Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Education of Robert Mueller

Imagine for a moment that I have been elected a U.S. Senator for the state of Virginia, replacing one of the two roll-with-the-punches Democrats who vote the straight Party line, and I am on the Senate Judiciary Committee which is holding a special hearing on the reported misconduct of FBI Director Robert Mueller over a variety of issues, including the IRS probes Mueller denied knowledge of, and the state of intelligence and law enforcement of the Bureau in combating Islamic jihad and identifying and arresting homegrown Islamic terrorists. I have been given carte blanche by the Committee chairman to interrogate Mr. Mueller on these and related topics.

Picture me on the committee dais, and Mr. Mueller at his table sitting next to his own legal counsel, a wonkish-looking fellow with round spectacles. Mueller has been sworn in and the chamber has quieted down. The only other sounds are the occasional whirl and click of a reporter's camera and the soft, almost inaudible staccato whisper of the stenography machine of the Committee's reporter.  

SEN. CLINE:  Thank you, Mr. Mueller. Let's proceed with our questioning.

MR. MUELLER: Yes, sir.

SEN. CLINE: Mr. Mueller – when were you appointed Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?

MR. MUELLER: In September, 2001, by then President George Bush.

SEN. CLINE: On September 4th, about a week before 9/11, I should note. So, all in all, you have been in that office for about thirteen years. Your previous careers in law and in the military have already been entered into the record, so we won’t review that information. Now, do you think you have performed your duties as Director faithfully, in accordance with your oath of office?

MR. MUELLER: Yes, sir. I do think that.

SEN. CLINE: Fine. You are of the Christian faith, I assume.

MR. MUELLER: Yes, sir.

SEN. CLINE: Which one?

MR. MUELLER: I have been an Episcopalian all my life, as were my parents.

SEN. CLINE:  Then you must be familiar with the Ten Commandments, formally known as the Decalogue. These Commandments also occur in the Hebrew Bible and are alluded to in the Koran.  I am referring to Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-2.

MR. MUELLER: Yes, sir.

SEN. CLINE:  Just for the record, could you recite a few of them for the committee?

(Mueller glances in bafflement at his legal counsel. His legal counsel looks equally baffled, but shrugs his shoulders and nods.)

MR. MUELLER: (Slightly amused) Well…Thou shalt not kill….Thou shalt not steal….Thou shalt not cover a neighbor's wife, or his house….Honor your parents, and Sundays or the Sabbath….Thou shalt not lie, or bear false witness….Or make graven images….Or swear….

SEN. CLINE:  (Holding up a hand.) All right. The Committee is satisfied with that answer. Do you read the Bible, sir?

MR. MUELLER:  Now and then. I must admit I can't remember the last time I did. Not as regularly as I should.

SEN. CLINE:  Would you agree that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of Judeo-Christian morality?

MR. MUELLER: Yes, sir, but I have heard there has been some disagreement over that.

SEN. CLINE: (Smiling benevolently at Mueller.) I agree with you, Mr. Mueller. I confess I am one of the dissidents on that matter. However, that is beside the point. (Pauses to turn over some papers in front of him.) All right. Now, Mr. Mueller, I am going to pursue a novel line of questioning. Were you aware that the Bible, as well as the Hebrew one, not to mention the Koran, in which there are vague references to the Commandments, was a work-in-progress for centuries, having been edited, adumbrated, and revised by numerous scholars and interpreters and other notables? There are at least half a dozen "authorized" and popular versions of the Bible, the most recent the English Standard which has come down to us today, which is roughly based on the King James Version. (Cline waves his hand.) There is a Cockney Bible, and a Bowdlerized Bible, in which all the prurient references were excised from the text, especially from the Old Testament.

MR. MUELLER: (He blinks in incomprehension, and answers with hesitation.) No, sir. I was not aware of it.

SEN. CLINE: (With barely contained amusement.) And, as the story goes in all three doctrines, Moses climbed Mount Sinai, disappeared into a fog, and a few days later emerged with two stone tablets with the Commandments inscribed on them. That is, more or less, the story. Am I correct?

MR. MUELLER: That is correct, sir, if I remember correctly.

