Center for Security Policy

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Center for Security Policy
Center for Security Policy logo.png
Abbreviation CSP
Motto Peace through Strength
Formation 1988
Headquarters 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Founder and President
Frank Gaffney, Jr.
For the think tank based in Geneva, Switzerland, see Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

The Center for Security Policy (CSP) is a Washington, D.C.-based national security think tank that has been widely accused of engaging in conspiracy theorizing by a range of individuals, media outlets and organizations. Its activities are focused on exposing and researching perceived jihadist threats to the United States. The Center has been described as "not very highly respected" by BBC News and "disreputable" by Salon. It has faced strong criticism from people across the political spectrum, but has also had its reports cited by political figures such as Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann.[1][2][3]

History and programs[edit]

Frank Gaffney, Jr., founded the Center for Security Policy in 1988.[4][5]

The CSP claims the existence of a "stealth jihad" to install shariah law as a parallel legal and political system in the United States, constituting a separate governance system for the Muslim community with respect to family law, civil society, media and political discourse, finance and homeland security.[6]

Former CIA director James Woolsey has co-authored a report for the center, claiming that sharia law is a major threat to United States.[7]

Salon has reported that in 2013, CSP received donations from Boeing ($25,000); General Dynamics ($15,000); Lockheed Martin ($15,000); Northrup Grumman ($5,000); Raytheon ($20,000); and General Electric ($5,000).[8] The group has also received $1.4 million in donations from the Bradley Foundation.[9]


The CSP's views have caused it and Gaffney, the Center's founder and president, to be criticized for propagating conspiracy theories by the Washington Post,[10] Salon,[11] CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen,[7] Grover Norquist,[12] Jonathan Kay,[3] Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding,[13] Center for American Progress,[14] Media Matters for America,[15] the Southern Poverty Law Center,[16] The Intercept,[17] the Anti-Defamation League,[18] and the Institute for Southern Studies,[19] among others.

Terri A. Johnson, executive director of the Center for New Community, and J. Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), have characterized the CSP as "an extremist think tank."[20] The SPLC further criticizes CSP's "investigative reports," saying that they are designed "to reinforce [Frank] Gaffney's delusions."[16]

One of the CSP's "Occasional Papers" accused Huma Abedin, then Hillary Clinton's aide, of being an undercover spy for the Muslim Brotherhood.[16] On June 13, 2012 Republican members of Congress Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland, sent a letter to the State Department Inspector General including accusations against Abedin cited to the CSP. The letter and the CSP's accusation were widely denounced as a smear, and achieved "near-universal condemnation," including from several prominent Republicans such as John McCain, John Boehner, Scott Brown, and Marco Rubio.[3][19][21] In a separate report, the group declared that Susan Rice, Richard Haass, and Dennis Ross, were being secretly controlled by a covert "Iran lobby."[16]

The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication has described the organization as "a far-right think tank whose president, Frank Gaffney, was banned from the CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] ... because its organizers believed him to be a 'crazy bigot.'"[22] The Center for Democratic Values at Queens College, City University of New York has said the Center is among the "key players in the Sharīʿah cottage industry," what it describes as a "conspiracy theory" that claims the existence of "secretive power elite groups that conspire to replace sovereign nation-states in order to eventually rule the world."[23]

Gaffney's leadership of the organization has also prompted criticism of the group in the context of specific accusations made by Gaffney, including that the logo of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency "appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo" and is part of a "worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam."[8]

In December 2015, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," citing a Pew Research Center poll and another poll conducted by CSP in June 2015. A CSP online opt-in poll asked 600 Muslim Americans about their willingness to either engage in violent attacks against the United States, which 25% supported, and support for sharia law, which 51% supported. Philip Bump of The Washington Post questioned the poll's methodology, accuracy and its characterization. Bump noted that an opt-in online poll is unlikely to be reflective of Muslim-Americans as a whole, and pointed to research indicating that the poll's structure encouraged people to select the options endorsing violence.[24]


  1. ^ "Trump's 'Muslim lockdown': What is the Center for Security Policy?". BBC. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Cruz’s cynical Trump detente: They’re good buddies now, but wait until The Donald’s support drops". Salon. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Kay, Jonathan (July 23, 2012). "Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP’s Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy". The Daily Beast. 
  4. ^ Gaffney, Frank. "Reagan: Relevant, revered on his 104th birthday - plus a 21-gun salute to celebrate" Washington Times (February 5, 2015)
  5. ^ "Center for Security Policy - Frank Gaffney". Center for Security Policy. 
  6. ^ Understanding the Shariah Threat Doctrine, Center for Security Policy website (accessed September 22, 2015).
  7. ^ a b Bergen, Peter (September 21, 2015). "The Republicans' Muslim 'problem'". CNN. 
  8. ^ a b Clifton, Eli (October 1, 2014). "Look who’s backing Islamophobe Frank Gaffney". Salon. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Milbank, Dana (September 21, 2015). "It’s up to voters to reject Trump and Carson’s bigotry". The Washington Post. 
  11. ^ Maloy, Simon (August 28, 2015). "Cruz’s cynical Trump detente: They’re good buddies now, but wait until The Donald’s support drops". Salon. 
  12. ^ Norquist, Grover (March 16, 2015). "Bloomberg Politics". 
  13. ^ The Bridge Initiative Team (July 20, 2015). "Presidential Candidates Set to Appear at Event Hosted By Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theorist". The Bridge Initiative. Georgetown University. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  14. ^ Wajahat Ali; et al. (August 26, 2015). "Fear, Inc.". Center for American Progress. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  15. ^ Johnson, Timothy (April 9, 2015). "Media Matters". Media Matters for America. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d Southern Poverty Law Center. "Frank Gaffney Jr.". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  17. ^ Lee, Fang (September 18, 2015). "Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock Was "Half a Bomb," Says Anti-Muslim Group With Ties to Trump, Cruz". The Intercept. 
  18. ^ Anti-Defamation League (March 2011) "Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)"
  19. ^ a b Sturgis, Sue (July 20, 2012). "Meet the man behind the Muslim conspiracy uproar". The Institute for Southern Studies. 
  20. ^ Johnson, Terri A. and Cohen, J. Richard (September 3, 2015). "Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in politics". The Hill. 
  21. ^ Bendery, Jennifer and Terkel, Amanda (July 19, 2012). "More Republicans Speak Out Against Bachmann Attacks". Huffington Post. 
  22. ^ Posner, Sarah (April 17, 2012). "Welcome to the Shari’ah Conspiracy Theory Industry". Religion Dispatches. 
  23. ^ The Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Action "Action Brief" (April 2011)
  24. ^ Bump, Philip (December 7, 2015). "Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigrants is based on a very shoddy poll". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 

External links[edit]