A Muslim Brotherhood member who recently was hosted at the State Department along with several of the Islamist group’s key allies now claims that a White House official also was present in that meeting, according to recent remarks.
Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member and former Egyptian parliamentarian, was in the United States late last month along with a delegation of fellow Brotherhood leaders and allies.
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The Brotherhood-aligned delegation caused an international stir after the Washington Free Beacon revealed that it had been hosted for a meeting with several State Department officials.
Another member of the group, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol.
While the State Department initially misled reporters about the meeting, it was eventually forced to admit that several Obama administration officials—including a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor—and State Department officials met with the delegation.
Al-Dardery now claims that in addition to these State Department representatives, a member of the White House also participated in the sit-down.
"The trip started for the [Egyptian] community in New York and New Jersey," al-Dardery said in a recent interview with the Arabic language pro-Muslim Brotherhood El Sharq TV. "Then during the trip we undertook to meet with some from the ‘establishment,’ the administration, in the United States. And we met at the State Department and there was a representative there from the White House."
A State Department official said that it could not speak to the White House's involvement in any meetings and referred any questions to it. The White House declined multiple requests for comment about the meeting and whether it was involved.
In addition to Al-Dardery, the delegation included Gamal Heshmat, a leading member of the Brotherhood, and Waleed Sharaby, a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council and a spokesman for Judges for Egypt, a group reported to have close ties to the Brotherhood.
News of the meeting between the Brotherhood allies and the Obama administration caused anger among many in the Egyptian government, which is fighting furiously to crackdown on the Islamist group and its supporters.
"These statements are incomprehensible to me, we do not understand that there will be such a communication with the elements involved in terrorist acts to intimidate the Egyptians," Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri was quoted as saying in the regional press following the Free Beacon’s initial report.
"The Brotherhood is not a political party," but "a terrorist organization," Shukri said.
The Obama administration found itself in more hot water after questions were raised about its initial statements regarding the meeting.
State Department Spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki initially claimed that the Brotherhood-aligned delegation was sponsored by Georgetown University, a claim that turned out to be false.
"Unfortunately, I didn’t have the accurate information on one small piece. The meeting was set up by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, a nonprofit. So the visit was not funded, as you know, by us or the U.S. Government, but it was also not funded by Georgetown," Psaki said last week, under renewed questioning from reporters about the meeting.
Psaki went on to say that the Obama administration remains comfortable entertaining the Brotherhood.
"Are you—is the building comfortable with continuing to do business with this center, this group?" a reporter asked.
"Yes. Yes," Psaki responded.