Keep America Safe, co-founded in 2009 by Cheney, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and Debra Burlingame, the “hawkish sister of an American Airlines pilot killed in the September 11 attacks,” was meant to be a one-stop shop for attacks on President Obama’s foreign policy and spotlighting the founders’ neoconservative friends.
Cheney announced her insurgent bid for the seat held by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) on Tuesday. Already a great deal of ink has been spilled over her history with the movement and the closeness of her views to those of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. It’s with that announcement in mind that the apparent shuttering of Keep America Safe becomes so curious.
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine places the last version of the Keep America Safe website as June 30, 2013, several weeks prior to Cheney’s announcement, but at a time when buzz was surrounding the chance she’d enter the primary field. Its Twitter account — @KeepAmericaSafe — likewise appears to have had its last tweet around the same time, as the last manual retweet of the account was June 26. The group’s Facebook page has also gone missing, but ThinkProgress is currently unable to tell when that page went dark. Even their Ning, a little used social media connection site, has been taken down.
“Keep America Safe will make the case for an unapologetic approach to fighting terrorism around the world, for victory in the wars this country fights, for democracy and human rights, and for a strong American military that is needed in the dangerous world in which we live,” the group’s mission statement read at the time the site went down. “The policies being proposed by the Obama administration are so radical across the board,” Cheney told Politico in 2009 at the time of the group’s launch. “Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you want the nation to be strong and so many steps this president is taking are making the nation weaker.”
A review of what is recoverable from the organization’s website finds content that lines up clearly that belief, including profiles on the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and a collection of articles written by such prominent neoconservatives as former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, commentator Charles Krauthammer, and former Bush appointee Marc Theissen. Among the articles promoted on June 30 include a full three condemning Obama for supposedly being naive (after five years in office) on foreign policy, two warning balefully of Iran’s nuclear program, and one promoting the CIA’s rejection of the Senate’s torture report.
Oddly enough, the group’s YouTube account remains active, including videos such as the attack on Department of Justice attorneys assigned to defend the suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay. That video, in which the lawyers are labeled “The Al Qaeda Seven,” drew a great deal criticism, even from like-minded allies. A New York Times profile of Keep America Safe from around the time of the video’s release quotes many prominent conservatives who “vehemently criticized Ms. Cheney’s video, and say it violates the American legal principle that even unpopular defendants deserve a lawyer.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a usual ally of Kristol and Cheney, condemned the group’s smear campaign as “shameful.”
At time of publication, ThinkProgress has tried reaching anyone who could explain the group’s vanishing act, but to no avail. While the phone number the group lists on the now defunct website is still active, the calls only went to voice-mail; an email to the media contact person listed has likewise gone unanswered. An attempt to visit Keep America Safe’s offices to discern whether the organization is still active resulted in an unexpected trip to a UPS Store in downtown Washington, DC. Voice-mails left with Kristol and emails sent to Cheney’s campaign and board member Deb Burlingame’s group 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America have not been returned either.