As Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has campaigned around the country, the media and political observers have noted a near-constant companion by her side at nearly every event and rally she goes to: a tall, thin, long-haired brunette woman named Huma Abedin, who has been Clinton’s personal aide and confidante for nearly 20 years.
Abedin, who assumes the role traditionally referred to as “body man” (or in this case, “body woman”), is expected to serve as an assistant, scheduler and valet for the former First Lady. She accompanies, organizes and coordinates for Clinton at all times.
Abedin has been working for Clinton ever since she was a sophomore at George Washington University, in 1996, when she was 19 years old and served as an intern to the First Lady at the same time that Monica Lewinsky was serving as an intern to Hillary’s husband, President Bill Clinton.
The especially close relationship between Abedin and Clinton has been written about and been the source for much beltway gossip amongst Washington insiders.
But aside from the speculation that their relationship may be more intimate than is commonly perceived, there is a deeper issue at stake that has only recently been discussed widely.
Although many people are unaware, Abedin was not raised in the United States nor did she go through what might be termed a typical adolescence. In fact, for nearly the first 18 years of her life, Abedin was raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Abedin’s mother still lives there and is the founder and director of an organization known as the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), which has offices in Jeddah and London, England.
Both of Abedin’s parents have in fact been strong defenders and fierce advocates of Muslim theology, with Abedin’s father, Syed Zainul Abedin being affiliated with the Muslim Students League at his alma mater, Western Michigan University, and a counselor to that group’s sponsor, the Muslim World League (MWL).
The MWL is Saudi Arabia’s largest charity organization, having received over $1.3 billion from the Saudi Arabian government since it was founded in 1962. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam states that “[The MWL] has acted as a mouthpiece for the Saudi Arabian government, which finances it.”
The former head of the MWL is a man named Abdullah Omar Naseef, who, in addition to his role overseeing MWL, is the chairman of the board of trustees of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, where Huma’s brother is a fellow. Naseef is also a primary sponsor of the Abedins’ IMMA.
In 1988, Naseef, the MWL, and the national government of Pakistan created a financial entity called the Rabita Trust, a subsidiary of the MWL; Naseef remains active with this entity to this day.
In October of 2001, a month after the 9/11 terror attacks, President George W. Bush signed an executive order designating the Rabita Trust a sponsor of terrorism and had the Treasury Department freeze its assets.
The Treasury Department stated, the Rabita Trust is run by a man named Wa’el Hamza Jalaidan, a co-founder of Al-Qaeda and at that time the logistics expert for Osama bin Laden. Jalaiden himself was termed a terrorist entity by the Treasury Department, and his personal assets were frozen as well.
It turns out that the MWL had been funding a jihadist organization bin Laden had created, the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), since at least the early 1980s. Both the MAK and the MWL used the same offices in Peshawar, Pakistan, and had other personnel in common.
For nearly 13 years — from 1996 to 2008 — including during the time she was interning for Hillary Clinton in the White House — Huma Abedin was an editor for the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, an academic publication written and distributed by the IMMA, where both her mother, sister and brother are still on its staff.
When Hillary Clinton left the White House and became a New York Senator in 2000, Abedin became her personal aide and advisor.
After the 9/11 attacks occurred and the assets of the aforementioned Rabita Trust were frozen, no questions were asked about the ties between the Rabita Trust, Abdullah Omar Naseef and the closest aide to one of America’s most important senators and former First Lady.
In fact, no questions were asked at all about how someone whose family had close connections to the very terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks was able to become an assistant to the First Lady within two years of coming to the United States.
Very quickly, Abedin was able to create a comfortable life for herself in Washington, D.C. Despite earning just $27,999.92 in fiscal 2005, Abedin was able to buy an apartment there costing $649,000 the following year.
In 2009, when Hillary Clinton was named Secretary of State, Clinton made Abedin her deputy chief of staff. In 2010, Abedin married Congressman Anthony Weiner, a strong supporter and ally of both Clintons until he was forced to resign following a scandal over chasing women who were not his wife.
In 2012, Hillary Clinton signed paperwork allowing Abedin to work simultaneously for her at the State Department and at the Teneo Group, a private firm in New York with strong ties to the Clinton Foundation that also happened to employ former President Bill Clinton.
In 2012 and 2013, Abedin was allowed to hold two additional jobs simultaneously with the previous two — one at the Clinton Foundation itself (which she continues to work for) and one as the private personal assistant to Hillary Clinton herself.
Around this time, Abedin filed inaccurate timesheets that saw her overpaid by at least $10,000. Overpaid or not, Clinton can at least claim that her new assistant was loyal. During the hearings for the infamous Benghazi Consulate attacks, Abedin peppered her testimony with “I don’t recollect” and “I don’t remember” nearly as often as her boss did.
Beyond all these matters, we also know that Abedin was directly involved in setting up Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which has been the origin of at least two criminal investigations and may yet be the source of an indictment for Clinton.
The Atlantic magazine reported it was Abedin and another Clinton aide, Cheryl Mills, who both personally went through all of Clinton’s emails and determined which were to be deleted. This, of course, meant that Abedin had access to the most classified and top secret emails at the very highest levels of the U.S. government.
Today, in addition to continuing to work for Hillary Clinton as the vice chairperson of her campaign, Huma Abedin works for the Clinton Foundation and runs her own consulting company called Zain Endeavors.
So close is Clinton with her assistant that she visited the latter’s mother in Saudi Arabia, who is known to be an outspoken advocate of traditional Muslim practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. This is despite Clinton’s proud claims to be a protector and champion of women’s rights and the living embodiment of female liberation.
What Abedin’s real role in the Clinton campaign is is difficult to discern. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and others have recently called on Clinton to return $25 million in donations that she’s received over the years from Saudi Arabia, both personally and via the Clinton Family Foundation.
Could Abedin’s close, active role in the Hillary Clinton’s campaign be a quid pro quo for all those donations? Some Washington insiders have loudly wondered if Huma Abedin isn’t a Saudi agent or spy.
As more information about Hillary’s closest aide comes to light, the press is likely going to be taking a harder look at this woman who has such close access to a person who has a significant chance of becoming the next president of the United States.
If anything more untoward turns up, it may not just be Abedin who will be feeling the heat.