Center for Security Policy

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For the think tank based in Geneva, Switzerland, see Geneva Centre for Security Policy.
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.

The Center for Security Policy (CSP) is a Washington, D.C.-based national security think tank whose activities are focused on exposing and researching perceived jihadist threats to the United States. The Center has been widely accused of engaging in conspiracy theorizing by a range of individuals, media outlets and organizations. They have been described as "not very highly respected"[1] by BBC News and "disreputable" by Salon. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated the CSP as a "conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece" in 2016.[2] 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.[3][4]

History and programs[edit]

Frank Gaffney, Jr. founded the Center for Security Policy in 1988.[5][6]

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.[7]

Former CIA director James Woolsey has co-authored a report for the center, claiming that Sharia law is a major threat to United States.[8]

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).[9] The group has also received $1.4 million in donations from the Bradley Foundation.[10]

On March 16, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced he would appoint Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, to be his National Security Advisor. Cruz announced his foreign policy team would also include three other employees of Gaffney's think tank: Fred Fleitz, Clare Lopez, and Jim Hanson.[11]


Political commentator William Arkin has described CSP as the "Domino's Pizza of the policy business",[12] The think tank's views have caused it and Gaffney, the Center's founder and president, to be criticized for propagating conspiracy theories by The Washington Post,[13] Salon,[14] CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen,[8] Grover Norquist,[15] Jonathan Kay,[4] Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding,[16] Center for American Progress,[17] Media Matters for America,[18] the Southern Poverty Law Center,[19] The Intercept,[20] the Anti-Defamation League,[21] and the Institute for Southern Studies,[22] 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".[23] The SPLC further criticizes CSP's "investigative reports", saying that they are designed "to reinforce [Frank] Gaffney's delusions".[19]

One of the CSP's "Occasional Papers" accused Huma Abedin, then Hillary Clinton's aide, of being an undercover spy for the Muslim Brotherhood.[19] 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.[4][22][24] In a separate report, the group declared that Susan Rice, Richard Haass, and Dennis Ross, were being secretly controlled by a covert "Iran lobby".[19]

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'".[25] 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".[26]

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".[9]


  1. ^ "Trump's 'Muslim lockdown': What is the Center for Security Policy?". BBC. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Center for Security Policy". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  3. ^ "Cruz's cynical Trump detente: They're good buddies now, but wait until The Donald's support drops". Salon. August 28, 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Kay, Jonathan (July 23, 2012). "Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP's Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy". The Daily Beast. 
  5. ^ Gaffney, Frank. "Reagan: Relevant, revered on his 104th birthday - plus a 21-gun salute to celebrate" The Washington Times (February 5, 2015)
  6. ^ "Center for Security Policy - Frank Gaffney". Center for Security Policy. 
  7. ^ Understanding the Shariah Threat Doctrine, Center for Security Policy website (accessed September 22, 2015).
  8. ^ a b Bergen, Peter (September 21, 2015). "The Republicans' Muslim 'problem'". CNN. 
  9. ^ a b Clifton, Eli (October 1, 2014). "Look who's backing Islamophobe Frank Gaffney". Salon. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Anti-Islam Group Cited by Trump Roils Wisc. Politics". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. December 16, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ted Cruz Names Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theorist As Top Foreign-Policy Adviser". New York. March 17, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist. 51 (2). March 1995. doi:10.1080/00963402.1995.11658058. 
  13. ^ Milbank, Dana (September 21, 2015). "It's up to voters to reject Trump and Carson's bigotry". The Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Maloy, Simon (August 28, 2015). "Cruz's cynical Trump detente: They're good buddies now, but wait until The Donald's support drops". Salon. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Wajahat Ali; et al. (August 26, 2015). "Fear, Inc.". Center for American Progress. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ Johnson, Timothy (April 9, 2015). "NRA Annual Meeting To Enmesh Gun Extremism With GOP Presidential Hopefuls". Media Matters for America. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c d Southern Poverty Law Center. "Frank Gaffney Jr.". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  20. ^ Lee, Fang (September 18, 2015). "Ahmed Mohamed's Clock Was "Half a Bomb", Says Anti-Muslim Group With Ties to Trump, Cruz". The Intercept. 
  21. ^ Anti-Defamation League (March 2011) "Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)"
  22. ^ a b Sturgis, Sue (July 20, 2012). "Meet the man behind the Muslim conspiracy uproar". The Institute for Southern Studies. 
  23. ^ Johnson, Terri A.; Cohen, J. Richard (September 3, 2015). "Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in politics". The Hill. 
  24. ^ Bendery, Jennifer; Terkel, Amanda (July 19, 2012). "More Republicans Speak Out Against Bachmann Attacks". The Huffington Post. 
  25. ^ Posner, Sarah (April 17, 2012). "Welcome to the Shari'ah Conspiracy Theory Industry". Religion Dispatches. 
  26. ^ The Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Action "Action Brief" (April 2011)

External links[edit]