Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: Muslim Brotherhood "Largely Secular"

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper raised some eyebrows today at a House Intelligence Committee hearing when he called described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organization.

“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood,’” Clapper said, “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam… They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera. … In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.”

The U.S. State Department's Background Note on Egypt describes the Muslim Brotherhood as a " potent political and religious force ."

"The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, remains an illegal organization and is not recognized as a political party (current Egyptian law prohibits the formation of political parties based on religion)," according to the State Department.

Clapper also raised eyebrows last December when it was clear he had not been briefed on terror arrests in London before an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer.

Read about the December interview HERE .

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