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Exclusive: Frank Gaffney Was Barred From Participating In CPAC, So He Invented A Reason To ‘Boycott’ It

Frank Gaffney

ThinkProgress has the scoop.

Exclusive: Frank Gaffney Was Barred From Participating In CPAC, So He Invented A Reason To ‘Boycott’ It

(ThinkProgress)

Frank Gaffney has been a leading figure in the neoconservative movement for over two decades, having served in the Reagan Pentagon and founded a national security think tank. But Gaffney was absent from the panels and podiums at the year’s biggest conservative conference, CPAC, despite having spoken at the annual event held this weekend for the past 15 years. Gaffney had vowed to boycott the conference this year because, he claimed, it had been infiltrated by Islamic extremists. Specifically, he pointed to Grover Norquist, the influential anti-tax activist, and Suhail Kahn, who directed Muslims outreach efforts for the Bush White House. He accuses the two of being moles for the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, ThinkProgress has learned that Gaffney was actually prohibited from participating in CPAC — disinvited from speaking this year by conference organizers fed up with his increasingly vicious attacks on fellow conservative leaders. Indeed, Gaffney appears to have invented the entire theory about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating CPAC as a pretext to explain his absence from the event.

A source close to conference organizers told ThinkProgress that Gaffney was “specifically not to be invited” to speak at the conference this year because CPAC Chairman David Keene and other conservatives were “sick of him” attacking other conservatives. “The whole boycott thing was just to save face,” the source said. (Gaffney did show up to CPAC to conduct some interviews, including one with ThinkProgress, but did not participate in any official capacity).

Keene confirmed to ThinkProgress that “we weren’t going to invite him to speak this year,” but said, “we didn’t announce or tell him that.” In a statement provided by a spokesperson, Keene had some strong words for Gaffney, saying he has become “obsessed with his weird belief that anyone who doesn’t agree with him on everything all the time” is either “ignorant” or “dupes of the nation’s enemies” (full statement after the jump):

Having said that, we didn’t announce or tell him that we weren’t going to invite him to speak this year. We covered the issues in which he is interested (and which interest many of our registrants) and we did manage to do so without him. I do know that he attended CPAC and made his views known to as many as would listen through the talk shows on radio row.

The simple fact is that while Frank Gaffney did yeoman work on issues like missile defense in years passed, he has become personally and tiresomely obsessed with his weird belief that anyone who doesn’t agree with him on everything all the time or treat him with the respect and deference he believes is his due, must be either ignorant of the dangers we face or, in extreme case, dupes of the nation’s enemies.

The CPAC issue is just part of “a larger pattern” with Gaffney that goes back several years, the source told ThinkProgress. Since Gaffney began his public attacks on Norquist and Kahn shortly after September 11th, he has allegedly been reprimanded by a number of prominent conservatives or his attacks, such as the leadership of the secretive Council for National Policy and the late Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation. Several years ago, he also became “the only person to have ever been kicked out” of Norquist’s famousWednesday Meeting strategy sessions with conservative leaders. Gaffney and Norquist used to be friends and sit next to each other at the well-attended gatherings, the source said, but Noquist barred Gaffney “in writing” several years ago, sending a letter announcing Gaffney’s exile to over 100 regular attendees.

The theory that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the conservative movement is ridiculous on its face, but it now seems clear that is was merely a convenient fabrication to protect Gaffney’s ego. Nonetheless, Gaffney’s invention has taken hold in the paranoid right. Conservative blogger Pam Geller, who has close ties to Gaffney, pushed the theory at CPAC while Fox News host Glenn Beck advanced it on his radio show today. A CPAC panel involving Kahn even devolved into an ugly shouting match Saturday.

Gaffney has “never ever tried to get the truth,” the source said, “and even if he finds the truth, he just keeps going” — “I really think he just raises so much money off this stuff that he really doesn’t care.” Indeed, Gaffney made nearly $300,000 in 2008 from his think tank, according to IRS documents. The organization, which appears to have few paid officers, brought in over $4 million in contributions that year.
Frank Gaffney has often spoken at CPAC in the past, but has never been a co-sponsor. For years he has argued that his organization hasn’t had the resources to officially participate, but that his message is so important that he should be included. Hundreds of people vie to speak at CPAC and while we don’t limit our invitations to those who are suggested by the more than a hundred participating groups, we give some priority to their suggestions and we are, frankly, rather skeptical of folks who claim that they are the only person who knows anything worthwhile on the topics we cover.

Last year, Gaffney complained because he was not given the microphone in the main ballroom and that as a consequence of his not receiving the attention he thinks he deserves, we had virtually ignored the threat of terrorism and militant Islam. This charge was made in spite of the fact that speakers from former Vice President Dick Cheney to former UN Ambassador John Bolton and perhaps a dozen other speakers addressed themselves to the issue.

It was an ironic position for him to take as at the same time he was taking it, former Congressman and ACU Chairman Mickey Edwards was charging that we paid too much attention to these issues and are, in fact, obsessed by them.

Having said that, we didn’t announce or tell him that we weren’t going to invite him to speak this year. We covered the issues in which he is interested (and which interest many of our registrants)and we did manage to do so without him. I do know that he attended CPAC and made his views known to as many as would listen through the talk shows on radio row.

The simple fact is that while Frank Gaffney did yeoman work on issues like missile defense in years passed, he has become personally and tiresomely obsessed with his weird belief that anyone who doesn’t agree with him on everything all the time or treat him with the respect and deference he believes is his due, must be either ignorant of the dangers we face or, in extreme case, dupes of the nation’s enemies.

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  • marco

    Muslims can’t even get shariah law implemented in places where they’re the majority. So far, there has been no word on shariah law being implemented in Egypt – where Muslims are the majority – and the home of the Muslim brotherhood – so how exaxclty do these morons think Muslims are gonna force shariah law in the west?

  • marco

    He’s a narcacist. He’s so full of himself. I’m surprised Suhail khan hasn’t sued this scumbag for slander & libel for the lies he has been invented in hi contant attempts to smear him

  • 8 ball fluke

    here is a video reporting of cpac muslim brotherhood takeover

  • mindy1

    Sour grapes anyone? ;)

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