Jacob Heilbrunn

Frank Gaffney Goes on the Warpath

Frank Gaffney, a prominent neoconservative, knows a lot about missiles. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration and resigned to protest its outreach to the Soviet Union. Whether he knows much about Muslim terrorism is another question.

Gaffney is the co-author of a new book detailing another threat to America. He is alleging, among other things, that Suhail Khan, a member of the board of the American Conservative Union, is a mole for the Muslim Brotherhood. Khan is a former senior George W. Bush political appointee and exactly the kind of exponent for moderate Muslim outreach that America needs. He also claims that Grover Norquist, also on the board of the ACU (and of the Nixon Center) is acting in a nefarious fashion to help the Brotherhood. Gaffney argues, if that term can be used here, that it is axiomatic that the Brotherhood would attempt to infiltrate the conservative movement. There is no reason that conservatives would be exempt from the wiles of Islamic malefactors, so Gaffney argues. Khan, it must be said, conducted himself with the greatest dignity as he countered Gaffney, who alleged that his father was a bad actor. In fact, as Suhail patiently observed, he is simply a former high-tech engineer.

This is weird stuff. Like the old Senator from Wisconsin, Gaffney is peddling a farrago of dates, so-called facts, and assertions that end up as what the the political scientists like to call a nonfalsifiable hypothesis. But for Gaffney it does not even seem to be a hypothesis, but justified alarms being sounded by a true-blue patriot. As Anderson Cooper observed Gaffney's contentions appear to be on the lines of having encountered or interviewed someone who committed a robbery. Cooper, by Gaffney's logic would be in cahoots with the perpetrator. Gaffney's aim is to suggest that the CPAC conference itself is hopelessly tainted by Khan and Norquist.

What rubbish!

In short, Gaffney is hurling wildly hurtful accusations. Khan and Norquist will easily survive them. The only reputation that Gaffney is shredding is his own.