SEN. CLINE: You do. Now, allow me to pose a hypothetical event. Suppose a new book of the Bible, heretofore unknown to the Christian, as well as to the Judaic and Islamic faiths and worlds, is discovered in the stacks of the British Museum, or in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, or in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Let us for the moment call it the Book of Robert.

(Subdued laughter in chamber. Mueller and his legal counsel, however, look nonplussed. Senator Cline waits for the laughter to subside and continues.)

Its discovery understandably causes universal sensation and concern. Now, after careful study and examination of the text of the Book of Robert, biblical scholars and other authorities determine that it was written or recorded some centuries after Exodus and Deuteronomy. And its Ten Commandments abrogate the earlier ones. These new Commandments condone murder, theft, dishonesty, rape, slavery, and other crimes. In fact, they are the converse of the originals. Further, an admonishing advisory in the Book of Robert categorically warns that the new Commandments render the older ones null and void, and that it is incumbent upon Christians to abide by the new ones. This dictum, of course, also obviates the pacific nature of the New Testament, as well, and not only redefines the contemporary understanding of Christianity, but calls for a new name for it, the peaceful homilies of Jesus Christ having been all but negatived in the Book of Robert. (Pauses.) What would you say to that, Mr. Mueller?

MR. MUELLER: (Frowning in disgust.) That is a preposterous idea, sir.

SEN. CLINE: Is it? Why do you say that?

MR. MUELLER: It's a blasphemous and irreligious idea. And disrespectful.

SEN. CLINE: But not unprecedented. Although the idea is apocryphal, there have been private organizations in the past, such as the British Hellfire Clubs, that mocked the Bible and the Christian faith. And Thomas Jefferson, for example, removed all the parts of the Bible that he agreed with and put together his own much reduced version. Many of his contemporaries called his action blasphemous, as well, but I don’t think his reputation has suffered much. 

MR. MUELLER: I…have heard these stories, sir.

SEN. CLINE:  I am happy to hear it. Furthermore, as far as precedents are concerned, it is done in the Koran.

MR. MUELLER: I don't follow you, sir.

SEN. CLINE: (Under his breath, "I didn't expect you would.")  I think you will, sir. This won't take long. Well, let's hear some examples of what I'm talking about here. Now, advocates of Islam claim it is a "peaceful" religion. Indeed, it is true that once Islam's purposes are accomplished, it will be "peaceful." Would you happen to know what those purposes are, Mr. Mueller?

MR. MUELLER: Just that its believers can live in peace, sir. That's as I understand it. And without discrimination or harassment or stereotyping or defamation.

SEN. CLINE: (Shaking his head.) No, sir. By that – and Islamic authorities, in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim organizations in this country, and in Europe, all concur on its meaning, and will bear me out – by that is meant that once the world is under Islamic rule, then jihad will be pointless and unlawful, because all of Islam's foes will have been converted, subjugated, or vanquished.

MR. MUELLER: (Frowning, shaking his head.) That isn't what they mean, sir. Why, President Bush himself, the day after 9/11, said that Islam wasn’t about terrorism, it meant peace. He said that at the Islamic Center in Washington, standing with a group of Muslim representatives.

SEN. CLINE: (Smiling.) Yes, he did. And they were all Brotherhood representatives, too.  But, let me read for the record exactly what Mr. Bush said that day. (Turns some pages, adjusts his glasses.) Ah, here, and I quote: "These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.  And it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that. The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself:  In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil.  For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule." (Looks down at Mueller.) That was from Sura 30, verse 10. I should point out that Mr. Bush's quotation – and I don’t know who gave it to him – places a period after the second instance of "evil." The next clause is treated as a separate sentence. I don't think that was a typographical error. In the original, however, there is only a semicolon after the second instance, forming a complete sentence, which changes the whole meaning of the quotation. Which arguably makes it as violent a verse as any other to be found in the Koran.

MR. MUELLER:  (Looking angry.) You're playing with periods and semicolons and grammar just to change the meaning, sir, and I must protest –

SEN. CLINE: It's the punctuation that changes the meanings, Mr. Mueller, not I. But – let's examine some other instances of later verses, verses that negate the meaning of the earlier verses. (Cline turns some pages before him and reads calmly without inflection or stress.)

Sura 64, verse 12: "Obey God then and obey the Messenger (that being Mohammad), but if you turn away no blame shall be attached to our Messenger, for the duty of our Messenger is just to deliver the message." (Cline shrugs and grimaces.) A rather vague imperative, addressed to a simpleton, I should think.

Here's Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj al-Naysaburi about a Sunnah in the Hadith: "Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise." And, another: "Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys God." That's from Bukhari, a Muslim scholar.

And, another: "He who hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state, I am his adversary, and I shall be his adversary on the Day of a Judgment." Again, Bukhari. Al-Mawardi: "Beware on the Day of Judgment; I shall myself be complainant against him who wrongs a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state or lays on him a responsibility greater than he can bear or deprives him of anything that belongs to him."

(Cline puts aside the quotations, and addresses Mueller.) Now, Mr. Mueller, did you notice any significant qualifications in those quotations?

MR. MUELLER:  No. I can't say that I did.

SEN. CLINE:  In al-Naysaburi's quotation, he mentions a truce, the Arabic term being hudna, or a temporary cessation of hostilities to buy time to regroup in order to renew an attack with a better advantage. I doubt he was referring to a break time during a chess match. And in the last three quotations – and I could have gone on with dozens more – the non-Muslim who mustn’t be harmed is a citizen of a Muslim state. In a Muslim state a non-Muslim is a dhimmi, or an infidel who has accepted the political authority of Islam over him. Search as one might through similar verses, one can find no such restraining order about non-Muslims in non-Muslim states. Now, what do you make of that, sir?

MR. MUELLER: (After a hurried, whispered huddle with his legal counsel.) I don't know what to make of it, sir, except I think you are putting words into the mouths of Muslims.

SEN. CLINE: The words I cited come from authoritative texts, Mr. Mueller. Those were the words of revered scholars and commentators through the ages. Furthermore, I should also remark that there isn't a single verse in either the Koran or the Hadith that does not imply a global Islamic hegemony, that is, a state in which Islam has the upper hand in all matters, over all men. There is no other context in which to construe the verses or sayings, regardless of their counseling violence or mercy. I will further remark that any Muslim quoting one of the earlier "peaceful" verses as the final word, does so at the risk of being accused of blasphemy and inviting retribution. Let's sample a few more Sura from the Koran:

From Sura 8:12, "Allah will throw fear into the hearts of the disbelievers, and smite their necks and fingers."

From Sura 72:15-17, "The fires of hell will be fueled with the bodies of idolators and unbelievers. They will experience an ever-greater torment."

From Sura 4:56, "Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, we shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power."

Shall I go on, Mr. Mueller? There are even worse verses. My clerk prepared six pages of them. You and your legal counsel are welcome to a copy.

MR. MUELLER: (After another whispered conference with his legal counsel.) I suspect that you have cherry-picked your verses, sir, and so I have nothing to say about them.

SEN. CLINE: If I have cherry-picked my verses, sir, then I have practically denuded the tree.  Now, let us turn to the purpose of this hearing. I will ask you this, Mr. Mueller: Would you regard Islam primarily as a religion, or an ideology?

MR. MUELLER: (Almost defiantly.) I regard Islam as primarily a religion, with some of its regrettable verses serving as an excuse for some individuals to use violence. I do not regard it as an ideology in the least. President Bush, bless his heart, said Islam was hijacked by extremists.

SEN. CLINE: What is an "extremist"?

MR. MUELLER: Someone who takes a teaching too far, or literally, to a criminal extent.

SEN. CLINE: So, an "extremist" is someone who takes a teaching seriously enough to act on it?

MR. MUELLER: Yes, because he misinterprets the teaching.

SEN. CLINE: I can cite a number of Sura that instruct Muslims to slay or enslave non-believers, Jews, apostates, homosexuals, and disobedient wives and daughters. How could so clear a language be misinterpreted? Shall we blame the "extremist," or the teaching?

MR. MUELLER:  It's a matter of interpretation, that's all.

SEN. CLINE: Mr. Mueller, I ask you this because you have a law degree from the University of Virginia: Would you call the Constitution of the United States – that is, the original Constitution, minus later, egregious, and contradictory amendments – the law of the land, one that governs the actions of American citizens?

MR. MUELLER: (Looks thoughtful for a moment, then answers with confidence.) Yes, sir, I would call it that.

SEN. CLINE: Would you agree that the Constitution is not so much a set of rules by which Americans should conduct themselves, as a document that defines the limits and the limited powers of government, so that Americans' liberty may be preserved and enjoyed?

MR. MUELLER: (After a moment, frowning, and unsure of where this is leading.) Generally speaking, yes.

SEN. CLINE:  So, the Constitution as envisioned and written by the Founders did not so much govern the actions of Americans, as it set boundaries between them and the government? I include, of course, the Bill of Rights.

MR. MUELLER: (With wry contempt.) That's one way of putting it.

SEN. CLINE: That's the only way to put it, sir. So, one could not say that the Constitution is by any means totalitarian in nature? That is, it doesn’t prescribe every particular or concrete action or behavior or custom that an American citizen may take or follow without fear of penalty?

MR. MUELLER: (Frowning again, looking disgusted.) Like I said, that's one way of putting it.

SEN. CLINE: And is not Sharia law the jurisprudential guide of Islam, governing all the actions of its followers?

MR. MUELLER: Yes, as I understand it, that's what it is. But –

SEN. CLINE: And if you understand that much, would you not agree that Sharia law is the implementation of a totalitarian ideology? That it is as unlike the Constitution as water is unlike lava?

MR. MUELLER: You're putting words into my mouth!

SEN. CLINE: You mean I'm asking you to concede a point, Mr. Mueller. One needn't believe in Islam to be governed by Sharia law as a subject, as a dhimmi. I will remind you that one of the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood is to replace our Constitution with Sharia law. This has been said in this country on numerous occasions by Brotherhood members. (Pauses to leaf through some papers before him.) Now, we are coming to the nub of my questions, Mr. Mueller. If you had been Director of the Federal Bureau during World War Two, would you have instructed your personnel to not identify enemy Nazi agents, for fear of offending domestic and foreign Nazis, yet still expect your people to foil their plots and apprehend them?

MR. MUELLER: (Looking flustered, and wags a finger at Senator Cline.) You're not getting away with this line of questioning, Senator! It's wholly inappropriate! (Mueller consults with his legal counsel.)

SEN. CLINE: And had you been Director in the1950's, would you have instructed your personnel to not identify Communist agents and their schemes, for fear of insulting Communists foreign and domestic?

MR. MUELLER: I refuse to answer that question. Those are different times you're talking about!

SEN. CLINE: As Director of the FBI, you in 2012 instructed that all training materials be purged of all references to Islam and Muslims, together with all terms associated with jihad, yet expected your personnel to detect and foil acts of Islamic terrorism in this country, and even overseas. From whom did that order come, Mr. Mueller?

MR. MUELLER: It came from the Attorney General. It wasn't my decision.

SEN. CLINE: So, instead of resigning in protest, or publically opposing the order, you stayed on, and helped to blind an agency charged with defending this country against enemy action? In point of fact, you, sir, were charged with defending this country from enemy designs and attacks.

MR. MUELLER:  It wasn't my decision. It was a policy decision. I don’t make such decisions.

SEN. CLINE: That, sir, is obvious. (Reaches for another paper.) I read here a statement made by Clare Lopez, a senior fellow of the Clarion Fund and the Center for Security Policy, an expert on strategic intelligence and defense policy matters, and a former employee of the CIA.  She is also a deputy director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Team and an instructor for U.S. Special Forces. And, I quote from a recent article of hers published this June, "National Defense vs. the Ideology of Jihad." (Adjusts his glasses again.)

"It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the deliberate blinding of our homeland security defense capabilities, perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in close cooperation with the witting, willing assistance of our own national security agency leadership – " (Pauses to glance at Mueller.) – which includes you, sir – "is propelling the U.S. towards catastrophe." (Cline pauses to turn a page.)  Further on in her article, she writes, "The methodical blinding of the intelligence community, its seventeen aggregated agencies, and security and law enforcement units across the country, is the unavoidable result of this kind of 'outreach' to jihadists, who are determined to outlaw consideration of Islamic ideology as a motivating factor for terror attacks." (Puts the paper aside.)  I will refrain from declaiming on my distaste for the term "homeland," as that is my only reservation about Miss Lopez's statements. But, I should like to know if you, Mr. Mueller, concur with her statements, or disagree with them.

MR. MUELLER:  I know about Lopez. She's a right-wing agitator sick with Islamophobia.

SEN. CLINE:  You appeared to be comfortable with the policy of emasculating this country's ability to defend itself against our sworn enemy, Islam. Perhaps you are also comfortable with abetting censorship, which is what is meant by "outlawing consideration of Islam ideology."

MR. MUELLER:  We are not at war with Islam. Two presidents have said that, sir.

SEN. CLINE: Then two presidents were wrong, Mr. Mueller, and you have served under both of them. The first time Mohammad raised his sword to convert or slay or enslave non-believers 1,400 years ago, that was the beginning of Islamic jihad, which has not ceased since then. I might add that many scholars even question the existence of such a person, and that the details of his life are just so much fantastic folderol. Now, who instructed the Attorney General to communicate that policy to you, Mr. Mueller?

MR. MUELLER:  I refuse to answer. I will not entertain that question. It's politically motivated.

SEN. CLINE:  (Removes a sheet of paper from his notes.) May I remind you of your oath of office, sir? (Reads from the paper.) "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." I lay special stress on "all enemies, foreign and domestic." (Puts down the paper.) I will also remind you, sir, that you are under oath in these proceedings, as well.

MR. MUELLER:  You do not need to remind me. Are you insinuating that I'm lying?

SEN. CLINE: No, sir. I'm suggesting that you're not as forthcoming with answers as you are required to be in this chamber. You were not forthcoming about the farcical role of the FBI in investigating the murders of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi. I'm suggesting that you ignored the warnings of the Russians about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's newfound Islamic "extremism." I'm suggesting that you never investigated the Boston mosque which both Tsarnaev brothers attended, one, as Mr. Gohmert pointed out in the House hearing the other day, which was founded by a jihadist now serving time in prison –

MR. MUELLER: I'll tell you what I told him, sir, that we investigated that mosque four days before the Boston bombing –

SEN. CLINE: Yes, I know. As part of the FBI's "outreach" program, Mr. Mueller. But Huggy-Bear "outreach" is not the same thing as a criminal investigation or rooting out Islamic terror cells or "sudden jihad" terrorists that these mosques seem to spawn. I would like to know what you think of President Obama's "outreach" to terrorist organizations. He seems to think that Al-Qada is a branch of the Rotarians, that Hamas is affiliated with the Mummers, and that the Muslim Brotherhood is a college fraternity. And, fantastically enough, that neither Al-Qada nor Hamas have anything to do with Islam. I suppose you and he think they're staffed with Free Masons.

MR. MUELLER:  (Scowling furiously.) Mr. Obama knows what I think of his policies.

SEN. CLINE:  I'm sure he does, and he very likely invites you to his frequent rounds of golf, too. My time is almost up, Mr. Mueller. Your testimony has been interesting but not illuminating. Per the Committee's special subpoena, you will be required to appear here again tomorrow at 10 a.m. The subject is, after all, your misconduct these twelve or so years, misconduct which, given the negligence your department has exhibited lately, together with your own acquiescence to a futile, perilous, and, if I may so, treasonous policy of accommodation granted our enemies, can in all probability be joined with the charges of a violation of your oath of office, and dereliction of a duty you voluntarily assumed. Tomorrow, I think we shall focus on your parts in Benghazi and the IRS's enemies list. You are dismissed, Mr. Mueller.

MR. MUELLER:  (Angrily, standing with his legal counsel, his face ugly with the malice he showed Representative Louis Gohmert.) I'll see you in hell, first!

SEN. CLINE: Now, now, Mr. Mueller. No more of those dirty looks. Behave like an adult, please. (Rises as he collects his papers, smiles at Mueller, and shrugs. He turns to the Committee Chairman.) Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for indulging me.


Iceherinit said...

Thank you, Ed. That has great cathartic value.

Joe said...

Thanks Senator!