Location Washington, D.C., U.S.
Founder Frank Gaffney
Leader Frank Gaffney
Founder and President Frank Gaffney, Jr.
|Type 501(c)(3) non-profit educational|
Headquarters Washington, D.C., United States
Similar Council on American–Islamic Relations, Middle East Forum, Gatestone Institute, Southern Poverty Law Center, Stop Islamization of America
The Center for Security Policy (CSP) is a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The organization's founder and current president is Frank Gaffney Jr. The organization's mission statement is "To identify challenges and opportunities likely to affect American security", where main activities are focused on exposing and researching what it believes to be jihadist threats to the United States. The Center has been accused of engaging in conspiracy theorizing by a range of individuals, media outlets and organizations. It has been described as "not very highly respected" by BBC News. In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center described the CSP as a hate group and a "conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement", a characterization disputed by the CSP.
History and programs
In April 1987, during the Reagan Administration, Frank Gaffney, Jr. was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He served in that role for seven months, until was forced from his post in November of that year. In a meeting with former Department of Defense officials after Gaffney's ouster, Richard Perle, for whom Gaffney had previously served as a top deputy, said, "What we need is the Domino’s Pizza of the policy business. ... If you don’t get your policy analysis in 30 minutes, you get your money back." Gaffney founded the CSP in 1988. One of the Center's annual reports later echoed Perle's words calling the CSP "the Domino's Pizza of the policy business."
The CSP says there is "Stealth Jihad by adherents of Shariah" to install shariah law as a "parallel legal and political system in the United States, constituting a separate governance system for the Muslim community with respect to family law, civil society, media and political discourse, finance and homeland security." Former CIA director James Woolsey has co-authored a report for CSP, saying sharia law is a major threat to United States.
In 2013, CSP received donations from Boeing ($25,000); General Dynamics ($15,000); Lockheed Martin ($15,000); Northrup Grumman ($5,000); Raytheon ($20,000); and General Electric ($5,000). The group has also received $1.4 million in donations from the Bradley Foundation.
On March 16, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced he would appoint Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, to be his National Security Advisor. Cruz also said his foreign policy team would also include three other employees of Gaffney's think tank: Fred Fleitz, Clare Lopez, and Jim Hanson.
The Center and Gaffney have been criticized for propagating conspiracy theories by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, Simon Maloy of Salon, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, Grover Norquist, Jonathan Kay, Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding, Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America, the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Intercept, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Institute for Southern Studies, among others.
Terri A. Johnson, executive director of the Center for New Community, and J. Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), have characterized the CSP as "an extremist think tank". The SPLC further criticizes CSP's "investigative reports", saying that they are designed "to reinforce [Frank] Gaffney's delusions".
One of the CSP's "Occasional Papers" accused Huma Abedin, then Hillary Clinton's aide, of being an undercover spy for the Muslim Brotherhood. On June 13, 2012, Republican members of Congress Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland, sent a letter to the State Department Inspector General including accusations against Abedin cited to the CSP. The letter and the CSP's accusation were widely denounced as a smear, and achieved "near-universal condemnation", including from several prominent Republicans such as John McCain, John Boehner, Scott Brown, and Marco Rubio. Also, one of its reports was cited by Michele Bachmann in 2012. In a separate report, the group declared that Susan Rice, Richard Haass, and Dennis Ross, were being secretly controlled by a covert "Iran lobby".
The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication has described the organization as "a far-right think tank whose president, Frank Gaffney, was banned from the CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] ... because its organizers believed him to be a 'crazy bigot'". The Center for Democratic Values at Queens College, City University of New York has said the Center is among the "key players in the Sharīʿah cottage industry", which it describes as a "conspiracy theory" that claims the existence of "secretive power elite groups that conspire to replace sovereign nation-states in order to eventually rule the world".
In March 1995, William M. Arkin, a reporter and commentator on military affairs, criticized the CSP's Gaffney as a "maestro of bumper-sticker policy" who "specializes in intensely personal attacks" and who has "never met a flag-waving, pro-defense, anti-Democratic idea he didn't like." Gaffney has also generated controversy for writing in 2010 that the logo of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency "appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo" and was part of a "worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam".