The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee criticized Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — a member of the panel — for circulating a letter earlier this week urging an investigation into efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to secretly infiltrate the upper echelons of the federal government.
Bachmann has come under heavy fire for her effort, and particularly portions of the letters targeting Huma Abedin, Hilliary Clinton's deputy chief of staff. Abedin, wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), is alleged through a serious of tenuous claims outlined in the letter to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. But members on both sides of the aisle, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have blasted Bachmann for the assertions.
Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Bachmann's allegations were not supported by intelligence information the members are privy to.
Rogers also looked to disassociate Bachmann's letter from any of the committee's official activities.
"This was not an activity that was sanctioned as any intelligence committee matter," he said.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, said it was "unfortunate" that Bachmann would make such an allegation, especially considering her access to classified information.
"We are in a special situation as members of the intelligence committee, and we get a lot of briefings and to deal with the issue of terrorism and those types of thing," Ruppersberger said, reported USA Today. "It's unfortunate that someone like Michele would make that kind of comment without facts."
Bachmann defended her letter during an interview with Glenn Beck on his radio show Thursday, saying that while she "did not infer that [Abedin] is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or that she’s working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood," that she was still concerned Abedin may not have been properly vetted to receive a security clearance.
"Did she have to go through the same sort of process that anyone else has to go to? Did they check the boxes?" Bachmann said. "Because if the State Department breaks American law to bring a terrorist into the White House, a member of a terrorist organization, it certainly is conceivable that maybe they looked the other way on issuing the security clearance. That’s all we’re doing is asking a question."