President Obama's new envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, Rashad Hussain, is at the center of a controversy over remarks attributed to him defending a man who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a terrorist group.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs quoted Hussain in 2004 as calling Sami al-Arian the victim of "politically motivated persecutions" after al-Arian, a university professor, was charged in 2003 with heading U.S. operations of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The United States has designated the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a foreign terrorist group as far back as 1997. At the time of al-Arian's arrest, then Attorney General John Ashcroft called it "one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the world."
Al-Arian pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to aid Palestinian Islamic Jihad and was sentenced to more than four years in prison.
Mr Hussain claimed he was misquoted, it was his daughter that made the comments, and the White House backed him on his assertion. Further, the Washington Report edited out the comments from the online article and was not able to say who asked them to do it. It only appeared to be a coincidence that the edit was done shortly after Mr Hussain took his position in the White House.
Now, for an update.
President Obama's new Muslim envoy Rashad Hussain admitted Friday to once defending a man who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a terrorist group -- an admission that contradicts earlier claims from the White House that the quotes had been mistakenly attributed to Hussain.
Hussain, named by Obama as an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, said Friday his comments at the time were "ill conceived or not well formulated."
So, let's recap. (some dates approximate)
2004 - Mr Hussain made comments defending a terrorist who later pleaded guilty to terrorism.
February 2009 - Mr Hussain was appointed to a position in the White House.
February 2009 - Someone asked the Washington Review to delete the comments.
February 16, 2010 - Fox news finds out about it (no doubt as part of their campaign to "get" Obama).
February 16, 2010 - Mr Hussain and the White House insist that the comments were made by Mr Hussain's daughter.
February 16, 2010 - Editors of the Washington Report say they are unsure of who asked them to edit out the comments.
February 16, 2010 - The reporter who wrote the original article absolutely insists that she attributed the quotes correctly and that she did in fact know the difference between an older man and a younger woman.
February 19, 2010 - Mr Hussain, picking his daughter up from under the bus and brushing her off, says it was ill-conceived to make the comments he did not make.
Also, do notice that the Obama administration has a knack for posting this kind of damaging info on Friday nights.
One final question - didn't Nixon have to leave office because of the cover-up, not the crime?