Influence Operation

Former national security leaders voice concerns over Islamist infiltration of conservative movement

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney / AP


Islamists linked to the Muslim Brotherhood are seeking to influence the U.S. conservative movement as part of non-violent jihad against the United States, according to a group of retired national security leaders.

The 10 former officials—including a retired attorney general, former CIA director, a retired general and an admiral, and a former counterterrorism prosecutor—challenged an assessment made several years ago of the political outreach activities by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, a former George W. Bush administration official, and their purported links to Islamist subversive groups.

The 2011 assessment in question was conducted for the American Conservative Union (ACU) by Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer and ACU board member who concluded there was no factual basis for charges linking the two activists to Islamists.

In a cover letter accompanying a 45-page dossier made public Tuesday, the former officials supported charges made by Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration defense official, who has said both activists are tied to and have engaged in activities "in support of Islamists inside the United States, including the Muslim Brotherhood, its operatives, front groups, and agendas."

The letter and "statement of facts" were produced in response to Mitchell’s review for the ACU that stated she found "no factual basis" to Gaffney’s charges. The rebuttal letter and dossier also was sent to ACU Chairman Alberto R. Cardenas.

The dossier, titled "The Islamists’—and their Enablers’—Assault on the Right: The case against Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan," presents a detailed rebuttal of the Mitchell memorandum.

"The statement of facts demonstrates that Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist have extensive ties to ‘various Muslim extremist organizations,’ individuals associated with them and their activities," the report said.

"These include: organizations established in federal court as prominent Muslim Brotherhood front organizations with ties to the designated terrorist organization, Hamas; two convicted terrorists, Abdurahman Alamoudi and Sami al-Arian; and efforts to deny prosecutors an important counterterrorism tool vilified by such groups and individuals as ‘secret evidence,’" the report said.

The former officials stated in the cover letter that Mitchell should address the compiled statement of facts that they asserted support Gaffney’s charges and contradict her 2011 assessment.

Additionally, the former officials said the Mitchell memorandum prompted the ACU board to endorse the conduct of two of its members that "is at odds with the stated mission of the American Conservative Union—namely, ‘harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations fighting for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense.’"

Mitchell said in an email she had no plan to read the report and thus would have no comment.

A spokeswoman for Norquist had no immediate comment, and a spokesman did not return an email seeking comment.

On Twitter, Norquist said in response to the Free Beacon report on the charges of links to Islamists: "Gaffney dusts them off every few years and tries to put his conspiracy theory in the mouths of others as if new/different."

Reached via Facebook, Khan had no immediate comment.

The dossier concludes that Muslim Brotherhood front groups are engaged in "civilization jihad" aimed at destroying Western civilization from within. It also says "Muslim Brotherhood front groups and operatives have targeted, among others, the Republican Party and conservative movement."

The cover letter was signed by former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey; former CIA Director R. James Woolsey; former Rep. Allen B. West; retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, a former undersecretary of defense for intelligence; former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy; Former FBI Agent John Guandolo; retired Adm. James A. Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet; former Pentagon Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz; Amb. Henry F. Cooper, former director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization; and former CIA officer Clare Lopez.

Bill Gertz   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogues states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

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