 2012 hearing, saying his “insinuations demean the committee.” Napolitano added that she was more concerned about “allegations that are made against anyone who happens to be Muslim” when asked if it troubled her that classified information was downloaded by Elibiary.
The back and forth Gohmert had with Sec. Johnson was nowhere near as explosive as he had with Johnson’s predecessor, but Gohmert told him on Thursday:
I asked her if [Napolitano] knew about his downloading of two documents from utilizing the classified secret clearance that she had given him and she said ‘no.’ However, the night before, the director of the Department of Public Safety in Texas had been assured she was briefed that evening about the situation, so either Secretary Napolitano lied to me or we have people in Homeland Security that are lying to state officials. Neither of those is a good situation.
Gohmert questioning Sec. Jeh Johnson about Mohommed Elibiary on Thursday
Gohmert went further before asking Johnson to look into the matter: “So I got a letter here dated May 28 asking you to look into this. She said later in 2012 she would look into the situation and said that he, Mr. Elibiary, did not shop these documents he downloaded and the fact is there is a reporter that did this story and I know that from talking to the reporter yesterday, nobody contacted the reporter to get the information.”
Elibiary is the founder of Lone Star Intelligence, LLC and, according to his online bio, he has advised “numerous Federal, state and local law enforcement organizations on homeland security-related matters.” He has become a controversial figure through his alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood. In September of 2013, his Twitter profile included the “R4BIA” four-finger logo–a symbol associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism reported in January of 2013 that the Egyptian magazine Rose El-Youssef (read translation here) claimed that he was one of six American Islamist activists who “work with the Obama administration as Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence.”