Obama envoy admits to lying about defending terrorist -- and did he try and cover it up? 

Rashad Hussain, Obama’s envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, had previously denied vouching for a convicted terrorist and criticizing the U.S. for prosecuting him. Now according to ABC News, Hussain admits he wasn't telling the truth:

Presented with a transcript of his remarks at a 2004 conference, Rashad Hussain, President Obama's nominee to be special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, issued a statement Friday evening acknowledging having criticized the U.S. government's case against Sami Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to aid Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Originally, the White House claimed that Hussain denied having made the comments, attributing them instead to Al-Arian's daughter, Laila.

But Politico's Josh Gerstein obtained an audiotape of the remarks, in which Hussain said that Al-Arian’s case was one of many “politically motivated persecutions."

And of course, it's not just that Hussain wasn't telling the truth -- he may have tried to cover it up:

Hussain, currently in the White House counsel's office, said, "I made statements on that panel that I now recognize were ill-conceived or not well-formulated.”

The controversy was all the more confusing because the remarks were reported in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in 2004, but the editor, Delinda Hanley, later removed the comments from the Web site, though she didn't recall why.

The then-intern who reported Hussain's comments, Shereen Kandil, who currently also works for the Obama administration, stood by the remarks.

Now we know at least part of the story as to why the comments were removed: Hussain called the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs to protest.

Jennifer Rubin remarks over at Commentary:

So let’s get this straight. The president’s choice to represent us to the OIC complained that a convicted terrorist was the victim of political persecution. That sounds a lot like what you’d hear from CAIR [the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations]. But that makes sense because Hussain goes to CAIR training events. Then he lies about his comment and tries to conceal the evidence. Is he still the president’s choice? Hmm. It’s not an auspicious debut, to put it mildly.

But it is revealing of the sort of characters whom Obama thinks fit to conduct “outreach” to the “Muslim World” — those that will confirm the victimization mindset, which is at the root of much of what prevents peace from being processed as well as real economic and political reform from being advanced in many of the member nations of the OIC.

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