Washington – Now that Steve Bannon is gone, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and two other Democratic senators are renewing their calls for federal officials to investigate a Bannon ally who still works at the White House, counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka.
Blumenthal, and Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill, and Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., had asked the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security in March to investigate whether Gorka falsified his U.S. naturalization application by allegedly failing to disclose his membership in a Hungarian neo-Nazi organization.
On Monday, the senators wrote the agencies again, saying it is “still unclear whether he is under investigation for naturalization fraud,” and asking to confirm the existence of an investigation.
The senators quoted news reports that said leaders of the “ historical Vitézi Rend” have identified Gorka as a member of the organization who took a “lifelong oath of loyalty.”
“As a senior counterterrorism advisor, Mr. Gorka is in a position of great importance and public trust. The American people are entitled to know if a senior White House official is under criminal investigation,” the senators wrote. “We are also concerned that, according to numerous media reports, Mr. Gorka has been unable to obtain a security clearance, which could be a result of an ongoing criminal investigation. It is unclear how Mr. Gorka can effectively advise the President on counterterrorism and other national security matters without a security clearance.”
Gorka has forcefully denied any sympathies for Nazism.
He does wear a small Vitézi Rend medal. But, according to Politifact, “calling today’s incarnation of the group as specifically ‘a Nazi organization’ is in dispute.”
Politifact said Gorka’s father was jailed and sentenced to forced labor by Hungary’s Soviet-aligned government during the Cold War, and he later received an honor from the successor to the original Vitézi Rend for his anti-Communist activities.
Gorka says he wears the organization’s pin in honor of his father.