Obama Officials Trained To Focus On Behavior, Not Religion Or Ideology

Syrian refugees Getty Images/Anadolu Agency

Syrian refugees Getty Images/Anadolu Agency

Daily Caller, by Kerry Picket, Nov. 19, 2015:

Obama administration counter-terrorism officials have trained domestic Homeland Security law enforcement officers to focus on the behavior of people entering the United States, rather than their political, ideological or religious background.

The training directives from top Homeland Security officials raise questions about the effectiveness of the screening process for Syrian refugees.

Officials process a refugee’s biographic information such as name and date of birth, along with biometric data like fingerprints. This information is crosschecked over different U.S. databases and agencies.

U.S. officials overseas then conduct a series of in-person interviews in the next phase. The interviews are done by Department of Homeland Security officers who are trained to question refugee applicants and examine the credibility of their responses.

But that training requires that the officials collect intelligence based on “behavioral indicators” while downplaying “religious affiliation.”

DHS’s civil rights division released a “Countering Violent Extremism Training”best practices document for federal, state, and local government and law enforcement officials in October 2011.

The document calls for training programs that are not “overbroad, equating an entire religion, nation, region, or culture with evil or violence, For example, it is incorrect and damaging to assert that all Muslims have terrorist ties.”

Instead, the training encourages to “ensure that it uses examples to demonstrate that terrorists span ethnicity, race, gender, and religion.”

Since 2012, the FBI’s guiding principles training manual in the Touchstone Document has stated:

Training must emphasize that no investigative or intelligence collection activity may be based solely on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation.  Specifically, training must focus on behavioral indicators that have a potential nexus to terrorist or criminal activity, while making clear that religious expression, protest activity, and the espousing of political or ideological beliefs are constitutionally protected activities that must not be equated with terrorism or criminality absent other indicia of such offenses.

“On September 28, 2011, I issued a memorandum to all heads of components and United States Attorneys to ‘carefully review all training material and presentations provided by their personnel, particularly training related to combating terrorism, countering violent extremism, and other training that may relate to ongoing outreach efforts in Arab, Muslim, Sikh, South Asian
and other communities,’” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in a memorandum to all heads of components and United States Attorneys March 2012.

Cole continued, “Carefully review all training material and presentations provided by their personnel, particularly training related to combating terrorism, countering violent extremism, and other training that may relate to ongoing outreach efforts in Arab, Muslim, Sikh, South Asian and other communities.”

The FBI training manual principles extends to other members of federal law enforcement, including those who guard the nation’s borders and ports of entry.

“The FBI 2012 Guiding Principles Touchstone Document was just one in series of official policy directives that gradually, but severely, restricted the efforts of federal law enforcement officers to accurately and effectively assess whether an individual entering the county had any potential nexus to terrorist or criminal activity,” a government source familiar with national security told The Daily Caller.

“These gradual but severe restrictions were coupled with a simultaneous reduction in accurate, fact-based training to address the nature of the threat we face, leaving us inadequately prepared for the challenges we face today.”

The same year, the FBI’s counter-terrorism lexicon, following a purge of terminology of past years, deleted all references to “al-Qaida,” “Muslim Brotherhood,” or “jihad.”

The Justice Department continued to alter its training policy in 2012. In March of that year, Deputy Attorney General Cole sent another memorandum to the heads of components and United States Attorneys in regards to “training guiding principles.” The memo stated in part:

Training must be consistent with the Constitution and Department values. Training must promote, and never undermine, our fundamental principles of equal justice and opportunity for all, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and our other core national values. Trainings must not disparage groups or individuals based on their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic condition, political affiliation or other similar characteristics.

“The 2012 FBI directive to remove religious and political motivations from investigations and screening came at a time when the Obama administration was busy purging anything they believed might reflect poorly on Muslims, regardless of how it effected our national security,” national security consultant David Reaboi told The Daily Caller.

Reaboi explained, “Since then — and now, presumably, in screening refugees, investigators are trained not to ask about all the key identifiers that would allow them to spot Islamic terrorists or other Islamists who want to do harm to America. Because ISIS, al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood understand themselves in precisely those ways, they’re prevented from asking anything meaningful beyond, ‘are you a terrorist?’”

“‘Are you a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? What school of Islamic law do you follow? Where do you go to mosque? Do you believe someone who insults Islam deserves to be killed? Would you like to make America an Islamic country?’ All of these questions — the most important ones — are off-limits,” Reaboi said.

Convicted Terror Supporter Attends Congressional Briefing

Sami al-ArianBy :

A convicted terrorist supporter who is currently under house arrest attended a Capitol Hill briefing hosted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood group in a congressional office building earlier this month, according to reports.

Sami Al-Arian, a former engineering professor at the University of South Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in 2006. He has been under house detention in Northern Virginia since 2008 for refusing to testify in a subsequent terror financing trial.

Al-Arian admitted in the plea agreement to having worked with the PIJ and other groups from the 1980s to the 1990s. He said he helped assist the PIJ after it was officially designated as a terrorist organization in 1995.

Al-Arian showed up at the briefing at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5, the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported. A group called the Egypt Freedom Foundation hosted the event.

The Egypt Freedom Foundation recently helped organize an event at Georgetown University that featured a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party, Ramy Jan, the Free Beacon reported last month.

Al-Arian’s house detention was modified last January, according to a court order, allowing him to leave his home during non-curfew hours with a monitoring device.

Briefing rooms in the Cannon House Office Building are available for public events, but a member of Congress must reserve them.

A spokesperson for Rep. Andre Carson (D., Ind.) confirmed to the Free Beacon that his office reserved the room where the event was held, but said Carson was not aware of Al-Arian’s appearance.

“He didn’t really know anything about the room being booked, or who was going to show up at this thing,” said spokesperson Lauren Burke. “He wasn’t there, nor was any staff there. We didn’t know that this person was going to show up.”

The Department of Justice declined to provide a comment.

An attorney for Al-Arian and his advocacy group did not respond to request for comment.

The Center for Security Policy’s David Reaboi contrasted the incident to terror cleric Anwar al-Awlaki’s now-infamous Capitol Hill prayer sessions prior to his becoming al Qaeda’s top spokesman.

“When Anwar al-Awlaki led prayers at the Capitol, he wasn’t yet known to be a terrorist. Sami Al-Arian, on the other hand, has been convicted for his role in directing and funding Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Reaboi said.

“In a time when Homeland Security advisers like Mohamed Elibiary praise the Muslim Brotherhood daily on Twitter, a convicted terrorist like Al-Arian visiting Capitol Hill seems almost positively quaint. But it should still be an outrage.”

Read more at Free Beacon

CAIR’s Irony Deficit

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David Reaboi: Who’s Arming Syrian Jihadist Groups?


David Reaboi, Vice President for Strategic Communications at the Center for Security Policy, appeared on FoxNews.com to discuss the increasingly deadly weapons Syrian jihadist groups are using during the Civil War there. He notes the latest news about the sophisticated and expensive AS50 sniper rifle (or a copy) in the hands of a Hamas-run rebel militia called the Descendants of the Prophet Brigade, and argues against the US intervening in the conflict. Despite the heartbreaking casualties of civil war, now in its second year, there is no good outcome for the United States.

David raised some important points during the interview:

  • Recent NYT reporting reveals Qatar and Saudi money is being used to send arms into Syria from Croatia possibly with the cooperation of the CIA
  • The Independent Commission (ARB – Accountability Review Board) criticized the State Department for calling in the February 17th Martyrs Brigade for security at the consulate in Benghazi.
  • David says he doesn’t trust our intelligence bureaucracy to know who the good guys and the bad guys are because they have removed the study of ideology from the equation. “So once you take out what these guys actually believe, all you’re left with is competing personalities, and that doesn’t tell you very much about where they want to go in the long run.”
  • It is the position of the Center For Security Policy that the United States should not become involved in the Syrian war because we would be forced to support “the bad guys”. The choice being discussed in Washington is between “moderate” Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood versus more militant Salafi or al-Qaeda al-Nusra front type groups. There is no good outcome.



Egyptian scholar: US pushing for Brotherhood victory

OBy David Reaboi:

Middle East analyst Walid Phares sends along the translation of an Arabic aricle in el Watan, in which Egyptian scholar Ahmad Abed Rabbo has some provocative comments:

An el Watan article reported that US ambassador to Egypt Ann Paterson is meeting all political parties in Egypt to convince them to accept the coming legislative elections rushed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Ahmad Abed Rabbo, an Egyptian scholar said the US wants the Brotherhood to win the coming elections. They want to consolidate the Ikhwan’s rule

ومن جانبه، اعتبر أستاذ العلوم السياسية الدكتور أحمد عبدربه، أن اللقاءات التي تجريها السفيرة الأمريكية نوعا من جمع المعلومات من ناحية ومن ناحية أخرى فهم كافة الأطراف السياسية. وأضاف أنه من صالح الولايات المتحدة إجراء الانتخابات البرلمانية وعدم المقاطعة لأنها تراهن على دعم نظام الإخوان لأخرة قطرة ونجاحه في العملية الديمقراطية.

An observer in Washington DC said “the Obama Administration is pressuring the seculars in Egypt to accept the early elections as devised by Morsi, so that the Brotherhood would win them. The Administration is now meddling in Egyptian politics on the side of the Islamists, using its political influence, its foriegn aid and the fact that there is no one in Washington opposing the Administration in its pro-Ikhwan stance, so far.”

The Obama administration’s view of the Middle East can certainly be considered pro-Muslim Brotherhood– and it hasn’t been the first time Egyptians themselves have noticed. Maybe the New York Times will, once again, blame Frank Gaffney for anti-Obama sentiment by Copts and moderate Muslims in Egypt.

Barry Rubin this week wrote the must-read piece on how their view of the region (and of potential ‘moderation’ of Islamist forces more generally) couldn’t be more disastrously wrong. He points out that, in order to arrive at the conclusion that Islamist groups will moderate once they’ve taken hold of the levers of power,  the administration– from the president to highly influential advisers like John Brennan– have had to ignore the most crucial facts about these groups:

Here is an important principle in studying the politics of this contemporary era: violence (including terrorism) is not the main measure of radicalism. Instead, the way to judge the extremism of a group is the organization’s ideology, goals, and seriousness in seeking total victory. Strategic and tactical flexibility should be taken into account, but do not mitigate the threat posed by the objective toward which any political force is striving.