The congressional campaign of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is circulating a letter from three retired U.S. Marine Corps generals accusing his Democrat opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, of being a “security risk” — and he is firing back.
On Sunday evening, Campa-Najjar retweeted a response from VoteVets.org, a left-wing political action committee run by anti-war veterans, alleging that the generals were endangering U.S. troops on the battlefield.
Campa-Najjar and Hunter are competing in the 50th congressional district of California, a reliably Republican district where the race has become much closer since Hunter and his wife were indicted this past summer on charges of misusing campaign funds. (Hunter denies the allegations, and considers them “politically motivated.”)
However, Campa-Najjar’s unusual background (see below) has proved to be a stumbling block for the Democrat.
Three retired @USMC generals signed their names to a letter saying congressional candidate @ACampaNajjar is a threat to U.S. security. Letter was paid for by campaign of indicted U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter. + pic.twitter.com/0mMyhyxS4p
— Kelly Davis (@kellylynndavis) October 15, 2018
The letter is signed by Brigadier General (Ret.) Terry Paul, Major General Randall L. West (Ret.), and Major General T.L. Corwin (Ret.), all of whom have worked as lobbyists since retiring from the Marine Corps.
The generals refer to Campa-Najjar as “Najjar” — his legal surname until June, when he changed it after the primary was over — and claims his family has connections to Palestinian terrorrism:
Najjar is a member of the Najjar family in the Middle East, members of which have been heavily involved in major terrorist operations and massacres. … Campa-Najjar’s father has been a senior leader of Yasser Arafat’s PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], the world’s most infamous terror group … Amma Campa-Najjar, should he be elected would have access to classified, secret information on our military ops in the Middle East.
If Democrat Candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar should get elected and sees secret information on U.S. military operations that would endanger members of his Najjar family in the Middle East, would he compromise U.S. operations to protect his relatives, the Najjars?
We would not bet the lives of our troops on the gamble. We hope you wouldn’t either.
Some of the letter’s claims are accurate. Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. (He was later assassinated by Israeli commandos.) Campa-Najjar’s father was a PLO official, serving in the Palestinian Authority government in Gaza, and as the Palestinian ambassador to Norway, Iceland, and Albania.
However, some of the letter’s other claims are speculative. Moreover, Campa-Najjar has condemned his grandfather’s actions, and he and his father both support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Last week, Breitbart News reported that Campa-Najjar had taken a $250.00 campaign donation from a Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations. Hunter called on Campa-Najjar to return that donation; he has refused to do so.
Moreover, Breitbart News also reported that the Campa-Najjar campaign had donated $650.00 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical organization, and received campaign donations from CAIR officials. As Breitbart News noted:
In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization . The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).
Campa-Najjar has protested that he is a born-again Christian, not a Muslim, and “would be executed by extremists in the Muslim world for apostasy.” He has, however, refused to return CAIR officials’ donations, or to demand a refund of his campaign’s donation to CAIR.
In response to the retired generals’ letter, VoteVets.org tweeted:
These 3 Retired @USMC Generals just endangered the lives of our troops in the field. They should immediately rescind these comments or the Commandant of the Marine Corps should for them. #CA50 https://t.co/vi7b4pcat2
— VoteVets (@votevets) October 15, 2018
The argument VoteVets.org seems to be advancing is a familiar left-wing claim that American leaders who call out radicalism in the Middle East will further radicalize local Muslim populations against U.S. troops. (However, as noted above, Campa-Najjar is not Muslim.)
Campa-Najjar retweeted the VoteVets.org tweet approvingly, encouraging the group to send their own letters to voters in the district:
— Ammar Campa-Najjar (@ACampaNajjar) October 15, 2018
He also tweeted: “Shame on Hunter.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.