Meet Conservative Media’s Go-To Terrorism Pundit In The Wake Of The Orlando Attack

Meet Conservative Media’s Go-To Terrorism Pundit In The Wake Of The Orlando Attack

››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

In the aftermath of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, conservative media are hosting Sebastian Gorka, an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and national security senior editor for Breitbart News, who blames “the policies of this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton” and “political correctness” for the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Gorka, who was a paid advisor to the Donald Trump campaign, was once arrested for trying to bring a handgun onto an airplane, and he recently spoke at a conference called “Dangerous Embrace: The United States and the Islamists” that discussed how “Islamists have been brought into the innermost circles of America’s national security institutions.”

Attack At Orlando Nightclub Results In Deadliest Mass Shooting In American History

CNN: Orlando Shooting Leaves 49 Dead In The Deadliest Mass Shooting In U.S. History. A gunman opened fire in a Florida gay nightclub on June 12, killing 49 people and injuring another 53 before he was killed in a shootout with law enforcement. According to CNN, the shooter -- an American-born citizen whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan -- had “pledged allegiance to ISIS,” but the news outlet cautioned against taking a connection with the Syria-based terror group “at face value.” According to law enforcement authorities, the shooting stands as “the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.” From the June 13 CNN article:

An American-born man who'd pledged allegiance to ISIS gunned down 50 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation's worst terror attack since 9/11, authorities said.

[...]

After a standoff of about three hours, while people trapped inside the club desperately called and messaged friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.

"It appears he was organized and well-prepared," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said early Sunday. Authorities said they haven't found any accomplices. [CNN, 6/13/16]

Right-Wing Media Turn To Sebastian Gorka For Commentary On The Shooting

Gorka Was Featured On Numerous Right-Wing Media Outlets, Where He Blamed President Obama, Hillary Clinton, And “Political Correctness” For The Orlando Shooting. In the aftermath of the attack, Sebastian Gorka was interviewed on various right-wing news outlets. He claimed that the Orlando attack “in part was facilitated by the policies of this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, that have allowed political correctness into the threat assessment.” Gorka declared that the shooting was “not a hate crime” and that condemnations of anti-Muslim rhetoric are “making political hay out of the bodies of 49 people before their bodies have cooled.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, 6/12/16; Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/13/16; Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 6/13/16]

Sebastian Gorka Has A History Of Anti-Muslim Rhetoric And Conspiracy Theories

Gorka: WWII Veterans “Didn’t Eat The Barrel Of A” Gun Like Today’s Veterans Because “Their President, Their Commander, Told Them” That “They Were On The Side Of The Angels.” In an interview with Breitbart News Sunday host Stephen Bannon, Gorka asked, “Why do we have unprecedented levels of PTSD in this nation?” Answering his own question, Gorka concluded, “Our grandfathers saw some bad stuff in World War II. … But when they came home in the 1950s, they didn’t eat the barrel of a 1911. Why? Because they knew they were on the side of the angels. Their President, their commander, told them.” Gorka added, “We don’t say that any more.” From the April 11 edition of Breitbart News Sunday:

“Think about one thing. This is provocative, but I believe it. Why do we have 22 vets commit suicide every 24 hours in America?” Gorka asked. “Why do we have unprecedented levels of PTSD in this nation? Our grandfathers saw some bad stuff in World War II, especially in the Pacific, especially when they liberated the death camps. But when they came home in the 1950s, they didn’t eat the barrel of a 1911. Why? Because they knew they were on the side of the angels. Their President, their commander, told them, ‘This is a war against evil, and what you are going to see may be nasty, but it’s okay, guys, you’re on the side of Right.’ We don’t say that any more.” [Breitbart News, 4/11/16]

Gorka Was A Speaker At A Conference Discussing How “Islamists Have Been Brought Into The Innermost Circles Of America’s National Security Institutions.” Gorka spoke at a conference that supposedly “examine[d] in detail the United States’ increasing cooperation with Islamists at home and abroad.” Moreover, the conference description asserted that “Islamists have been brought into the innermost circles of America’s national security institutions.” From the May 22 event announcement:

The Administration has adopted the position that it can work with Islamists—those who advocate a prominent political and legal role for Islam. This decision is having far-reaching consequences at home and abroad. Islamists have been brought into the innermost circles of America’s national security institutions; counter-terrorism training has been drastically curtailed in order to remove all mention of religion; and abroad the United States is supporting fundamentalist parties and ignoring those who are persecuted or who suffer as a result. This half-day conference will examine in detail the United States’ increasing cooperation with Islamists at home and abroad and will make the case why America’s freedom is threatened by this dangerous embrace. [The Westminster Institute, 5/22/16]

Gorka Once Accused The New York Times And The Washington Post Of “Shilling For The Jihadis.” In an article titled “Shilling For The Jihadis: NYT And WaPo Stand With The Muslim Brotherhood,” Gorka claimed both publications “decided to take sides” in Israel’s short war in Gaza during the summer of 2014 and, ”Unfortunately, they chose the Islamists.” Gorka asked, if the authors of the articles “have read Hamas’ creed of Holy War, why do they, and their papers, support it?” From Breitbart News’ July 13, 2014, article:

Just this week, on the same day, the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously decided to take sides in the current war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, they chose the Islamists.

