Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is set to announce a new lineup of national security advisers Thursday — and among the team, reports Eli Lake at Bloomberg, is a very interesting name.
The list includes Frank Gaffney, a conspiracy theorist who has spent years advancing the idea that American society and the government are being systematically infiltrated by Muslims bent on imposing Sharia law, and he has also indulged repeatedly in the theory that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen.
In an interview, he said that he met Cruz when he was running for Senate in 2012, and that he has briefed him on the FBI’s investigation into a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity known as the Holy Land Foundation and on how Sharia law is a threat to America. “I hope that some of that went into his decision to introduce legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,” Gaffney said.
In a 2008 column in The Washington Times, pushed a few weeks before the election, Gaffney wrote: “Another question yet to be resolved is whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, a prerequisite pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. There is evidence Mr. Obama was born in Kenya rather than, as he claims, Hawaii.”
Gaffney continued to talk up the Birther conspiracy theories, such as in a 2012 interview he hosted with right-wing columnist Diana West.
Gaffney has also repeatedly accused longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of being an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, calling her the “ticking time bomb” for Clinton’s campaign.
Gaffney has been shunned from much of mainstream conservatism, with the annual CPAC event repeatedly banning from him from speaking, after he accused anti-tax activist Grover Norquist of being a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. But he has been finding his way back in as of late — for example, Donald Trump cited his organization’s questionable polling in order to propose banning Muslims from entering the United States.
In the 1980s, Gaffney briefly held a national security post in the Reagan administration — from which he was soon forced out after the departure of his own boss Richard Perle (who later went on to be a primary advocate for the Iraq War in the 2000s), and he then publicly spoke out against President Reagan’s pursuit of a nuclear arms control agreement with the Soviet Union.