National security hawks blasted liberal Democrats who sought advice on U.S. drone policy from an organization run by an apparent supporter of al Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.
According to the report, Mohammad Al Ahmady, the Yemen director for Geneva-based NGO Al Karama, was invited to brief to brief Reps. Alan Grayson, D., Fla., Barbara Lee, D., Calif., and Jan Schakowsky, D., Ill., on November 19, Grayson said in a press release.
"These individuals will share their stories - offering new perspectives about the ways in which the strikes have affected their families, their communities, and their daily lives," the press release said.
Al Ahmady, who serves as a top official in an al Qaeda-linked Yemeni political party, was unable to attend because he was denied a visa by the State Department.
"Several Al Karama officials have faced terrorism allegations," the Free Beacon reported. "Al Karama’s founder and current president Abdul Rahman Naimi was designated as a terrorist and al Qaeda supporter by the U.S. Treasury Department in December, along with the group’s Yemen representative Abdulwahab Al-Humayqani. Al Karama’s legal director, Rachid Mesli, is currently wanted for terrorism charges in Algeria."
Grayson's office justified the invitation by saying the terrorist designation was “not in place at the time of the briefing, so again, we had no reason to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of Mohammad [Al Ahmady].”
Schakowsky's office referred questions to Lee and Grayson, saying those offices led the briefing.
Lee's office did not respond.
“I am honored to be among those not accepted by the White House," Al Ahmady wrote a week before he was scheduled to appear, adding that "my great American friends will remain close friends."
"I curse Obama and the traders of wars,” he added.
The Free Beacon said the Congressional Progressive Caucus has also touted work done by the group.
“More than a decade into this war, people serious about American national security need to look at how our leaders can be so consistently fooled by groups like Al Karama, who warn about empowering al Qaeda in public but fund the jihadist group in private,” said the Center for Security Policy’s David Reaboi.
According to the Free Beacon, this is not the first time Al Karama has attempted to influence U.S. counterterrorism policy through Washington lawmakers, international institutions, and the media.
The group has attempted to make inroads at the United Nations and has worked with groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Despite the terror watch listing, human rights groups are not ruling out working with the organization in the future, saying the designation should not detract from the rest of Al Karama’s work.
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