White House Brownshirt Makes Scary Phone Call To Someone Who Dared Criticize Him (TWEETS, AUDIO)

It’s no secret that the Donald Trump administration doesn’t like being criticized. But one White House staffer took it to a chilling level this week. He called one of his biggest critics at home one night and threatened to sue him.

In a White House full of loathsome characters, counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka may be one of the most loathsome of all. Before coming to the White House, Gorka was the national security editor at Breitbart News, where he argued that Islamist-inspired terrorism occurs because Islam is inherently violent–an argument that has been dismissed as oversimplification by terrorism experts and religious scholars on both sides. He has documented ties to racist and anti-Semitic groups in his native Hungary, and has warned the media that any criticism of Trump will be considered “fake news.”

Recently, Gorka has faced questions about whether he has the credentials to serve at such a high level. After graduating from the University of London, then served as a reserve intelligence officer in the British Army–where his work was focused on The Troubles in Northern Ireland, not Islam. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from a Hungarian university, and then joined the faculty of the College of International Security Affairs, a Pentagon-funded school.

Gorka does not speak Arabic, and has never lived in a Muslim-majority country. He has only read the Qu’ran in English translation. He has never submitted articles for review to scholarly journals. At a May 2016 Defense Intelligence Agency conference, Gorka was one of three panelists at a counterterrorism discussion. According to the two other panelists, Mia Bloom and Clint Watts, Gorka was horribly unprepared, refusing to answer questions that had been provided weeks in advance. He seemed more interested in promoting his book, “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.”

Terrorism experts on both sides of the aisle have had Gorka in their crosshairs for some time. Among his critics is Michael S. Smith II, a Republican terrorism expert who has advised congressional committees on how Islamist groups use social media to get their message out. Smith told Business Insider that Gorka has the terrorism expertise of “a Congressional intern,” and can’t recall if Gorka ever added to “the body of knowledge which informs understandings of threats posed by the Salafi-jihadist groups of interest to him.”

In the last month, Smith has been part of a chorus of national security experts who have been dragging Gorka on Twitter. Smith took it to a new level, though; he gave Gorka his own hashtag, “#FakeTerrorismExpert.”

That last tweet apparently sent Gorka over the edge. On Tuesday night, Smith got a surprise phone call at his home in Charleston. It was from Gorka. Listen to clips of the call here.

An irate Gorka demanded to know why Smith was firing off “half a dozen tweets about me” every day. Smith mused that Gorka had too much time on his hands if he thought he was “defeating jihad” by monitoring his Twitter feed. He was surprised that a senior White House official would call an American citizen at this hour to berate him.

Gorka then railed about Smith’s “incessant berating of my professional acumen,” and asked him how it would feel to be attacked by someone he’d never met face to face. Apparently Gorka doesn’t know that it’s SOP for academics and journalists to be called out for their views. But then again, we’re talking about a guy who worked for Steve Bannon, a guy who thinks Trump’s critics should zip their lips until they learn why Trump won.

Ultimately, Smith agreed to come to the White House for a “face to face, man to man” talk. Smith warned Gorka, though, that he was prepared to express his “very serious concerns about our national security”–concerns magnified by what he saw as Gorka’s unfitness for his post. Late Wednesday, however, Gorka withdrew the invitation.

As outrageous as this call is by itself, Smith told Newsweek that he began recording the call after Gorka threatened to bring his Twitter criticism to the White House legal counsel for review. Cliff Notes version: Gorka wanted to haul Smith into court “for voicing my concerns” that Gorka had no business serving at such a high level.

He did, however, persuade Republican congressman Robert Pittenger of North Carolina to claim that Smith never advised Congress on terrorism matters. One problem–that statement is directly contradicted by a manual Pittenger compiled on readiness, in which Smith is listed as one of the advisers to his subcommittee.

Unless I’m very wrong, Pittenger has not expressed any concern about a White House staffer calling a private citizen at night to shake him down.

In what world is this acceptable behavior from a government official? Any president who had an iota of respect for his office and for the American people–whether that president is a Republican or a Democrat–would fire any staffer who did this, and do so on the spot. But then again, we’re talking about a White House that considers such things as decency and dissent to be just things in their way.

(featured image courtesy 7th Army Training Command, available under a Creative Commons-BY license)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.