Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
On Wednesday, Sean Hannity announced that former White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka would be joining Fox News as a national security strategist. Experts have repeatedly questioned Gorka’s supposed national security expertise. He has apparent ties to a Nazi-allied Hungarian group and has a long history of using incendiary, conspiratorial, and racist rhetoric. Here is what you need to know about Fox News’ newest hire.
Fox News confirmed today that it has hired Sebastian Gorka.
After Fox host Sean Hannity announced Gorka’s hiring on his radio show Wednesday, Fox News confirmed that it has hired Gorka as “a national security strategist.”
Fox News has hired President Donald Trump’s former aide Sebastian Gorka as a contributor.
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity announced the hiring on his radio show Wednesday, saying that Gorka will serve as a national security strategist for the network. Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan confirmed his hiring to The Associated Press Thursday. [The New York Times, 11/9/17]
Gorka’s status as a national security “expert” has been repeatedly questioned by those in the field.
Gorka’s doctoral adviser has said he “would not call him an expert in terrorism.”
“I would not call him an expert on terrorism,” said Stephen Sloan, a retired professor of political science who spent much of his career at the University of Oklahoma. Though he said Gorka is “knowledgeable” about terrorism matters, “his level of expertise does not match the level where he stands in the White House.”
Gorka, a British-accented tough-talker who until Friday served under now-fired White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, considers himself an expert on the topic.
But that opinion is not shared by a dozen international security experts and scholars interviewed by CNN, including a professor who advised Gorka on his PhD dissertation and considers him a friend. [CNN, 8/18/17]
Business Insider: National security experts have “dismissed” Gorka as “an outspoken conservative pundit.”
In conversations with Business Insider, several national-security experts questioned Gorka’s credibility in their field, saying he is often dismissed as an outspoken conservative pundit who lacks the chops to serve in the highest levels of the White House advising on national-security policy. [Business Insider, 2/22/17]
Gorka has ties to a “Nazi-allied” group and a history of dismissiveness towards right-ring terrorismThe Forward: Gorka is reportedly a “sworn member” of a “Nazi-allied” Hungarian group.
Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward. [The Forward, 3/16/17]
Gorka called a 2015 Department of Homeland Security report that warned about violence from “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists” an “egregious politicization of national security.”
“It really is the most egregious politicization of national security,” Breitbart’s Sebastian Gorka insisted during a Fox News appearance. “We’re going to be looking for right-wing extremists when ISIS prepares to attack us? It’s outrageous.” [Media Matters, 2/3/17]
On Breitbart News Daily, Gorka bemoaned journalists for their “constant” concern with threats posed by white supremacists.
Wednesday, Gorka appeared on Breitbart News Daily, the radio show of his former employer. Gorka responded to criticism stemming from a previous media appearance on MSNBC where he said “[t]here’s no such thing as a lone wolf” attack. The concept, according to Gorka, was “invented by the last administration to make Americans stupid.”
On Wednesday, Gorka lashed out at “at [New York Times reporter] Maggie Haberman and her acolytes in the fake news media, who immediately have a conniption fit” and brought up McVeigh. He added that “white men” and “white supremacists” are not “the problem.”
“It’s this constant, ‘Oh, it’s the white man. It’s the white supremacists. That’s the problem.’ No, it isn’t, Maggie Haberman. Go to Sinjar. Go to the Middle East, and tell me what the real problem is today. Go to Manchester.” [Think Progress, 8/10/17]
Gorka defended the White House’s silence on a Minnesota mosque bombing, claiming that “hate crimes” can turn out to be “propagated by the left.”
The White House will not officially comment on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque because it may be a hate crime faked by a liberal, according to Trump national security adviser Sebastian Gorka.
An as-of-yet unidentified individual threw a makeshift bomb through the window of a mosque in Minnesota Saturday, and Gorka was asked on MSNBC Monday if the White House will comment. Gorka said that the White House will “absolutely” comment once there is a finalized investigation into the incident.
“There’s a great rule: All initial reports are false,” Gorka said. “You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes by right wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to be prop propagated by the left. Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment and then the White House will make its comments.” [Think Progress, 8/8/17]
Gorka was fired by the FBI for “his over-the-top Islamophobic rhetoric” and has a history of making incendiary and bigoted comments.
The inflammatory pundit Sebastian Gorka worked for the FBI while he was a paid consultant to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, lecturing bureau employees on counterterrorism issues.
Until the FBI terminated Gorka for his over-the-top Islamophobic rhetoric. [The Daily Beast, 6/21/17]
Gorka wrote an article at Breitbart.com titled “Muslim Brotherhood Overruns National Cathedral in DC” after two Muslim civic groups hosted prayers there.
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 (sic) land. Forever. [Breitbart, 11/14/14]
Gorka spoke at a conference about 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.” [Media Matters, 6/13/16]
He argued that accepting Muslim refugees into the United States would be “national suicide.”
Dr. Gorka took up the issue of assimilation, suggesting that analysis should begin with accepting “the fact that we are a Christian nation, we are a Judeo-Christian nation.”
“We help people when we can help them,” he said. “But that is not a contract for national suicide. That doesn’t mean, as Hillary Clinton said in her private speech to the bankers, ‘We don’t need any borders, pull down the borders, the whole Western Hemisphere is one big happy party!’ It doesn’t mean that you quintuple the number of refugees. If she had won, what Nigel is talking about, Europe, is what America would have been like in five years’ time, if Hillary had become the President.” [Breitbart, 11/16/16]
The Intercept: Gorka endorsed racial profiling as “common sense.”
A former advisor to Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed racial profiling and warned that mainstream Muslim American organizations are waging a covert war of cultural subversion against the United States.
Sebastian Gorka teaches at Marine Corps University and advises law enforcement and national security officials on terrorism and irregular warfare. Last fall, he was paid $8,000 for policy consulting with the Trump campaign. On Wednesday, he spoke at the Family Research Council, a social conservative advocacy group, touting his new book, Defeating Jihad: A Winnable War. [The Intercept, 6/30/16]
He told the BBC that Trump’s attempt to ban transgender troops from the military stemmed from “the warmth of his consideration for this population.”
PETER BOWES (HOST): Let me ask you about the issue of transgender troops who were encouraged to come out under the previous administration and now they are being told that they will not be able to serve in the military. Does that feel to you like a commander-in-chief who cares about the men and women who fight, often, and serve, certainly, for the good of all Americans?
GORKA: Absolutely, that’s why he made that decision —
BOWES: How can that be the case when although it’s a small group of people, admittedly, how can that be the case when he has singled out transgender soldiers who have been serving for the last year openly and legally —
GORKA: Will you let me answer?
BOWES: Of course, but how can it be the case that he’s speaking for the whole military if he is speaking out against one section of the military?
GORKA: The military is not a microcosm of civilian society. They are not there to reflect America. They are there to kill people and blow stuff up. They are not there to be socially engineered. We want people who are transgendered to live happy lives, but we want unit cohesion and we want combat effectiveness. There are leading studies from the medical establishment, for example, that state that the transgender community has a 40 percent suicide attempt rate. That is a tragedy. We need to help those people, we don’t need to try and force them into the hierarchical military environment where they are under the utmost pressure to kill or be killed, and that is why the president is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.
BOWES: Probably doesn’t feel like “warmth” from the transgender perspective.
GORKA: But we’re not here to represent one part of America. We’re here to represent all of America and protect Americans. [BBC Radio 4, Today, 7/28/17]
In the aftermath of the Orlando, FL, nightclub shooting, Gorka defended himself against condemnations of anti-Muslim rhetoric.
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.” [Media Matters, 6/13/16]
Gorka blamed President Barack Obama for veteran suicides.
“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, 4/11/16]
Gorka frequently makes inflammatory statements and peddles misinformation Gorka argued that Hillary Clinton should be convicted of treason like the Rosenbergs: “Those people got the chair.”
SEBASTIAN GORKA: If this had happened in the 1950s, there would be people up on treason charges right now. The Rosenbergs, OK? This is equivalent to what the Rosenbergs did and those people got the chair. Think about it. Giving away nuclear capability to our enemies, that’s what we’re talking about. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/26/17]
Gorka claimed that the phrase “lone wolf” was “made popular by the Obama administration to make Americans disconnect the dots.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We have the most sophisticated weaponry of intelligence available to mankind. Is it possible that we could find every one of these lone wolves, before people die like today?
SEBASTIAN GORKA: We can do much better, we absolutely can, especially under the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Number one, we have to jettison this idea of a “lone wolf.” “Lone wolf” was invented as a phrase, was made popular by the Obama administration to make Americans disconnect the dots. There has not been significant a jihadi attack since September 11 in the United States, where one person acted completely isolated from everybody else.
We should jettison the idea that there’s an individual in their basement, who one day is an upstanding American citizen, and then a few weeks later, just because they went to a few websites, they become a jihadi. Never happened, the closest we got was that pathetic case of “Jihadi Jane” and that wasn’t a serious case. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/31/17]
Gorka defended Trump’s claim that Obama “is the founder of ISIS.”
SANDRA SMITH (GUEST HOST): What do you think that Donald Trump meant when he said that President Obama is the founder of ISIS?
SEBASTIAN GORKA: Well, I’m not his spokesman. I’m not part of his campaign, so let him talk for himself, but if he means that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton facilitated the growth of ISIS into the most powerful jihadi insurgency the world has ever seen, he is absolutely right. Let’s just look at the facts. In 2008, when this senator from Illinois became the president and afterwards appointed Hillary as his secretary of state, at that moment in time, ISIS didn’t exist. Al Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner of ISIS, was one regional franchise inside Iraq. When we withdrew our troops, when we started to cook the books on intelligence, as you hear from the CENTCOM analysts, then we facilitated the rise of ISIS with these false red lines in Syria that meant nothing. All the things were put in place by this administration to help this former Al Qaeda franchise become a transregional insurgency with more than 80,000 fighters today. That’s fact. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 8/11/16]
Grace Bennett is a researcher at Media Matters, where she has worked since June 2017. She has a bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University.