Get To Know The Anti-Islam Conspiracy Theorist 2016 GOPers Just Can’t Resist

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An anti-Islam activist with a penchant for government conspiracy theories is scheduled to host a slate of Republican presidential candidates this weekend at a summit on national security.

The Center for Security Policy, a think tank led by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, is co-hosting the New Hampshire National Security Action Summit on Saturday of New Hampshire. Former Hewlitt Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is expected to speak at the summit in the first-in-the-nation primary state, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) are also expected to attend, a spokesman for the organization told The Keene Sentinel newspaper. A bevy of other GOP candidates were invited to the summit but have not confirmed their attendance.

Among the topics to be discussed are “the threat from Iran, Shariah and the Global Jihad Movement,” “the hollowing-out of the U.S. military,” border security and immigration. A National Security Action Summit held earlier this year in South Carolina saw its fair share of fringe activists, including one who asked Santorum why Congress was “rolling over and letting this communist dictator [President Obama] destroy my country.”

Gaffney has also established himself firmly on the fringe over the years as he’s accused prominent government officials of being Islamic plants or of following Sharia law. Here are a few of his most outlandish claims.

The Muslim Brotherhood plot to infiltrate the U.S. government

Gaffney is perhaps most well-known for insisting that Obama administration officials, including Huma Abedin, a long-serving aide to Hillary Clinton, are infiltrating the U.S. government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic revival movement that organizes as a political party in places like Egypt. Gaffney’s vicious attacks on Abedin in particular prompted Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to defend the State Department aide from the Senate floor in 2012.

Elena Kagan and creeping Sharia law

Gaffney argued in a series of 2010 columns that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, then the dean of Harvard Law School, was trying to inject Islamic Sharia law into the country’s financial system. Because Islamic Finance Project was established at the school during Kagan’s tenure there, Gaffney alleged she was a cog in the “stealth jihad” machine helping the Muslim Brotherhood dismantle American capitalism from within. The op-eds even ran alongside photoshopped images of Kagan wearing a turban.

Kagan wasn’t the only prominent figure that Gaffney accused of submitting to Sharia law, either. Gen. David Petraeus was the subject of Gaffney’s ire after he condemned a controversial Florida pastor who burned a Quran.

Banned from CPAC

Gaffney was banned from speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2010 after he accused some of the organizer’s board members, including anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, of being agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Then-CPAC Chairman David Keene said in a statement that Gaffney had “become personally and tiresomely obsessed with his weird belief that anyone who doesn’t agree with him on everything all the time or treat him with the respect and deference he believes is his due, must be either ignorant of the dangers we face or, in extreme case, dupes of the nation’s enemies.”

Birtherism

Gaffney also has propagated the “birther” conspiracy that holds President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

In a 2008 column, Gaffney stated that Obama had “failed to provide an authentic birth certificate” despite the fact that his campaign released a copy of a birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii. Gaffney continued to cast doubt on the President’s citizenship in 2012, when he peddled a fabricated quote of Obama’s suggesting that he admitted to not being born in the United States.

The Center for Security Policy leader has also suggested that Obama is secretly a practicing Muslim because the President referred to “the Holy Koran” and “established his first-hand knowledge” of the religion in one particular speech.

A nefarious Missile Defense Agency logo

One of Gaffney’s most laughable theories emerged in 2010, when he wrote that a logo being used by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency “appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.” He argued the logo was evidence that Obama was trying to appease Islamic regimes.

But Gaffney was forced to walk back that idea after he learned that the agency’s rebranding efforts were actually contracted during the Bush administration. Gaffney also admitted that the logo could be interpreted as targeting certain Islamic symbols, which would actually be offensive to Muslims.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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