Huma Abedin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Huma Abedin
HumaAbedin-October2010.jpg
Abedin in 2010
Born Huma Mahmood Abedin
(1976-07-28) July 28, 1976 (age 40)
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
Alma mater George Washington University (B.A.)
Political party Democratic
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Anthony Weiner (2010–present)
Children 1

Huma Mahmood Abedin (born July 28, 1976)[1] is an American political staffer who serves as vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for President and prior to that served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.[2]

Prior to that she was traveling chief of staff and served as assistant for Clinton during Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.[3][4][5] She is married to Anthony Weiner, a former U.S. Representative from New York.[6][7]

Early years[edit]

Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Syed Zainul and Saleha Mahmood Abedin.[5][8] At the age of two, she moved with her family to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she was raised and lived until returning to the United States for college.[5][8] Abedin traveled frequently during her childhood and teenage years and attended a British girls' school.[8]

Both of her parents were educators. Her father, born in New Delhi, India, on April 2, 1928,[9] was an Islamic and Middle Eastern scholar of Indian descent, who founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, an organization devoted to the study of Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies around the world. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her mother, born in Pakistan, received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently an associate professor of sociology at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.[5][10]

At age 18, Abedin entered George Washington University,[5][8] where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.[11] As a teenager, she aspired to be a journalist like her role model Christiane Amanpour and wanted to work in the White House press office.[12]

Career[edit]

While a student at George Washington University, Abedin began working as an intern in the White House in 1996, assigned to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. From 1996 to 2008, she was an assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.[13] For several years, she served as the back-up to Clinton's personal aide. She officially took over as Clinton’s aide and personal advisor during Clinton's successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign in New York[5] and later worked as traveling chief of staff and "body woman" during Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.[3][4] Writing in Vogue during the 2007 campaign, Rebecca Johnson called her "Hillary's secret weapon" and noted that what seemed to motivate Abedin was not the details of policy or political horse-racing, but rather "the way that politicians are uniquely invested with the power to help individuals—as with, say, the woman whose legs were badly broken by a piece of plane fuselage on September 11," whom Abedin and Clinton visited in the hospital. Abedin told Johnson, "To me, that’s one of the blessings of this job. In some tiny, tiny way I am part of history, but I am also able to help people."[14] According to a number of Clinton associates, Abedin is also a trusted advisor to Clinton, particularly on the Middle East, and has become known for that expertise.[5] “She is a person of enormous intellect with in-depth knowledge on a number of issues—especially issues pertaining to the Middle East,” said Senator John McCain.[5]

State Department, Clinton Foundation, Teneo, 2009–2013[edit]

In 2009, Abedin was appointed deputy chief of staff to Clinton in the State Department,[15] under a "special government employee" arrangement created by the department which allowed her to work for private clients as a consultant while also serving as an adviser to the Secretary of State.[16] Under this arrangement, she did consultant work for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm whose clients included Coca-Cola and MF Global,[16] and served as a paid consultant to the Clinton Foundation, while continuing her role as body woman to Clinton.[16] The New York Times reported that an associate of Abedin's said that the arrangement also allowed her to work from her home in New York City, rather than at the State Department’s headquarters in Washington, to be able to spend more time with her child and husband.[16]

After leaving her post at the State Department in 2013, Abedin served as director of the transition team that helped Clinton return to private life,[5][17] continued her work for the Clinton Foundation,[16][17] and set up a private consulting firm, Zain Endeavors LLC.[17]

In 2010, Abedin was included in Time magazine's "40 under 40" list of a "new generation of civic leaders" and "rising stars of American politics".[18][19]

Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign[edit]

Abedin has served as vice chairwoman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for president since 2015 and continues in her role as personal assistant to Clinton.[6] Her elevation to the No. 3 position in the campaign was a "transformative shift... to campaign power center of her own," according to Politico.[20] She screened and interviewed applicants for key campaign roles, including campaign manager Robby Mook, and was the primary channel for communications to Clinton before the campaign officially began. After Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, she wrote an open letter to Clinton supporters calling herself "a proud Muslim" and criticized Trump's plan as "literally (writing) racism into our law books".[21]

Criticism[edit]

In a letter dated June 13, 2012, to the State Department Inspector General, five Republican members of Congress—Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas J. Rooney of Florida, and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia—claimed that Abedin "has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations."[22][23][24] The five members of Congress alleged that Abedin had "immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations" which they said were "potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining a security clearance" and questioned why Abedin had not been "disqualified for a security clearance."[23]

The claims in the letter were generally rejected, and were labeled by some as conspiracy theories.[22][25] The Washington Post editorial board called the allegations "paranoid," a "baseless attack," and a "smear."[22] The letter was also criticized by, among others, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, the first Muslim member of Congress, who called the allegation "reprehensible."[26] Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, also rejected the allegations, saying "The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government....These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit."[26] Bachmann's former campaign manager Ed Rollins said the allegations were "extreme and dishonest" and called for Bachmann to apologize to Abedin.[27] The Anti-Defamation League condemned the letter, calling upon the Representatives involved to "stop trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories."[28]

Congressional inquiries[edit]

Outside employment while at State Department[edit]

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, raised questions about Abedin's work as a State Department employee, concerning the fact that she held four jobs[29] from June 2012 to February 2013.[16][30][31][32] These included serving as a part-time aide to Clinton at the State Department, while also working as a consultant to private clients for the consulting firm Teneo Holdings,[30][31] a consulting firm run by Douglas Band, a longtime aide to former president Bill Clinton.[33] At the time, she was also being paid a salary for work at the Clinton Foundation, and working as Hillary Clinton's personal assistant.[29] The State Department and Abedin both responded, with the State Department indicating that it uses special government employees routinely "to provide services and expertise that executive agencies require", and Abedin stating that she did not provide any government information or inside information gained from her State Department job to her private employers. Grassley said he found the letters unresponsive.[32] In July 2015, Grassley released information indicating that the State Department’s inspector general had found that Abedin was overpaid by almost $10,000 for unused leave time when she left the government, resulting from violations of the rules governing vacation and sick leave during her tenure on the payroll as a Federal employee in the department.[33][34] Abedin's attorneys said that she had learned in May that the Department’s inspector general had found that she improperly collected $9,857 for periods when she was on vacation or leave, and responded with a 12-page letter contesting the findings, and formally requested an administrative review of the investigation’s conclusions.[33] Her lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez, told The New York Times that the inspector general's report showed that Abedin worked during her maternity leave and had thus earned that pay.[35]

Employment records and emails[edit]

In October 2015, a federal court in Washington heard arguments on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch for records related to Abedin. Judicial Watch asked to make Ms. Abedin’s emails and employment records public, asking for details of the arrangement under which Abedin was designated a "special government employee," allowing her to do outside consulting work while also on the federal payroll.[35][36] On October 6, the State Department said it would be able to hand over 69 pages of emails in response to the FOIA request.[37]

In 2015, emails by Abedin became part of the FBI investigation and the controversy concerning Hillary Clinton's private email account while Secretary of State,[38][39] resulting in various allegations by Republicans of violations of State Department regulations.[40] Some officials within the intelligence community have stated that potentially-classified information was contained in e-mails from Abedin relating to the 2012 Benghazi attack and its aftermath which had been sent through Clinton's private, non-government server.[38][41][42] So far, 1818 emails contain classified information on the private server, with 22 being classified as Top Secret. "They were not marked classified at the time they were sent, but they did contain classified information when they were originally sent and received." Her aides also sent and received classified information.[43]

House Benghazi Committee testimony[edit]

On October 16, 2015, Abedin testified in closed session before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, in a session that was expected to focus on the 2012 Benghazi attack during which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.[44] The committee had previously heard closed-door testimony from two other Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, in September 2015,[44] and former Secretary Clinton appeared before the panel in a public hearing on October 22.[45]

The Republican-led committee's top Democrat representative, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, questioned the panel's decision to hear testimony from Abedin, arguing that her knowledge of details at the time of the attacks was minimal.[44] Republican Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, defended the decision to interview Abedin, saying: "Ms. Abedin was a senior official at the State Department at all of the relevant times. Every witness has a different set of knowledge."[46] Although there were political tensions surrounding Abedin's appearance, the proceedings were friendly, and after her almost eight hours of testimony, Abedin said: "I came here today to be as helpful as I could be to the committee."[46]

2015 State Department Subpoena[edit]

In February 2016, The Washington Post reported that the United States Department of State issued a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation in fall of 2015. According to the report, the subpoena focused on "documents about the charity's projects that may have required approval from federal government during Hillary Clinton's term as secretary of state" and "also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton's personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons".[47]

Personal life[edit]

Abedin is of Indian and Pakistani descent. She practices the Muslim faith.[48][49][50] In addition to English and Urdu,[51] Abedin also speaks fluent Arabic.[52][53]

On July 10, 2010, Abedin married then-Congressman Anthony Weiner. Former President Bill Clinton performed the wedding ceremony.[54] In December 2011, Abedin gave birth to a boy, Jordan Zain Weiner.[55]

Hillary Clinton has been described as a mentor, and a mother figure to Huma. In 2010, at Abedin's wedding to Weiner, Clinton said: "I have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would (be) Huma." During a trip that Clinton and Abedin made to Saudi Arabia, Abedin’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, said to Clinton: "Hillary, you have spent more time with my daughter than I have in the past 15 years. I’m jealous of you!"[56][57][58]

In popular culture[edit]

In Saturday Night Live's 2015–16 season premiere on October 3, 2015, SNL cast member Cecily Strong played Abedin in a comedy sketch, which included cast member Kate McKinnon performing a parody of Hillary Clinton, along with the real Hillary Clinton playing a bartender serving drinks to McKinnon as her doppelgänger and Strong's Abedin,[59][60] and with Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton.[59] Abedin is featured in Weiner, a documentary about her husband's unsuccessful 2013 campaign for Mayor of New York.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McDevitt, Caitlin (July 28, 2011). "Happy Birthday, Huma! - CLICK". Politico.Com. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hillary Clinton's confidante and 'translator'". Fortune. June 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b YALAMANCHILI, PAVANI (August 21, 2007). "Hillary's Handler: Huma Abedin". Nirali Magazine. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Trebay, Guy (July 22, 2007). "Campaign Chic: Not Too Cool, Never Ever Hot". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Spencer Morgan, Hillary's Mystery Woman: Who Is Huma?, Observer (April 2, 2007).
  6. ^ a b Katie Glueck (April 12, 2015). "Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign staff: The power players - POLITICO". POLITICO. Retrieved August 2, 2015. 
  7. ^ AM, Nina Burleigh On 4/28/16 at 6:02 (2016-04-28). "How Huma Abedin went from intern to Hillary Clinton's closest confidante". Newsweek. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  8. ^ a b c d Jonathan Van Meter, Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook, New York Times Magazine (April 10, 2013).
  9. ^ Sayyid Muhammed Syeed (December 1993). "In Memorium". MESA Bulletin. Middle East Studies Association: 308. JSTOR 23061423. 
  10. ^ Faculty and Administrators Directory, Official website
  11. ^ "Huma Abedin". The Washington Post. July 25, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ Cohan, William D. (February 2016). "Is Huma Abedin Hillary Clinton's Secret Weapon or her next big problem?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Engel, Pamela (August 22, 2016). "Clinton campaign denies top aide's involvement in Muslim magazine". Business Insider. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  14. ^ Hillary’s Secret Weapon: Huma Abedin. Johnson, Rebecca. Vogue, August 1, 2007
  15. ^ ""Clintonites jostle for jobs at State" – Politico". Politico.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f Hernandez, Raymond (May 16, 2013). "Weiner's Wife Didn't Disclose Consulting Work She Did While Serving in State Dept.". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c Chris Frates, "New company established 11 days before Huma Abedin left State Department, CNN (August 19, 2015).
  18. ^ "Huma Abedin – Deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of State June 9, 2011". Time. October 14, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Time Specials – 40 Under 40 June 9, 2011". Time. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  20. ^ Hillary's shadow. Karni, Annie. Politico, 2 July 2015
  21. ^ Huma Abedin: Trump plan would ‘write racism into our law books’. Frumin, Aliyah. MSNBC, 8 December 2015
  22. ^ a b c Editorial, Michele Bachmann’s baseless attack on Huma Abedin, The Washington Post (July 19, 2012).
  23. ^ a b Bachmann: "Letter to the Deputy Inspector General," June 13, 2012, accesses August 1, 2013
  24. ^ Cordes, Nancy (July 19, 2012). "Michele Bachmann refuses to back down on claims about Huma Abedin". CBS This Morning. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  25. ^ Oy! Latest Conspiracy Theory on Huma Abedin. Strauss, Elissa. The Forward, July 30, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2015
  26. ^ a b Terkel, Amanda (July 18, 2012). "John McCain Slams Michele Bachmann's 'Unfounded' Attacks on Huma Abedin, Muslim-Americans". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  27. ^ Rollins, Edward (July 24, 2012). "Bachmann's former campaign chief -- shame on you, Michele". Fox News Channel. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  28. ^ ADL Responds to Conspiratorial Letter From 5 Members of Congress; Urges Bachmann, Others to Stop 'Trafficking in Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theories' (press release), Anti-Defamation League (July 20, 2012).
