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White House to testify at hearing on 'home-grown' militants

December 03, 2011


Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. - File Photo.

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has signaled it will cooperate with a controversial congressional inquiry into alleged threats posed by “home-grown” Islamic militants that critics have branded a “witch hunt.”

The House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security said on its website that the White House would supply two official witnesses for the December 7 hearing on “The threat to military communities inside the United States.”

The committee, chaired by Republican Representative Peter King, had led controversial hearings earlier this year on alleged domestic Islamic radicalization.The administration's apparent decision to take part in the hearings could expose it to criticism from American Muslims and civil liberties groups on a hot-button issue they say reflects anti-Muslim bias, just as an election year begins.

The hearing, which will be held jointly with the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Independent Joseph Lieberman, is the latest in a series of politically-charged hearings launched by King into alleged efforts by Islamic militants to recruit and radicalize American citizens on US soil.

King's earlier hearings that began in March were criticized by Democrats and civil liberties groups as overzealous and prejudiced against Muslims.

A Capitol Hill source said that the Obama administration refused to cooperate or send witnesses to the earlier King hearings. Democrats on King's committee also limited their participation.

King's previous hearings had sought to highlight alleged Islamic radicalization efforts in US prisons and activities inside the United States of al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia.