“Setting the Record Straight” – Suhail Khan’s Letter to the American Conservative Union

Originally posted on Facebook:

As many of you know, Frank Gaffney has engaged in a decade-long attack on me (and my late father), questioning my loyalty and my commitment to the conservative movement. These attacks pop-up from time to time, and most recently Frank saw the criticism of the ACU in World Net Daily and, irritated that Muslims were not being attacked, tried to piggy-back on WND’s crtical coverage of the ACU.

Suffice to say, as Karl Rove stated in the WSJ regarding Frank’s false assertions, “there’s no there there.”

Frank initially took his false assertions about me to FOX News just days after 9/11. Upon their own investigation, Britt Hume and Tony Snowe rejected Frank’s allegations and instructed both the TV and on-line reporters to disregard Frank’s attacks. Rich Lowery (National Review), Paul Rodriguez (Insight), Tom Hamburger (WSJ) and John Mintz (Washington Post) were but a few of the many editors and writers who contacted me to state Frank had “shopped” a series of conspiratorial assertions in a Powerpoint presentation, and after examining his assertions “on a molecular level, they all fall away” (in the word’s of Mintz). Interestingly, one line of attack Frank gave Fox was that I had given an “anti-American speech” on Capitoll Hill–it was later revealed he cribbed the accusation from an episode of the West Wing!

Ari Fleischer’s advice to me when I was at the White House and later U.S. Transportation Department for both terms of the Bush administration was to ignore Frank. The WH senior staff regarded Frank as irrational, unhinged and they knew his attacks were baseless (I had undergone a full and comprehensive background check and enjoyed a security clearance).

Still, given Frank’s latest attempt to get his smears in the blogosphere by piggy-backing on the attacks on ACU/CPAC, I put together some talking points knocking down the most recent “attacks.”

1. I’m a life-long Reagan conservative who joined Young Americans for Freedom in 1987 (after graduating from a Catholic prep school) and then the Republican Party at age eighteen. I served on Capitol Hill from 1995-2000 with Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA) where I, among other issues, worked to promote religious freedom, Second Amendment and property rights, and on the 1998 Impeachment proceedings. I was honored to serve in both terms of the Bush Administration from 2001-2009 in various capacities including in assisting the WH in coalitions outreach, and Legal Counsel, Congressional Affairs, and Assistant to the Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. As stated, I was fully vetted, enjoyed full security clearances, and served with distinction (receiving the Secretary’s Team Award in 2005 and the Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2007).

2. I was elected to the ACU Board in 2007 by the ACU Membership. At the time of my nomination, Frank circulated another ridiculously-false hit-piece (“Khan Job”) that he published on David Horowitz’ website. Despite his effort to smear my name and reputation, I won my seat, earning the highest number of votes of the eight nominees.

Similarly, when I was invited to speak at CNP, Frank handed-out his attack pieces. CNP leadership investigated the allegations, found they were without merit, and Frank was reprimanded by CNP’s executive director for this false and personal attack.

3. I currently serve as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, an Evangelical Christian think-tank, where I work to promote religious freedom. I work with Christian pastors, priests, imams and rabbis, and have led delegations of Evangelical leaders (including Foster Friess) to Syria (April 2009) and to Israel and Palestine (June 2009). I most recently organized and led a delegation of faith leaders to Auschwitz and Dachau to bring attention to the scourge of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. Some articles on this work may be found below.

“The visit to these camps not only unequivocally testifies to the fruits of hate, it affirms that the lessons of the Holocaust can lead us to affirm our common humanity.”


“It is impossible to know what the long-term impact of such a trip will be. But if the heartfelt comments of the trip participants.. are any guide, [one can] not underestimate the value of direct experience in promoting education, understanding and even, perhaps, change.”


“Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of “never again” and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.”


“If we are not collectively as a human family watching” out for odious rhetoric that aims to scapegoat a particular group, “it could happen anytime, anywhere,” said [Syed] Syeed, the national director for the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances.”


“Changing a mindset begins with small steps. In a sense, the trip earlier this month that brought eight American Muslim leaders to Auschwitz and Dachau was such a step.”


“The trip was designed to fight anti-Semitism and the denial of the Holocaust, the Nazi attempt to exterminate world Jewry during World War II. It comes amid tensions in the West over Islam and hostility between Jews and Muslims over the problems in the Middle East.”


“Participants included Hannah Rosenthal, U.S. state department envoy on combating anti-Semitism, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, as well as eight Muslim-American clerics from a broad range of backgrounds. After the imams prayed at the site, the group issued a joint statement: ‘We bear witness to the absolute horror of the Holocaust, where over 12 million human souls perished, including six million Jews.’ We need to join with the people who believe in coexistence against the people who do not. The villains are not those who believe in a different faith, but those who kill in the name of faith.”


I’m a member of small prayer group with Doug Coe, Clark Durant, Rabbi Jack Bemprad, Marshall Breger, and a few other faith leaders who pray and work for world peace.

4. I would also recommend viewing the full tape of a Harbour League debate where I responded directly to Frank and his many hapless assertions: http://www.theharbourleague.org/b35.htm Interestingly, after the debate, the Harbour League’s president (Eli Gold, who happens to be Orthodox Jewish), was so disgusted by Frank that he asked to become my business partner in conservative work.

Regarding the most recent attacks…

5. In the New York Post Paul Spery attacks me for speaking to the American Muslim Council (AMC) and to being the recipient of their award: I was sent by the White House and was speaking there on behalf of the President. The person who introduced me (Mr. Alamoudi) was years later convicted of carrying money overseas on behalf of opponents of the Saudi monarchy. I had no choice in who introduced me. Many of the people in the room had been invited to the White House for a briefing. Alamoudi was not. Frank often claimed I invited Alamoudi to White House meetings…..to buttress his lie that I was working with or supporting Alamoudi. This “gentleman” was never invited to the White House during the Bush years. Frank and company know this because they have been caught lying to this effect, and reporters they misinformed were told the truth by the White House at the time. I did, however, often help Frank and his associates get meetings at the White House. (And would object to anyone presuming that doing so was an endorsement of things Gaffney did subsequently). Dozens of political figures, appointed officials, and Members of Congress–both Democrat and Republican–are recipients of the AMC award.

6. Paul Sperry attempts to suggest there was something sinister with my speaking at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention. Scores of public figures have and continue to speak at ISNA including White House advisor Karen Hughes, Congressman Henry Hyde, Congressman Bob Barr, Congressman David Bonior, Congressman Tom Campbell, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, flag officers of the U.S. Military, rabbis, priests, pastors (including Rick Warren), and letters of support and greeting have been sent from President’s Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. Sperry’s ludicrous assertion that ISNA “is in this country to ‘destroy’ the Constitution and replace it with Islamic law” is alarmist nonsense and wholly false.

7. Paul Sperry attacks me for being introduced by Dr, Jamal Barzinji at a speaking engagement where I read a letter of greetings on behalf of President Bush: I was sent by the White House to deliver the letter of greetings, and had no choice in who introduced me. Two years after this introduction, the U.S. Customs Agency, acting on evidence supplied by Steven Emerson, did raid, post-9/11 several Muslim offices and homes, seizing documents, handcuffing women and children. The FBI refused to participate in the raid, no arrests were made and no organizations were shut down.

8. In the NY Post op-ed, Franks’s colleague Paul Sperry falsely claims the Islamic center my family attends in Santa Clara hosted/raised money for al-Qaeda. This false assertion was proved untrue in 2006 when Sperry leveled the same false assertion on the pages of Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), and IBD, after an investigation, published two embarrassing retractions withdrawing these accusations as categorically untrue. The fact is, no individual connected to al-Qaeda was ever hosted by the center in Santa Clara much less was there any connection to my late father.

9. Sperry’s selective mischaracterizaion of a 1999 speech I gave is a combination of revisionist history and below-the-belt attacks. Sperry parses three phrases from a lengthy 30 plus minute speech I gave in 1999 where I extolled the virtues of giving one’s life towards “Islam.” This speech was soon after my late father’s passing in 1999, and the larger context of the remarks was about giving of one’s life to faith and public service (as my over fifteen year’s of public and government service attest)–not in some post-9/11 stretched and twisted praise for terrorism. The speech is over a half-hour, was to an audience of American Muslims with guests of various faiths, and was on the need to dedicate one’s life to faith, public service, and service to humanity.

In the speech I referred to the early Muslims who, like the early Christian martyrs, were willing to die rather than renounce their faith in God. Sperry excerpts one phrase trying to make it sound as if I was supporting a death cult. No viewing of the entire speech, or even reading whole paragraphs could give the dishonest impression Sperry tried to suggest. He took three partial sentences from three different parts of a thirty-minute plus speech on community service and tried to write a phony narrative. I was speaking to a room full of Muslim American yuppies, and was attempting to inspire them to dedicate their lives towards working for individual liberty (and against then President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno), religious freedom, to end hunger, poverty, and for peace in troubled areas of the world like, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. My father (who was a Silicon Valley executive and not an “imam” as Frank often asserts) was devout and had just died (I also referred to my mother, who until her recent retirement, worked as a medical technologist at the Sisters of Mercy O’ Connor Hospital in Santa Clara, California) hence the John Boehner tearing-up. Dedicating one’s life to one’s faith and public service is a virtue. These remarks were made two years before the 9/11 tragedy, and no one, not I or anyone in the audience, would have understood my comments as other than praise for a devout life.

There is a reason Sperry and those pushing his piece do not link to the entire speech–he does a cut-and-paste job of three partial sentences. The actual entire speech is a strong statement of my faith in America, God’s Grace, and the value of public service. Only Sperry, who obviously had to watch the entire speech to excerpt phrases so dishonestly, could try and make that dirty.

Frank’s latest attacks in WND and through Sperry are not some mistake.

He knows that what he is pushing is wholly untrue. He has been caught before. Sperry has seen his own publication (IBD) have to apologize for the very same untruths he repeats in the NY Post piece.

The ACU has nothing to worry about. These dishonest attacks on me are failed attempts to hurt me, my family, and ACU.

Suhail Khan

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