Amidst the political upheaval in Egypt, conservatives are scare-mongering about the possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt. But leading neoconservative Frank Gaffney is taking Muslim Brotherhood fearmongering to new heights. This past weekend, Gaffney was a featured speaker at the Educational Policy Conference in St. Louis, an annual gathering of social conservatives. Gaffney used the opportunity to discuss how the Muslim Brotherhood is not only poised to implement a new theocracy in Egypt, but is also operating in the United States under “front groups” like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil liberties group dedicated to “protecting the rights of all Americans, regardless of faith.”
After his speech, ThinkProgress caught up with Gaffney to probe his conspiracy further. Echoing the McCarthyist anti-communist rhetoric of the 1950s, Gaffney told us that there were already people in the federal government doing the bidding of “stealth jihadists.” When we asked Gaffney to name names, he pointed to President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
TP: Do you think [Sharia law] has already infiltrated the federal government?
GAFFNEY: There are questionable people who are sympathetic to the program of the stealth jihadists who have influence with the United States government. Some I think are actually working for it, but for sure people who are persuaded that the folks that they need to work with to reach out to the Muslim-American community, for example, who incessantly turn to Muslim Brotherhood organizations for that purpose, are a very real problem.
TP: Can you name a few names, for instance in the federal government?
GAFFNEY: John Brennan. John Brennan is the Homeland Security Advisor for the President of the United States
TP: He’s complicit in this creep of Sharia law?
GAFFNEY: He’s absolutely daft on what the nature of the threat and is insistent upon using Brotherhood-front organizations as sources of information and as vehicles for reaching out to the Muslim-American community. Jim Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has said that these sorts of groups are “sources of wisdom,” as he puts it, to the United States government. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is incessantly meeting with Muslim Brotherhood front organizations and I think has in the past, if not today, employed people who are associated with them.
Unfortunately, Gaffney’s fearmongering over the Muslim Brotherhood is hardly new. Earlier this month, Gaffney declared that the American Conservative Union, which hosts the influential CPAC gathering, had been “infiltrated” by “Islamism” and accused one of its board members, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, of doing the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding. Similar statements in the past led Norquist, who is extremely well-regarded in conservative circles, to reprimand Gaffney in an open letter for his “racial prejudice, religious bigotry [and] ethnic hatred.”
Gaffney’s paranoia also led him to call for the U.S. military to “take out” the Arab news network Al Jazeera during the Iraq War. Al-Jazeera has been widely praised this month for providing some of the best coverage of the democratic movement in Egypt.