According to the most recent reports, Republicans may be on the verge of dropping their filibuster of Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense. And while John McCain says he is finally satisfied by the information the White House has dispensed on Benghazi, other senators, such as Rand Paul and Ron Johnson, are less than convinced. But their concerns have less to do with Benghazi and more to do with other loony conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy theories such at this one, which has support from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
On February 7, Breitbart News’s Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro published an explosive-looking story under the headline “Secret Hagel Donor? White House Ducks Question on ‘Friends of Hamas.’” Quoting “Senate sources,” Shapiro claimed that crucial documents on Hagel’s “foreign funding” might be kept from the Senate Armed Services Committe because “one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”
It was a short item, three paragraphs, the third paragraph consisting of White House assistant communications director Eric Schultz blowing off Shapiro. It caught fire on the right in no time. “That is quite the accusation,” wrote Moe Lane at RedState. “All they have to do to debunk it is to have Hagel reveal his foreign donors.” In the National Review, Andrew Stiles reported that “rumors abound on Capitol Hill that a full disclosure of Hagel’s professional ties would reveal financial relationships with a number of ‘unsavory’ groups, including one purportedly called ‘Friends of Hamas.’”
Clearly only someone who literally wrote the book on how Sesame Street is turning our children into gay socialists could break such an outrageous story. Because it isn’t true. In fact, “friends of Hamas” doesn’t even exist.
Meanwhile, conspiracy theories involving John Brennan, President Obama’s nomination for director of the CIA, are spreading. And according to our next group of disturbed individuals, lead by none other than Glenn Beck, John Brennan may be a secret Saudi operative.
Glenn Beck isn’t the only one promoting an unhinged conspiracy theory about John Brennan, President Obama’s pick to lead the CIA. A number of Religious Right and anti-Muslim activists are also wondering if Brennan is a secret agent of the Saudi government.
The source of the smear against Brennan is former FBI agent John Guandolo, who has made a career out of warning about the alleged implementation of Sharia law in the U.S. and asserting that Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.” For Guandolo, making completely unsubstantiated accusations is nothing new. [...]
But his accusation about Brennan has been quickly picked up by former congressman Fred Grandy of the Center for Security Policy and Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, who seemed to accept it with little scrutiny. Grandy and Rios also were some of the first people to allege that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin — among other U.S. government officials — are Muslim Brotherhood agents.
I expect Hagel and Brennan will be confirmed once all is said and done, but this has been an excellent demonstration of just how deep into congress the conspiracy-wing of the Republican party has sunk its teeth.
Update... The Republicans have sustained their filibuster of Chuck Hagel. His confirmation is on hold.