I’d call Frank Gaffney an intellectual bomb-thrower—but, he’s not an intellectual. Instead, he treats politics and national security the way James Holmes treats movie-theater patrons: don’t worry about aiming, just shoot to kill. Fortunately for his victims, Gaffney mostly fires duds, such as the ones he’s been shooting lately at Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, whom Gaffney calls an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, is also married to former Representative Anthony Weiner (of Weinergate), who was one of the most pro-Israel members of Congress while in office, which (as Jon Stewart pointed out) makes Abedin deep-cover, indeed!
Gaffney, of course, is the extreme-right-wing chief of something called the Center for Security Policy. As RightWeb and SourceWatch report, Gaffney is involved in, connected to, or cited by anti-Muslim crazies who oppose mosque-building, generated volumes of conspiracy theories, and he was even cited by the Norwegian terrorist who killed scores of campers in 2011. How far right? For years I’ve watched Gaffney’s Islamophobic and ultrahawkish antics, including a long-running battle he’s had with Grover Norquist, the taxophobic head of Americans for Tax Reform. Years ago, while writing a profile of Norquist for The Nation, I watched Gaffney denounce some of Norquist’s conservative allies for (gasp!) wanting to cut waste, fraud and abuse out of the Defense Department budget. Never! Shrieked Gaffney. More to the point, Gaffney blistered Norquist for his ties to (gasp!) Muslims, including the fact that Grover married a Palestinian Muslim. Gaffney’s constant refrain is expressed most neatly by a report published by CSP called: “Shariah: The Threat to America.”
In other words, he’s a nut case—although, on CSP’s various boards of “regents” and advisers have been folks such as Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and many others.
But his latest broadside against Huma Abedin, by all accounts an accomplished, middle-of-the-road public official, may take the cake—in this case, the nut cake. Gaffney found willing accomplices in Representative Michele Bachmann and a coterie of fellow ultra-right members of the House of Representatives, and their absurd diatribe against Abedin led John McCain, the Arizona Republican, to denounce Bachmann et al.
Does this have any lasting political meaning? Well, since large numbers of Republican-leaning voters consider Barack Obama to be a Muslim, and since even some Democrats in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia agree, the answer might be: Yes. Unless Gaffney and his ilk are once and for all exposed as kooks.
In her jihad against Abedin, Bachmann spewed out a stream of letters to half a dozen top US officials, including John Brennan, Obama’s top adviser on terrorism; the director of National Intelligence; and many others. To get a flavor of the letters, I urge you to read one or two. Among them: a letter to the deputy inspector general of the State Department. That letter reads, in part: