Lobbying for terrorists, more on the MEK

Reuters

Iranian opposition fighters stand salute at the Ashraf camp at a parade ground on a desolate piece of scrubland northeast of Baghdad, October 20. This is the National Liberation Army of Iran, the army of the opposition Mujahedin Khalq movement.

Article Highlights

  • It’s 1 thing to take money for speeches from the MEK, it’s another to act on its behalf in meetings with the State Dept.

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  • The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires the registration of anyone acting at the will of a foreign principal.

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  • Foreign principals are foreign principals, and people who do their bidding are foreign agents.

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Friday’s Washington Post has another in a long series of deeply troubling press pieces about the terrorist group Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK) and those who have sold their principles for a few thousand bucks to lobby for them. I wrote about the problem before, but count me even more gobsmacked by Joby Warrick’s fine WaPo piece. It’s one thing to take money for speeches from the MEK, something a bipartisan group of luminaries has done on repeated occasions; it’s completely another to join a series of calls and meetings with the State Department on the MEK — representing their interests — and pretend it’s anything other than what it is: Acting for a foreign agent.

Just a reminder for those out there who don’t know what the Foreign Agents Registration Act is: The law requires that anyone, regardless of compensation, register if they are acting at the behest of a foreign principal. Howard Dean, former presidential candidate, former head of the Democratic Party, former screamer, makes the stunning assertion to the Post that, “[s]ince this is an effort to facilitate U.S. government policy, it does not require any form of registration.” Um, Howard, um. The law doesn’t work that way. Or let’s put it another way: Since I don’t think things should be classified, I leaked millions of top secret documents to the public. Since I don’t think Obama should be president, I’m refusing to pay taxes. Since I think U.S. policy should support a terrorist group, I don’t need to register as a foreign agent when I work at their behest for cash. Oh yeah, that’s right.

Obama’s former National Security Adviser Jim Jones is among the MEK’s unregistered lobbyists, begging the question why he did nothing to liberate them from the onerous burden of a U.S. terrorist group designation when he was in office… Ditto former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.  Answer? Because the MEK wasn’t paying them then.

This litany of whoring (is there any other word?) for foreign terrorists is appalling. And don’t soothe yourself with the notion that the MEK aren’t really terrorists or are about to be delisted by the State Department. Delisting is ridiculous, but also irrelevant. Foreign principals are foreign principals, and people who do their bidding are foreign agents. FARA is a criminal statute; let’s see what Justice does about enforcing it. For shame on these lobbyists for terrorists, each and every one.

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


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