The Norquist Cell: Operation GroverKhan
by GARY H. JOHNSON, JR.
June 11, 2011
Grover Norquist has never publicly answered the charges laid at his door by Frank Gaffney.
Norquist sits on the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union and the National Rifle Association (NRA). In addition, Norquist is also the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), which sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Grover Norquist is the Republican Establishment's kingmaker.
The fact that he was associated with the infamous Jack Abramoff is not something one finds on his official bio at ATR. Indeed, Grover Norquist's endeavor to create a lobbying firm known as Janus-Merritt Strategies is also not well understood; but, Erick Erickson of redstate.comrecently revealed that the lobby firm was working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose activities in utilizing Shariah Compliant mortgage products has been well established. Norquist's partner in the project was David Safavian, a lobbyist who rose to a position with the Office of Management and Budget before falling from grace by lying about his association with Jack Abramoff.
Scandal is nothing new to Norquist in his lobbying activities. The fact that the Chippewas of Michigan, who were caught up in the Abramoff-Norquist lobby loop, recently paid consulting fees to the MITA Group, where Norquist associate Khaled Saffuri is now employed should surprise no one. With perhaps over 100,000 corporate donors in his little black book, Grover Norquist has escaped the Iran Contra Scandal, the Abramoff/K Street sting, and is now in open battles with Frank Gaffney over his relations with Islamists and Republican Senator Tom Coburn, whose spokesman recently labeled Norquist as the “chief cleric of sharia tax law.”
The recent charges produced by David Horowitz at CPAC, tying Suhail Khan to Norquist's long line of corruptions, has had lasting repercussions.
During the same conference, activists of the Florida Security Council challenged CPAC's active efforts to expand the big tent of the conservative movement to include the anti-American Nation of Islam.
The operation was called GroverKhan.
The Florida Security Council, led by Tom Trento of Frank Gaffney's Team B II Report, Shariah: The Threat to America, and the well-respected anti-Islamist activist J. Mark Campbell, sought to expose Suhail Khan's true understanding of Islamist infiltration into the United States. When asked point blank about the Muslim Brotherhood, Suhail Khan responded, “There is no Muslim Brotherhood in America.” The Florida Security Council, now recognized as the academic activist organization The United West, busted Suhail Khan in a flat out lie of mammoth proportions.
On February 14th, Suhail Khan and David Horowitz were soon at each other’s throats on Sean Hannity's radio show. The following day, Frank Gaffney and Cleta Mitchell joined the discussion on air. Cleta Mitchell, it should be noted, sits on the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union and the National Rifle Association with Grover Norquist. Frank Gaffney produced video evidence from 1999 and 2001. Suhail Khan, in the earlier video, remarked that Muslims, standing in the face of an oppressor, love death more than their oppressors love life. Also, the 2001 video proved that Suhail Khan accepted an award from Abdulrahman Alamoudi, following Alamoudi's jubilant announcement of his support for Hamas and Hezbollah.
In response to the video evidence, Suhail Khan slouched past his 1999 rhetoric, which displayed shocking overtones regarding the necessity of jihad, coined in language that he would not have chosen after 9/11. He shrugged off the acceptance of the award by saying that he was ordered to attend the meeting by the George Bush White House and held no connection to the activism of Alamoudi. However, what was not brought up was the fact that Suhail Khan should have rejected the award due to the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah were on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list at the State Department as of 1997. Any Muslim in a position of prominence in the DC set would have recognized this and refused the award to protect his Administration from blowback.
For his part, David Horowitz was deeply disappointed in Cleta Mitchell's support of Suhail Khan. Yet, Cleta Mitchell refused to accept the tangential evidence as anything damning, relating to Gaffney that he should address his charges to the Bush White House rather than Suhail.
Sean Hannity was intent on making headway in the row, focusing on Suhail Khan's opinions on Hamas and Hezbollah. Suhail Khan, naturally said that he condemned terrorism, and stated that his mother's role in the California branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was not problematic to him, since the organization, itself, was not radical. Moreover, Khan noted that he would support the prosecution of CAIR activists should their relations to terrorism be provable in a court of law.
At the end, Frank Gaffney charged Suhail Khan with practicing Taqiya; i.e., deception to advance the Islamic faith.
Operation GroverKhan was by no means a slam dunk. But, what came to the forefront was Suhail Khan's desire to defend his family name and to relate that his critics were attempting to frame him as an Islamist operative, who infiltrated the Republican Party and the White House. Chiefly, in his defense, Suhail Khan noted that his critics did not discuss the fact that he was currently working for a Christian think tank. So, to remain objective, it should be clearly stated that Suhail Khan, the conservative activist, is now a fellow of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE).
The mission of IGE is to promote “sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide.” Notably, on the Board of Advisors at IGE is Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Albright, also sits on the “bi-partisan” Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project alongside Dennis Ross, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Daisy Khan, Dalia Mogahed and Ingrid Mattson. In September of 2008, the initiative released a report called “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World.” Considering Dennis Ross' key position in both the State Department and Obama Executive offices, it is hard to deny that the report influenced U.S. policy and perhaps helped to shape President Obama's June 2009 Cairo address:
To shrink the base of support for extremism, our strategy calls on U.S. governmental and private leaders, and their Muslim counterparts, to work together to advance four goals: resolving conflicts through diplomacy; improving governance in Muslim countries; promoting broad-based economic development in Muslim countries and regions; and building mutual respect and understanding.
Of chief import in this document is the focus on economic development in Muslim countries and regions. The report aims to help “catalyze job-creating growth in Muslim countries” by: supporting policy reforms that promote investments, facilitate transactions and secure property rights; partnering with governments and institutions that increase education and entrepreneurship; using “public-private investment partnerships to reduce risk, promote exports and fund enterprises;” and managing energy interdependence and diversifying resources.
The Obama Administration followed this platform in its funding of Palestinian shariah-compliant mortgages in June of 2010 through OPIC and other public-private partnerships in Palestine and is continuing the process, today in Egypt and the Arab Spring by forgiving debts and infusing liquid capital into the failed economies of Muslim countries as a way to pressure dictators like Bashar al Assad in Syria and Ahmadinejad in Iran. More to the point, USAID has risen to be a pillar of the U.S. State Department under Secretary Clinton's Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). USAID is the largest international aid program in the history of the world. Rajiv Shah is the current administrator of the organization. However, it should be noted that from 1999 to 2001, the USAID administrator was the Honorable J. Brady Anderson.
Today, J. Brady Anderson sits on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Global Engagement. Interestingly, Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism gave testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs in July of 2008, identifying for the second time J. Brady Anderson's role in the Holy Land Foundation trials as the administrator of USAID. A letter from Ambassador Pickering, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, stressed the need for USAID to divest itself of association with the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That is, as of August 30, 2000, the U.S. State Department had identified association with HLF as “contrary to the national defense and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
Suhail Khan's decision to join the Institute for Global Engagement as the “Senior Fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding” in this relatively unknown Christian think tank is out of joint. Famed Muslim apologist, Georgetown Professor John L. Esposito is on the Board of Advisors. This is not surprising. However, it is surprising to find Andrew Natsios on the Board of Advisors as well. Why is that surprising? Because Andrew Natsios served as the USAID Administrator from 2001 to 2006. In this vein, Suhail Khan is perfectly situated to network along the USAID financial highway, with eight years of USAID leadership in his corner. From this position, Suhail Khan is well-situated to gather details on why organizations like HLF were blacklisted by the U.S. State Department and to consult with a number of foreign Shariah Compliant institutions angling to suckle at the USAID teet. And while it is not shocking that Esposito is on the Advisory Board, what is disturbing is the fact that IGE is advertising John L. Esposito's bona fides as including membership in the World Economic Forum's Council of 100 Leaders, the High Level Group of the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations. Also in this “High Level Group” is Imam Feisal Rauf, whose Cordoba Initiative sparked outrage in the Park 51 fiasco of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy. Notably, the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations was listed by the Cordoba Initiative as one of its three main partners.
Even more intriguingly, every year at Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum draws international business magnates from around the globe to discuss the year ahead. Roughly 25% of the attendees to this event every year are McKinsey & Company alumni. Interestingly, President Obama appointed Diana Farrell, the former Director of McKinsey Global Institute, to serve as a Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in February of 2009. Moreover, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N, Susan Rice, is a McKinsey alum. From this perspective, Suhail Khan is well positioned to network the entire spectrum of Shariah Compliant Finance...as a lowly fellow, seeking only the most laudable goal of religious freedom for all. How is it, one must ask, can this well-connected nexus figure claim to know nothing of the Muslim Brotherhood in America?
To put it lightly, influence, in this frame, is a global industry. Grover Norquist has an operative at the MITA Group that works closely with a number of ex-Chiefs of Staff for Republican Congressman. Grover Norquist also has insider information about every major development project sponsored by USAID and the World Economic Forum in Davos through his Institute for Global Engagement mole.
Without a doubt, Grover Norquist's team has infiltrated USAID's lucrative contract whirl.
In April of 2005, the respected scholar Daniel Pipes asked “Is Grover Norquist an Islamist?” Grover's November 2004 marriage to the Muslim Samah Alrayyes reveals an insider at USAID in the Bush years. Samah Norquist's bio is an indictment of Grover Norquist's designs on USAID contract information. Samah was the Public Affairs Specialist for Arab and Muslim outreach at the Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs at USAID:
In her position, she works on developing and implementing communications and public affairs planning with regard to various Muslim and Arab outreach issues including USAID activites in Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle and Near East and many parts of the Muslim world where AID is present. This includes serving as a liaison with Muslim and Arab American interest groups to brief them on USAID activities in the developing world and coordination of the Agency's participation in events, conferences, and discussions designed to educate the publics about American foreign assistance.
Notably, Samah Norquist served on the board of the Islamic Free Enterprise Institute along with Khaled Saffuri. And for those, like Cleta Mitchell, who are willfully blind to the activities of Grover Norquist on the Shariah Compliant front and possible connections with Muslim Brotherhood operations in the tiers of the non-profit industry, it should be noted that a third operative of the Alamoudi stripe has made it big in the world of USAID.
A quick retrace of the original 2003 Frank Gaffney article released by Horowitz provides another key figure to the matrix: Abdulwahab Alkebsi. In his article “A Troubling Influence” Gaffney notes that “Saffuri's deputy and successor as director of the Islamic Institute” was Abdulwahab Alkebsi, “another former Deputy Director of Alamoudi's [American Muslim Council].” Today, Abdulwahab Alkebsi tweets under the moniker “everywhereistan” and serves as the Regional Director for Africa and MENA at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). His staff bio says it all:
Abdulwahab Alkebsi is the Regional Director for Africa and MENA. Prior to joining CIPE, Alkebsi served as the Director of the Middle East and North Africa division at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), where he oversaw a portfolio that included Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, North Africa, the Levant, the Gulf nations, and Yemen. Prior to working at the NED, Alkebsi served as the Executive Director at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), a non-profit think tank, based in Washington DC, dedicated to studying Islamic and democratic political thought and merging them into a modern Islamic democratic discourse. He has appeared several times in American, European, and Middle Eastern media. He has been interviewed or quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, U.S. News & World Report, United Press International, PBS, CNN, CNBC, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabia, Al-Hurra, MBC, Abu Dhabi TV, ANA, Nile TV, and many others. Mr. Alkebsi was born in Yemen, and resides in Potomac, Maryland with his wife and three daughters.
Conveniently missing from Alkebsi's bio is his relationship with the Islamic Free Enterprise Institute and the AMC of Alamoudi. Should it come as a surprise to anyone that the initial USAID award to CIPE came from the desk of J. Anderson Brady? According to the CIPE Website, the initial grant was augmented from $500,000 to over $1,000,000 in less than two years time:
In August 2000, USAID awarded CIPE a two-year $499,522 grant to support program work under CIPE's "Corporate Governance Initiative for the Transition Economies". This USAID grant was augmented in August, 2001 by $225,000 for increased program activities including an international conference on corporate governance, anti-corruption and competitiveness; and additional capacity-building small grants in CEE and Eurasia. The grant was augmented again in July, 2002 by $435,000 (current value $1,159,522) to support sustainable institution building on corporate governance education and shareholder rights promotion through improved networking, support grants, and access to up-to-date information on corporate governance.
Is it too much of a stretch to identify CIPE as a pet project of the Institute for Global Engagement? After all, both J. Brady Anderson and Andrew Natsios gave wind to this effort. Suhail Khan is now a fellow of IGE, and Suhail's former #2 is at the forefront of the MENA business end. Indeed, “improving corporate governance” was the key tag line of McKinsey & Company's foray into cultivating Shariah Compliant Finance through its 2004 Competitiveness Report to the World Islamic Business Conference in Manama, Bahrain. Now in its seventh year, the McKinsey Competitiveness Report figures prominently in the November 2011 WIBC.
The fact that the consulting firm KPMG mainlined Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF) into the British economic picture through tax legislation should lead American conservatives and Tea Partiers to recognize the profound impact that Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform could have on institutionalizing SCF into the American economy.
Whether or not Khaled Saffuri, Suhail Khan and Abdulwahab Alkebsi are Muslim Brotherhood operatives is, at this point, a matter of tangential evidence and speculation. However, what is certain is that Grover Norquist, Samah Norquist, Khaled Saffuri, Suhail Khan and Abdulwahab Alkebsi represent a powerful threat to the taxpayers of the United States. What seems certain is that a full investigation into the activities of the Grover Norquist cell cannot be left to the U.S. Congress, unless led by Senator Tom Coburn.
Slaying Norquist, the kingmaker, in the end, requires a recognition of the world as it is. Connecting the dots on the activities of the Norquist Cell leads to two conclusions. First, Grover Norquist is an advocate for legitimating Shariah Compliant Finance as an ethical alternative to capitalism. And second, Norquist's chosen battle ground for this subversive effort has been and remains the chiefly influence- and lobby-based contracts drawn up through USAID.
Stand with Frank Gaffney, America. Rise with The United West, Tea Partiers. We can still take our country back.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Gary H. Johnson, Jr. is the Senior Advisor for International Security Affairs at the Institute and is host of The Elemental Struggle on the Radio Jihad at 6pm every Wednesday. He also heads the foreign affairs desk of the Tea Party Tribune.NetworkVictory