IMPACT: Fred Fleitz reportedly is under consideration by the Trump Administration as the next Director of National Intelligence. Fleitz previously served as executive secretary of the National Security Council and chief of staff for National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and as an intelligence officer in the CIA and Department of State. Currently the President and CEO of the anti-Muslim think-tank, Center for Security Policy, Fleitz has been a strong opponent of a U.S. nuclear deal with Iran and has furthered anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and stereotypes.
According to reporting by Axios in July 2019, Fred Fleitz is being considered by the Trump Administration as the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI), whose role is to “lead and support IC [intelligence community] integration; delivering insights, driving capabilities, and investing in the future.”
In May 2018, National Security Advisor John Bolton selected Fred Fleitz to be his chief of staff and executive secretary on the National Security Council, a position he held until October 2018. In January 2019, Fleitz became the director and CEO of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a think tank described as an “anti-Muslim hate group.”
Prior to his appointment in the Trump Administration, Fleitz worked for CSP from November 2013 to May 2018. From November 2013 to February 2015, Fleitz was a Senior Fellow at CSP. Fleitz’s areas of focus included “radical Islam, terrorism, Middle East instability, the Iranian nuclear program, and NSA reform/internet privacy.” From February 2015 to May 2018, Fleitz was CSP’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs.
From 2001 to 2006, Fleitz worked as chief of staff and intelligence liaison to Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, during the George W. Bush administration. While at DOS, Fleitz was primarily on CIA detail assignment. Among other responsibilities, Fleitz represented Bolton in meetings at the State Department, National Security Council and other agencies; and he served as a delegate to international arms control conferences, such as the International Atomic Energy Board (IAEA) Board of Governors. Fleitz also wrote Bolton’s speeches.
From 2006 to 2011, Fleitz served as a senior professional staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as a senior aide to then-Ranking Member and Chairman Congressman Pete Hoekstra. In 2010, then-Rep. Hoekstra praised a newly released CSP report, “Sharia: The Threat to America.”
In a June 2017 interview on Breitbart News about the London Bridge attack, Fleitz claimed that there are “communities where British Muslims are deliberately not assimilating, are being taught to hate British society.” Fleitz claimed that this so-called lack of assimilation is “incubating radicalism”; creating “a parallel system of sharia law courts in the U.K.”; and “making us susceptible to this radical worldview that wants to destroy modern society, create a global caliphate and impose sharia law on everyone on Earth.” Fleitz also alleged that there are “enclaves of Muslim communities in Michigan and Minnesota.” In the case of Minnesota, Fleitz blamed the rising rates of measles on Muslims not assimilating. Fleitz made similar claims in a June 2017 Fox News interview following the Finsbury mosque attack in London.
In February 2016, citing claims made by the anti-Muslim Investigative Project on Terrorism, which is run by Steve Emerson, Fleitz wrote that the Baltimore-area mosque former President Barack Obama spoke at in February 2016 has “known terrorist ties.”
Fleitz has expressed his support for the “Muslim Reform Movement,” co-founded by Asra Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser and others. In June 2018, Fleitz tweeted: “I am very grateful for your, [sic] support, Zuhdi. As you know, I strongly support your efforts and the Muslim reform movement.” In December 2017, Fleitz called Jasser “a hero of mine,” tweeting that Jasser has been “fighting against radical Islamists and for reform of Islam.”
In January 2015, the Center for Security Policy published a report called “The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement.” Fleitz was one of its 16 co-authors, in addition to Gaffney, John Guandolo, Clare Lopez and David Yerushalmi. Among other proposals, the report advocated deporting and “stripping of American citizenship” on the basis of “sharia-adherent advocacy and practices”; the “promot[ion] and empower[ment]” of Muslims who “reject shariah’s seditious agenda and oppose its imposition on others”; the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization or as a “Hostile Foreign Power” (a new category designation the report proposes).
In June 2018, in an attempt to address his co-authorship of CSP’s 2015 Secure Freedom Strategy, Fleitz tweeted: “Please dont [sic] associate me with the above criticism of mosques or the idea that the US should deport Muslims or strip their citizenship. I do not and have never supported this.”
Fleitz has been critical of the 2014 U.S. Senate torture report that identified 119 Muslim men subjected to the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI), claiming that its “enhanced interrogation program” was not torture.
According to his personal website, Fleitz has written over 100 articles about Iran and nuclear proliferation since 2012. Fleitz published over half a dozen articles for the anti-Iran deal website, IranTruth, a project of CSP that was launched in April 2015. According to IranTruth, “The world cannot afford a nuclear-armed Iran run by Mullahs who believe that triggering a series of cataclysmic events will bring about the return of the 12th Imam to cleanse the world of infidels and those who are not sufficiently faithful.”
In September 2015, CSP, the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, and the Zionist Organization of America organized an “Anti-Iran Deal Rally” at the U.S. Capitol. Information around the rally was listed on the IranTruth website. Speakers included Frank Gaffney, then-U.S. presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, as well as Sarah Palin, Brigitte Gabriel, Glenn Beck, Ryan Mauro and over a dozen U.S. Members of Congress.
For 25 years (1986 – 2011), Fleitz served in various U.S. national security positions, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff. According to his LinkedIn profile, Fleitz worked at the CIA for 19 years as an analyst, focusing on “WMD [weapons of mass destruction] proliferation, the Balkans, MASINT [measurement and signature intelligence] collection, and multilateral diplomacy.”
As a CIA analyst, Fleitz worked for two years (1998–2000) at the DIA on designing and testing “advanced MASINT collection project” to detect WMD production. He also analyzed intelligence collection with the DIA Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center.
Fleitz obtained his B.A. from St. Joseph’s University and his M.A. from Fordham University in political economy.
Last updated July 17, 2019