  29. ^ a b Hernandez, Raymond (August 18, 2013). "Questions on the Dual Role of a Clinton Aide Persist". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Condon, Stephanie (July 26, 2013). "Weiner's wife Huma Abedin under scrutiny over two jobs". CBS News. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Letters, Senator Charles Grassley's Office" (PDF). Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b McKelway, Doug (July 16, 2013). "Huma Abedin faces questions about dual jobs". Fox News Channel. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b c Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman & Carol D. Leonnig, Top Clinton aide accused of receiving overpayments at State Department, The Washington Post (July 31, 2015).
  34. ^ Devlin Barrett & Peter Nicholas - "Close Clinton Aide Huma Abedin in Overpayment Dispute", The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2015.[1]. Retrieved August 1, 2015
  35. ^ a b "Huma Abedin, a Clinton Aide, Is Back in Spotlight as Republicans Seize on Emails". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Court hearing Thursday will focus on key Clinton aide". MSNBC. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  37. ^ ""New front opened in battle over Clinton email server" – THE HILL". thehill.com. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  38. ^ a b Evan Perez - "Hillary Clinton aides' emails on Benghazi sparked intelligence concerns", CNN, August 20, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015
  39. ^ Rachel Bade - "Hillary email probe turns to Huma", Politico, August 13, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015
  40. ^ Shah, Raj. "The Top 5 Rules Clinton Broke Using a Secret Email Server". .gop.com. Republican National Committee. Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  41. ^ Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman & Tom Hamburger, FBI Looking into the Security of Hillary Clinton's Private e-mail Setup, The Washington Post (August 4, 2015).
  42. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (March 2, 2015). "Hillary Clinton's Use of Private Email at State Department Raises Flags". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  43. ^ Anita Kumar - "At least 1,818 Clinton emails contain classified material", McClatchyDC, February 26, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016
  44. ^ a b c Matthew Daly, Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Testifies Before Benghazi Committee, Associated Press (October 16, 2015).
  45. ^ Fahrenthold, David A.; Viebeck, Elise (October 22, 2015). "GOP lands no solid punches while sparring with Clinton over Benghazi". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2015. 
  46. ^ a b Benjamin Siegal, Hillary Clinton's Top Aide Huma Abedin Questioned About Benghazi Attacks, ABC News (October 16, 2015).
  47. ^ Hamburger, Tom. Helderman, Rosalind S. 2016. "Clinton Campaign received subpoena from State Department investigators". The Washington Post. February 11, 2016.
  48. ^ "Hillary's Secret Weapon; Huma Abedin oversees every minute of Senator Clinton's day". Retrieved July 30, 2013.  Vogue, August 2007, U.S. edition, photo spead and interview conducted by Rebecca Johnson. Quote: "Fluent in Arabic and a practicing Muslim born in . . ."
  49. ^ Uddin, Asma. "Is Huma Abedin's Muslim faith her fatal flaw with Anthony Weiner? That's not the Islam I know.". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 30, 2013.  By Asma Uddin, Published: July 30, 2013.
  50. ^ Nia-Malika Henderson, Huma Abedin, Weiner’s unflappable wife, is Hillary Clinton's right-hand woman, The Washington Post (June 7, 2011).
  51. ^ Sandip Roy, There’s Something About Huma, Huffington Post (July 28, 2013).
  52. ^ Susan Donaldson James, Anthony Weiner Says Wife Huma Abedin Will Stay, But Will She?, ABC News (June 7, 2011).
  53. ^ Ashley Parker (June 6, 2011). "Opposites in Many Ways, but Seemingly Melded Well". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  54. ^ "Rep. Anthony Weiner engaged to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin". Daily News. New York. July 11, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  55. ^ Catalina Camia, It's a boy for ex-congressman Weiner and his wife, USA Today (December 22, 2011).
  56. ^ "Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin's Post-Scandal Playbook", The New York Times, New York, retrieved October 24, 2015 
  57. ^ Huma Abedin dines with Clinton spokesman, Washington D.C.: CNN, retrieved October 24, 2015 
  58. ^ Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin -- What's 'normal' about this relationship?, New York: Fox News Channel, retrieved October 26, 2015 
  59. ^ a b Monica Alba and Jillian Sederholm – "Hillary Clinton Tends Bar, Impersonates Trump in 'SNL' Cameo" (Video), NBC News, October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015
  60. ^ Story Hinckley – "Hillary on SNL: Why do we want our politicians to seem funny? – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared on Saturday Night Live this week, continuing a long relationship between politicians and late night comedy" (Video), The Christian Science Monitor, October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015

External links[edit]