McCarthy is always repulsive, but he’s outdone his own record this time — which, believe me, is not easy to do. McCarthy’s piece is a response to Arif Alikhan, Los Angeles’s deputy mayor. Alikhan was recently appointed by Pres. Obama to the position of assistant secretary for policy development at the Department of Homeland Security. and in a previous article, McCarthy condemned the appointment because, he said, Alikhan has referred to Hezbollah as a “liberation movement” rather than a “terrorist organization.”
Alikhan wrote to McCarthy, saying that McCarthy’s statement was “absolutely false” and asking for a retraction. What follows is McCarthy’s response (emphasis is mine):
In referring to Mr. Alikhan, my post linked to an article in Human Events by Robert Spencer. Robert, who is a careful scholar and analyst, had written:
[I]n April 2009, Obama appointed Arif Alikhan, the deputy mayor of Los Angeles, as assistant secretary for policy development at the Department of Homeland Security. Just two weeks before he received this appointment, Alikhan (who once called the jihad terror group Hezbollah a “liberation movement”) participated in a fund-raiser for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
Robert is the director of Jihad Watch. There, on November 22, 2009, he posted an item about Mr. Alikhan, in which he excerpted a report, posted the same date, “by Judicial Watch via Right Side News,” which included the following:
Earlier this year President Obama appointed Arif Alikhan to be the nation’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security and Kareem Shora to the agency’s influential advisory council, which provides recommendations and advice directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Alikhan, who leads a Homeland Security team responsible for developing policy issues to secure the country against terrorism, has referred to the renowned terrorist organization Hezbollah as a “liberation movement” and was responsible for killing a Los Angeles Police project that monitored terrorist activities in the city’s notoriously radical mosques. The defunct Muslim terror tracking plan was designed to identify hotbeds of extremism in an area where several locals offered the September 11 hijackers support.
The Judicial Watch report relies on a Canada Free Press post, dated November 11, 2009, by a writer named Alan Caruba, who discussed Mr. Alikhan’s appointment to the DHS post, and stated:
In his new job, Alikhan will be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy Development. In his former job, he was in charge of public safety for the city and observers noted that he was responsible for derailing the LA Police Department’s plan to monitor activities and individuals within the Muslim community.
Vincent Gioia, a retired patent attorney, living in Palm Desert, California, first called this to public attention in late September on his blog. Gioia noted that Los Angeles is home to “numerous radical mosques” and where “some of the 9/11 hijackers had received support from local residents. “Alikhan is strongly anti-Israel; he has referred to the terrorist organization Hezbollah as a ‘liberation movement’” despite the fact that is on the U.S. official terrorist list.
So the quote from Mr. Gioia seems to be the root of various reports which, for two years, have asserted that Mr. Alikhan called Hezbollah a “liberation movement.” If Mr. Alikhan sought a correction of any of these reports from any of these publications, it is not apparent.
Moreover, Mr. Alikhan is variously reported to have had some sort of relationship with the Muslim Public Affairs Council. (Besides the above, see this from the Investigative Project on Terrorism and this from Jihad Watch.) MPAC’s leaders have notoriously referred to Hezbollah as a liberation movement and sought to justify Hezbollah’s 1983 Beirut bombing against the U.S. marines and navy as a “military operation” rather than a terrorist attack. I do not know the nature of Mr. Alikhan’s relationship with MPAC, but if he wants people to understand he regards Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, he ought to choose different company.
Robert Spencer, “a careful scholar and analyst”? Maybe his mirror twin on an antimatter Earth. But on our Earth, Spencer is a bigot, a hatemonger, and an Islamophobe who slants everything he writes and says toward his view that all, or at least the vast majority, of Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers who must prove their innocence or be judged guilty. And that litany of second- and third-hand sources, in addition to being just an ugly adult version of the telephone game most of us played when we were children, is also a list of exclusively far right sources that obviously are going to all validate the same predetermined belief.
And based on this trashy collection of right-wing hearsay, Andrew McCarthy sneers, “I do not know the nature of Mr. Alikhan’s relationship with MPAC, but if he wants people to understand he regards Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, he ought to choose different company,” and then, in a voice saturated with condescension, ‘congratulates’ Alikhan for ‘owning up to his mistake.’
It’s hard to find words that are truly up to the job of describing what Andrew McCarthy is. But Kevin Drum’s words — that McCarthy “practically defines the word ‘asshole’ “ in this piece — are pretty good.