Abedin, October 2010
|Born||Huma Mahmood Abedin
July 28, 1976
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University|
|Occupation||Aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton|
|Spouse(s)||Anthony Weiner (2010–present)|
|Parent(s)||Syed Zainul Abedin
Saleha Mahmood Abedin
Huma Mahmood Abedin (born July 28, 1976) is an American political staffer. She has been a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton, and was U.S. Secretary of State Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff at the State Department, and before that, traveling chief of staff and "body woman" during Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election. She currently serves as vice chairwoman of Clinton's 2016 campaign for President. She is married to former Democratic Congressman and 2013 New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her father, Syed Zainul Abedin, was Indian, and her mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is Pakistani. When she was two years old, her family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she lived until returning to the States for college.
Both of her parents were educators. Her father, born in New Delhi, India on April 2, 1928, was an Islamic and Middle Eastern scholar of Indian descent, who founded his own institute devoted to Western-Eastern and interfaith understanding and reconciliation, and published a journal focusing on Muslim minorities living in the diaspora. He graduated from Aligarh Muslim University in 1947, with a masters in English literature, and joined the department's faculty as a lecturer. He later received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He died in 1993. Her mother also received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently an associate professor of sociology at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah.
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 Rodham Clinton. In 1998, she was also an assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. For several years, she served as the back-up to Clinton’s personal aide, and officially took over as Clinton’s aide and personal advisor during the 2000 New York Senate campaign, and later worked as traveling chief of staff and "body woman" during Clinton's 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination campaign.
Subsequently, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton in the State Department, under a "special government employee" arrangement, while also being employed at the Teneo consulting firm, and as a paid consultant for the Clinton Foundation. In 2013 she served as director of the transition team that helped Clinton return to private life, and continued her work for the Clinton Foundation.
In 2010, Abedin was included in Time's "40 under 40", a list of a "new generation of civic leaders" and "rising stars of American politics". At a celebration before Abedin's wedding to Anthony Weiner, Clinton said in a speech, "I only have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would [be] Huma."
2016 presidential campaign
Muslim Brotherhood allegations
In a letter dated June 13, 2012, to the State Department Inspector General, five Republican members of Congress claimed that Abedin "has three family members–her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations." (Those signing the letter were: Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), Trent Franks (R-Ariz), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Thomas J. Rooney (R-Florida), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Georgia).) The claims in the letter were widely rejected and condemned by a variety of sources, and were generally labelled as a conspiracy theory. The Washington Post called the allegations "paranoid," a "baseless attack" and a "smear."
Republican Senators, led by John McCain, stated: "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." The Seattle Times compared the letter's accusations to the witch-hunts of Joseph McCarthy, calling the claims "unsupported... assaults by an unthinking zealot." The Anti-Defamation League condemned the letter as well, referring to it as "conspiratorial", and saying that the Representatives involved should "stop trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories". Abedin was subsequently placed under police protection after she received threats of violence, possibly connected to the allegations.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has raised questions about Abedin's work as a State Department employee, concerning the fact that she held four jobs from June 2012 to February 2013. 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, a consulting firm run by Douglas Band, a longtime aide to former president Bill Clinton. At the time, she was also being paid a salary for work at the Clinton Foundation, and working as Hillary Clinton's personal assistant, or "body woman". 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.
In July 2015, Senator 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. Grassley also expressed concern over the possibility that the investigation had been somewhat thwarted due to much of Abedin's correspondence as a State Department employee being sent through Clinton’s private email server, and that the majority of Abedin’s emails were among those not provided to the State Department from Clinton's private server. 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.
In 2015, emails by Abedin "triggered" an FBI investigation surrounding Hillary Clinton's private email account while Secretary of State, when it was determined that potentially classified emails from Abedin and aide Jake Sullivan relating to the 2012 Benghazi attack and its aftermath had been sent through Clinton's private, non-government server.
Abedin is a Muslim. She speaks English, Urdu, and Arabic. Oscar de la Renta, who was a personal friend of Abedin, and a friend and supporter of the Clintons, said of Abedin, “she’s a Muslim” and “she’s very conservative.”
On July 10, 2010, Abedin married then-Congressman Anthony Weiner. Former President Bill Clinton performed the wedding ceremony. In June 2011, Abedin became the subject of widespread media attention amid her husband's Twitter photo scandal. In a press conference where he admitted to sexting and exposing himself to a half dozen women , Weiner said he had revealed his online relationships to his wife before their marriage. Regarding the new revelations, Weiner said, "She was very unhappy, she was very disappointed, and she told me as much. And she also told me that she loved me and we're going to get through this." The Twitter photo scandal led to Weiner's resignation from Congress on June 23, 2011.
In December 2011, Abedin gave birth to a boy, Jordan Zain Weiner.
On July 23, 2013, Abedin spoke at a press conference where she discussed her commitment to her husband, who was then running as a candidate in New York City's mayoral primary election, in spite of new revelations that had by then emerged regarding online communications Weiner had with a woman in mid-2012. At the July 2013 press briefing, Abedin discussed the challenges of her marriage, the couple's commitment to their son, and her ongoing support of his mayoral campaign. Weiner went on to lose in the mayoral primary election, finishing fifth with 4.9% of the vote.
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