As thousands of conservatives from across the country gather outside Washington, D.C., this week for the annual CPAC conference, they get to see and cheer on their favorite conservative all-stars and presidential hopefuls in person — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and many more. But something else is going on. Amid the hoopla, book signings, meet and greets, speeches, panels and bands, a tense, no-holds-barred fight is underway to try to rid CPAC of a pair of influential men with track records of working with America’s enemies — Islamic organizations the U.S. government has linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and larger world of jihad.
It sounds like the setup to a thriller: Here is the preeminent showcase of red-meat conservatism, and at its organizational heart are movers and shakers with links to the world jihadist movement. But these are the facts as laid out in a meticulous, 40-plus-page “Statement of Facts” solemnly signed last month by former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, former U.S. representative and retired Army Colonel Allen B. West, retired U.S. Navy Admiral James A. Lyons, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and former Pentagon intelligence official William G. Boykin, former Pentagon Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, former Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo, and former CIA officer Clare Lopez.
These nine men and one woman sent their dossier and a letter to Cleta Mitchell, counsel of the American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization that has staged CPAC for the past 40 years. They also sent it to every member of the ACU board.
Among these ACU board members is Suhail Khan. A former Bush administration appointee, now a member of a newly minted minority “engagement” council of the Republican National Committee, Khan is one of the two men under these former national security officials’ scrutiny. The other is Khan’s longtime ally Grover Norquist, the well-known anti-tax activist and ubiquitous presence at CPAC and other conservative power centers.