In 2011, James Clapper described the Muslim Brotherhood — an Islamist umbrella organization and the progenitor of Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas — as a “largely secular” network of organizations that has “eschewed violence.”
Clapper worked as Director of National Intelligence (DNI) between 2010 and the end of the Obama administration in January of 2017. The DNI consolidates and curates intelligence across all federal intelligence agencies for presentation to and guidance of the president.
Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on February 10, 2011, in his former role as DNI, Clapper advised the House not to be especially wary of the Muslim Brotherhood group:
The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends betterment of the political order in Egypt, etcetera.
In other countries there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.
Watch Clapper’s description of the Muslim Brotherhood below.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been described as a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The group played a pivotal role in inciting the series of rebellions later known as the “Arab Spring,” with its largest success occurring in Egypt.
Former Egyptian President and Mohamed Morsi, who described himself as an “Islamist candidate from the … Muslim Brotherhood,” said in 2012 that “Islam is the solution.”
The New York Times reported in 2012:
He has argued for barring women and non-Muslims from Egypt’s presidency on the basis of Islamic law, or Shariah. He has called for a council of Muslim scholars to advise parliament. He has a track record of inflammatory statements about Israel, including repeatedly calling its citizens “killers and vampires.”
Morsi also led supporters of his in a chant: “The Koran is our constitution, and Shariah is our guide!”
The Times of Israel reported on Morsi’s derision of Israelis and Zionists: “Morsi describedZionists as “bloodsuckers” and descendants of apes and pigs, urged “military resistance” against Israel, and called to sever all ties with the Jewish state, in Arabic interviews that were posted on the Internet in 2010.”
Morsi also said:
There should be military resistance within the land of Palestine against those criminal Zionists, who attack Palestine and the Palestinians. There should also be political resistance and economic resistance through a boycott, as well as by supporting the resistance fighters. This should be the practice of the Muslims and the Arabs outside Palestine. None of the Arab or Muslim peoples and regimes should have dealings with them. Pressure should be exerted upon them. They must not be given any opportunity, and must not stand on any Arab or Islamic land. They must be driven out of our countries.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) submitted legislation in 2017 to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. He also sought to designate the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) as terrorist organizations.
Noteworthy alumni of the Muslim Brotherhood include al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahri and Osama bin Laden.
In May, Clapper acknowledged the Obama administration’s 2016 use of an “informant” to surveil then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.
Clapper now works for CNN as an on-air analyst.