On Thursday, as rockets were landing on Israeli suburbs, two pieces were published by the so-called “papers of record,” that sided with the Muslim Brotherhood. Writing in the New York Times, Kareem Fahim focused ostensibly on the Egyptian response to the war between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas. The author focused on what he saw as the lack of Cairo’s response, especially to helping those in Gaza.

[...]

Only one obvious question remains. If Taylor and Fahim have read Hamas’ creed of Holy War, why do they, and their papers, support it? [Breitbart News, 7/13/14]

Gorka Was Arrested For Trying To Pass Through Airport Security With A 9 Millimeter Handgun. According to The Washington Post, Gorka “was intercepted by airport security at Reagan National on Sunday when he attempted to carry a 9mm handgun onto a plane.” According to the Post, “The gun was detected by a checkpoint X-ray machine by TSA officers” and “was confiscated and Sebastian L. Gorka, 45, was charged with a weapons offense.” From the February 1 article:

A Fairfax man was intercepted by airport security at Reagan National on Sunday when he attempted to carry a 9mm handgun onto a plane, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said.

The gun was detected by a checkpoint X-ray machine by TSA officers, who summoned Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police. The gun was confiscated and Sebastian L. Gorka, 45, was charged with a weapons offense. [The Washington Post, 2/1/16]

Gorka: The “Muslim Brotherhood Overruns” The National Cathedral When Two Muslim Advocacy Groups Hosted Prayers There. Gorka reacted to prayers at Washington National Cathedral hosted by The Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) and The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), writing that the “Muslim Brotherhood” was “overrun[ning]” the National Cathedral, because “if a place of worship is used by Muslims for their prayers, that territory subsequently becomes part of Dar al Islam, sacred muslim land. Forever.” From Breitbart News on November 14, 2014:

The Episcopal church leaders who agreed to the host Muslim prayers inside the Washington cathedral probably have no idea what happened a century ago in Asia Minor, or that there even was a Caliph in office at the beginning of the 20th century.

However, we can rest assured that the co-organizers do, for they include the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the All-Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAMS) Center.

Both CAIR and ISNA will be fully aware of the significance of November 14th, seeing as both organizations were declared by a federal court to be unindicted co-conspirators of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood terror group, in the largest terrorist financing trial in US history.

Those muslims who have a supremacist understanding of their religion, such as members of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood – which was recently declared an illegal terrorist organization in the country of its founding, Egypt – have a special regard for historic dates and anniversaries.

[...]

We know that the Episcopal church is in trouble with more conservative believers leaving in great numbers and the remaining adherents not exactly outdoing their Catholic cousins in terms of reproducing the next generation of believers. But I doubt they also understand the finer points of jihadist doctrine, one of which is that if a place of worship is used by Muslims for their prayers, that territory subsequently becomes part of Dar al Islam, sacred muslim land. Forever. [Breitbart News, 11/14/14]

Gorka Has Past Affiliation To The Trump Campaign

Gorka Was A Paid Adviser To Trump’s Campaign. According to BuzzFeed, Gorka “was paid by Donald Trump's campaign for policy consulting” in 2015. “According to Federal Election Commission filings, Gorka was paid $8,000 in October.” From Politico’s April 19 article:

A Breitbart national security editor, Sebastian Gorka, was paid by Donald Trump's campaign for policy consulting last year.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, Gorka was paid $8,000 in October. The payment was first reported by BuzzFeed.

Two sources told POLITICO that while Gorka may technically hold the position of "national security editor" (he was introduced as such by Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon on his radio show as recently as Monday), he hasn't actually worked at the site in a traditional editor's role since 2014. Gorka hasn't written for the site since December.

According to one of the sources, the position is more of an "honorary title" so Breitbart can say it has a big name on staff. [Politico, 4/11/16]

Donald Trump Plagiarized A Tweet From Gorka After The Attack. According to The Daily Beast, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “copied a tweet from Sebastian Gorka, an Islamophobic writer, alleging unverified reports that Marteen shouted ‘Allah Akbar!’ during the shooting.” From the The Daily Beast’s June 13 article:

Not only is Trump rushing to profit politically from Orlando; he is also bulldozing the truth to do it.

It appears that Trump copied a tweet from Sebastian Gorka, an Islamophobic writer, alleging unverified reports that Marteen shouted “Allah Akbar!” during the shooting. CNN’s Brian Stelter initially flagged the similarities between the tweets. Gorka was also previously paid $8,000 by the Trump campaign for “policy consulting.” Gorka told The Daily Beast via email that he was not aware of the Trump tweet and that he is no longer consulting for the campaign. Gorka alleged he got his information from the Daily Mail. [The Daily Beast, 6/12/16]

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