By Patrick Poole:
Tonight’s episode of For The Record investigates a series of policies established by the Obama Administration during 2011-2012 that effectively neutered FBI counter-terrorism training and blinded our nation’s intelligence agencies to the threat from Islamic terrorism.
In what some experts have termed a hostile “political warfare campaign” driven by an alliance between the administration, Islamic organizations and cooperating media figures, analysts and subject matter experts were blacklisted, and books and training materials were purged from official counter-terrorism training programs government-wide.
This “purge” has contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon recounted this past September in an episode of For The Record:
One of the first indicators of these efforts was the cancellation of an anti-terrorism conference scheduled for August 10-12, 2011 hosted by the CIA’s Threat Management Unit.
As reported by veteran Pentagon reporter Bill Gertz at the Washington Times, the conference was cancelled at the demand of Islamic groups who objected to presentations that were to be conducted by former Joint Chiefs of Staff intelligence analyst and international law expert Stephen Coughlin (who is featured in tonight’s episode) and Steve Emerson of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. An email sent to conference registrants explained that the Department of Homeland Security would be formulating new guidelines for vetting speakers and screening presentation content.
The cancellation of the CIA terrorism conference was followed in September 2011 by a series of articles by far-Left blogger Spencer Ackerman at WIRED Magazine that claimed counter-terrorism trainers and materials used by the FBI were promoting “Islamophobia.” One of Ackerman’s targets was books in the library at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, that he deemed offensive. It should be noted that as a general rule banning books in government-funded libraries is considered rank censorship.
While a number of claims made by Ackerman in his series of articles were later found to be manifestly false, inside U.S. government agencies individuals targeted by Ackerman’s articles were prohibited from speaking publicly in defense of themselves and their work and “The Purge” continued apace.
Then in October 2011, a remarkable series of events dramatically shifted U.S. government policies largely fueled by Ackerman’s reporting.
The first event was the circulation by Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to government agencies of a list of “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training Do’s and Don’ts.” Among those targeted in the DHS training ban were what the document called “self-professed ‘Muslim reformers,’” who the agency warned “may further an interest group agenda instead of delivering generally accepted, unbiased information.”
Among other “don’ts” declared by DHS was this warning:
Don’t use training that relies on fear or conspiracies to motivate law enforcement. Don’t use training premised on theories with little or no evidence to support them. Examples (from the report “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace”) of unsubstantiated theories include…Mainstream Muslim organizations are fronts for Islamic political organizations who true desire is to establish Sharia law in America.
Remarkably, some of the very organizations that the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties had partnered with had been identified by the Justice Department as fronts for international terrorist organizations in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial in 2007 and 2008, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). At the time these guidelines were published, the president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Majid, was serving on the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.
Not only had the Justice Department named these organizations as unindicted co-conspirators during the trial, but federal prosecutors had outline in court documents that these organizations were integral parts of an international conspiracy to funnel money to the terrorist group HAMAS. In one Justice Department filing, prosecutors noted that “numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case.”
In another filing they observed:
ISNA and NAIT, in fact, shared more with HLF than just a parent organization. They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financing support to HAMAS. Shortly after HAMAS was founded in 1987, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, Govt. Exh. 21-61, the International Muslim Brotherhood ordered the Muslim Brotherhood chapters throughout the world to create Palestine Committees, whose job it was to support HAMAS with “media, money and men.” Govt. Exh. 3-15. The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood created the U.S. Palestine Committee, which documents reflect was initially comprised of three organizations: the OLF (HLF), the IAP [Islamic Association for Palestine], and the UASR [United Association for Studies and Research]. CAIR was later added to these organizations. Govt. Exh. 3-78 (listing IAP, HLF, UASR and CAIR as part of the Palestine Committee, and stating that there is “[n]o doubt America is the ideal location to train the necessary resources to support the Movement worldwide…”). The mandate of these organizations, per the International Muslim Brotherhood, was to support HAMAS, and the HLF’s particular role was to raise money to support HAMAS’ organization inside the Palestinian terrories. (p. 13, emphasis added)
During the Holy Land trial, FBI Agent Lara Burns testified in court that CAIR was a front for HAMAS. One trial exhibit submitted by federal prosecutors – and stipulated to by the defense in the case – explained that these organizations were dedicated to a “civilizational-jihadist process” to destroy America from within and replace the Constitution with sharia (Islamic law):
The Ikhwah [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions. (p. 21)
Federal prosecutors specifically cited this internal Muslim Brotherhood planning document as the strategic goal of these U.S.-based Islamic groups – the very same group advising the Obama Administration. The federal judge in the Holy Foundation case agreed with the case presented by the federal prosecutors had made regarding these organizations, stating in one ruling that “the Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations with CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF…and with HAMAS.” (p. 14-15)
One of the architects of the new DHS guidelines was Mohamed Elibiary, who served on the DHS Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, was appointed in October 2010 by Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Homeland Security Advisory Council and is now a senior fellow for the agency, who has publicly admitted to his role in developing the DHS guidelines. Unsurprisingly, he was a regular source for WIRED’s Spencer Ackerman.
Much more at The Blaze
Patrick Poole is a counter-terrorism and national security consultant for TheBlaze. You can follow him (@pspoole) on Twitter.