National Security Council staff member Fred Fleitz is leaving his post in the Trump administration to lead an anti-Muslim hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
> On Monday, a press release issued by the Center for Security Policy (CSP) announced Fleitz would be taking over as president for Frank Gaffney, the prolific anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who founded the group. Fleitz previously worked as senior vice president for policy and programs at CSP until May, when he was tapped by National Security Advisor John Bolton to serve as his chief of staff. Fleitz’s hiring was part of a disturbing trend of hate group staffers joining the Trump administration.
CSP was founded in 1988, after Gaffney finished a stint with the Reagan administration, and following the 9/11 terrorist attacks came to be known as an organization that vilifies Islam, SPLC noted.
> For the last decade, the group has been committed to retrofitting Cold-War era conspiracy theories to try and root out the Muslim Brotherhood operatives Gaffney thinks are embedded in the U.S. government and other institutions. He is convinced Muslims in America are engaged in a fifth-column plot called “civilization jihad” to supplant the country from within and usher in an Islamic theocracy.
Fleitz worked with the organization prior to joining the Trump administration.
> Fleitz joined CSP in 2013 and has worked with Gaffney to stoke anti-Muslim paranoia. Fleitz and other anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists co-authored a report published by CSP in 2015 titled, “The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement.” One section of the report urges readers to be wary of engaging in interfaith dialogue with Muslims, claiming it is a tactic used by “stealth jihadists.”
> Fleitz has also peddled a clash of civilization narrative about Islam and the West, once warning about what he said were “disturbingly high levels of support for the global jihadist ideology among Muslims in the United States.” He has also come under fire for disparaging Muslim communities in Michigan and Minnesota.