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.

Obama Lackey Ben Rhodes Spreads Lies About Vetting Syrian Refugees on Sunday News Talk Shows

Ben Rhodes

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Nov. 15, 2015:

In the wake of Friday’s horrific terror attacks in Paris, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes was dispatched to the Sunday morning talk shows to spin his boss’ claim the previous day that the ISIS threat had been “contained.”

But he was also asked about the ability of the Obama administration to properly vet a wave of 10,000 Syrian refugees announced in September in light of reports that one or more of the Paris terrorists had entered and transited the EU as a Syrian refugee.

And yet Rhodes’ response that measures to properly vet the Syrian refugees are in place flatly contradicts the recent sworn congressional testimony of FBI officials.

Rhodes appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper. It brought this exchange:

TAPPER:  I think there is a question about how good this intelligence apparatus is, Christiane Amanpour – Christiane Amanpour reporting this morning that at least one of the terrorists, according to French authorities, seems to have smuggled himself into Europe by embedding with refugees.

Ben, are you confident enough in our vetting process as the United States brings Syrian refugees into our country to pledge that this will never happen here?

RHODES:  Well, first of all, Jake, the threat of foreign fighters has been front and center from the very beginning of this counter-ISIL campaign.  We have made that a focus, so that we’re working with countries to share information, to improve their laws and authorities to be able to monitor and detain people.

And we’re going to continue to do that.  That will be a focus of discussion here in Turkey.  With respect to refugees, we have the most extensive security vetting that we have ever had to deal with Syrian refugees coming into the United States that involves not just the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, but also our intelligence community, the National Counterterrorism Center, so that anybody who comes to the United States, we are carefully vetting against all of our information.

And let’s not forget, Jake, that some of these people are people who have suffered the horrors of war.  They’re women.  They’re orphans.  They’re children who have suffered at the hands of ISIL.  We cannot close our doors to these people.  We can focus on keeping terrorists out of the United States while having an open door to people who deserve a safe haven.

And when asked by Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press about whether the developments in Paris had given President Obama pause on admitting more Syrian refugees, Rhodes replied:

No, Chuck. We have very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who come to the United States. There is a very careful vetting process that including our terrorism community, our Department of Homeland Security. Let’s remember, Chuck, we’re also dealing with people who suffer the horrors of war. Women and children, orphans. We can’t just shut our doors to those people. We need to do our part to take refugees in need.

But as I reported here two weeks ago at PJ Media, FBI Director Robert Comey testified before the House Judiciary Committee that vetting Syrian refugees will be “challenging” when asked by Rep. Louie Gohmert about the quality of intelligence and information that exists on Syrians:

Gohmert: Well, without a good fingerprint database, without good identification, how can you be sure that anyone is who they say they are if they don’t have fingerprints to go against?

Comey: The only thing we can query is information that we have. So, if we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen, they’ve never been a ripple in the pond, there will be no record of them there and so it will be challenging.

Those concerns echo congressional testimony given earlier this year by FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach to the House Homeland Security Committee about the quality of information available on anyone coming out of Syria:

The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet…You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the dataset, the police, the intel services that normally you would go to to seek information doesn’t exist.

The FBI director was also asked by Rep. Gohmert during his testimony last month about the database the U.S. government maintained to screen Iraqi refugees, including an IED fingerprint database in addition to other intelligence obtained by U.S. forces and the Iraqi government — considerably more extensive than anything the National Counterterrorism Center has for Syria.

And yet despite the extensive database screening Iraqi refugees, U.S. authorities have admitted that possibly dozens of terrorists were admitted into the U.S. under that program, including two Iraqi terrorists living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were convicted of attempting to send weapons and money to Iraqi terrorists.

Comey also said during a speech last month that the FBI has 900 active investigations on suspected ISIS supporters and other extremists.

Congress Files Legislation to Designate Muslim Brotherhood “Terrorists”

Cruz-card-Getty-640x480UTT, by John Guandolo, Nov. 5, 2015:

Both houses of Congress filed legislation Tuesday designating the Muslim Brotherhood a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) introduced the legislation in their respective chambers.

The Free Beacon was the first to report it here.  The story was also carried by Breitbart here.

In July 2014, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN) filed a similar bill called the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2014.

The Muslim Brotherhood has already been designated a terrorist organization in Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

UTT encourages all readers to review this bill as it serves as a good summary of the violent history and nature of the Muslim Brotherhood.  You can read a copy of it HERE.

The prominent Muslim Brotherhood groups in the United States include, but are not limited to:

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and all it’s subsidiaries; International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT); Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR); Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Muslim Students Association (MSA); Muslim American Society (MAS); North American Islamic Trust (NAIT); Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA); Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA); North American Imams Federation (NAIM); U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO); American Muslims for Palestine (AMP); American Muslim Alliance (AMA); Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA); Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA); Muslim Legal Fund of America; Council on Islamic Education (CIE)/Institute on Religion and Civic Values (IRCV); Holy Dove Foundation; Gulen Institute and all related schools; Turquoise Foundation; International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO); Minaret of Freedom Institute; Mosque Cares; Mosque Foundation (IL); Muslim Communities Association; Islamic Associations of Palestine (IAP); and over 80% of the nearly 2200 Islamic Centers/Mosques in all 50 states.


I encourage you to go to John Guandolo’s Research & Resources page where he has provided a wealth of information on the Global Muslim Brotherhood Jihad Movement. The very last item in the menu titled “What can I do?” is excellent.

FBI Suspends Counterterror Program After Pressure from Fringe Islamic Groups

GettyImages-73534290-FBI-seal-640x480Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Nov. 2, 2015:

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation has suspended the unveiling of a new counter-radicalization website designed for kids after fringe Islamic advocacy organizations said the anti-terror programming discriminates against Muslims.

The FBI website titled, “Don’t Be A Puppet,” was scheduled to go live Monday morning but has been suspended indefinitely after fierce opposition by Islamic groups, the Washington Post reports.

According to reports, the program was designed to lead children and teens through games that were designed to help them identify potential extremists. The FBI initiative also sought to help young men and women steer clear from the radical ideologies that lead people to join Islamic extremist groups.

A spokesman with the FBI told the New York Times late Sunday, prior to the program’s scheduled release: “The F.B.I. is developing a website designed to provide awareness about the dangers of violent extremist predators on the Internet, with input from students, educators and community leaders.”

