Fleitz’s propensity to invent facts to serve long-standing agendas is just another indication that the National Security Council is unlikely to use actual intelligence and verifiable information to guide its policies and recommendations to the president.
WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, the Trump administration officially announced that former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz had been named the chief of staff of the National Security Council, headed by Fleitz’s long-time associate, National Security Advisor John Bolton.
News of his appointment caused immediate controversy, drawing condemnation from Muslim-rights groups as well as the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League, which criticized Fleitz for his senior role at the neoconservative and Islamophobic think-tank Center for Security Policy (CPS). The Southern Poverty Law Center has called CPS, where Fleitz has served as senior vice president for the last five years, a “conspiracy-obsessed mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”
Fleitz’s hire is unsurprising, as he has worked with Bolton in the past, serving as his chief of staff when Bolton worked as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the George W. Bush administration and continuing to serve as John Bolton’s special assistant after Bolton became the U.S. ambassador to the UN in 2005.
During that time, Bolton, with the help of Fleitz, destroyed a prior agreement limiting North Korea’s nuclear program – a move that ironically led North Korea to develop nuclear weapons – and sought to pave the way for military action against Iran by distorting intelligence and fabricating evidence.
A specialist at making the facts fit the agenda
Distorting intelligence is also a specialty of Fleitz. In 2006, Fleitz authored a report for the House Intelligence Committee, titled “Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat,” which asserted that Iran had made weapons-grade uranium at a site inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and presented its nuclear program as a “dire” threat to the international community.
The report, written at the behest of Bolton – who was then serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations – was quickly condemned by the IAEA as “erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated” in its entirety, though some particularly egregious inaccuracies were labeled “outrageous and dishonest” by the agency. It later made Fleitz and then-chair of the House committee Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) — for whom Fleitz was senior adviser at the time — “the subject of ridicule,” according to CIA whistleblower Ray McGovern.
Fleitz also wrote a similarly “erroneous” report on North Korea. More recently, Fleitz has made the equally baseless assertion that Iran is secretly aiding North Korea’s nuclear program, despite the fact that Iran has never developed nuclear weapons, and authored “The Coming North Korea Nuclear Nightmare: How Trump Must Reverse Obama’s Strategic Patience,” published earlier this year.
Fleitz’s propensity to invent facts to serve long-standing agendas is just another indication that the National Security Council is unlikely to use actual intelligence and verifiable information to guide its policies and recommendations to the president. As Bolton’s – and now Fleitz’s – past suggests, the national security information now fed to Trump through the council will be chosen based on whether it serves the long-standing agenda for regime change in Iran that Bolton and Fleitz have long promoted.
The fringe gets a VIP seat at the table
In addition, Fleitz is, in terms of Islamophobia, arguably more extreme than Bolton. Fleitz co-authored a 2015 report titled “The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement,” which asserted the “majority of Muslim and Islamic authorities […] promote or at least support jihad and shariah (sic) supremacism” and further that the U.S. “must revoke the citizenship of naturalized Americans” who have sought to “insinuate shariah-compliant norms into civil society.”
The report didn’t stop there, as it goes on to claim that 80 percent of American mosques are “incubators of, at best, subversion and, at worst, violence and should be treated accordingly.” Since authoring that report, Fleitz has since voiced his “concern” regarding specific “enclaves of Muslim communities in Michigan and Minnesota” due to their lack of “assimilation.” With Fleitz now in a position of considerable clout, he may take his view that the vast majority of American Muslims are a domestic national-security threat directly to the president.
This extremist rhetoric is characteristic of fringe neoconservative Frank Gaffney, who is the founder of CPS, where Fleitz has worked for the past several years. Gaffney, like Bolton and Fleitz, is a long-time advocate of bombing Iran and also known for promoting the theory that large groups of American Muslims are secretly trying to replace the U.S. Constitution with sharia law.
He had also been linked to Trump’s transition team in late 2016 and is an associate of Bolton, who helped to reinstate Gaffney at (CPAC) events after he was banned for several years; as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who appeared on Gaffney’s radio program at least 24 times as a congressman.
With the appointment of Fleitz — Gaffney’s “right-hand man” — to the NSC, Gaffney’s influence over Trump administration policy is likely to grow, despite the fact that he has been “shunned” by most mainstream conservative groups for years for his “fringe” views — views that may soon become official government policy.
Top Photo | President Donald Trump, second from right, listens during a working lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. Also listens are White House chief of staff John Kelly, second from left, national security adviser John Bolton, thrid from left, and Vice President Mike Pence, third from right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.