Some Republican lawmakers have denounced character assassination attempts against Dr. Sebastian Gorka, White House deputy assistant and former Breitbart News national security editor.
Specifically, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) has decried criticism towards Dr. Gorka from South Carolina-based Michael S. Smith II, who the North Carolina lawmaker said falsely claims to be an expert for the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare that he chairs.
Meanwhile, Rep. Franks (R-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus and the International Religious Freedom Caucus, has dismissed as “fake news” allegations in the press and social media that Dr. Gorka has links to anti-Semitic groups.
In a statement, Pittenger noted:
Dr. Sebastian Gorka is a friend and trusted adviser on efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorism and increase the safety and security of American families. Since 2014, I have hosted seven Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forums, bringing together more than 600 Members of Parliament and other leaders from 60 nations to discuss efforts to combat terrorism financing, money laundering, and other national security issues. Dr. Gorka has provided expert testimony at these forums, and I applaud President Trump for bringing him to the White House.
Pittenger’s office acknowledged that the Task Force asked Smith to review a portion of a terrorism preparedness manual in 2015.
However, Jamie Bowers, a spokesman for Pittenger, explained that the North Carolina Republican did not approve Smith using his association to the Task Force to undermine Dr. Gorka’s work, a move that the congressman has deemed inappropriate.
Pittenger pointed out in the statement that currently Smith “does not serve the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare in any capacity, nor has he contributed to any of the work we have produced.”
Rep. Franks (R-AZ) also released a statement in support of Dr. Gorka.
The Arizona congressman responded “with disgust” to allegations in the press and social media that Gorka has affiliations with anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, saying he “can attest that Dr. Gorka is the staunchest friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”
The Congressman added:
He truly understands the existential threat that Global Jihadism poses to both America and Israel and has repeatedly stated that groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS [Islamic State] share a totalitarian bond with the Fascists and Nazis who threatened us in the 20th century. To associate him in any way with such ideologies is repugnant and a prime example of what has been termed “Fake News.”
Sebastian Gorka’s service to the nation, his reputation, and his national security credentials are all unimpeachable, and I am thrilled he is now serving in the White House as Deputy Assistant to President Donald J. Trump.
In a tweet directed at Trump, Smith wrote, “You are endangering the lives of Americans by hiring fake ‘terrorism experts.’”
On February 24, the Forward published a lengthy article titled, “Senior Trump Aide Forged Key Ties to Anti-Semitic Groups in Hungary.”
Dr. Gorka, an American citizen, was born to Hungarian parents in Britain.
Citing the Forward’s report, Jesse Singal wrote an article for New York magazine titled, “Trump’s Counterterrorism Adviser Sebastian Gorka Has Links to Anti-Semitic Groups.”
From the get-go, the article attacked Dr. Gorka’s credentials, describing him as “the deputy assistant to Donald Trump who portrays himself as a counterterrorism expert, despite the fact that most of the counterterrorism Establishment disagrees with this self-assessment.”