Should the Son of a Muslim Brotherhood Official Get a Security Clearance?

The penetration by the Muslim Brotherhood of the highest levels of the United States government is well-documented, and has been discussed here at length in the past. But what about family connections between top government officials and Salafist movements? The question is particularly urgent when the official position in question is a sensitive one, with responsibilities for matters that might directly impinge on the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The following case documented by concerns the son of a convert to Islam. The elder Crane is now a Muslim Brotherhood official, while the younger once held a high position in the Pentagon, and wants to get his old job back.

Below are excerpts from the report:

Should Family Affiliations with Foreign Islamist Movements Prevent a Security Clearance?

John Ruedel Crane (L); Robert Dickson Crane (R)

A former Pentagon Assistant Inspector General is the son of a prominent American Muslim Brotherhood official. Now he wants his old job back.

by Christine Brim

In 1980, Robert Dickson Crane converted to Islam. From that year to the present day, Crane has built a successful career as a high-level official in multiple Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-affiliated organizations in the U.S. and Qatar. At the same time, from 1988 to 2013, his son John Ruedel Crane rose to similar prominence in the Department of Defense to the position of Assistant Inspector General and director of both the Department of Defense and NSA’s whistleblower programs. Crane’s position in the DoD Inspector General office came with high-level clearances and access to a broad scope of DoD information. His tenure of twenty-five years within DoD also encompassed a time of multiple jihadist attacks against American targets, including the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks and the global war on terror waged in response.

In a recent phone conversation, John Crane confirmed that Robert Crane is his father and stated that, during background investigations throughout his career, he was never asked, nor did he volunteer, any information about his father’s affiliations. We don’t know if the relationship was, in fact, known and approved by the Department of Defense, the intelligence community or by political administrations during Crane’s over two-decade year career. But we can state that the relationship between Robert Crane and John Crane is being described for the first time to the general public in this investigative report.

John Crane’s management of the whistleblower offices included the years when Edward Snowden stole over 1.5 million classified documents. Crane has recently been the subject of numerous media interviews as “The Third Man” in the new book Bravehearts: Whistleblowing in the Age of Snowden , a defense of Edward Snowden’s theft of classified documents from the U.S., UK and Australia. John Crane was quietly removed from his Inspector General and whistleblower office positions in February 2013, four months before the Edward Snowden case became public knowledge. He immediately became a consultant for the General Accountability Project (GAP), the legal counsel for Snowden. GAP was founded in 1977 by the extreme far left Institute for Policy Studies.

On September 15, 2016 the House Intelligence Committee issued a bipartisan, unanimous report summarizing their investigation of National Security Agency computer technician Edward Snowden’s theft of 1.5 million classified documents. The Committee’s critique of Snowden was devastating: “These findings demonstrate that the public narrative popularized by Snowden and his allies is rife with falsehoods, exaggerations, and crucial omissions, a pattern that began before he stole 1.5 million sensitive documents.” As former Intelligence Committee staff Fred Fleitz has observed, “Snowden is not a whistleblower; he is a disgruntled former intelligence employee who did enormous damage to U.S. national security.”

Left-wing activists have mounted a campaign for Snowden’s vindication and pardon before Obama leaves office, including Oliver Stone’s hagiographic movie, Snowden, and Bravehearts, the book by Nation magazine reporter Mark Hertsgaard in which John Crane figures so prominently. Crane’s allegations against the DoD in Bravehearts have been cited as a vindication of Snowden’s acts by the Intercept, the website of Snowden advocate Glenn Greenwald (“Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga”).

In February 2013, John Crane was placed on “administrative leave” from his position as DoD Assistant Inspector General, his security clearances and pay were suspended, and he was forbidden to come to the office. He has resurfaced in the public eye in 2016 as the subject of numerous articles and interviews promoting the Bravehearts book in Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Government Executive, Democracy Now!, Russia Today, New York Times, The Intercept, and of course Hertsgaard’s Nation. Crane asserts in Bravehearts and in these interviews that Edward Snowden’s theft of U.S. classified information was simply an understandable reaction to the DoD’s prior treatment of whistleblowers, which discouraged Snowden from becoming a “whistleblower” himself inside the system.

John Crane is now appealing his removal from the Department of Defense and wants to return to his job. If he undergoes any future background investigation, he would be required to complete the new (as of 2010) security clearance questionnaire SF 86, which asks about the foreign affiliations of relatives – something prior questionnaires left off:

18. Is the relative affiliated with a foreign government, military, security, defense industry, foreign movement, or intelligence service? Describe the relative’s relationship with the foreign government, military, security, defense industry, foreign movement, or intelligence service. [Emphasis added.]

In interviews with journalists or with DoD personnel, John Crane never mentioned that his father, Robert Dickson Crane, has been an official in numerous Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-affiliated organizations in America and Qatar for the last 36 years.

Focus for a moment on the “affiliated with a foreign movement” phrase in questionnaire SF 86. The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated organizations are commonly recognized as a “foreign movement.” See for example the Muslim Brotherhood’s own website, Muslim Brotherhood documents submitted as court evidence, CNN, BBC, Pew Research, and numerous other sources.

But the Muslim Brotherhood is not just a foreign movement; it is a movement dedicated to Islamic supremacism and linked to terrorism. The Brotherhood has been designated a terrorist organization by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. Congress is considering a similar bill this year, the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015 (S.2230, H.R.3892) currently with 7 co-sponsors in the Senate and 67 co-sponsors in the House.

The Muslim Brotherhood motto is “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” They continue to be a revolutionary movement to impose strict Islamic (sharia) law in Muslim-majority countries and the world, using a mix of politics and violence. Al Qaeda emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, designated a terrorist organization, considers itself the local branch of the Brotherhood in Gaza.

For a DoD official with top clearances employed during the three past decades of Islamic terrorism, having a father affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-linked organizations should be considered a particular concern. John Crane’s information access was extensive in his positions in the IG office, as he describes at his LinkedIn profile where he also lists “TS SCI Clearances” as one of his specialties:

As the Assistant Inspector General for Communications and Congressional Liaison at the Department of Defense, I developed, led, and implemented major operational strategies worldwide at over 50 locations within the United States and globally at offices in Europe, Southwest Asia and the Pacific Rim.

I was accountable for creating and executing the complex integrated communications strategy for sharing critical results of the Inspector General criminal and administrative investigations, audits, inspections and intelligence community oversight at both the national and international levels through media outlets, on camera interviews, background briefings and through social media….

[…] John was also the principal advisor to the Inspector General and responsible for Whistleblowing and Transparency and the DoD Omsbuds [sic] for Whistleblowing. In addition he was accountable for all strategic communications and public affairs to include the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act… John was accountable for all Congressional testimony before Congress, on topics ranging from financial management to the status of US efforts in South West Asia. He was also responsible for the content and structure of the intranet and internet.

According to Bravehearts, Crane was also responsible for “all whistle-blower allegations within the DoD, including from the NSA and other intelligence agencies.”

The DoD Inspector General office experienced problems with security during the time that John Crane was Director of Communication, according to the Washington Times. According to one report, a routine sweep of the office revealed a listening device “installed inside the wall structure leading to and from the ninth and tenth floors of the DoDIG (areas which comprise the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the personal office space of the inspector general).” A second report stated that “a Muslim who was employed as an auditor and granted a ‘top-secret’ security clearance was not an American citizen. ‘He possesses a Social Security number tied to multiple confirmed aliases,’” according to a May 2002 memo. The employee was reported to have been given an interim clearance and to have visited numerous installations with access to sensitive information.

John Ruedel Crane’s relationship with Robert Dickson Crane has not been previously publicized. Our research identified the family relationship between the two men first through John Crane’s grandfather, then through his mother, and finally to his father Robert Crane. In his interviews promoting his story and the Bravehearts book, John Crane has repeatedly described how he was inspired by his grandfather G?nther R?del (“Gunther Ruedel” in other spelling), who briefly confronted Hitler in the 1920s. (Ruedel later became an important general under Hitler, in charge of air defenses.) In fact, John Crane’s middle name is Ruedel, as listed here in the 1980 Commencement program for his graduation from Northwestern University, also the alma mater of his parents.

In his interview with Der Spiegel, John Crane described attending a ceremony with his mother honoring Günther Rüdel. An article in the German newspaper Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung mentioned the same ceremony and named Gunther’s daughter, Sigrid Rüdel-Crane. A brief memoir by Sigrid Ruedel Crane from 1979 recounted her March 1951 marriage to “Bob Crane,” mentioned living in Bahrain, and stated that she had one son still at Northwestern University. Public records accessed through show that Robert D. Crane married Sigrid Ruedel on March 5, 1951.

On September 29, when directly questioned based on our research, John Ruedel Crane confirmed in a phone conversation that he is the son of Robert Dickson Crane. Robert Crane did not respond to a request for comment.

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3 thoughts on “Should the Son of a Muslim Brotherhood Official Get a Security Clearance?

  1. In the days when I had a very high security clearance in Defence a connection like that would definitely have been enough to get it at the very least down graded, if not pulled completely.

    But given the fact that Huma Abedin had the clearances she had to have had at State under [H]illary it’s pretty obvious that close connections with the enemies of America are just fine if they are muslim.

  2. If our government was filled with actual patriots Mr. Dickson Crane would have been summarily liquidated decades ago.

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