Center for Security Policy

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Center for Security Policy
Center for Security Policy logo.png
Type501(c)(3) non-profit educational[1]
Headquarters1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Founder and President
Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)$4,945,226[2]

The Center for Security Policy (CSP) is a far-right,[3][4] Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The organization's founder and current president is Frank Gaffney Jr.. The organization's mission statement is "To identify challenges and opportunities likely to affect American security",[5] where main activities are focused on exposing and researching what it believes to be jihadist threats to the United States; a number of these beliefs have been widely discredited, such as its false claims about American ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The CSP has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among a wide variety of other media and research organizations, for propagating conspiracy theories and Islamophobia, and described as a hate group, a label the organization disputes.

History and programs[edit]

In April 1987, Frank Gaffney, Jr. was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs during the Reagan Administration. He served in that role for seven months until was forced from his post in November of that year.[6] In a meeting with former Department of Defense officials after Gaffney's ouster, Richard Perle, for whom Gaffney had previously served as a top deputy,[6] said, "What we need is the Domino’s Pizza of the policy business. ... If you don’t get your policy analysis in 30 minutes, you get your money back."[7] Gaffney founded the CSP a year later in 1988.[8] One of the Center's annual reports later echoed Perle's words calling the CSP "the Domino's Pizza of the policy business."[9]

In 2010, James Woolsey and Joseph E. Schmitz co-authored a CSP report that claimed sharia law was a major threat to the national security of the United States.[10][11] In 2012, Gaffney released a 50-page document titled, "The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration".[10] The document questioned the Obama administration’s approach to the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.[12] The CSP has since accused a number of US officials of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, including Huma Abedin[13] and Grover Norquist.[14]

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).[15] The group has also received $1.4 million from the Bradley Foundation.[16]

The CSP helped to organize a rally on Capitol Hill on September 9, 2015 against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.[17] Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump spoke at the rally.[18] In a separate report about Iran, the CSP declared that Susan Rice, Richard Haass, and Dennis Ross were being secretly controlled by a covert "Iran lobby".[13]

On March 16, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced he would appoint Gaffney to be his National Security Advisor. Cruz also said his foreign policy team would also include three other employees of Gaffney's think tank: Fred Fleitz, Clare Lopez, and Jim Hanson.[19] During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump cited a widely debunked CSP poll in support of his call to ban Muslims from the United States.[20][11]

Trump administration[edit]

Since 2017 several people with ties to the CSP have joined the Trump administration, including Kellyanne Conway Counselor to the President in 2017, and in 2019 Charles Kupperman Deputy National Security Advisor.[21] Kupperman served on the board of directors for CSP between 2001 and 2010.[22]


The Center and Gaffney have been criticized for propagating conspiracy theories by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post,[23] Simon Maloy of Salon,[24] CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen,[10] Grover Norquist,[25] Jonathan Kay,[26] Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding,[27] Center for American Progress,[28] Media Matters for America,[29] the Southern Poverty Law Center,[13] The Intercept,[30] the Anti-Defamation League,[31] and the Institute for Southern Studies,[32] among others.

In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled the CSP as a hate group and a "conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement",[33][34][35] a characterization disputed by the CSP.[36] SPLC representatives have characterized the CSP as "an extremist think tank" and suggested that it is led by an "anti-muslim conspiracy theorist."[37][20] The SPLC further criticizes CSP's "investigative reports", saying that they are designed "to reinforce [Frank] Gaffney's delusions".[13]

One of the CSP's "Occasional Papers" accused Huma Abedin, then Hillary Clinton's aide, of being an undercover spy for the Muslim Brotherhood.[13] 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.[26][32][38]

Writing in Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner 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'".[39] 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", which 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".[40]

In March 1995, William M. Arkin, a reporter and commentator on military affairs, criticized the CSP's Gaffney as a "maestro of bumper-sticker policy" who "specializes in intensely personal attacks" and who has "never met a flag-waving, pro-defense, anti-Democratic idea he didn't like."[9] Gaffney has also generated controversy for writing in 2010 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 was part of a "worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam".[15][41]


  1. ^ "Center for Security Policy". Rating Profile. Glen Rock, NJ: Charity Navigator. June 1, 2016. 3 star rating (83.57)
  2. ^ a b "Center for Security Policy Inc" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  3. ^ Bertrand, Natasha (August 4, 2017). "The knives are coming out for H.R. McMaster". Business Insider.
  4. ^ O’Donnell, S. Jonathon (19 December 2017). "Islamophobic conspiracism and neoliberal subjectivity: the inassimilable society". Patterns of Prejudice: 1–23. doi:10.1080/0031322X.2017.1414473.
  5. ^ "Center for Security Policy, About Us".
  6. ^ a b Blumenthal, Sidney (November 23, 1987). "Richard Perle: Disarmed but Undeterred; His Once Pervasive Power Waning, The Hard-Liner Awaits the Summit". Washington Post.
  7. ^ Ken Silverstein; Daniel Burton-Rose (2000). Private Warriors. Verso. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-85984-325-3.
  8. ^ "Center for Security Policy – Frank Gaffney". Center for Security Policy.
  9. ^ a b Arkin, William M. (March 1995). "The Story of Two Franks". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 51 (2): 80. doi:10.1080/00963402.1995.11658058.
  10. ^ a b c Bergen, Peter (September 21, 2015). "The Republicans' Muslim 'problem'". CNN.
  11. ^ a b Hauslohner, Abigail (November 5, 2016). "How a series of fringe anti-Muslim conspiracy theories went mainstream — via Donald Trump". Washington Post.
  12. ^ Gertz, Bill (June 3, 2015). "Obama Secretly Backing Muslim Brotherhood". The Washington Times.
  13. ^ a b c d e Southern Poverty Law Center. "Frank Gaffney Jr". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  14. ^ Terkel, Amanda (March 5, 2014). "Frank Gaffney Escalates Crusade To Take Down Grover Norquist". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  15. ^ a b Clifton, Eli (October 1, 2014). "Look who's backing Islamophobe Frank Gaffney". Salon. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  16. ^ "Anti-Islam Group Cited by Trump Roils Wisc. Politics". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. December 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Keating, Joshua (September 9, 2015). "Trump and Cruz Stump Against Iran Deal". Slate.
  18. ^ "Trump, Cruz Pair Up to Slam Iran Deal at Capitol Hill Rally". NBC News. September 9, 2015.
  19. ^ "Ted Cruz Names Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theorist As Top Foreign-Policy Adviser". New York. March 17, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Joel Gunter (8 December 2015). "Trump's 'Muslim lockdown': What is the Center for Security Policy?". BBC News. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Milbank, Dana (September 21, 2015). "It's up to voters to reject Trump and Carson's bigotry". The Washington Post.
  24. ^ Maloy, Simon (August 28, 2015). "Cruz's cynical Trump detente: They're good buddies now, but wait until The Donald's support drops". Salon.
  25. ^ David Weigel (March 16, 2015). "Election Became a Civil War Over Radical Islam: Grover Norquist, Frank Gaffney, and the battle that could reach Hillary Clinton's campaign". Bloomberg Politics.
  26. ^ a b Kay, Jonathan (July 23, 2012). "Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP's Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy". The Daily Beast.
  27. ^ 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 July 24, 2015.
  28. ^ Wajahat Ali; et al. (August 26, 2015). "Fear, Inc". Center for American Progress. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  29. ^ Johnson, Timothy (April 9, 2015). "NRA Annual Meeting To Enmesh Gun Extremism With GOP Presidential Hopefuls". Media Matters for America. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  30. ^ Lee, Fang (September 18, 2015). "Ahmed Mohamed's Clock Was "Half a Bomb", Says Anti-Muslim Group With Ties to Trump, Cruz". The Intercept.
  31. ^ Anti-Defamation League (March 2011) "Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)"
  32. ^ a b Sturgis, Sue (July 20, 2012). "Meet the man behind the Muslim conspiracy uproar". The Institute for Southern Studies. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  33. ^ "Center for Security Policy". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  34. ^
  35. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (17 February 2016). "The year of 'enormous rage': Number of hate groups rose by 14 percent in 2015". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  36. ^ Fleitz, Fred (February 19, 2016). "What do Ben Carson, Frank Gaffney share? Both are victims of a left-wing smear machine". Fox News Opinion. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  37. ^ Johnson, Terri A.; Cohen, J. Richard (September 3, 2015). "Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in politics". The Hill.
  38. ^ Bendery, Jennifer; Terkel, Amanda (July 19, 2012). "More Republicans Speak Out Against Bachmann Attacks". The Huffington Post.
  39. ^ Posner, Sarah (April 17, 2012). "Welcome to the Shari'ah Conspiracy Theory Industry". Religion Dispatches.
  40. ^ The Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Action "Action Brief" (April 2011)
  41. ^ [1]

External links[edit]