A heavyweight lineup of former national security officials banded together late Tuesday to accuse Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) president Grover Norquist and high-ranking GOP political operative Suhail Khan of connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The officials authored a 45-page dossier on the issue to Cleta Mitchell, the top lawyer for the American Conservatives’ Union who in 2011 cleared Norquist of the allegations initially brought by former high-ranking Reagan official Frank Gaffney.
The signatories include numerous powerful and respected former officials, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Florida Rep. Allen West, retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, and former chief assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy.
Reached by phone, Mitchell said she was incredulous that the group of signatories had endorsed Gaffney’s allegations. “The fact that these luminaries would allow themselves to get dragged into the internal debate within conservative organizations is really odd,” she said, adding, “If they are concerned about national security, they have better things to do than write me a letter.”
Mitchell also questioned Gaffney’s motives for raising allegations against Norquist and Khan, saying he was “obsessed” and that he originally began feuding with Norquist over a rent dispute when he leased office space from Americans for Tax Reform.
“This truly is McCarthyism. This really is terrible,” Mitchell said.
Neither Norquist or Khan responded to requests for comment sent late Tuesday.
Dan Schneider, the executive director of the ACU, said he is reviewing the report.
“I’ve received Mr. Gaffney’s report and will begin to examine it for any new information. But let me be clear, Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist are board members in good standing. They have been positive contributors to the conservative movement for a long time and their efforts must not be diminished,” Schneider said.
The dossier, dated Feb. 11, is titled “The Islamists’–and their Enablers’–Assault on the Right: The Case Against Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan.”
Khan and Norquist “have extensive ties to ‘various Muslim extremist organizations,’ individuals associated with them and their activities,” the document alleges.
Gaffney and Norquist have been at odds since the 1990s, when Norquist began to push for Republican outreach to Muslims, arguing they were a natural GOP constituency. In 2003, their long-running feud burst into the public eye when Gaffney spoke about the issue at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
In 2011, Mitchell investigated the issue and cleared Norquist and Khan–who, like her, serve on the board of ACU, which hosts CPAC–of wrongdoing.
Concluding her investigation, Mitchell said she asked Gaffney for evidence of “any relationship between these organizations and Suhail Khan” and that Gaffney “never provided a single fact or any documentation that tie Suhail to any Muslim extremist organization. None.” Mitchell also wrote in the memo that she reviewed Gaffey’s charges against Norquist, which she labeled as “purely and simply character assassination” and said she reviewed all information Gaffney had provided to “substantiate his continuing venom against Grover” and that she concluded “there simply is no basis whatsoever for those attacks.”
Mitchell told Breitbart News today she investigated the matter for three to four months in 2011 at the behest of Gaffney, who wanted Khan removed from a weekly conservative luncheon. She said she had “flipped through” the new report, which was delivered by courier to her office yesterday, and that its contents bore a resemblance to her experience interrogating Gaffney about the matter.
“99 percent has nothing to do with Grover and Suhail,” Mitchell said, adding that Gaffney relies on insinuation to connect Norquist and Khan to Muslim extremists. “Where’s the link to Suhail? I don’t even see two dots to be connected,” she added.
The letter from the group of ten retired national security officials is addressed to Mitchell and seeks to respond to her findings by providing evidence they believe she should have identified in the course of her investigation.
The document says the group is asking Mitchell to address a “statement of facts” accompanying the letter that they say “support Mr. Gaffney’s charges,” “contradict your representations,” and “place the ACU board in the position of endorsing conduct on the part of two of its members that is at odds with the stated mission of the American Conservative Union.”
The dossier of alleged evidence concludes that domestic Islamists are waging “civilizational jihad” to destroy the West “from within” by use of “political influence operations.”
It further alleges Norquist “has had personal, professional and/or organizational association” with a number of Muslim Brotherhood operatives and that those affiliations “have enabled the influence operations of Islamists, including those of Iran.”