Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Thursday he was “mystified” at those who have criticized Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE’s (R-Minn.) claim that some State Department officials might be using their positions to aid the Muslim Brotherhood.

“What is wrong with raising the question? Why isn’t even asking whether we’re living up to our standards a legitimate level of congressional oversight?” Bolton asked on the Frank Gaffney radio show. “Why has that generated so much criticism? I’m just mystified by it.”

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Bachmann (R-Minn.) and four other Republican lawmakers sent a letter earlier this month to the inspectors general at several government agencies raising questions about how department officials obtained security clearances.
 
The letter singled out Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCongress won't end the wars, so states must Democrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit MORE and the wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), saying she might be using her position to aid the Islamist group, which has been linked to violence in the past.
 
Her letter brought quick condemnation from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, most notably Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (R-Ariz.) and House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez What's a party caucus chair worth? MORE (R-Ohio), who blasted the assertions.
 
Bachmann says her letter is being distorted, and that she only intended to raise questions about whether Abedin was sufficiently vetted before obtaining security clearance.
 
Bolton on Thursday didn’t mention Abedin specifically, but said the questions Bachmann raised were valid.
 
“I’ve been subject to I don’t know how many security clearance procedures,” Bolton, who considered a presidential bid this cycle, said. “I must say, as irritating as some people might find them, I think they’re absolutely essential to making sure that people who work in sensitive positions in the national security field in our government are entirely loyal to the United States. I just think that’s an absolute, fundamental prerequisite.
 
“Now, people finding a truth that they find inconvenient? My response is that’s just too bad,” he added. “What I think these members of Congress have done is simply raise the question to a variety of inspectors general in key agencies — are your departments following their own security clearance guidelines? Are they adhering to the standards that presumably everybody that seeks a security clearance should have to go through, or are they making special exemptions?”

Abedin has since been placed under police protection after receiving a threat, according to a report in the New York Post that cited unnamed law enforcement officials.
 
Gaffney, who advised Bachmann on foreign policy during her presidential run, is himself a controversial figure. He’s an outspoken anti-Muslim advocate, and was banned from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference after alleging the gathering had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood.