The Washington Times is reporting that an aide to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Secretary. Earlier posts have discussed the controversy involving the aide, Hesham Islam, who had come under fire after a memorandum by a Pentagon analyst identified several U.S. groups that are being courted by Mr. Islam’s community outreach program as front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood. Following reports that the analyst had lost his position as a result of the memo, media reports raised questions about Mr. Islam’s background as it was described on an official Pentagon website. According to the Times report:
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England cleared his special assistant of any wrongdoing related to a run-in with former Joint Staff analyst Stephen Coughlin, and amid questions about the Muslim aide’s background. “The deputy secretary’s office has thoroughly reviewed the issues of concern raised by a few members of Congress and the media and has concluded there is no reason to question Cmdr. Hesham Islam’s credibility or his allegiance to his country,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told Inside the Ring….Investigators determined there are some things that are “unknowable” about Mr. Islam’s background. Some defense security officials said the discrepancies raise concerns because Mr. Islam holds a security clearance. Mr. England’s investigators also denied that Mr. Islam or Mr. England got Mr. Coughlin fired from the contractor position as a Joint Staff analyst, which happened after the contentious meeting between Mr. Islam and the analyst. Mr. Coughlin left the Joint Staff last month and is working for the Office of the Secretary of Defense shop for special operations and low-intensity conflict. Mr. Morrell said Mr. Islam has assisted Mr. England for the past three years and is “a valuable adviser” who helps with Mr. England’s contacts with foreign officials.Mr. England also wrote to three members of Congress who had raised security concerns about Mr. Islam to state his support for Mr. Islam and the diplomatic outreach program he runs.