Meet The Fringe Right-Wing Commentators Who Met With Top Republicans To Push For A Benghazi Special Committee

Republican House Speaker John Boehner and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa reportedly met with conservative commentators Frank Gaffney and William Boykin to discuss the controversy over Benghazi. Both have a history of extreme remarks, especially against Islam.

Boehner And Issa Reportedly Met With Right-Wing Commentators On Benghazi

Top Republicans Reportedly Met With Right-Wing Commentators During May MeetingMother Jones reported that according to audio obtained by the blog Crooks and Liars, Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin reported to other members of the right-wing coalition group Groundswell that they had met with and urged Boehner and Issa to make Benghazi a top priority for congressional Republicans and establish a special committee to investigate it. From Mother Jones:

The pair reported on meetings they had held the previous night with Boehner and Issa. The two Groundswellers had encouraged the lawmakers to set up a special committee to investigate the attacks on the US facilities in Benghazi. Boykin, according to the recording, noted that Boehner had said he wanted the process “to play out” first, apparently meaning that he wasn't yet ready to step up the GOP Benghazi campaign. Boehner, Boykin recounted, had expressed the concern that were he to create such a committee, the media would cover it as a political stunt designed to bring down Obama.

Boykin, a retired general and Christian fundamentalist who caused a dust-up in 2003 when he gave a speech (while still on active duty) saying that his god was “a real god” and Allah was an “idol,” told the Groundswellers that he expected the Benghazi matter to blossom into a full-blown scandal: “We've got an ugly baby here and it's going to get uglier.” He maintained that “we're going to find...a huge deception.”

Gaffney, a birther who has been booted out of several conservative outfits for his fiercely anti-Islam views and who has accused Obama of “submission to Islam,” added, “I'm somewhat encouraged that they're taking this thing very much to heart and we really impressed upon [Boehner] that there's a lot of restiveness on the part of folks like us, and some of their donors as a matter of fact, about what's happening here.” In other words, Boykin and Gaffney were issuing something of a warning to Boehner and Issa: go hard on Benghazi or risk losing financial and grassroots support.

[Mother Jones7/30/13; Crooks And Liars, 7/30/13]

Frank Gaffney

SLPC: Frank Gaffney Is “The Anti-Muslim Movement's Most Paranoid Propagandist.” A Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) profile of Frank Gaffney stated that “Gaffney seems to have snapped” at some point in the decades since his service in the Pentagon and founding of the “hawkish but once-respectable” Center for Security Policy (CSP). In recent years, Gaffney has been the key proponent of the conspiracy theory alleging that the Muslim Brotherhood is working toward a U.S. government takeover. According to SLPC:

For most Americans, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) evokes thoughts of a dark time in this country's history. But Frank Gaffney Jr., the anti-Muslim movement's most paranoid propagandist, is not most Americans. In 2011, he called on Congress to revive HUAC -- this time around, to root out the Islamist operatives who, he claims, are well on their way to replacing America's democracy with a totalitarian, Shariah-based caliphate.


“When it is impracticable to engage in violence, Shariah-adherent Muslims are still obliged to engage in jihad through stealthy techniques or, in the words of the Muslim Brotherhood, 'civilization jihad,'” he said in 2011. “They are doing it through influence operations, the target set of which is comprehensive -- government, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the military, penal institutions, media think tanks, political entities, academic institutions. And they are very aggressively targeting non-Muslim religious communities in the name of ecumenicalism.” [Southern Law Poverty Center, accessed 4/22/13, via Media Matters]

Gaffney Was Banned From Conservative Conference For Accusing Prominent Conservatives Of Being Muslim Brotherhood Operatives. In 2011, ThinkProgress reported that Gaffney had been prohibited from participating at the Conservative Political Action Conference after accusing prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Bush aide Suhail Khan of being Muslim Brotherhood operatives. From 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.” [ThinkProgress, 2/15/11]

Gaffney: “The Preferred Way Of Achieving [Shariah Law] Is, As Muhammad Taught, Through Violence.” In a January 23 Washington Times column, Gaffney wrote that for Muslims “the preferred way of achieving [Shariah law] is, as Muhammad taught, through violence.” Gaffney also called the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) a “Muslim Brotherhood front group” that is “squealing like, well, stuck haram (or impure) pigs.” [The Washington Times1/23/12, via Media Matters]

Gaffney Equated Advocacy For The Park51 Community Center With Advocacy For Shariah Law. In an August 26, 2010, Washington Times op-ed, Gaffney wrote that protesters at a rally against a planned Islamic community center in Manhattan -- Park 51 -- “had come together ... in informed opposition to the impetus behind that mosque: Shariah.” Gaffney added: “In fact, throughout the crowd could be seen signs with just the word 'Shariah' lettered in dripping, blood-red ink.” [The Washington Times, 8/26/10 via Media Matters]

For More Of Gaffney's Incendiary Remarks Click Here and Here

William “Jerry” Boykin

NY Times: Boykin “Likened The Battle Against Islamic Militants To A Christian Struggle Against Satan.” From an October 23, 2003, article in the New York Times:

General Boykin has likened the battle against Islamic militants to a Christian struggle against Satan and said at evangelical gatherings that a militant Muslim militia leader in Somalia worshiped an ''idol'' and not ''a real God.'' [The New York Times10/20/03, via Media Matters]

AP: Boykin Said Islamic Extremists Hate U.S. “Because We're A Christian Nation,” Called Somalian Warlord's God “An Idol.” From an Associated Press article:

The inquiry, by the Defense Department's deputy inspector general, found that General Boykin, deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence, had also violated Pentagon rules by failing to obtain advance clearance for his remarks, which gained wide publicity through news reports last fall.

In one appearance, according to those reports, General Boykin told a religious group in Oregon that Islamic extremists hated the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians.''

Discussing a 1993 battle by American soldiers against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, he told an audience: “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.” [Associated Press, 8/19/03, via Media Matters]

President Bush Criticized Boykin's Remarks. The Washington Times wrote of Bush's repeated rebukes of Boykin:

President Bush yesterday reiterated his position that the comments of Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, who has spoken at Christian gatherings about a religious dimension to the war on terrorism, do not represent the views of the administration.

Citing the review of the highly decorated three-star general by the inspector general of the Defense Department, Mr. Bush said Gen. Boykin “doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration.”

It was the second time Mr. Bush has spoken on the Boykin comments amid his attempts to portray the war on terror as not being a war against Islam, but against extremists who have “hijacked a great religion.”

At a White House news conference yesterday, Mr. Bush said Muslim leaders whom he met with on his trip last week to Asia asked: “Why do Americans think Muslims are terrorists?”

“That's not what Americans think,” Mr. Bush said. "Americans think terrorists are evil people who have hijacked a great religion.

“We welcome Muslims in our country. In America, we love the fact that, that we're a society in which people can pray openly, or not pray at all, for that matter. And I made that point to the Muslim leaders.” [The Washington Times,10/28/03]

Wash. Post: Defense Department Investigation Found Boykin's Remarks Violated Regulations. [The Washington Post8/19/03, via Media Matters]

Boykin Compared New York City Muslim Cultural Center To Victory Mosques In Mecca, Jerusalem. From a Christian Broadcasting Network video:

BOYKIN: When Muhammad conquered Mecca, he built a mosque on their most holy and prominent site. The message was, “Islam reigns supreme.” When he conquered Jerusalem, he did the same thing. The most prominent site in Jerusalem, the most holy site. Now we are going to build a mosque at Ground Zero where once the Twin Towers were a great monument to America. Now there will be a mosque there. What's the message to that, and what's the impact that's going to have on the Islamic world? It will increase the recruiting to the Jihadist cause exponentially. [CBN, 7/30/10, via Media Matters]

Boykin: “Best Estimates Are 15 Percent” Of Muslims Worldwide “Are Radical Jihadists.” In remarks Boykin made to preview a speech he later gave at How to Take Back America Conference 2009, Boykin said that “the best estimates are 15 percent of those people are radical jihadists who wake up every day believing that God has ordained them to kill infidels.” [Faith2Action, 8/19/09, via Media Matters]

Boykin: “Islam Is Evil.” During a February 2012 interview, Boykin said:

We love the Muslim people but we have to be very careful to understand that Islam, in a pure sense, in an authoritative sense, Islam is evil. Islam is an evil concept, because it does call for innocent blood, it calls for the subjugation of women, it calls for a brutality that is alien to us as Christians. So we do love the Muslim people, but the Bible also speaks of a time when men will call good evil and evil good, and we have to be sure that we are in fact calling Islam what it is, and in reality it is evil. [Right Wing Watch, 2/28/2012, via Media Matters]

Boykin Called Islam “A Totalitarian Way Of Life.” Boykin said in 2010 that while “every Muslim should be allowed to worship freely,” “Islam itself is not just a religion -- it is a totalitarian way of life,” which he said “should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with Sharia law.” [Right Wing Watch, 12/6/10, via Media Matters]

For More Of Boykin's Incediary Remarks, Click HERE.