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The talk below recently took place at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida (Nov. 17-20, 2011).
Frank Gaffney: Ladies and gentlemen, while we are hopefully going to pull together this PowerPoint presentation, which — I’m grateful to the hotel staff for trying to work on absolutely no notice, just as I’m very grateful to you for sticking around on no notice.
My name is Frank Gaffney. I’m the president of an organization called the Center for Security Policy in Washington. This is absolutely, bar none — the high point of my year is being here. So if this is my last visit with you all, I just want to say it’s been great.
I’m here to talk to you a little bit about something that was brought up at the tail end, as you probably heard, of the first panel — second panel, I guess it was, before lunch. And that was a question that I didn’t arrange for but I was delighted was asked, about Grover Norquist, and the role that Grover has been playing in the Republican Party and the conservative movement with respect specifically to the issues that we’ve been talking about, most recently on this panel — namely, trying to promote the agenda and the agents of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.
And if this is your first introduction to the subject, I’m going to try — again, hopefully we’ll have some audiovisual assistance here — to set the stage a little bit about what the Brotherhood is up to. Again, you’ve heard some of this in the previous panels. Andy McCarthy has written definitively on the subject, as has Robert Spencer. They have some differences, as you heard. But I think in terms of the stealth jihad, as I believe Robert coined the phrase for it; or the civilization jihad, as the Muslim Brotherhood has called it; I think there’s no difference between them or, for that matter, anybody who has really looked at this in any kind of rigorous way.
The fundamental proposition that I guess I think really sets the scene for everything else I’m going to tell you about, and that you must have clearly in your heads if you want to understand both the sort of micro problem that I want to talk to you about and the macro problem, is Sharia. And one of the books that will be on offer tonight is one that Andy was helpful, enormously helpful in coauthoring, along myself and 17 other folks who’ve spent a good bit of their lives on national security issues, one fashion or another.
Several of them are very prominent, like Andy, Jim Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence; Jerry Boykin, three-star general, retired former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; Lt. General Ed Soyster, retired former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency — and a number of other lesser lights — but people who have thought seriously about this problem and come to the conclusion that whatever the true Islam is, there is only one Sharia. And Sharia is absolutely, unalterably hostile to everything we hold dear.
And those who are seeking to impose it on others — which is, by the way, one of the obligations under Sharia — are our enemies, and will not be dissuaded from doing so by our efforts to accommodate them, appease them, or otherwise try to appear more submissive, which is — no matter what we justify it as or think of it as — how they see it. We call it political correctness — fine. We call it tolerance — fine. We call it diversity, or sensitivity — fine, fine. They call it submission.
And under the doctrine of Sharia, they are obliged to double down. Because according to Sharia, according to the Koran — the foundational document of this whole thing — making them feel subdued is the whole point of the exercise. A political, military, intelligence, legal doctrine — yes, with a patina of religion to it — but fundamentally, it is about power, not about faith. And if you can sort of get your head around that basic concept, then it flows from it fairly easily that the purpose that jihad serves in promoting Sharia, in compelling others to be submissive to it, is central to that doctrine.
The key point — and again, both Andy and Robert have done incalculably important work in helping to make this as accessible to the rest of us as possible — is that this is a very practical program. Drawing as it all does from the perfect Muslim’s model, namely Mohammad’s, it’s all about violence, if that’ll be effective. And generally, it is. Terrifying violence generally produces the desired results.
Unless you’re dealing with adversaries who happen to be stronger than you are, in which case it may be actually counterproductive. Which is where the stealth jihad comes in. If you are a Sharia-adherent Muslim, you are still obliged to engage in jihad, even if it might be hazardous to your health — not just to be a shahid, but just even trying to support jihad in the violent sense.
You have two responsibilities in that circumstance. One is to engage in this stealthy kind of jihad, as Mohammed himself did — to work towards achieving the same ends, the same ends, of the triumph of Sharia and, ideally, the governance of a caliph who will rule in accordance to it worldwide, through stealthy means, through what are sometimes called nonviolent means, but that are really, practically speaking, pre-violent.
Because in the end, once you’ve changed the correlation of forces — to use an old Soviet metaphor — once you’ve achieved enough power that you can use violence, well, Mohammed’s example was you’re supposed to do that, go back to that. Use the violent. Because it will effectively make them feel subdued, and hopefully keep them subdued. Okay?
So this is really sort of the crux of the phenomenon we’re up against worldwide. A lot of violent jihadism by Sharia-adherent Muslims. And then, in places like Baroness Cox’s Britain, elsewhere in Europe, elsewhere in the free world — Canada, Australia, here — you’re finding the pressure for jihad still going forward, but through these nonviolent or pre-violent techniques. We happen to know a lot about this, thanks to an absolutely providential development.
You may have heard this story, but I’m going to regale you with it anyway, because it’s one of the great facts to know and tell. In 2004, an alert Maryland transportation authority cop happened to observe a couple driving back and forth across a bridge up in my neck of the woods, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. You may have been across it — it’s a beautiful span across an extraordinary body of water. Typically, people admire the view. Not infrequently, they’ll take pictures of it.
Well, the woman in the car with the man was taking pictures all right, except she was taking pictures of the structural supports of the bridge, which the police officer happened to notice and thought didn’t look right. As it happened, she was in cover, which might have been a clue. But then, that would be racial profiling, wouldn’t it?
He pulled them over, ran their IDs, and discovered that the gentleman driving — a fellow by the name of Ismael Elbarasse — was wanted on a material witness arrest warrant out of Chicago in connection with Hamas fundraising, which got the FBI a search warrant to go into their home — again, in my neck of the woods, in Annandale, Virginia — about 20 minutes, on a very good day, from our seat of government. They went top to bottom and, lo and behold, in the bottom, discovered a secret subbasement, in which were 80 banker boxes filled with the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Yeah.
What was so providential about that, of course, was these documents helped provide incredibly detailed information that was then used in the trial, conducted down in Dallas, Texas in 2007 — it resulted in a mistrial initially — then in 2008, called the Holy Land Foundation Trial, the largest terrorism financing trial in US history. And as a result of what was introduced, by the way, uncontested into evidence in that trial, we have some powerful insights into who the Muslim Brotherhood are in the United States, what their mission is here, how they are proceeding to execute that mission — what, as Andy called in his book, a kind of grand jihad.
And this is the mission statement of the Muslim Brotherhood. Robert quoted part of it for you a moment ago — a kind of grand jihad in destroying — eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within, sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound too friendly, or too secular, or too nonviolent. And yet, this is how the top intelligence officer of the United States government — another retired three-star general by the name of Lt. General Jim Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence — characterized the Muslim Brotherhood in testimony to the United States House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. Now, you could say he misspoke.
Except he was reading from a prepared text in response to questions that they obviously knew would be coming. Because at about this time in February, all hell was breaking loose in Egypt. And even then, it was obvious that one of the prime beneficiaries of that was likely to be who? The Muslim Brotherhood, right? So people asked; he had a ready answer.
It’s a largely secular group, he said, it’s quite heterogeneous. It’s eschewed violence, it’s condemned al-Qaeda. It’s really mostly given to charitable works.
Well, the short response to this is — not. As the director of the FBI, who happened to be sitting next to Jim Clapper, said in a polite way. And within the day, Clapper had revised and extended his remarks to say that he probably had been misunderstood.
The point that I’m going to keep coming back to is he wasn’t misunderstood; he was misunderstanding. And it’s a reasonable question to ask — how could it be that the top intelligence officer of the United States government could possibly be misunderstanding on that magnitude? And if we had a PowerPoint presentation, I would try to answer that question.
Sharia is usually used as a modifier to the term “law,” just as you’ve asked. Sharia law — what is Sharia law? Well, there are people, including those on the panel, who are far more expert about this than I, but I will tell you what I’ve learned from them. And that is that Sharia law is only partly about law. As I said, it’s also only partly about religion.
It does have particulars about how as a faithful Muslim you are supposed to pray, how many times, in which direction; what you wash, what you don’t wash; when you eat, what you don’t eat; and all that. And it also has other rules and regulations that are supposed to govern, you know, how an individual interacts with, say, his womenfolk, which is not particularly good; how they deal with their other family members, how they deal with their neighbors, how they deal with, you know, the community, business associates and so on — all the way up into how the world is governed.
And that’s the point I was trying to get out a moment ago, is this is a comprehensive program for governing all aspects of life, literally every aspect of a human’s life and, indeed, the entire world. So it’s really — it’s much more than law. It is a totalitarian system of complete control. Some have said — I don’t know if this is one of your points, Andy, or not — but some have said it’s kind of like communism in that respect, with a god.
But at the end of the day, again, I bring you back to the central point. And I think if you get this, everything else fits into place. If you don’t get this, you’re going to be wandering around as — well, as befuddled as Jim Clapper is. It’s about power. It’s about how people submit, particularly non-Muslims to Muslims; and, within Islam, Muslims to Muslims — ideally again, under the rule of a caliph. So, are you with me so far?
So let’s see if my PowerPoint is here. There we go! Could I have a real round of applause for those guys? Thank you very much, guys.
Okay. I’m going to whip through a couple of these slides, because I’ve killed the time talking with you about them. Let me just make sure I’m on the right show. Yes, okay, we talked about these cats. Talked a little bit about this Sharia business. Okay. You know that Sharia currently is the law of the land in some places, so you don’t have to take my word for how bad it is — just look at it.
And the key point here is it’s coming to a couple of other places. Within months of our meeting here, you will see new populations enslaved by Sharia. And it won’t be the Arab Spring that they’re living under. I didn’t hear Andy’s characterization of it, but I know I agree with him.
And — oh, by the way, as recently as yesterday, Feisal Abdul Rauf — your remember him? Ground Zero mosque fame? Well, he was out there touting this same line — that Sharia’s really consistent with the Constitution of the United States. Again, you don’t have to be a world traveler or deeply knowledgeable about any of this, but if you think any of these places look like America, you’ll buy that. But if you don’t, you won’t, I hope.
I mentioned Jim Clapper. All I can say is, really? This is the creed of the Brotherhood. I won’t belabor this point, except to say again — doesn’t leave a whole lot to interpretation as to whether this is secular, nonviolent, different from al-Qaeda. In fact, it’s the same as al-Qaeda; it’s just different techniques.
This is Elbarasse — I mentioned his treasure trove. This is The Holy Land Foundation, the strategic plan I just gave you. That’s the mission statement.
Here’s another interesting document — the phased plan of the Muslim Brotherhood. Five phases — here are the first two. It starts with a secret establishment of Brotherhood organizations, building up a leadership cadre, and then gradually appearing on the public scene.
Now by the way, this was dated 1991. It was written by the man who was the second-ranking Brother in the United States at the time. This was a particularly telling point. These in italics, you can see, are their self-assessment of how they’re doing. And as of 1991 — can you read this — we’ve also succeeded in achieving a great deal of our important goals, such as infiltrating various sectors of the government. That’s not Andy McCarthy saying that, or Jim Woolsey, or Boykin or me. That’s the Brotherhood saying it.
Phase three — prior to conflict and confrontation with the rulers, use the mass media. Anybody seen outfits like the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Fox? Okay, well, that’s for sure where we are. I would argue we’re in phase four, actually, which is open public confrontation with the government through political pressure. The guys who are now occupying Wall Street are getting help from these cats, you can bet, and in a lot of other ways we’ll talk about.
But let me just call your attention to this little passage — training on the use of weapons domestically and overseas in anticipation of zero hour — it has noticeable activities in this regard. Zero hour, what’s that? Well, that’s phase five. Phase five is seizing power to establish their Islamic nation under which all parties and Islamic groups are united.
Okay, how many still think Clapper’s got this right?
This is the phase plan of the Brotherhood itself. An attachment to that other document, the explanatory memorandum, the strategic plan, was very helpful. 29 groups were listed under the heading, “A list of our organizations and organizations of our friends.” Those of you like me, who can remember the Cold War, will appreciate the subtext — “Imagine if they all march according to a single plan.” Right, the united front.
These guys actually learned a lot from the Soviets. ISNA you may have heard of, or you certainly will by the end of this brief — the number-one group on this list of 29, which even today represents all of the prominent Muslim American organizations in the United States. This is the largest of them — the Islamic Society of North America. It came about when the guys who were in the second group, the Muslim Students Association, got too old to be members. But today, there are between 300 — I think you actually used 500, Andy — chapters, some extraordinary number — 500 and 600 chapters of the Muslim Students Association on your kids’ college campuses, or grandkids.
CAIR — now CAIR you’ll look at, and you’ll say — well, wait a minute, Gaffney, CAIR is not on this list. Why do I have an arrow to the Islamic Association for Palestine, IAP? Well, I have that because one of the other helpful things introduced into evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial were the transcripts of the wiretaps — back when the FBI still did this sort of thing — in which principles of the Islamic Association for Palestine got together to found the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It’s just that that didn’t happen until 1993. And in 1991, it couldn’t be on the list in its full glory. But its progenitor is.
In the book that Andy did with a number of us, we looked at this question of the nonviolent stealthy techniques — I did mention you can buy it tonight, didn’t I? Okay, just checking. Government circles, law enforcement, intelligence, military and penal institutions — remember that for a moment, because I’m going to come back to it — but also these civil societies, groups and institutions have also been targeted by the Muslim Brotherhood for its civilization jihad. Again, remember — same ultimate objective as al-Qaeda, just using a different tactical approach for the moment. That’s the scene that I wanted to set for you.
And going to segue to the problem that you’ve been kind enough to stay here to listen about. This is Tradecraft 101 in intelligence. If you want to do what we just talked about on that slide — to destroy, or at least subvert, targeted institutions in a free society like ours — this is the kind of thing you do. And again, this is right out of the Soviet playbook. This is exactly what they did.
They often started, actually, with bringing in useful idiots, as they called them, or agents of influence. But inevitably, they also were insinuating individuals that they would create a legend for. They would promote a sort of new story about them, and they would try to discourage anybody from paying attention to the parts that were unhelpful. They’d burl them in, they’d credential them as a member — ideally, as a prominent member — of the community. And then these cats would start doing a wrecking operation, so as to destroy it from within by their own hands — by promoting ideas or policy initiatives or positions that were antithetical to what that community actually stood for or believed in.
But suddenly, what do you get out of that? You get fratricide. You get conflict, division, within the community. That’s not good for any organization or community. And it’s especially insidious because if what the community is about — as, oh, let’s say conservatives or Republicans are — is trying to enlist other people who aren’t part of that community, well, if you’ve got this kind of mayhem — let alone espousing of positions that are really unappealing to independents, Tea Party people, conservative Democrats — well, you’re not likely to get them onboard, are you?
Okay. So let me cut to the chase here. The job of going after the conservative movement, and Republicans more generally, was given to this guy — a top Muslim Brotherhood operative back in the 1990s. Abdul Rahman Al-Amoudi is his name.
Abdul Rahman Al-Amoudi was probably the most capable, I would argue — certainly one of the most capable — of the Brotherhood operatives in the United States. He established a couple of these front groups himself or with others, and he was on the board of about two dozen of them in his prime. This guy had already earned his chops with these characters.
Al-Amoudi was the guy that the Clinton team used as a goodwill ambassador with Muslim communities, foreign and abroad. He was an advisor on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But get this — he was the guy that they gave the job to of identifying, training and credentialing chaplains for the United States military and penal institutions. Remember, I talked about the penal institutions? Can you imagine two communities that you would least like having the Muslim Brotherhood minister to? Felons? And people who we ask to kill for a living?
How do we know Al-Amoudi was involved? Well, we’ve got these two checks. Obviously, the $20,000 they represent is a drop in the proverbial bucket. But they were made out to the Islamic Free Market Institute. But back in 1999, he created this enterprise and assigned his deputy — a man you’ll hear about more here in a moment, Khaled Saffuri — to run it day to day, to ensure complete operational control. Okay?
And in fact, this Islamic Institute, as it came to be known for short, was used, as you will see, to launder the credentials of Muslim Brotherhood operatives and otherwise gain access to the conservative and Republican communities, thanks to this guy. He was the founding chairman of the Islamic Free Market Institute.
The Islamic Free Market Institute was established and operated for years in his offices. I happen to know this as a result of another bit of providence. I wound up subletting space from Grover Norquist for seven years. And to be perfectly honest with you, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have known this. And I’m not sure anybody else would have, other than the Brothers.
So what I’m going to tell you now is all based on open sources, my own personal first-hand observation in some cases, and information that is readily available to anybody on the Internet with a little bit of spadework. This does not represent what the United States government could and should know based on techniques that I don’t have access to, like subpoenas and wiretaps. I trust those exist somewhere, but I’ve not seen them.
The Bush Campaign and the Bush Administration were the targets for this operation. As you will see, this worked like a top during the Bush Administration, and it is continuing today. I’m going to give you six case studies. I could go on, but this will give you, I think, enough grist for the mill.
Al-Amoudi, with George W. Bush at the Governor’s Mansion in May 2000, as part of the campaign outreach to the Muslim American community. In fact, it was the Muslim Brotherhood. This was of course a couple of months before Al-Amoudi announced in Lafayette Square, three blocks from my office, that he worked for and supported Hamas and Hezbollah. Kind of a problem. It was also a couple of years before he was convicted of terrorism, for which he is currently serving what was originally a 23-year sentence in Supermax — now reduced, for reasons that Andy might be able to better explain than I, to 17 or 15 years.
But this guy was not only charged with, convicted of, trying to kill the then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at the behest of and with money from Muammar Kaddafi; he was subsequently identified by the US government as a top al-Qaeda financier. Are you with me?
Khaled Saffuri — Abdul Rahman Al-Amoudi’s right-hand man at the American Muslim Council, the Muslim Brotherhood front organization with which Al-Amoudi was most closely associated — became, as I mentioned, the executive director of the Islamic Free Market Institute. He also became the Muslim outreach coordinator for the Bush 2000 Campaign. Gosh, I wonder how that happened? Saffuri is shown here with President Bush and his friend, Al-Amoudi, at the Governor’s Mansion in May 2000 — part of that Muslim outreach to the Brotherhood effort of the Bush Campaign.
I don’t know if you can see this — here’s Saffuri again with the President, now, of the United States, admiring the mosque up on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, DC. This was part of the post-9/11 hug-a-Muslim exercise that the President went through at the behest of the Muslim Brothers, including this guy, one of the ones who was wiretapped from the Islamic Association of Palestine; now runs the Council on American-Islamic Relations, guy by the name of Niad Awad, one of the worst of the Brothers in the business; certainly most aggressive. You’ve seen him all over the press apologizing for or otherwise excusing terrorism.
How about this guy? You know him? Sami Al-Arian, used to operate just on the other side of this peninsula. Sami was, at the time that he visited with George W. Bush in Orlando, as part of the campaign in March 2000, running Palestinian Islamic Jihad from his University of South Florida professorship. Gosh, I wonder how he got there? He was later convicted of doing just that — Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
I’m going to come back to Sami in a minute. But Muzammil Siddiqi, one of the worst of the imams in the United States, a former president of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim Brotherhood front organization — remember, the top of the 29? This guy now runs operations out of California. He happened to be pretty explicit about his desire to bring Sharia to the United States. He said — once more people accept Islam inshallah, this will lead to the implementation of Sharia in all areas. Kind of like Feisal Abdul Rauf, actually. How do we construe these guys as moderates?
He’s no moderate, but here he is — selected of all Muslims to be the guy who’s the representative of that faith in the interfaith ecumenical memorial service three days after 9/11. Everybody who was anybody was there, including this top Muslim Brotherhood operative.
But that’s not enough. Here he is in the White House, a couple of days later, giving George W. Bush a Koran — in the course of which George W. Bush, for reasons I’ll get into in a moment, started saying things — not started, but repeated things like — the teachings of Islam are the teachings of peace and good. Repeat after me. Right? Well, that’s pretty much what he was doing.
How did that guy get there? Well, he got there through this fellow, who I would argue is the most productive of the Muslim Brothers around Grover Norquist — probably his handler — a fellow by the name of Suhail Khan. Suhail Khan is a pedigreed Muslim Brother. If he were Chinese, they would call him a princeling of the Muslim Brotherhood. Because his parents helped found four of these prominent organizations and were involved in a number of other ones.
He’s been very involved with them in his own right, but he’s never repudiated his parents’ involvement with these things. In fact, to the contrary — as you’ll hear in a moment, I hope — he’s very proud of them — including — as you’ll see in a speech to that largest Muslim brotherhood front, the Islamic Society of North America, in 1991 — he said the following.
