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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

J.D. Gordon


Gordon
    • Herman Cain Presidential Campaign: Advisor
    • Center for Security Policy: Former Fellow

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J.D. Gordon, a retired U.S. military officer who served in the Donald Rumsfeld Pentagon, is a Washington, D.C. lobbyist who served as an advisor to the Herman Cain 2012 presidential campaign.[1] Gordon has also reportedly worked for various right-wing pressure groups, including the Center for Security Policy.[2] Gordon has written for a number of conservative media outlets, such as the Washington Times, and heads a lobbying firm that has been linked to the Altantic Bridge influence-peddling scandal in the United Kingdom, which led to the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron's defense minister Liam Fox in late 2011.

As Cain's adviser, Gordon carried the dual titles of VP for communications and senior advisor on foreign policy and security. A former pizza company executive with little government experience, Cain often struggled to articulate clear foreign policy views. Accordingly, some observers endeavored to divine his views through the prism of Gordon. On the basis of Gordon's op-eds and Fox News appearances, one writer claimed that "Cain is getting the same national security advice he would from Dick Cheney. Gordon's views are reflexively right-wing."[3]

Commenting on Cain's decision to tap Gordon, the liberal blog Think Progress opined: "A consistent theme of the Herman Cain campaign is the need to put big business even more in charge of government. Cain has said if he becomes president, he will literally place the CEO of Shell Oil at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency. Given Cain's admitted ignorance about foreign policy, it's no wonder that he has outsourced the foreign policy positions of his campaign to a political operative who currently runs a lobbying firm and who is associated with a nonprofit that is deeply entwined with a military contracting pay-to-play scheme."[4]

According to various accounts, during his media appearances, Gordon demonstrates typically hawkish views on all security matters, criticizing President Obama even when the United States successfully targets terrorist leaders, arguing that the administration is not doing enough to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and justifying the use of torture.[5]

One commentator reported that many of Gordon's writings were published while he was serving as a fellow at the neoconservative Center for Security Policy: "His contributions included an editorial for the right-wing Washington Times claiming that former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin 'has more brains than Barack [Obama].' In a column for the same paper, Gordon predicted disaster for the Arab Spring, assailing Obama for failing to stand by the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators, and for supposedly turning his back on the Yemeni autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh."[6]

Writes the Nation's Ben Adler: "[Gordon's] views are not realist or idealist or subject to any such overarching approach or ideology. … Gordon's views could broadly be called conservative and hawkish but they are more accurately described as Republican. If Obama does something, even kill a terrorist, it is ipso facto the wrong choice. … There are some things one can safely assume Gordon is telling Cain—for example, that torture of terrorist suspects is justified and effective. But since the entirety of Gordon's policy assessment technique seems to be defending anything Bush did and attacking anything Obama does, it is impossible to guess how he or Cain would respond to future threats as they emerge. Looking at some of the belligerent extremists who have run for president as Republicans in recent times, such as John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, that uncertainty might seem comforting by comparison."[7]

Describing Gordon's emergence as a right-wing inside-the-beltway gadfly, Max Blumenthal writes: "In July 2009, top U.S. Navy spokesman Jeffrey D. 'J.D.' Gordon publicly accused a reporter from the Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg, of 'multiple incidents of abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature.' Gordon, then public affairs officer for the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, claimed that Rosenberg called him a closet homosexual who was so unattractive she 'wanted to vomit.' 'I've been abused worse than the detainees have been abused,' Gordon complained at the time. In the end, Rosenberg was cleared by an internal Herald investigation that found 'inconsistencies' in Gordon's version of events. Soon afterwards, Gordon retired from the military and joined the world of Washington's conservative movement to cash in on his experience."[8]

Atlantic Bridge

In October, numerous observers began reporting on the connections between Gordon's lobbying and consulting firms (J.D. Gordon Communications and Gordon Cohen Strategies LLC) and the faux UK charity Atlantic Bridge, a "think tank" which was shut down by the UK government in October 2011 when it was determined that the purported non-profit was really being used as a tax-exempt shell for lobbyists.[9]

According to one account, the scandal, which led to the resignation of UK Defense Minister Liam Fox, revealed how "Fox gallivanted around the globe on taxpayer-funded junkets beside his best friend, a lobbyist named Adam Werritty, who served as Atlantic Bridge's executive director. Fox, who founded Atlantic Bridge with the stated mission of fostering better ties between British and American conservatives, allowed Werrity to masquerade as his personal envoy in explicit violation of British parliamentary rules. Meanwhile, Werritty leveraged hefty donations from wealthy British pro-Israel lobbyists to advance a radical right-wing agenda at home and a rogue pro-Israel foreign policy abroad."[10]

The Daily Telegraph revealed that among the events Werrity attended with Fox was "a private meeting with the head of Mossad [Meir Dagan], Israel's secret service," which may have jeopardized national security.[11]

According to Blumenthal: "While Fox and Werrity orchestrated clandestine schemes that bordered on criminality, Gordon acted as their man in Washington. Gordon's public relations firm, J.D. Gordon Communications, was given a lucrative contract with Atlantic Bridge and still lists the group as one of his clients on [its] website. The amount Gordon was paid from the British-based group remains undisclosed. According to the blog Think Progress, Gordon was also a partner in a consulting firm, Gordon Cohen Strategies, which managed the U.S. operations of Atlantic Bridge. Gordon's business associate, Lee Cohen, was listed as the 'Washington D.C. Director' of Atlantic Bridge while Werrity served as its executive director."[12]

As Cain Advisor

According to Gordon, he was invited by Cain to become an advisor to his campaign in August 2011, just as Gordon was about to launch a new think tank called the Center for Security and Diplomacy (CSD). "We were a few days away from making CSD's website public. Now most of the think tank is being absorbed by the Cain campaign,"Gordontold Foreign Policy's "The Cable" in an interview.[13]

Describing the Center for Security and Diplomacy, Gordon said: "The central tenets of the Center for Security and Diplomacy were restoring U.S. leadership, maintaining a strong military and getting tough on terrorism. That matches exactly with Herman Cain's views on foreign policy. His overarching philosophy is an extension of the Reagan doctrine: peace through strength and clarity."[14]

According to The Cable: "Broadly speaking, Cain's foreign policy stances aren't so different from other leading candidates such as Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. They include a focus on relationships with allies, strong advocacy for maintaining defense spending, impassioned support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and skepticism of providing foreign aid to countries that don't support U.S. policies. Like Romney and Perry, Cain also doesn't have a lot of foreign policy experience, although he has traveled to 20 countries on six continents, said Gordon. His campaign is aware that travel alone doesn't equal experience, and is using Gordon's connections to make up ground fast."

In addition to the Atlantic Bridge scandal, Gordon was repeatedly forced to respond to other controversies after taking over as key spokesperson for the Cain campaign, including allegations that Cain sexually harassed former employees in the 1990s. Arguing that the claims were "thinly sourced allegations," Gordon said in a statement: "Since Washington establishment critics haven't had much luck in attacking Mr. Cain's ideas to fix a bad economy and create jobs, they are trying to attack him in any way they can."[15]

Bio

The bio on his J.D Gordon Communications website states: "J. D. Gordonis the former Defense Department spokesman for the Western Hemisphere in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving under both Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary Robert Gates from 2005 to 2009, and is a retired Navy Commander. While in the Pentagon, he served as the Press Team Leader for Operations, Policy & Intelligence and was responsible for Western Hemisphere Affairs and U.S. Southern Command; Asia-Pacific Security Affairs and U.S. Pacific Command; and Detainee Affairs. In this capacity, he was DoD's principal spokesman for all facets of Guantanamo detention operations and detainee-related litigation, to include lead media escort and on-scene spokesman for military commissions, the war crime trials for alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban combatants and supporters. Since leaving the Defense Department, Gordon has been a Senior Fellow and Communications Consultant to several Washington-DC based think tanks, including Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Americas Forum, Atlantic Bridge, Center for Security Policy and the Liberty & Freedom Foundation."[16]

It adds: "A career public affairs officer with 20 years of active duty service, he has been the on-scene spokesman for numerous internationally newsworthy events. This includes the Haitian and Cuban refugee crises at Guantanamo of 1994; Operation Restore Democracy, the subsequent multi-national force deployment to Haiti also in 1994; US dual-carrier operations in the East China Sea during the China-Taiwan missile crisis of 1996; NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR) in the former Republic of Yugoslavia in 1997; the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998; the Navy's efforts to maintain the Atlantic Fleet's primary training range, located on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico from 1999-2001; Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, the Special Operations Command Pacific deployment to the southern Philippines in 2002; and the first USN ship visit to Vietnam since the Vietnam War onboard Frigate USS Vandegrift in 2003."[17]

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Sources

[1] Josh Rogin, "Exclusive: Inside Herman Cain's new foreign policy team," Foreign Policy, The Cable, October 26, 2011, http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/26/raising_cain_inside_herman_cain_s_new_foreign_policy_team.

[2] J.D. Gordon Communications, About, http://www.jdgordoncommunications.com/page/about.html.

[3] Ben Adler, "Clues to Herman Cain's Foreign Policy," The Nation, Blog, November 3, 2011, http://www.thenation.com/blog/164359/clues-herman-cains-foreign-policy?comment_sort=ASC.

[4] Lee Fang, "Exclusive: Herman Cain's Foreign Policy Advisor Works With Nonprofit Exposed As Front For Military Contractors," Think Progress, October 17, 2011, http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/10/17/345255/herman-cain-atlantic-bridge/.

[5] Ben Adler, "Clues to Herman Cain's Foreign Policy," The Nation, Blog, November 3, 2011, http://www.thenation.com/blog/164359/clues-herman-cains-foreign-policy?comment_sort=ASC.

[6] Max Blumenthal, "Top Advisor to US Presidential Candidate Linked to Bizarre British Scandal," Al Akhbar, November 5, 2011, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/top-advisor-us-presidential-candidate-linked-bizarre-british-scandal.

[7] Ben Adler, "Clues to Herman Cain's Foreign Policy," The Nation, Blog, November 3, 2011, http://www.thenation.com/blog/164359/clues-herman-cains-foreign-policy?comment_sort=ASC.

[8] Max Blumenthal, "Top Advisor to US Presidential Candidate Linked to Bizarre British Scandal," Al Akhbar, November 5, 2011, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/top-advisor-us-presidential-candidate-linked-bizarre-british-scandal.

[9] Lee Fang, "Exclusive: Herman Cain's Foreign Policy Advisor Works With Nonproft Exposed As Front For Military Contractors," Think Progress, October 17, 2011, http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/10/17/345255/herman-cain-atlantic-bridge/.

[10] Max Blumenthal, "Top Advisor to US Presidential Candidate Linked to Bizarre British Scandal," Al Akhbar, November 5, 2011, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/top-advisor-us-presidential-candidate-linked-bizarre-british-scandal.

[11] Andrew Porter, "Adam Werritty's use of Liam Fox's diary put security at risk," Daily Telegraph, October 18, 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/8835212/Adam-Werrittys-use-of-Liam-Foxs-diary-put-security-at-risk.html.

[12] Max Blumenthal, "Top Advisor to US Presidential Candidate Linked to Bizarre British Scandal," Al Akhbar, November 5, 2011, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/top-advisor-us-presidential-candidate-linked-bizarre-british-scandal.

[13] Josh Rogin, "Exclusive: Inside Herman Cain's new foreign policy team," Foreign Policy, The Cable, October 26, 2011, http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/26/raising_cain_inside_herman_cain_s_new_foreign_policy_team.

[14] Josh Rogin, "Exclusive: Inside Herman Cain's new foreign policy team," Foreign Policy, The Cable, October 26, 2011, http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/26/raising_cain_inside_herman_cain_s_new_foreign_policy_team.

[15] Quoted in Byron York, "Cain responds to sex harassment allegation," Washington Examiner, October 30, 2011, http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/cain-responds-sex-harassment-allegation.

[16] J.D. Gordon Communications, About, http://www.jdgordoncommunications.com/page/about.html.

[17] J.D. Gordon Communications, About, http://www.jdgordoncommunications.com/page/about.html.

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J.D. Gordon Résumé

    Affiliations

    • Herman Cain 2012 Presidential Campaign: Vice President, Communications; Senior Advisor, Foreign Policy & Security
    • Center for Security Policy: Former Fellow
    • Atlas Economic Research Foundation: Consultant
    • Americas Forum: Consultant
    • Atlantic Bridge: Consultant
    • Liberty & Freedom Foundation: Consultant

    Government

    • U.S. Military: Retired public affairs officer
    • Defense Department: Former Spokesperson for Western Hemisphere (2005-2009)

    Business

    • J.D. Gordon Communications: Head
    • Gordon Cohen Strategies LLC: Partner

    Education

    • Pennsylvania State University: B.A. in Communications
    • Norwich University: M.A. in Diplomacy
    • Air Force Air Command and Staff College: Graduate

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