Senior White House adviser at Homeland Security repeatedly promoted fringe conspiracy theories on the radio
Frank Wuco, a former naval intelligence officer and conservative talk radio host, has served as the White House adviser to DHS since January and leads a team tasked with helping to enforce President Donald Trump’s executive orders. A KFile review of more than 40 hours of Wuco’s radio appearances shows he regularly promoted unfounded conspiracy theories that have been spread by members of the far right over the years . Among the conspiracy theories Wuco pushed were claims that former President Barack Obama’s memoir was ghost written by former anti-Vietnam War radical Bill Ayers, claims that former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam and claims Attorney General Eric Holder had been a member of the Black Panthers.
KFile previously reported1 Wuco pushed false claims during radio appearances that Obama was not born in the US, made disparaging comments about the LGBT community, and lamented what he called the “Zimbabwe-fication” of America.
A DHS spokesman said the remarks from Wuco in the first KFile piece were “years-old comments cherry picked from thousands of hours” that had “no bearing on his ability to perform his job for the American people.” The conspiracy theories Wuco has promoted emerged during a deeper review by KFile after that DHS statement. The White House and DHS did not respond to requests for comment by CNN for this story. False claims about Obama’s past In two radio appearances in 2012, Wuco claimed that former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Obama’s memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” a claim far-right bloggers began spreading during the 2008 election and one that repeatedly resurfaced during Obama’s presidency. In response to the claims, Ayers has joked that he wrote the book, and if right-wing bloggers could prove it, he could start collecting royalties . Many who pushed the claim took his jokes as admissions, which only further fueled the conspiracy theory . In his 2013 book “Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident,” Ayers described the claim as being pushed by a “bunch of cranks.”
In a December 2012 appearance2 on right-wing radio show, Wuco said, “You know, I still find it to this day incredibly disturbing that this is a man whom we still know almost nothing about outside of what has been presented to us in two autobiographies which are, now you know if you believe one of his closest associates, were not even penned by him but were you know, penned by William Ayres, and this is William Ayers’ words.”
Wuco made the same claim in an October 2012 episode of “The Frank Wuco Show.”
Wuco also made several claims in a July 2012 episode of his show that Obama had his birth, baptismal and academic records sealed and that he had a foreign student ID and applied for foreign aid while at Columbia University . All of these claims have been repeatedly debunked. “While he was senator, before he ran for president, they invested over $1 million in legal fees,” Wuco said. “There is a mechanism for having records legally sealed and the person who is in the White House right now has all the following records are sealed: His baptismal records, his birth records, his actually, his student application records to the prep school that he went to in Hawaii — which is one of the most well-heeled prep schools in Honolulu, which is not an inexpensive place to live .
His student loan applications, sealed . He had a foreign student ID I believe while he went to Columbia University, applied for foreign aid.”
In August 20123, Wuco promoted the book “Dreams from My Real Father,” a far-right book and movie that allege Obama’s real father was a family friend named Frank Marshall Davis . Wuco said he received an advanced copy of the film and the movie was presented “very well.”Wuco also pushed unsupported claims Obama’s parents were communists, calling Obama a “red diaper baby” on one show4 in 2012, a disparaging name for the children of Communist Party members.
Falsely claimed Huma Abedin’s parents were part of the Muslim Brotherhood
In a September 2012 appearance on a right-wing radio program5, Wuco pushed unfounded claims that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political group, and that her parents were members of the organization.
“Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, Wuco said. “Her parents were both Muslim Brotherhood . She maintains very close ties to Muslim Brotherhood organizations here in the United States such as the Islamic Society of North America and CAIR.”
Claims that Abedin has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood have been labeled as false and unfounded by fact-checkers from the Washington Post6, PolitiFact7 and Snopes8 . When a group of House Republicans pushed the claims in 2012, several high-profile Republicans came to Abedin’s defense, including9 Sen . John McCain from Arizona, who called the claims an “unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant.”
Made unfounded claim that Holder was member of the Black Panther movement
In a May 2013 episode10, Wuco falsely claimed that then-Attorney General Eric Holder was involved in the Black Panthers in the 1970s . It’s unclear what Wuco based his claim on, but there is no evidence that Holder was involved in the Black Panthers movement.
“I firmly believe that this is much of what motivates this man . As a college student in the 1970s, you do not join the Black Panther movement unless you are angry about things . And unless you feel that there has to be some sort of action, not just to achieve justice in our time, but to achieve equilibrium for things that have happened in the past over which you or Eric Holder has no control whatsoever.”
Promoted claim that John Brennan converted to Islam
In February 201311, Wuco promoted a claim that John Brennan, then the nominee to be the director of the CIA, had converted to Islam when he was stationed in Saudi Arabia . Wuco interviewed former FBI agent John Guandolo, who is the only source for the unsubstantiated claim . There is no evidence to support this claim.
“You came out publicly at least earlier this week with Tom Trento and reported that to the best of your knowledge and I want to fully air this out,” Wuco said to Guandolo. “That according to contacts, friends of yours within the FBI, they were stationed with John Brennan in Saudi Arabia when Brennan was there .
And at that time, Brennan converted to Islam.” “If true, it sort of fits the pattern of a guy who seems to be really almost uncontrollably attracted to political winds shifting, if he’s so attracted to shifting political winds that he will dive headlong into them when he’s serving in a foreign country to favor the foreign government,” Wuco said. “That is, that’s disconcerting.” Claimed Hillary Clinton faked her concussion
In a December 201212 episode of his radio show, Wuco argued that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was lying about a head injury she sustained the same month she was scheduled to appear at a hearing about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya . He called the concussion “fake” and contended that, as a result, Clinton would suddenly fail “to remember anything about Benghazi.” Wuco demanded that Clinton show evidence of her fall in the form of a “bump” and “black and blue mark.” He then said that even if she did so, he would not believe her.
“I would not at all be surprised if one of Hillary’s aides has whacked her over the head with a croquet mallet to give her a lump so she can go out in front of the news media and then when she finally does testify, my bold, Hollywood prediction is that she will testify that according to her physicians the part of her brain that contained any memory of what happened at Benghazi was affected by the concussion, end of story, done,” Wuco said. Clinton testified twice in front of Congress about the Benghazi attack after her concussion.
- ^ reported (www.cnn.com)
- ^ appearance (www.blogtalkradio.com)
- ^ August 2012 (player.fm)
- ^ show (soundcloud.com)
- ^ radio program (www.blogtalkradio.com)
- ^ Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ PolitiFact (www.politifact.com)
- ^ Snopes (www.snopes.com)
- ^ including (www.politico.com)
- ^ May 2013 episode (player.fm)
- ^ In February 2013 (player.fm)
- ^ December 2012 (player.fm)
Homeland Security senior adviser promoted birtherism, said Obama knew ‘nothing about the black American experience’
Frank Wuco has served as the White House adviser to DHS since January and now leads a team tasked with helping to enforce President Donald Trump’s executive orders, including the administration’s travel ban. Before that, he hosted a conservative talk radio show in Florida for several years and appeared as a guest on other talk radio shows . CNN’s KFile reviewed more than 40 hours of audio of Wuco’s show and his other appearances. KFile’s examination found that Wuco’s controversial commentary went beyond discussion of Islamic terror. On the radio, Wuco said Obama knew nothing of the “black American experience,” defended the initial speculation in the media that Muslim extremists were responsible for the mass killing in Norway, and said that gay people had hijacked the word “gay” from happy people. Tyler Houlton, the acting press secretary at DHS, told CNN in a statement, “Mr . Wuco works every day to keep the American people safe by helping to implement the President’s security-focused agenda, including raising the global bar for vetting and screening of potential terrorists . Years-old comments cherry picked from thousands of hours on the air have no bearing on his ability to perform his job for the American people.” Promoted birtherism
Wuco also used his platform as a radio host to promote the debunked conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the US . In August 2011, Wuco hosted Jerome Corsi, author of “Where’s The Birth Certificate: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President.” On his website, Wuco promoted the discussion by calling Obama’s then-recently released long-form birth certificate “a questionable document.” Wuco said Corsi’s book “laid it out in very significant detail, not just why it’s important that (Obama) present better credentials on his status as a natural born citizen, but a lot of the things that surrounded it and where it is important as to the constitutionality of just being able to get your name on the ballot.”
Later, Wuco asked Corsi why people were disengaged with the birth certificate issue, saying Corsi made “a good case” for, and asked why Americans didn’t seem to care about “the significance of this.” Wuco’s criticism of Obama extended beyond his birthplace to how Obama presented himself as a black man . He said in one radio episode that Obama knew “nothing about the black American experience.”
“This person, not only does he, with the exception of the color of his skin, not only does he sort of lay a very false claim on his identification with the black American experience, he has no idea what it is . But people don’t care,” Wuco said in December 2012, supposedly quoting a friend in Chicago. “And I find that disturbing that he has really gotten away with presenting himself as this representative of the black American community, when he grew up during his formative years in one of the best neighborhoods in Honolulu, Hawaii, in a mixed race neighborhood that consisted of whites, affluent Asian, and children of high-ranking military officers,” Wuco continued. “This is the neighborhood he grew up in .
He knows nothing about the black American experience.” In October 2011, Wuco criticized Obama for sounding “super ethnic” when he speaks to black audiences. “One thing that I noticed with Barack Obama is that whenever he addresses, whether it’s the Congressional Black Caucus or now it’s the Martin Luther King Memorial, he all of a sudden sounds like he’s playing the part of an African-American preacher in a movie,” Wuco said. “He all of a sudden becomes, you know, super ethnic, super, you know — he doesn’t talk like that . This guy’s from Honolulu, Hawaii . I’ve been there a bunch of times . I was in the Navy . There’s nobody in Honolulu who walks around speaking like a revival preacher . Something that Barack manages to do.” Lamented the “Zimbabwe-fication” of America
Racial tensions between blacks and whites also came up on Wuco’s radio program . In one December 2012 episode, he criticized a “Saturday Night Live” monologue by Jamie Foxx, the star of the film “Django Unchained,” in which Foxx plays an escaped slave who seeks to free his wife and take vengeance on her owner. “I kind of call this the Zimbabwe-fication of America, where it is now, we’re now being encouraged to find glamour and humor in race-baiting violence against certain people, if you are a celebrated person in this country,” Wuco said, referencing violence against the white population in Zimbabwe.
“I’m talking about Jamie Foxx who, I’m just going to come right out and say it, the guy’s a racist, plain and simple . He’s a racist . There’s no excuse for it .
There’s no, I don’t care if people say, ‘Well, he’s a comedian,’ and his dull-witted and just absolutely indifferent response on a morning talk show this week, ‘Yeah yeah well I’m a comedian . So you know you shouldn’t take me too–‘ Listen, it’s repetitive with him now.” Wuco continued, “I mean on, I’m talking about the ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit last week where he was talking about ‘How black is that?’ You know, ‘We have Barack Obama as president . How black is that?” And this ‘How black is that’ monologue went on until he talked about his movie Django . And he says, in the end of it, he gets to kill all the white people and then he says ‘How great is that?’ And that’s disturbing to me . It’s not great . It’s not cool.” In January 2013, Wuco attacked Colin Powell for his condemnation of racism in the Republican Party. “Let’s just stop right here and figuratively just slap this guy in the face for the stupid things he’s saying,” Wuco said of Powell. “Who the hell does this guy think he is ?
He is basically, he’s accusing anybody who has ever pointed out that perhaps somebody is exhibiting lazy habits, or laze, or a lackadaisical attitude on a certain aspect of their discipline, their work discipline, or their intellectual discipline, or something, that if that person is black you cannot use the word lazy because it necessarily means that you’re a racist.” Wuco also mocked Powell for saying the phrase “shucking and jiving” is racist. “You cannot use terms like shuck and jiving, in which I’ve used before,” Wuco said. “I did not know that it was a racist term from the South . In my ignorance, am I a racist without knowing it?”
Comments about LGBT rights Wuco frequently discussed his opposition to efforts to expand LGBT rights on his show, in particular his opposition to the Obama administration’s decision to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy employed by the US military. In July 2011, Wuco said that the repeal would put a burden on straight members of the military to handle the situation maturely.
“There is no fairness in this issue,” Wuco said, “In fairness to me you know, the burden now falls on the straight member of the military to be, you know, stable, steady, mature enough to handle the very likely possibility that that he is going to be the object of another man or a woman’s desire while he is, you know, sharing you know, shower facilities.”
“Bringing it up from the rear so to speak, we will cover the the gays in the military issue,” Wuco would say, and “we’re going to bring it up the rear, so to speak, with the gays and the Navy issue.” In another episode, Wuco made fun of Admiral Mike Mullen, Obama’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who supported the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, saying he “bent over and took it” from Obama. “With the Hollywood-friendly Admiral Mullen at the helm of our great military ship, it’s no mystery that our top flag officer bent over and took it like a man from the President and check-writers in Congress,” he said. “Another reason Mullen will probably be one of the most forgettable and weak figures in Joint Chiefs history.”
Wuco also criticized gay-straight alliances in high schools in another episode, saying there was nothing straight about them. “This has been a very, very intelligently executed campaign by gay advocacy groups to get gay education into our schools,” Wuco said in December 2011.
“There’s some very slick sort of, you know, publicity things that the homosexual community has done, like hijacking the word gay, which used to mean sort of footloose, fancy free, happy . It used to mean happy, happy and carefree, doesn’t anymore . I want to recapture the word.” In a June 2012 episode, Wuco repeatedly joked about openly gay congressman Barney Frank’s marriage and made gay jokes about Frank and his partner. “Barney Frank weds his longtime boyfriend Jim Ready . I guess Jim, was ready for Barney’s Frank and they got married in Boston,” Wuco said. “Awe, isn’t that sweet . You know what . You know what’s just gross about that . I mean really gross .
I mean it’s not that the two guys got married — I’ll talk about that in a different category . But what’s gross is that Barney Frank is 72 years old and this other guy Jim Ready . Jim who is ready for Barney’s Frank — is 42 years old .
30 years Barney Frank’s Junior . And I always I have these bold Hollywood predictions and they are normally true . They normally come true, I’m fairly accurate on my bold Hollywood predictions, in this case it is a bold Washington D.C .
prediction,” he said, “and that is that Jim Ready will leave Barney Frank . I give them about two or three years on the outside and I’ll take it even a step further — and this is not to condescend over the the romantic appeal of a guy like Barney Frank to somebody like Jim Ready — but something tells me that that Jim Ready may leave Barney for a real woman, not Barney Frank.” Frank and Ready are still married.
Defended initial speculation Norway attack was Islamic terror In July 2011, Wuco defended the initial speculation that Muslim extremists were responsible for the mass killing of 77 people in Norway, which was actually perpetrated by a right-wing extremist . Wuco criticized the head of the Islamic Society of North America, Safaa Zarzour, for lamenting in a Los Angeles Times article that the speculation of Islamic terror was confirmation that Muslims are guilty until proven innocent.
“I don’t think that what is sad about this event, Mr . Zarzour, is that people thought it was the Muslims. ‘They blamed us,'” Wuco said, while mock-crying. “It’s victimology,” he continued. “It’s the game they’re good at and, quite frankly, I’m really disgusted by it.”‘
He added, “Listen, if it quacks like a duck, if it looks like a duck, smells like a fish, it’s a duck with a fish in its mouth.”
Later in the episode, Wuco said that he didn’t know what people possibly could have thought other than it was Islamic terrorism, until it was revealed that a far-right terrorist was behind the attack.
A US government spokeswoman has said new security screening measures will apply to all flights to America from abroad from Thursday. Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the US Transportation Security Administration, told The Associated Press1 on Wednesday that affects the approximately 2,100 flights arriving daily to America. She said in a statement that the new security measures may include enhancing passenger screening, heightened screening of electronics and increasing security measures.
She says both US citizens and foreigners will face the same security. The agency s comments come as six global long-haul carriers said they will start asking passengers security questions before they board flights at the request of US officials. The stricter passenger screening is designed to avoid an in-cabin ban on laptops, airlines said.
Airlines contacted by Reuters said the new measures could include short security interviews with passengers at check-in or the boarding gate, sparking concerns over flight delays and extended processing time. They will affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries. The United States announced the new rules in June to end its restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified security threats.
Those restrictions were lifted in July, but the Trump administration said it could reimpose measures on a case by case basis if airlines and airports did not boost security. European and US officials said at the time that airlines had 120 days to comply with the measures, including increased passenger screening . The 120-day deadline is Thursday . Airlines had until late July to expand explosive trace detection testing.
We see this as a big issue for China Airlines, Steve Chang, senior vice president of the Taiwanese firm told reporters on Wednesday, adding the airline was trying to consult with the American Institute in the country over the issue. Korean Airlines, South Korea s flagship carrier, also said it had a lot of concerns with the new measures.
We are asking customers to show up at the airport early .. .
It s just inconvenient for the passengers, President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei. Lufthansa Group said on Tuesday the measures would be in place by Thursday and travelers could face short interviews at check-in or at the gate. Economy passengers on Lufthansa s Swiss airline have been asked to check in at least 90 minutes before departure.
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said it would suspend in-town check-in and self bag-drop services for passengers booked on direct flights to the United States . The airline said passengers would also have short security interviews and it has advised travelers to arrive three hours before departure. Singapore Airlines Ltd said the security checks could include inspections of personal electronic devices as well as security questioning during check-in and boarding. Airlines for America, a US trade group, said the changes are complex security measures but praised US officials for giving airlines flexibility in meeting the new rules.
Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said the industry understoood security threats to aviation were made regularly but in this case the US government had not shared any specific dangers before changing the rules.
What we have seen is very strange, he told reporters in Taipei . Unilateral measures announced without any prior consultation.. . That is something that is very concerning and disturbing. At their annual meeting in Taipei, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) members passed a resolution calling for security measures to be risk-based, outcome-focused and proportionate to the probable threat.
Unilateral actions taken by individual goverments reacting to emerging threats may result in unneccessary disruption or lead to unintended safety consequences, said the members.
AAPA includes most large Asian airlines but not mainland Chinese carriers.
The risk is other countries make similar demands, AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said. US authorities in June also increased security around aircraft and in passenger areas, and other places where travellers can be cleared by US officials before they depart. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokeswoman declined to discuss the specific changes but said the United States continues to work with our partners to raise the baseline of global aviation security and keep the entire traveling public safe.
The TSA said in July it was imposing new security rules requiring US domestic airline travellers to remove all electronic items larger than mobile phones such as tablets, e-readers and video game consoles from carry-on baggage for screening.