Some Muslim leaders who were invited to beta-test the program were outraged that the FBI would take the time to develop counterterror initiatives.

“The greatest threat facing American schoolchildren today is gun violence,” Arjun Sethi, a Georgetown Law professor who was invited to screen the program over the summer, told the New York Times. “It’s not Muslim extremism.”

Members from the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a hard-line anti-Israel organization, were also invited to test the FBI program before it was rolled out.

Abed Ayoub, the ADC’s policy director, said his meetings with the FBI over the program were “very tense.” “If this is shown to middle and high-school students, it’s going to result in bullying of these children,” Ayoub said.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Muslim advocacy organization that wasfounded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, applauded the FBI’s decision to suspend the program..

MPAC Policy Director Hoda Hawa said in a press release:

While we welcome efforts to promote the safety and security of our nation, tools like this that improperly characterize American Muslims as a suspect community with its targeted focus and stereotypical depictions stigmatize Muslim students (or those perceived as such) and can actually exasperate the problem by leading to bullying, bias, and religious profiling of students.

MPAC wrote a follow-up letter to the FBI, declaring that the bureau has no business “educating our youth on countering violent extremism.” Creating programs that attempt to counter Islamic radicalism “can lead to bullying, bias, misperception, as well as racial and religious profiling of students,” the letter added.

Also see:

How Much Does the U.S. Government Still Deal with CAIR?

cair-1 (1)American Thinker, by Johanna Markind, Oct. 30, 2015:

October 6 Conference Call with DHS, DOJ & FBI

Several federal agencies appear to have ongoing contacts with an organization that has been connected to international terrorism.

On October 6, 2015, according to Department of Homeland Security spokesman S.Y. Lee, DHS convened a conference call with “senior officials from the FBI, Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, DOJ Community Relations Service, DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection and Federal Emergency Management Agency.” Also on the call were what Lee characterized insipidly as “faith-based, community-based, and civil rights and civil liberties advocacy stakeholders,” and what the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) characterized as “American Muslim community leaders.”

CAIR’s press release on the subject coyly does not say whether CAIR was one of the “American Muslim community leaders” participating in the meeting.

Its possible involvement is significant because, after several CAIR founders and/or officials were convicted in the Holy Land Foundation case – America’s largest terrorism financing case – the FBI severed its liaison relationship with the group, banning it from cooperation for the foreseeable future.  CAIR was not indicted as a defendant, but was deemed an unindicted co-conspirator.  The FBI did “not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner” and “suspended all formal outreach activities” with it.

Despite the FBI’s policy restricting contact with the group, a 2013 inspector general report concluded that during the current administration, FBI offices have flouted the policy by continuing outreach activities with CAIR. FBI leadership “did not conduct effective oversight to ensure compliance with the policy.”

Fourteen months after the IG report was released, the United Arab Emirates designated CAIR a terrorist organization.

FBI spokesman Christopher M. Allen confirmed the FBI’s participation in the October 6 call and claimed he did “not have information” about whether CAIR likewise participated.  He also confirmed that the bureau’s anti-CAIR policy remains in effect.  The policy does not ban all interaction between CAIR and the bureau, Allen said.  Even if CAIR were present, that “would not necessarily represent a violation of the policy.”  Asked the identity of the FBI official who approved the bureau’s participation in this non-public call organized by a federal agency, Allen did not respond.

DHS spokesman Lee likewise failed to answer questions about whether CAIR participated in the October 6 call.  He also ignored questions about whether DHS has a policy in place restricting the agency’s contact with CAIR.

DOJ’s main press office (the FBI has its own office) completely ignored questions about whether it had its own policy regarding CAIR contacts and whether CAIR participated in the October 6 call.  DOJ even refused to confirm that it participated in the call, as DHS’s Lee reported.

In fairness, it should be noted that the call was evidently convened in response to a request from CAIR that DHS address Muslim community concerns about protests planned to take place outside mosques in several American cities on October 9-10.  Nevertheless, even if true, the fact that CAIR may have requested a call does not mean government agencies were obliged to include it, let alone one with “senior officials.”

It is noteworthy that none of these agencies – the FBI, DOJ, and DHS – would answer direct questions about whether CAIR participated in the call, and that the FBI – which by its own admission still has a policy sharply restricting contact with CAIR – failed to address a direct question about who authorized (what DHS spokesman Lee characterized as) “senior officials” to participate.  Lee’s failure to respond to the question about DHS’s policy on CAIR, and DOJ’s complete failure to answer any questions, are also of note.  Lee’s description of call participants as “faith-based” and “civil rights” stakeholders is suggestive, because CAIR presents itself as a mainstream organization advocating for the civil rights of American Muslims, and mainstream media sometimes echo CAIR’s self-description.

It seems quite likely CAIR did participate in the call, and that the FBI ignored its policy of avoiding contact with the organization (either violating it outright or failing to follow required procedures to obtain approval/waiver).  Given their reluctance to answer questions, it also seems likely that DHS and DOJ either have similar policies in place or recognize how awkward it is that they don’t have such a policy, in light of the FBI policy and the reasons for it.

October 6 Meeting with State

A State Department official confirmed CAIR’s report that CAIR and other American Muslim organizations met with officials from State on October 6.  CAIR described the purpose of the meeting as to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the United States and to complain about the situation on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, aka the Temple Mount.  The State Department source characterized the meeting as part of its “routine” engagement with faith-based organizations.

The October 6 meeting with CAIR is not unique.  Previously, State Department press director Jeff Rathke stated, “As part of our routine engagement with a broad spectrum of faith-based organizations, a range of US government officials have met with officials of the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” implying that the State Department is among those government officials meeting with CAIR.

The same source who confirmed the October 6 meeting also indicated that State has no special policy limiting its contacts with CAIR, but did reiterate that the US requested additional information about the UAE’s November 2014 decision to designate CAIR a terrorist organization.  The source did not say whether the government had received any further information from the UAE.

Given both the prior involvement of CAIR officials in terrorist funding, resulting in CAIR’s unindicted co-conspirator status and the FBI decision to sever its prior liaison relationship with the group, and the UAE’s decision less than a year ago to designate the group as a terrorist organization, it is disappointing that the State Department has no policy at least limiting its contact with the group.  It is also disappointing that DOJ (of which the FBI is a part) and DHS are not open about their policy toward CAIR and the reasons for it.

In fact, it is regrettable that the executive branch as a whole does not have a unified policy about it and enforce that policy.  As the FBI indicated in its April 2009 letter to Senator Kyl, its decision to suspend CAIR was made pending resolution of “whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas” or, one assumes, any other terrorist group.  That was six and a half years ago.  What have the FBI, and the executive branch as a whole, found?  Have they done nothing since then besides ask the United Arab Emirates for information about this American group?

Johanna Markind is associate counselor for the Middle East Forum.

DHS, White House Tout Ability To Screen Syrian Refugees. But Under Oath, FBI Says Opposite

Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)

Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Oct. 28, 2015:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told USA Today yesterday that the wave of Syrian refugees that will be admitted into the U.S. in the coming year will be subjected to “extensive, thorough background checks.”

But just last week, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director James Comey said exactly the opposite.

When asked about criticisms made by Donald Trump about the administration’s immigration policies and about concerns that ISIS may embed themselves among Syrian refugees as a “Trojan horse,” Johnson replied:

Well, in terms of the level of effort of security review that we will apply and we have applied it will be and it is extensive. Both law enforcement and homeland security have improved the process from the days when we admitted a lot of Iraqi refugees.

We now do a better job of connecting the dots, consulting all the right databases and systems that we have available to us, and the refugee review process is probably one of the most if not the most extensive thorough background checks that someone seeking to enter this country goes through.

Now we’ve made this commitment for 10,000 Syrian refugees in FY2016. It is a commitment that the United States as a global leader should and will meet.

But during a House Judiciary hearing last Thursday, Comey was asked by Rep. Louie Gohmert about the database the U.S. government maintained to screen Iraqi refugees, including an IED fingerprint database in addition to other intelligence obtained by U.S. forces and the Iraqi government. Despite the extensive database screening Iraqi refugees, U.S. authorities have admitted that possibly dozens of terrorists were admitted into the U.S. under that program, including two Iraqi terrorists living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were convicted of attempting to send weapons and money to Iraqi terrorists.

When asked further about the nature of intelligence available to screen Syrian refugees, Comey admitted, contrary to Secretary Johnson, that the Iraqi database  – which possibly admitted dozens of terrorists — was much more extensive than anything they have for Syria.

Rep. Gohmert pressed further about the ability to screen refugees:

Gohmert: Well, without a good fingerprint database, without good identification, how can you be sure that anyone is who they say they are if they don’t have fingerprints to go against?

Comey: The only thing we can query is information that we have. So, if we have no information on someone, they’ve never crossed our radar screen, they’ve never been a ripple in the pond, there will be no record of them there and so it will be challenging.

The exchange between Rep. Gohmert and Director Comey on the Syrian refugee issue can be seen at about 2:05 in the video below:

The contrast between Johnson’s confidence and Comey’s concern is striking. This confusion comes on the heels of the White House announcing last month that it will admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the new fiscal year, more than five times the number admitted this year. Adding to the mixed messages coming from the administration, White House spokesman Josh Earnest touted the “robust” databases during the announcement:

Refugees go through the most robust security process of anybody who’s contemplating travel to the United States. Refugees have to be screened by the National Counter Terrorism Center, by the FBI Terrorist Screening Center. They go through databases that are maintained by DHS, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. There is biographical and biometric information that is collected about these individuals.

To recap: twice, the Obama administration appealed to the effectiveness of the screening databases to justifying the safety of allowing a dramatic increase in Syrian refugees.

But in a third statement, the only one of the three given under oath, the administration admitted the screening is inadequate.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees overall in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017, up from 70,000 in the current year. And Congressional Democrats have sent a letter to Obama asking him to admit another 65,000 Syrian refugees, and former Obama and Bush officials have asked that he authorize an additional 100,000 Syrian refugees over and above the 70,000 worldwide ceiling for the current year.

Also see:

Comey: Feds have roughly 900 domestic probes about Islamic State operatives, other extremists

(Photo: Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images)

USA Today, by Kevin Johnson, Oct. 23, 2015:

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey said Friday that federal authorities have an estimated 900 active investigations pending against suspected Islamic State-inspired operatives and other home-grown violent extremists across the country.

In a speech to intelligence officials, Comey initially indicated that all 900 of the inquiries were ISIL related. Later, officials said the vast majority involved ISIL but the number also included other U.S.-based extremists.

Still, Comey said that the total number of inquiries is “slowly climbing” as ISIL has sought to expand their reach into the U.S., targeting largely young, disaffected potential operatives through a provocative social media campaign.

The national scope of U.S.-based extremist inquiries has been the subject of much recent discussion. But rarely has there been a public reference to a number of such investigations.

Because the pace of the investigations has varied in the last several months, Comey said it was still unclear whether the bureau had the necessary resources to meet the demand. Comey referred to a particularly taxing period in mid-summer when federal authorities expressed public concern about the prospect of an attack around the July Fourth holiday.

“If that becomes the new normal … That would be hard to keep up,” the director said, though he said the pace has eased somewhat recently.

Since July 1, the director said, investigators have been tracking a decline in numbers of Americans seeking to travel to Syria to join forces with ISIL. But it is unclear how that drop-off may be affecting the domestic threat.

“Something has happened that is flattening the curve (the number of travelers),” he said

FBI Director: Islamic State Recruiting ’24 Hours a Day’ in All 50 States

GettyImages-479457898-640x480Breitbart, Oct. 15, 2015:

CINCINNATI (AP) — FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday the recruitment of potential homegrown terrorists by the Islamic State group is widespread and goes on “24 hours a day” across the United States.

Hundreds of people are “consuming” social media efforts to either draw them overseas to join the extremists “or if you can’t come, kill where you are,” Comey said. “And that is a two-pronged siren song that goes out through social media.”

He said Twitter, other instant messaging, and encrypted communications have made the recruiting efforts of extremists easier and pervasive over the past two years.

“So we have investigations in all 50 states to try to identify, among hundreds of people who are consuming this poison, where are they on the stages from consuming to acting, and how do we stop them from acting,” he said.

Comey talked with reporters during a visit to the FBI field office in the Cincinnati area. Its Ohio region had two arrests this year of young men charged with plotting terrorist acts to support ISIS extremists. Both pleaded not guilty.

Comey said authorities try to identify those being recruited who might need mental health care and see that they get it, but have “very tough messages” for the others.

“This is not a game,” he said. “If we catch you doing this, you’re going to get a very long stretch in jail.”

Another top concern for the FBI is rising violent crime in many U.S. cities, including Cincinnati, he said. The reasons may vary, but he said the spread of heroin use has likely played a role in some cases.

Comey said he couldn’t offer much assurance that an end is in sight for curbing heroin use.

In Ohio, heroin and opioid use have contributed to record numbers of overdose deaths. Comey said it’s also likely the region will see a rise in the use of methamphetamines.

10 Things American Families Can Learn from Mississippi ISIS Arrests

Jaelyn Young and Muhammad Dakhlalla

Jaelyn Young and Muhammad Dakhlalla

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, August18, 2015:

This month’s arrest of a young Mississippi couple who allegedly tried to run off to the Islamic State together provides textbook examples of how ISIS tries to lure Westerners to jihad.

Jaelyn Young, 19, and Muhammad Dakhlalla, 22, of Starkville have been charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIS. A judge denied bond for the couple last week.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, the two had been in a relationship for a matter of months. Young’s father is a Vicksburg police officer and her mother is a middle-school principal. She was a recent convert to Islam and a student at Mississippi State. Dakhlalla graduated from Mississippi State and was working toward his master’s degree in psychology. His parents — the father born in Bethlehem, the mother from New Jersey — ran a restaurant.

Unbeknownst to the pair, they were chatting online with FBI employees beginning in May when they thought they were talking with Islamic State contacts. The pair ended up buying a ticket to Istanbul through Amsterdam, attempting to fly out of Columbus, Miss., on Aug. 8. They were arrested before they could leave the country.

Many of those conversations included info straight from ISIS handbooks that are distributed online or highlighted things that people should watch for in discerning jihadist sympathies in those around them.

1. Red-flag conversations

Young, communicating with an FBI employee posing as an ISIS member, said that among Muslims she knew in the community “many of the family members and members of the community do not support Dawlah [Islamic State].” The criminal complaint states that Young “expressed that she disagreed with those family and community members and stated ‘…Dawlah is correct.’”

In a paper for the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, Jahangir E. Arasli writes that “although the percentage of violent converts is small, evidence suggests they constitute a growing pool of hundreds, if not thousands, of very dangerous people who represent direct security threats.” What were these discussions she was having in which she was gauging others’ support for ISIS? With whom? Who didn’t raise the red flags? This highlights a major hole in trying to stop the next Boston bombers or Chattanooga shooter: people engaging with would-be jihadis about the subject, but not passing on red-flag information to the proper authorities.

2. The Hijrah

“In that same conversation Young announced that she is preparing for ‘hijjrah,’ a common reference to journeying to the Islamic State. She further stated, ‘I have [a] hijjrah partner and we are planning to leave before August.’ She went on to discuss some of her concerns about being monitored by Government agencies, and she also added that her travel partner was a ‘brother’ and that she would have to have ‘nikkah’ with him so they could travel together without an escort.”

ISIS markets special guides to females on making hijrah, or the caliphate pilgrimage, and also tutors its followers around the world on how to keep government agencies off their tail. FBI Director James Comey has said this is one of the most dangerous parts about ISIS: when they “go dark” online by focusing on encryption, they fall off the grid of what the agency is able to track.

From an August 2014 “cheat sheet” circulated online:

“One might be asking themselves if they can continue using their old social media on these. The answer is yes, but I do not recommend it whatsoever. If one feels they post things in which they would need this security, which is most Muslims upon haqq who are active online, then they should make a disclaimer saying something similar to, ‘I recant all opinions deemed dangerous or violent expressed on this page. This page was run for educational and analytic purposes only, to study the radical Muslim community for recreational purposes. I invite all those who follow this page to leave such corrupt ideology. I am not affiliated with any groups or organizations deemed terrorist or dangerous otherwise by any Western government or union of governments. I am a law abiding citizen in every regard.’”

“And then proceed to delete all other tweets/posts on the page and after leaving this up for a few minutes, simply delete the page. Make no indication that you have done this based on instructions. You are in a war with these people, we have discussed this earlier. Now, once you are on either TOR with a VPN, TOR, and/or TAILS OS, make a new bitmessage email. Make an alias. Sign-up for Twitter on TOR. Do not post pictures or any indication of who you are explicitly. If you feel the need to alter your writing style a bit, if you were a popular page, do so. You can make subtle indications that this is so and so, however, nothing that can be proven in a court of law. Allah’u must’a’n, may we never see inside one of those rooms for such a purpose.”

It’s also important to note that while social media sites try to take down ISIS accounts, they’re overwhelmed to the point where al-Qaeda accounts go practically unnoticed. Jihadist material also tends to go unnoticed in the black hole of file-sharing sites.

3. ISIS wants people to build a state

Young discussed skills that she and Dakhlalla could contribute to the caliphate: “I am skilled in math and chemistry and worked at an analytical lab here at my college campus. My partner is very good with like computer science/media. We learn very fast and would love to help with giving medical aid.” The FBI employee then contacted Dakhlalla via social media and he confirmed, “I am good with computers, education and media. What could I contribute to Dawlah?”

ISIS not only distributes photo essays of beheadings and Shariah punishments throughout the day, but things like dairy farms and teacher exams. Their “job postings” don’t just call for jihadists, but for engineers, HR professionals, administrators and more. A May video with Australian Dr. Tareq Kamleh showed him working at a hospital in Raqqa and encouraging other Muslim medical professionals to come over.

4. ISIS wants to acclimate Westerners for a special reason

Dakhlalla asked, “Would we be appointed to a city or would we choose to go where we want to live when we arrive?” Young later told a second FBI employee poising as an ISIS financier that Dakhlalla “wants to help with media group and really wants to correct the falsehoods hear here. US has a thick cloud of falsehood and very little truth about Dawlah makes it through and if it does then usually the links are deleted (like on youtube and stuff).” She added that Dakhlalla said “a lot of Muslims are caught on their doubts of IS [because] of what US media says and he wants to assure them the US media is all lies when regarding Dawlah. After he sees change in that, he wanted to joint the Mujahideen.”

A May guide by British jihadist Siddhartha Dhar focused heavily on all of the creature comforts of home that his compatriots could find in the Islamic State, from “fluffy, velvety and sweet” ice cream to Snickers bars and “some of the best lattes and cappuccinos around.” Once they reel in Westerners, they can do what Dhar is doing — speak in a voice that Westerners understand, bridge cultural divides, and rally them to jihad in or out of the Islamic State.

isischevy-1024x651 (1)

5. Decoy holiday travel

When Young was talking in the early June conversation about flying to Turkey on the “story” of being “newlyweds on our honeymoon” she stressed, “We won’t be flying to Istanbul. We will fly to a different country and take a bus to Istanbul.” She said they’d fly to Greece first, states the criminal complaint.

This suggests that Young had seen some ISIS advice. A 50-page e-book published in February noted, “Travelers to Syria usually want to reach Turkey. But for safety reasons, they buy a ticket for an indirect holiday country like Spain or Greece so their destination doesn’t seem suspicious.” The e-book also suggested buying a return ticket to tamp down suspicion.

6. Why they lure women

Later in June, Young reportedly told the second FBI employee that she couldn’t wait to get to the Islamic State to “raise little Dawlah cubs.”

Some of the more chilling footage to come out of the Islamic State training camps is of the “cubs” training — children being abused as they become indoctrinated in how to harm others in the name of jihad. If ISIS wants to build a state, and a movement that they hope will take over Rome, they want women to be reproducing.

7. The lack of ISIS selectivity

Meanwhile, Dakhlalla was communicating with the first FBI employee and said he’d gotten married to Young. He wanted to know if there was “training and Shariah” as soon as he got to the caliphate, adding, “I am not familiar with Shariah but from what Aaminah [Young] and I researched, Dawlah follows Shariaf correctly, right?”

To not know such an integral detail of the caliphate is odd, but ISIS is happy to take the not-so-sharp-in-Shariah recruits if they’re eager to be molded. ISIS’ magazine, Dabiq, is more Quran-heavy than AQAP’s Inspire magazine, which includes more practical how-tos for jihadis.

8. The homegrown base

The FBI stated that Young said on July 17, the day after the Chattanooga shootings, that she felt better after watching the news and seeing the attack. “Alhamdulillah, the numbers of supporters are growing.”

A big part of ISIS’ methodology is encouraging supporters to bloom where you’re planted. Even if someone can’t make it to the Islamic State (and some publications have pitched financial aid programs), they’re encouraged to further the goals of the caliphate where they are. Even if someone is deterred from running off to Syria, for this reason they need to be taken into custody.

“Wolves,” an April call for jihadists in Egypt to activate said, are “one of the first jihad work stages” and simply indicates “individual small cells” who have a greater chance of taking the enemy by surprise or taking down his compatriots. They don’t need “strength or muscle, huge experience in jihad work” and “each wolf chooses what suits him and what fits his goal and location of the implementation of the action.”

“Small firewood is what ignites huge and large flames… wolves will increase their expertise and will move with the time and expertise to the largest operations and to expand and diversify the weapon used.”

9. The grand ISIS plan

Several days later, Young allegedly told the second FBI employee that they were concerned about Turkey cracking down on ISIS seeping across the border, adding that hopefully “Dawlah will begin to expand into Europe soon.”

Another indication that she read the terror group’s online propaganda. ISIS has issued many e-books on its strategy to hasten Armageddon, including the sacking of Rome and enlisting “the Islamic State’s secret weapon = secret white converts” to take on Europe. The strategy expects the defeat of a Russia-Iran alliance, the Roman attack on the Islamic State, and the conquest of Rome by 2020.

10. They want intelligence

At the beginning of August, the criminal complaint says, Young noted they’d be flying out of their small town “with a very small airport that doesn’t have much, if [any], security. In fact when we get to Dawlah In sha Allah I can tell you about it. That’s one US weaknesses [sic] — small towns’ airports have poor funding and less educated staff so it is easier to get through.”

A key reason why ISIS craves any Western recruit is to learn whatever snippets of intelligence they can about places they’d like to conquer or attack. They use Google Earth and similar open resources for much of their planning, but there’s nothing like having an adherent who know his way in and out of U.S. landmarks or an employee at a nuclear or water-treatment facility.

Classified emails from Clinton aides kick-started FBI probe, candidate downplays controversy


Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, August 19, 2015:

EXCLUSIVE: An email from a top Clinton adviser containing classified military intelligence information, and one from a top aide containing classified information about the Benghazi terror attack, were the documents that kick-started the FBI investigation into the mishandling of classified information, Fox News has learned.

The emails, among thousands on Hillary Clinton’s personal server, were released to the Benghazi select committee in May and have been widely discussed but Fox News for the first time has identified which Clinton aides sent them and the subject matter.

The revelation came as the Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of state tried to brush aside the burgeoning scandal, joking at a campaign event when asked by Fox News whether she had wiped her private server clean, “What, with like with a cloth or something? I don’t know how it works at all.”

Clinton last week handed the FBI her private server, which she used to send, receive and store emails during her four years as secretary of state.

Fox News has identified two of the Benghazi-related emails on the server that were deemed to contain classified information at the time they were sent.

The first was forwarded by Clinton adviser Huma Abedin and contained classified material from military intelligence sources. The 2011 email forwards a warning about how then-Ambassador Chris Stevens was “considering departure from Benghazi” amid deteriorating conditions in a nearby city. The email was mistakenly released by the State Department in full, and is now considered declassified.

The second was sent by Clinton aide Jake Sullivan and contained classified information as well as sensitive law enforcement information on Benghazi. The partly redacted November 2012 email detailed how Libyan police had arrested “several people” with potential connections to the terror attack.

Abedin and Sullivan now work for the Clinton presidential campaign. A spokeswoman for the intelligence community inspector general confirmed to Fox News that the information was classified at the time it was sent.

But Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon says the information was not classified at the time the emails were sent. In maintaining this position, the campaign pointed to the fact that the State Department shared this judgment, as the Abedin email was released in full by the State Department on its FOIA website. The campaign spokesman acknowledged there is disagreement with the intelligence community inspector general.

A State Department spokesman said they shared Fallon’s stance.

The emails are now just a fraction of those under review by the intelligence community. On Tuesday, while Clinton joked about her server’s apparently missing contents, Fox News has learned the FBI is aggressively trying to recover the data.

An intelligence source familiar with the review told Fox News that FBI investigators are confident they may be able to recover some of the deleted files, a detail first reported by NBC News.

Yet at the contentious press conference on Tuesday, Clinton insisted anything she did with her email server was “legally permitted.”

In the press conference following a Las Vegas town hall meeting Tuesday, Fox News’ Ed Henry pressed the Democratic presidential candidate by pointing out that leadership is about taking responsibility.

“Look, Ed, I take responsibility,” Clinton replied. “In retrospect, this didn’t turn out to be convenient at all and I regret that this has become such a cause celebre. But that does not change the facts. The facts are stubborn — what I did was legally permitted.”

The FBI is holding Clinton’s server in protective custody after the intelligence community’s inspector general raised concerns recently that classified information had traversed the system.

Clinton told reporters she was “very comfortable that this will eventually get resolved and the American people will have plenty of time to figure it out.”

When asked whether she oversaw the process to wipe the server clean, Clinton said, “my personal emails are my personal business. Right? We went through a painstaking process and through 55,000 pages we thought could be worth relating,” she continued. “Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions.”

As she departed the room, a reporter asked whether the email scandal will ever end, Clinton turned to reporters shrugged and said, “Nobody talks to me about it other than you guys.”

Fox News’ Ed Henry and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.


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Three ISIS Terror Trials This Week in America

A terrorist attack on a beach in Key West Florida (pictured) was foiled by the FBI. (Photo: © Wikicommons)

A terrorist attack on a beach in Key West Florida (pictured) was foiled by the FBI. (Photo: © Wikicommons)

Clarion Project, July 29, 2015:

A man who plotted to detonate a nail bomb on a Florida beach was charged on Tuesday.

Harlem Suarez, 23, obtained bomb supplies, including two boxes of nails, from an FBI informant, according to a criminal complaint. Suarez is alleged to have told the informant of his intention to construct a bomb, bury it on a beach in Key West and then detonate it remotely.

In a recorded call Suarez said “I can go to the beach at the nighttime, put the thing in the sand, cover it up, so the next day I just call and the thing is gonna, is gonna make, a real hard noise from nowhere.”

His Facebook account is littered with praise for the Islamic State. One post in April allegedly read “Be a warrior, learn how to cut your enemies head and then burn down the body learn how to be the new future of the world Caliphate.”

ISIS is seeking to build a global Islamic Caliphate and conquer the world.

He also attempted to purchase an AK-47 online. Despite the fact that he was legally allowed to do so, he filled out the paperwork incorrectly and the rifle was returned to sender.

He has been denied bail.

Another Floridian Islamic State sympathizer was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Monday, for possession of a firearm while a convicted felon.

In a criminal complaint, the FBI alleges he asked an informant to buy guns for him, describing himself as a ‘lone wolf’ for ISIS. He described himself on Facebook as Azizi al Hariri and posted pictures of himself posing with guns.

The complaint read:

“Diaz stated he would then take the .308 shell casings and scratch ISIS into the casings. Diaz stated that after killing people, authorities would find the ISIS engraved shell casings and then know there was a sniper in town. Diaz continued to state that a sniper could disrupt a city for a week or two until being caught. Thereafter, Diaz stated one had better be ready to shoot himself, but until that time the sniper would put the city in checkmate.”

He had several guns and some ammunition in his car when he was arrested.

Also on Tuesday, a Georgia man was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for attempting to join the Islamic State. Leon Nathan Davis was arrested at Atlanta airport having bought a one way ticket to Turkey, with the goal of travelling from there to the Islamic State.

During sentencing he apologized profusely and reportedly sobbed. He told the judge “I allowed myself to stray away from the truth of my religion, which is peace, love and humility. They brainwashed me into thinking that hatred and death were the way into heaven.”

The judge was unmoved by his pleas and handed down the maximum possible sentence.

U.S. security forces foiled “over 60” Islamic State terrorist plots over the past year, according to the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul.

Report: Chattanooga Victims May Not Be Eligible for Purple Hearts

072715_purpleheartFox News Insider, July 27, 2015:

Four Marines and one sailor who were killed in the Chattanooga shooting reportedly will only be eligible to receive Purple Heart awards if the FBI declares the shooter had ties to a terror organization.

The FBI has only referred to Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez as a “homegrown violent extremist.”

“Determination of eligibility will have to wait until all the facts are gathered and the FBI investigation is complete,” Marine Corps public affairs officer Maj. Clark Carpenter told the Marine Corps Times.

Marines Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt were all killed in the July 16 attack. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith was also killed.

On “The Kelly File” tonight, Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (Ret.) said that it’s clear that Abdulazeez was a terrorist, and the FBI and the Obama administration are intentionally trying to “disconnect the dots.”

“There is absolutely no doubt by any thinking person, anyone who’s rational, that this was a terror attack,” Shaffer said. “If you don’t find a direct link between ISIS or Al Qaeda, it doesn’t matter. It meets the criteria.”

Megyn Kelly pointed out that the families of these deceased service members stand to lose Purple Heart benefits if the awards are not approved.

“It’s a substantive loss to them,” she explained.

“This is totally insane,” Shaffer said. “It goes against the factual evidence, and it’s just the wrong thing.”

Inside The ‘July 4th’ Terror Busts

1435975410011.cachedDaily Beast, by Michael Daly, July 3, 2015:

A pair of extremist groups, growing increasingly volatile. A double holiday—Independence Day and Ramadan. The FBI felt it had to pounce before things got out of hand.
As the Fourth of July neared, the White House and FBI headquarters decided to shut down two ISIS-inspired terror cells that appeared to be ratcheting up towards attacks, a senior law enforcement official told The Daily Beast.

This year’s Fourth of July was particularly worrisome because it comes during the Muslim holiday Ramadan, which ISIS has declared to be a time when jihad is all the more imperative.

“No acts of worship are equal to jihad, and jihad in Ramadan is not matched by jihad in other months,” ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said recently.

If you have been paying attention to the news in recent days, you have heard talk about a July the Fourth threat; CNN, in particular, has gone wall-to-wall with it. We are going from lone wolves to lone wolf packs and the increasing danger presented by cells like these two—combined with the obvious symbolism of Independence Day—goes a long way toward explaining the heightened alarm.

The more serious threat at the approach of this double holiday appears to have come from a cell based in the New York area that is said to have been researching the construction of pressure cooker bombs, complete with timing mechanisms.

Such bombs were used with devastating effect at the Boston Marathon and officials worried that the New York cell might seek to do the same in the crowds that gather for the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

The criminal complaint filed against one member of the New York cell, 20-year-old Munther Omar Saleh of Queens, suggests that he may have been taking orders directly from ISIS. He referred to ISIS as “dawla”—Arabic for the “state”—when communicating with a confidential informant.

“I’m very sorry, but I was ordered by dawla officials not to talk to anyone,” Saleh said, according to the criminal complaint.

The other cell that worried officials as the holiday approached was comprised of two men from Boston and a third from Rhode Island. The three allegedly plotted at one point to behead anti-Muslim agitator Pamela Geller in New York.

One of the trio, 26-year-old Usaamah Rahim of the Boston area, obtained a 9-inch fighting knife on May 27, followed three days later by a second Marine fighting knife and a 13-inch “Spec Plus” fighting Knife, all via Amazon.com.

On May 31, Rahim met with a fellow Bostonian, 25-year-old David Wright, and 24-year-old Nicholas Rovinski of Providence on a deserted Rhode Island beach. Rovinski had originally connected with them through Facebook. His call to arrange the huddle was recorded by authorities.

“Like I said, I’ve been wanting to meet up with you to discuss some important aspects that I think you might, you might enjoy,” Rovinski said.

“Oh, that sounds so wonderful,” Wright replied.

Wright then had texted Rahim, saying that Rovinski “wishes to speak on some juiciness.”

“LOL,” Rahim replied.

The three allegedly stood in a rainstorm and discussed beheading Geller in New York.

At 5 a.m. on June 2, Rahim was recorded telephoning Wright to announce that he had decided not to join the “vacation” to the Big Apple. He suggested that he would instead be going after police officers close to home.

“I can’t wait that long, I can’t wait that long man,” Rahim said according to the complaint. “I’m going to be on vacation right here in Massachusetts… I’m just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue. ’Cause, ah, it’s the easiest target and, ah, the most common is the easiest for me.”

Rather than let the scheme play out any longer, the FBI and the Boston police approached Rahim on the street later that same day.

“Rahim took out one of the knives he had purchased from Amazon.com when he saw the officers and agents,” the complaint notes. “One of the officers told Rahim to drop his weapon and Rahim responded, ‘You drop yours.’ Rahim moved towards the officers while brandishing his weapon, and he was shot by law enforcement.”

The authorities scooped up Wright within hours and Rovinski ten days later. The two were charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.

Down in New York, the local Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) prepared to shut down what appeared to be developing into a significant bomb plot.

Read more

ISIS Didn’t Attack on the Fourth, But the Battle Is Just Beginning

spying-surveillance-eye-800x430PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, July 8, 2015:

One could look at the Fourth of July weekend, calm despite warnings of heightened risk for a terror attack, and say that ISIS either failed in its attempts to attack the homeland or was deterred by the massive security increases.

On the other hand, the fact that not even the lowest-hanging fruit connected to the jihadi network staged a one-man attack reveals that the “lone wolves” are better coordinated than the public is led to believe.

“That’s going to happen here,” Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN today in reference to the Tunisia beach attack just before the ISIS anniversary in June, in which a gunman killed 38 people, mostly Brits. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

Of recent attack plots uncovered in the United States, the senator said, “some were quite imminent …within days, one within hours or minutes.”

The Defense Department has had all facilities on increased alert — Force Protection Bravo — since May.

But Risch noted that we’re at a “point in history where encryption taken a very sophisticated turn” — as ISIS steers online adherents to encrypted browsers and chat messaging systems that render them anonymous. (See: ‘War Is Deceit’: Tipsheet Tells Jihadists How to Shake Off Intel Agencies During Online Ops [1])

That was the focus of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, at which FBI Director James Comey called Twitter “almost a devil on their shoulder all day long” of would-be jihadists, “saying: Kill, kill, kill, kill.”

“Al-Qaeda would never vet an operative by tasking them. ISIL says, ‘go kill, go kill; here’s a list of military members you can go kill, go do it,’” Comey said. “We are stopping these things so far through tremendous hard work, the use of sources, the use of online undercovers. But it is incredibly difficult. I cannot see me stopping these indefinitely.”

“So I’m not trying to scare folks. I just want people to know this is a change in my world, in the top responsibility of the FBI, that implicates this ‘going dark’ problem.”

The dark area means even if they were armed with a court order to access the communications, the feds still lack the technical ability to access them.

Comey later told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “We have disrupted just in the last few weeks very serious efforts to kill people in the United States.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the high threat lingers because Ramadan lasts “a few more weeks”; the Islamic holy month ends July 17.

“ISIL currently communicate on Twitter, sending communications to thousands of would-be followers right here in our country,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told the Judiciary Committee. “When someone responds and the conversations begin, they are then directed to encrypted platforms for further communication, and even with a court order, we can’t see those communications. This is a serious threat, and our inability to access these communications with valid court orders is a real national security problem.”

“This is not your grandfather’s al-Qaeda; this is a group of people using social media to reach thousands and thousands of followers, find the ones who might be interested in committing acts of violence and then moving them to an encrypted — end-to-end encrypted messaging app,” Comey added. “Our job is to look at a haystack the size of this country for needles that are increasingly invisible to us because of end-to-end encryption. This is something we have to talk about as a people.”

“The FBI is not some alien force imposed upon the United States; we belong to the American people. The tools we have are only tools given to us by the American people through this Congress.”

However, the FBI director admitted he didn’t come before Congress with a solution. “Maybe this is too hard, but given the stakes, given the importance of security on Internet and public safety for the good folks of this country, we gotta give it a shot,” he said, referencing tech thinkers in Silicon Valley who might be able to come up with a solution.

Senate privacy hawk Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), though, warned against opening more technology “back doors.”

“Universal strong encryption will protect Americans’ personal information AGAINST criminals, foreign governments and those who would use that data to do our country harm,” Wyden wrote [2]. “It’s time to stop attacking the technology and start focusing on real solutions to the real threats facing our nation.”


ISIS using encryption to evade FBI

In Boston Shooting, Islamists Damn First, Ignore Facts Later

1172 (1)IPT News
June 3, 2015

Virtually everything Islamist activists in the United States claimed about Tuesday’s fatal shooting of terror suspect Usaama Rahim in Boston appears to have been debunked within 24 hours.

Authorities say they shot Rahim, 26, after he repeatedly lunged at them with a military-style knife as they tried to question him. The skepticism was fueled by online posts by Rahim’s brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim. His claims, which fueled the immediate and reflexive condemnation of the Boston police and FBI, turned out to be wrong. Usaama Rahim was not shot in the back. He was not on the telephone with his father when he was shot. Law enforcement did back up and give Rahim several opportunities to end the confrontation peacefully.

Officials showed the surveillance video proving this to a group of Boston community leaders Wednesday. “We’re very comfortable with what we saw,” said Urban League President Darnell Williams. While those who saw the video say it was too grainy to see the knife, a Boston Globe photograph shows a long knife being removed from the scene.

In a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday afternoon, FBI Special Agent J. Joseph Galietta wrote that Rahim bought an Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie fighting knife and an SP6 Spec Plus Fighting Knife from Amazon in the past week.

In conversations recorded by the FBI, which had Rahim under constant surveillance for months, Rahim and a friend discussed beheading someone outside the state of Massachusetts. That changed in a 5 a.m. telephone call Rahim made to friend David Wright Tuesday morning. He said he no longer was interested in beheading the target previously discussed.

“I’m just going to ah go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim allegedly said in the recorded conversation. “Cause, ah, it’s the easiest target and, ah, the most common is the easiest for me…”

Wright then advised Rahim to destroy his computer and smartphone “Because, at the scene, at the scene, CSI will be looking for that particular thing and so dump it, get rid of that. At the time you are going to do it, before you reach your destination you get rid of it.

That suggestion prompted the complaint against Wright charging him with conspiring to obstruct an investigation. Once arrested, Wright waived his Miranda rights and verified agents’ beliefs that cryptic conversations they heard between Wright and Rahim were about plots to kill people.

When Rahim pulled the knife Tuesday and officers told him to drop it, Rahim replied, “you drop yours,” Galietta wrote.

Thus far, none of the activists who jumped to an erroneous conclusion Tuesday, who unrealistically expected a full accounting of the incident within hours, have acknowledged their error.

Arab American Association of New York Executive Director Linda Sarsour minimized statements by Boston religious and political activists who reviewed the video of the Rahim shooting. “If you haven’t seen the video of killing of #UsaamaRahim, don’t talk to me about it,” she wrote on Twitter. “I don’t know what it shows or doesn’t show. Questions still remain,” she wrote in a separate post.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which routinely criticizes counter-terror investigations as unjust and rooted in prejudice, issued a news release seeking an “independent and thorough” investigation, saying it has a “duty to question every police-involved shooting to determine if the use of deadly force was necessary, particularly given the recent high profile shootings of African-American men.”

If history is a guide, CAIR won’t accept the findings no matter what. It sought, and obtained, an independent investigation into the 2009 shooting of Detroit imam Luqman Abdullah.

In 2010, CAIR asked for, then rejected, investigations by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the Dearborn Police Department and Michigan attorney general’s office after an imam was shot and killed after he fired on a K9 dog leading an FBI SWAT team.

Video from that investigation shows Imam Luqman Abdullah, who preached that followers should not go peacefully if police came for them, tried to run away as agents moved in to arrest him. He refused their orders to lie down, lurked behind a corner and kept his hand hidden despite repeated instructions to show them.

CAIR’s Michigan director dismissed the DOJ investigation as “superficial and incomplete” and continues to cite the incident as an example of FBI excessive force and mistreatment of Muslims.

It sought, and obtained, an independent investigation into the 2013 shooting in Orlando of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Investigations by the Justice Department and an independent Florida state attorney conclude that Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” tried to attack agents shortly after acknowledging having “some involvement” in a 2011 triple homicide in Massachusetts also under investigation in connection with the Tsarnaevs. Todashev reportedly heaved a coffee table, striking an FBI agent in the head before grabbing a five-foot-long metal pole over his head “with the end of the pole pointed toward [the FBI agent] as if intended to be used to impale rather than strike.” The agent shot him three times, but Todashev again tried to charge, prompting the agent to fire three or four more shots, killing Todashev.

The Justice Department review reached the same conclusions. It noted that Todashev’s half-written confession was found at the scene. “The last sentence that Todashev wrote on the tablet of paper specifically related conduct by him that acknowledged complicity in the crime,” the DOJ report said.

“The only person who can contradict the government’s narrative is now dead and the investigation into his death relied on evidence gathered by agents of the same agency involved in his death,” CAIR-Florida official Hassan Shibly said. Shibly, an attorney, is now involved in filing a wrongful death claim against the FBI.

He did not comment on Tuesday’s shooting in Boston, and Shibly did post an acknowledgement that the video shows Rahim was not shot in the back as claimed.

CAIR Michigan chapter leader Dawud Walid, who posted comments skeptical about law enforcement, made no direct statement about the new disclosures Wednesday after the activists spoke about what the video showed. Earlier, he lumped Rahim in with Abdullah adn Todashev. San Francisco chapter official Zahra Billoo challenged someone who urged restraint in pre-judging the situation and dared to mention the rule of law.

So far, all the emerging information backs up law enforcement claims about Rahim and debunked the Islamist narrative. But the damage here may be immeasurable. The inaccurate information plays right into the hands of ISIS and other radical Islamist recruiters. The reckless, false narrative fuels the notion of the West’s alleged war on Islam, that Muslims must wage attack to protect the lives of their brethren.

That is the ideology that motivated the terrorists responsible for the Fort Hood shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, among others.

CAIR and other Islamists say they are merely asking questions. Next time, perhaps they can at least wait for an autopsy before spreading false, inflammatory gossip.

Also see: