Frank Gaffney, a protégé of Richard Perle and an influential figure in right wing national security circles, has firmly entered the world of right wing tin-foil hat paranoia.
Media Matters documents the development of a new right wing conspiracy theory, claiming that the Obama administration manipulated the redesign of the Missile Defense Agency to look like his campaign logo. This theory then evolved to claims that the new logo incorporates the Islamic crescent as well:
This nutty conspiracy theory was escalated by Frank Gaffney, who sees it as explaining Obama’s rationale behind his cuts to missile defense. How so? Well because he is a secret Muslim of course, which since all Muslims are out to destroy America, means Obama is out to do the same:
A just-unveiled symbolic action suggests, however, that something even more nefarious is afoot… Team Obama’s anti-anti-missile initiatives are not simply acts of unilateral disarmament of the sort to be expected from an Alinsky acolyte. They seem to fit an increasingly obvious and worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam and the theo-political-legal program the latter’s authorities call Shariah… the new MDA shield appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo… Watch this space as we identify and consider various, ominous and far more clear-cut acts of submission to Shariah by President Obama and his team.
So according to Gaffney, Obama hates missile defense so much that he wants to change the Missile Defense Agency’s logo to reflect his campaign symbol, as well as his secret Muslim identity? While this makes no sense, as Brendan Nyhan explains this is part of a strategy to spread fear-mongering “smears against Obama’s loyalty and false claims about Obama’s religion. As laughable as ‘Logo-gate’ may be, the underlying strategy is deeply disturbing.” As Matt Duss has noted:
Gaffney’s own past work strongly argues against taking him seriously as an analyst. As someone willing to cast deeply irresponsible and transparently bigoted accusations against the president, however, he should be taken very seriously.
Yet Gaffney is a prominent member of the right wing security establishment. He writes a regular column for the Washington Times, is a frequent commentator on cable television, and runs his own right-wing defense organization. Just this past October, at Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy “Keeper of the Flame” annual award dinner, Vice President Cheney was the featured speaker and recipient of the reward. Other guest speakers included Sen. Jon Kyl and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
By spreading this crazy paranoid conspiracy, Gaffney not only is defaming the President, he is also defaming the people who work and lead the Missile Defense Agency. The idea that the President would pay attention to an agency logo redesign or that the design in anyway reflected some secret Muslim agenda, as Richard Lehner of the Missile Defense Agency noted, “is ridiculous.” Lehner told Fox that “it isn’t a new logo to replace the official logo. It’s a logo developed for recruiting materials and for our public Web site. Also, it was used prior to the 2008 election and it has no link to any political campaign.”
Additionally, the one to approve the new logo is likely the head of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, someone the right wing must now presumably believe is complicit with Obama’s secret plan to further the United States’ “submission to Islam.”