|Frank J. Gaffney Jr.|
Frank Gaffney pictured in 2013
|Born||April 5, 1953|
|Alma mater||B.A., Georgetown University
M.A., Johns Hopkins University
|Occupation||President of Center for Security Policy|
|Organization||Center for Security Policy|
|Known for||conspiracy theories|
|Parent(s)||Frank J. Gaffney, Sr. and Virginia Gaffney (née Reed)|
|Awards||Louis Brandeis Award (Zionist Organization of America)|
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. (born April 5, 1953) is an American political commentator and a proponent of conspiracy theories. He is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, a group that has been described as an "extremist think tank" by The Hill.
Gaffney was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1953 to Virginia Gaffney (née Reed). His father, Frank J. Gaffney, was a classical music aficionado and long-time partner at the law firm of Thorp, Reed & Armstrong (merged in 2013 with Clark Hill PLC), which was founded by his wife's father, Earl Reed. Frank J. Gaffney Sr.'s father, Joseph Gaffney, was a city solicitor of Philadelphia who became an object of controversy in early 20th century Philadelphia due to his Catholic faith; nativist Protestant groups in the city alleged Catholics were conspiring to seize control of American institutions and rewrite American history.
In 1975, Gaffney graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. He received his graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Gaffney began his government career in the 1970s, working as an aide in the office of Democratic Senator Henry M. Jackson, under Richard Perle. From August 1983 until November 1987, Gaffney held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration, again serving under Perle.
In April 1987, Gaffney was nominated to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He served as the acting Assistant Secretary for seven months. During this time, despite his official post, he was notably excluded by senior Reagan administration officials from the then-ongoing arms control talks with the Soviet Union. Gaffney was ultimately forced out of the Pentagon; the Washington Post at the time noted that within four days of Frank Carlucci's appointment as Secretary of Defense, "Gaffney's belongings were boxed and he was gone." Following his departure from government, he immediately set about criticizing Ronald Reagan's pursuit of an arms control agreement with the USSR.
Gaffney contributes to the media site Newsmax, writing opinion pieces on topics such as politics, terrorism, and international affairs in a column titled "Security Watch." He also hosts a podcast called Secure Freedom Radio. Featured guests have included Newt Gingrich, John Bolton, Donald Rumsfeld and many current and former policymakers and elected officials.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Gaffney as "one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes". Gaffney has been associated with David Yerushalmi for being responsible in spreading misinformation about Islam and for encouraging the enactment of anti-Muslim laws, including anti-Sharia legislation in the United States.
Center for Security Policy
In 1988, Gaffney established the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a Washington, D.C.-based pro-Israel advocacy group, and 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. In 2012 he was banned from attending the Conservative Political Action Conference after its organizers said he was a "crazy bigot."
According to the SPLC, Gaffney's beliefs stem from the discredited 1991 testimony of a lone Muslim Brotherhood member that he has come to believe is a "smoking gun, a mission statement pointing to a massive Islamist conspiracy under our noses."
David Keene of the American Conservative Union has contended that Gaffney "has 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."
Gaffney has been called a conspiracy theorist by Dave Weigel writing in Reason magazine; the Bridge Initiative of Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding; Steve Benen of MSNBC; Slate; and The Intercept, among others.
Conspiracy theories Gaffney has promoted include:
- The belief that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing.
- Accusations that Republican Party strategist Grover Norquist is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2014, Gaffney claimed that Norquist had "been working with the enemy for over a decade." (Responding to the accusation, the board of directors of the American Conservative Union unanimously condemned Gaffney's charges as "reprehensible" and "unfounded." The organization also banned Gaffney from its Conservative Political Action Conference.)
- Accusations that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. (After the allegation was repeated by Michele Bachmann, U.S. senators John McCain, Scott Brown, and Marco Rubio joined in dismissing it, and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner said "accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.")
- The belief that Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen of the United States" (popularly known as the "birther conspiracy").
- The belief that the logo of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency is a coded indicator of "official U.S. submission to Islam" because it "appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star".
- The belief that the responsibility-to-protect norm has been supported by the United States government to lay the groundwork for a forthcoming American military invasion of Israel.
Gaffney has two sisters, Rachel Gaffney and Devon Cross (née Gaffney). Devon Cross has been described by American Conservative Magazine as "a veteran neoconservative operative" whose organization, Secure America Now, has run pro-Israel advertisements in the United States featuring Benjamin Netanyahu, among other activities. Cross, who is married to former New York Jets president Jay Cross, served on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee during the administration of George W. Bush and is currently a board member of American Corporate Partners.
- War Footing (Naval Institute Press, 2005) ISBN 978-1591143017
- Shariah: The Threat to America (Center for Security Policy, 2010) ISBN 978-0982294765
- Smietana, Bob (24 October 2010). "Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear". Tennessean. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
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- Carden, James. "The Iran Deal Opponents Are Going to Fight to the Bitter End". The Nation (11 September 2015). Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Woodruff, Betsy (15 March 2015). "Glenn Beck Thinks Grover Norquist Is a Muslim Brotherhood Mole. Now, the NRA Is "Investigating."". Slate. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst (21 September 2015). "The Republicans' Muslim 'problem'". CNN.
- "GOP Presidential Candidates Will Appear Alongside Disgraced Conspiracy Theorist John Guandolo". Chicago Sun-Times. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP’s Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy". The Daily Beast.
- "Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in politics". The Hill.
- "Devon Gaffney, Research Director, Engaged to Marry Jay Cross in June". New York Times. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
- Gigler, Dan (3 Nov 2001). "Lawyer with a Passion for Classical Music". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
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- Watson, Russell. "At Long Last an Arms Deal". Newsweek.
- "Disarmed but Undeterred; His Once Pervasive Power Waning, The Hard-Liner Awaits the Summit". Washington Post. 23 November 1987.
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- "Frank Gaffney Jr.". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- Green, Todd (2015). The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West. Fortress Press. ISBN 9781451469905. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "Trump's 'Muslim lockdown': What is the Center for Security Policy?". BBC. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- "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.
- Cockburn, Alexander (2003). The Politics of Anti-Semitism. AK. p. 132. ISBN 1902593774.
- Posner, Sarah. "WELCOME TO THE SHARI’AH CONSPIRACY THEORY INDUSTRY". USC Anneberg Religion Dispatches. University of Southern California. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Frank Gaffney, Jr.". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "CPAC Banned Frank Gaffney Over Baseless Anti-Muslim Charges". Talking Points Memo. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "Leading GOP Candidates to Appear at Event Hosted by Anti-Muslim Conspiracist". The Intercept. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Bennen, Steve (17 June 2014). "The crumbling of the right’s intellectual infrastructure". MSNBC. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "Presidential Candidates Set to Appear at Event Hosted By Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theorist". Bridge Initiative (Georgetown University). 20 July 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Weigel, David (14 October 2008). "Frank Gaffney, Obama Truther" (Reason Magazine). Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Woodruff, Betsy (16 March 2015). "Glenn Beck Thinks Grover Norquist Is a Muslim Brotherhood Mole. Now, the NRA Is "Investigating."". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Benen, Steve. "It never ends". Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Terkel, Amanda (5 March 2014). "Frank Gaffney Escalates Crusade To Take Down Grover Norquist". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Brinker, Luke (19 February 2015). "Conservative civil war: Islamophobic activist seeks to oust Grover Norquist from NRA board". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- Kay, Jonathan. "Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP’s Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy". Daily Beast (23 July 2012). Retrieved 26 July 2015.
- "Huma Abedin Attacks By Michele Bachmann Condemned By John Boehner, Marco Rubio". The Huffington Post. 19 July 2012.
- Gaffney, Frank (2008-10-14). "GAFFNEY: The jihadist vote". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Far-right birther’s secret funders: Look who’s backing Islamophobe Frank Gaffney". Salon. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- Besser, James (22 March 2011). "The Latest From the Conspiracy Front". Jewish Week. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Donor Lookup - Frank Gaffney". opensecrets.org. Open Secrets. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
- McConnell, Scott (20 Sep 2012). "Netanyahu Appears on Florida’s Airwaves, Touting Romney!". American Conservative Magazine. Retrieved 12 Dec 2015.
- acp-usa.org. American Corporate Partners http://www.acp-usa.org/ABOUT_ACP/Board_of_Directors/DevonCross. Retrieved 12 December 2015. Missing or empty
- "War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2012-08-23.