Could you hear that? I’m sorry, this is one of the technical difficulties. Well, I can’t repeat it word-for-word, probably, Nina, but I’ll give you the gist of it.
The thing that I guess I just wanted to say is you heard, or should have been able to hear, Suhail Khan say in 1999, at an annual convention of the largest Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States, that the earliest Muslims succeeded because they loved death more than their oppressors loved life. And basically, he said, that must be our approach to life’s present problems. And we must be committed to following, you know, Islam. And he has personally committed himself to giving his life for the ummah, the ummah being the Muslim people, the world of Islam, the dar al-Islam, as they call it.
Now, in 1999 — this is when I was a relatively young man — he was a guy who — as you will see, if we can ever get back onto this — has of course gone on to other things. But at the time, he was working for a fellow by the name of Tom Campbell. Anybody know Tom Campbell? Tom was a member of the House of Representatives, a Republican. Well, in a bad year, he might’ve spoken at one of these conferences.
Tom Campbell is what, I think David would agree, is a RINO. Republican in name only. He ran twice, as I recall, for the United States Senate from California — happily did not succeed either time, but was in the House of Representatives, including during the period when Suhail Khan — who had graduated from Berkeley and come from a family which was then prominent in the Bay Area — his parents were — all I have to do is get back to where I was.
Tom Campbell I’ve talked about. One of the things that these guys were doing — Tom Campbell and John Conyers, with the direction of Suhail Khan — at the behest of Sami Al-Arian — Palestinian Islamic Jihad — was try to prohibit something called secret evidence. Apart from Andy McCarthy, has anybody ever heard that term before? Okay, [Joel Nolbray], extra points, you get to stay after class.
This is the term that was coined to treat in a pejorative way something that’s an eminently sensible national security tool, which is to say — back in 1996, a law was enacted that said if you’re trying to deport an illegal alien, an illegal alien, you can use classified information that makes the case against them without having to share that information with the illegal alien. Because if you were to share that information with him, you might well compromise not only that information but maybe the sources and methods by which it’s obtained. Okay?
So Sami Al-Arian wants to get rid of that. Remember, Sami Al-Arian is running Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He thinks that kind of tool would be bad. Well, he actually had an even more personal reason for wanting to do that. What was it?
His brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najjar, was being held at the time, I think, in a federal detention center here in Florida on the basis of secret evidence. I happen to think that that secret evidence probably was going to implicate Sami as well in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. So he was trying to crush this important national security tool.
And to that end, what did he do? Well, he enlisted Grover Norquist’s help. In fact, in July 2001 — I’m jumping around a little bit here — but the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom, what you might think of as the Red-Green Axis — hard leftists, like the National Lawyers Guild, working with that whole array of Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood. They give Grover an award for his work, as he says, as a — Sami Al-Arian actually gave him the award — as a champion of the abolishment movement against secret evidence. And Grover subsequently said he was proud to receive that award. I can’t remember whether he said that after Sami Al-Arian was convicted or before. But still, it raises a question, don’t it?
Here’s a picture of that same meeting of the Brotherhood in the Governor’s Mansion in May 2000, with Karl Rove, who was instrumental in making it happen. At the time, he was the Svengali to George W. Bush’s campaign. While Suhail Khan was working for RINO Campbell, he was put on the board of the Islamic Free Market Institute. He was made one of the team members, with Khaled Saffuri — Abdul Rahman Al-Amoudi’s right-hand man, remember, shown here — as the outreach coordinator and his sidekick. So here they are, lashing up with the President — or the governor, rather, prospective President.
And thanks to Rove, they got George W. Bush, in the course of the second debate with Al Gore — this was the — nobody remembers this debate, of course, for one reason — this is the one where Al Gore kept walking away and doing that alpha male thing in George Bush’s face, remember that? Yeah, most people do. Anyway, George Bush, out of the blue, says that if elected he would prohibit the use of secret evidence. Grover Norquist got that done. And it was the thing that was going to give them, you know, the Muslim votes.
After the campaign, Suhail Khan gets moved into the White House. Not paid position; as a full-time volunteer, working in the Office of Public Liaison under Karl Rove. What was his job? He was the gatekeeper for the Muslim American community. Guess who got in the gate? The Brotherhood. Guess who didn’t? Well, people like Zuhdi Jasser and Sheikh Kabbani.
In this role, he played an incalculably important part. And I’m going to again dwell on this for a minute, just because it’s an influence operation. It helped with the information dominance — as the military calls it — piece incalculably. Bush not only made that comment about the Koran being about peace and good, but Islam is a religion of peace. You heard that? How about jihad is really just about personal struggle? Yeah. And then there’s this — al-Qaeda is hijacking Islam, just as much as it hijacked those planes. All right, well, they got the President of the United States and his administration to say these sorts of things, in part thanks to the people they were surrounding themselves with.
He also got the President to deliver on his promise to prohibit secret evidence. Interestingly enough, it didn’t come as quickly as Sami wanted. So in July 2001 — at that largest Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the Islamic Society of North America, the annual convention that summer — Sami, just before Suhail gets up and represents the White House at this meeting, harangues the audience to launch a campaign. He said — I want 50,000 e-mails and faxes and meetings and phone calls to the White House now! I guess he was getting a little nervous that his brother-in-law was going to get thrown out of the country, or they were going to use that evidence against him. Well, guess what? Suhail Khan gets up right afterwards and says — I got it, I got it, we’re working it. We’re working to get you the meeting.
Well, you’re not going to believe this. What day, of all days, could they possibly have arranged to have that particular promise delivered to these particular guys? Oh, you are so good. Yeah, 9/11. And you want to know what was really weird? I mean to the point of — I was standing in the doorway of my office on 9/11, frankly, trying to figure out what the hell to do. We were about four blocks from the White House as a 757 flies. So we could stay there and get smushed, or we could flee and take our chances on the road. That was a touchy moment, I can tell you.
It was about, I’d say, 10:30 or so in the morning. There were still things up in the air. We had no idea what else was coming. And all of a sudden, down the hall — about as far from me is maybe where Nina is — the three banks of elevators opened. My recollection is they sort of all opened simultaneously. And out comes this — well, I think of it as a Noah’s Ark of Muslims, in every imaginable form of regalia.
I was in my office, 19th and L Street — 20th and L Street, Pennsylvania — just a couple blocks from Pennsylvania Avenue. And, you know, the gals with the hijabs — I think there might have been a burqa. There were certainly man dresses and skullcaps, and Armani suits, of course. And these characters all start walking down the hall towards me. And they’re about as far away from me as you are. And they break right, and they go into my conference room. The one I shared with Grover Norquist. And bringing up the rear, chattering like magpies, was Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan.
What was that about? Well, reportedly, this is the access list, complete with dates of birth and Social Security numbers, for 49 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to go to the White House, we’re told, on the day that George W. Bush was supposed to deliver that promise — 9/11. And interestingly enough, as you might be able to see from that distance, Grover Norquist’s name is at the top of this list. How do you like them apples?
Anyway, the point is they were all supposed to be at the White House. They closed the complex. They came to my conference room, which he’d shared. It’s really has conference room which I shared, technically. But it was a big space, not too far from the White House. And they convened there, basically, I think, to do damage control, with one of the smartest political operatives in the country, who was working for them.
Now, I’ve long speculated what happened in that room. It goes without saying, I was not invited in. And it wasn’t until about three months ago that I discovered in the course of giving this briefing, or a version of it, that one of my colleagues had the presence of mind –when I told them what was going on in the conference room on the other side of his drywall partition — to lift up the false ceiling and listen.
Is this a great country, or what?
So I don’t know all that happened, because I think he got a crick in his neck or something. But what I did just learn from my colleague, Mike Waller, is that he heard them thrashing around and trying to fashion a joint statement that they could put into the New York Times and other publications to denounce terrorism. And Mike said they got all wrapped around the axle, because some of the people in the room did not think that they could describe the Pentagon as an improper target, because they didn’t think it amounted to terrorism, since it was a military establishment.
I think what else happened there — but again, I wasn’t listening, and Mike hasn’t been able to confirm this — was that I think they worked through this business that Bush now needed them more than ever. Because remember his first response? His very first response was — there’s a crusade that must be launched now. That didn’t go over very well. That offended these people. Remember?
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