What Is Citizens for National Security (CFNS)?
Citizens for National Security (CFNS) is a Florida-based lobby and research group that advances stringent anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and lies.
CFNS files its tax returns as Friends of Intelligence Practitioners.
CFNS has been vocal about its belief that American classrooms are breeding grounds for homegrown terrorism, citing the presentation of basic information about Islam to students as the cause. In particular, the organization produced a report objecting to classroom instruction on Islam in Florida. CFNS refers to Muslims implementing “stealth jihad” on American public schools.
CFNS is organized into two taskforces, with one dedicated to identifying “Islamic” businesses and examining Islamic influence on Florida’s K-12 public school programs.
CFNS created a guide titled “Islam in Florida’s K-12 Textbooks” that purports that half of K-12 history and geography textbooks in Florida “seek to foster an Islamic agenda.” CFNS holds a distorted view that informing students about Islam de-legitimizes Christianity and Judaism. CFNS chairman William A. Saxton purported the belief that informing students about Islam turns “any distracted school kid into a raging jihadist.”
The CFNS created an email template for school officials that encourages the recipients to promote the anti-Muslim guide.
CFNS presenter Dr. Gary Newman, in a video from early 2016, falsely claimed that American classrooms, American teachers, and American textbooks serve as breeding grounds for homegrown terrorism. He further baselessly alleged that the Boston Marathon bombers were radicalized and indoctrinated by textbooks used in their Cambridge, Mass. high school.
CFNS adheres to the conspiracy theory that “fifth column” Muslims control mainstream Muslim organizations and are attempting to take over the United States. To support this theory, the organization resorts to issuing wild allegations while ignoring facts that challenge its predetermined conclusions.
In 2011, former Representative Allen West (R-FL) hosted CFNS on Capitol Hill, where the organization propagated conspiracy theories about “fifth column” Muslims pulling the strings of mainstream Muslim organizations and attempting to take over the United States.
CFNS has also released a report and online video titled, “Council on American-Islamic Relations: Its Use of Lawfare and Intimidation,” filled with wild allegations of a ‘Muslim Brotherhood front’ and a selective disregard for factual evidence. For instance, CFNS insinuates that prominent American Muslim organizations were part of carrying out the 9/11 attacks.
In the past, CFNS chairman William A. Saxton asserted an unsupported conspiracy that a Wall Street computer glitch leading to a significant market decline was a “test” by terrorist organizations.
In late 2016, CFNS hosted Sebastian Gorka, an advisor to then-President Trump, and later a White House staffer.
Anders Breivik, the shooter who carried out a July 2011 attack in Norway that resulted in more than 70 killed ‘admired’ CFNS advisory committee member Danial Pipes. Pipe’s writings were cited multiple times in Anders Breivik’s manifesto as part of his motivation for carrying out his July 2011 attack in Norway that resulted in more than 70 killed.
Peter Leitner of Citizens for National Security said of Breivik: “He may be correct that there’s a certain kind of a threat that we face, depending on his view…” adding “he fits the lines of a classic lunatic.”
In recent years, CFNS has been relatively less active in the anti-Muslim space, with minimal involvement in congressional activities, as evidenced by their website’s sparse content on “Capitol Hill Activity” in mid-2017. In 2023, the group’s Facebook page contained a hodgepodge of issues.