Frank Gaffney: Boeing’s Surprising Spear-Carrier in the Middle East?


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Frank Gaffney stands out as one of the leading original card-carrying Scoop Jackson Democrats who joined up with Ronald Reagan in tackling to its inglorious end the former Soviet Union — or at least that is the narrative that many Scoop Jackson-employed neoconservatives like to tell.
Gaffney is an indefatigable advocate of Israel’s Likudist aspirations. In my view, his anti-Muslim attacks and work on behalf of Israel is actually hurtful to the security of the Israeli state — but that is a matter of fair debate. But there is no doubt that he opposes the creation of a Palestinian State and sees much of the Arab world as an enemy in the making.
How odd it is then to have learned today that Frank Gaffney is possibly a paid adviser to the Boeing Company — yes, the same Boeing Company that sells lots and lots of planes to the Middle East — places like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and the like.
At least, Boeing was selling planes there until Gaffney admitted today during a Q&A session that he was on the Boeing payroll, or at least it sounded that way.
A question came in to the group asking if any of the speakers “took money from Boeing.” Frank Gaffney responded, “I do.”
It is quite possible that Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy actually receives the funds from Boeing — and not Gaffney personally. But his response was not “we do” or “my organization does” but “I do”. At least that is the report from the event.
Whether or not Gaffney receives personal or institutional support from Boeing, it is an odd alliance.
That was a shocker when Gaffney acknowledged he (or his outfit) was getting checks from the airplane maker — not that one shouldn’t consult with private firms or take contributions from Boeing for a non-profit operation, but more that Boeing has no sense of what consequences a financial relationship with Frank Gaffney might have on its Arab nation customers.
Gaffney joined the heads of other conservative, national security-concerned organizations to protest the Department of Defense award of a $35 billion refueling tanker contract to EADS/Airbus rather than Boeing. In addition to Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, other organizations attending the press conference were Citizens United, Frontiers of Freedom, Let Freedom Ring, the American Cause, 60 Plus, Free America, and the Institute for Liberty.
I asked one of Boeing’s top DC-based officials a few days ago whether he knew if Frank Gaffney was a consultant or adviser to the firm, and his response was: “I don’t know — but I can’t possibly believe that that would be the case. That just can’t be true. No way. I’ll check it out right away.”
I didn’t hear back from him, but Gaffney admitted a relationship when a question was posed at the press conference today. Good on Gaffney though for his honesty.
Hmmmm. . .I wonder which Arab state leaders and Ambassadors will be on CEO James McNerney‘s call list tomorrow?
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “Frank Gaffney: Boeing’s Surprising Spear-Carrier in the Middle East?

  1. söve says:

    Royal Jordanian söve also flies to Baghdad and Erbil. For awhile, Austrian Airlines söve was flying to Erbil direct söve from Vienna. There is also a söve Airways and a couple of other carriers.


  2. JN says:

    >In my view, his anti-Muslim attacks and work on behalf of Israel is actually hurtful to the security of the Israeli state.<
    Please save your crocodile tears for Israel, thanks.


  3. bob h says:

    A subject of interest to me would be what support Boeing (or any other defense contractor) supplies to other DC-based, national security/foreign policy “think tanks” whose real mission seems to keep US relations with the Muslim world at full boil.


  4. iraq participant says:

    To jhm:
    Iraqi Airways flies everyday out of Baghdad airport, to Amman, Dubai, Cairo, Istanbul, Damascus at least. I think Tehran, too.
    They also fly out of Basra, Erbil and Sulymaniyah.
    Royal Jordanian also flies to Baghdad and Erbil. For awhile, Austrian Airlines was flying to Erbil direct from Vienna. There is also a Kurdistan Airways and a couple of other carriers.
    Iraqi Airways flies dry-leased and wet-leased older 737s and a 727 on the Baghdad-Amman route.
    I’ve flown on Iraqi Airways and on Royal Jordanian out of Baghdad.
    Gryphon Airlines also flies out of Baghdad to Kuwait.


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Worked that time too. Maybe Steve’s site designer designed the site for poor typists.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meant to say “ARE Airbus lobbyists”.
    Funny, it seems everytime I do typo my post gets accepted on the first attempt.


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If Boeing is stupid enough to hire Gaffney, it helps explain how they lost that big deal to Airbus”
    Have you checked out McCain’s campaign staff? A fair number of them or Airbus lobbyists.


  8. Lee Mortimer says:

    What’s so odd about this relationship. Boeing sells plenty of military hardware to Israel, and countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, etc. are no threat to Israel. They’ve never championed the Palestinian cause in any meaningful way and certainly wouldn’t threaten military action against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. These oil states are perfectly happy for the Arab nation to remain fragmented into two dozen countries–divided between those that are fabulously wealthy and the rest who live in grinding poverty.


  9. jhm says:

    I saw a report recently that Boeing secured a contract to supply
    several passenger jets to “Iraq’s national carrier.” 1) How many
    people are (or will in the conceivable future) be flying commercial
    flights in and out of Iraq? 2) What airports are they intending to
    use? 3) How much isn’t the Iraqi Government spending on things
    that might make a positive difference in the lives of Iraqis so that
    they can enter into this contract?


  10. erichwwk says:

    I share the view that Gaffney’s view of security is misguided, and counterproductive to Israel, the US, and the Arab countries.
    However, Boeing also sells lots and lots of military hardware to Israel: F-4E, F-15 fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, and missiles.
    His mentor,Richard Perle (like Jackson, the Senator from Boeing) certainly was a Boeing salesperson, and never missed an opportunity to receive payment, even for news broadcasts. Why would we be surprised if the apple does not fall far from the tree?


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