One Day We'll Finally Figure Out Whether the Muslim Brotherhood is Secular

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 16 2011 4:45 PM

One Day We'll Finally Figure Out Whether the Muslim Brotherhood is Secular

At today's Senate Intelligence hearing, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. got another bite at the apple on one of the questions of the day: What the hell do intelligence officials think of the Muslim Brotherhood? When DNI James Clapper said it was hard to state whether the Muslim Brotherhood was religious or secular, an instant conservative critique was born.

So today, Chambliss asked: Do you consider it an extremist Islamic organization or is it an organization that has some extremists?"

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Clapper stated that it was "more the later." CIA Director Leon Panetta agreed, and said it was not "a monolithic organization." And the Investigative Project has more :

Clapper acknowledged using a "less than precise turn of phrase," and said the Brotherhood is not secular, but in Egypt works within a largely secular political system. Its support, he said, is based on grass roots outreach and social services such as health clinics. It "likely will be a part of the political process in Egypt," he said.

It appears that an early call for Clapper to resign over what now seems like a demi-gaffe is going to go nowhere.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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