Are US Intelligence Agencies Withholding Intelligence From President Trump?

Trump leaving the CIA headquarters with Michael Flynn after delivering remarks during a visit in Langley, Virginia, on January 21. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Trump leaving the CIA headquarters with Michael Flynn after delivering remarks during a visit in Langley, Virginia, on January 21. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, February 16, 2017:

According to a front page Wall Street Journal article today, U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.  The Journal story cited former and current intelligence officials.  If true, this would be a dangerous and unprecedented act of defiance by unelected intelligence officers.  The acting Director of National Intelligence denied this report.

I suspect this story is only partly true for several reasons.  While I believe there are a handful of Obama appointees who are making such claims, most intelligence officers would  never do this because they know they work for the president and such behavior would cost them their jobs.  I also question whether any intelligence officials who have had actual contact with the White House did this.  I believe this story is being driven by a blogger and former intelligence officer who, although he has a wide following, has a history of making far-fetched and conspiratorial claims.

What this story does represent is the urgency that the Trump administration get its appointees in place in intelligence agencies to ensure they perform their mission to provide the president with the intelligence he needs to keep our nation safe.  Trump officials also are urgently needed at State and the Pentagon.

Once Trump officials are in place and assert control over the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, CIA, DIA, State and DOD, there should be a sharp reduction in leaks and anti-Trump press stories like today’s Wall Street Journal article.

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LISTEN TO TODAY’S SECURE FREEDOM PODCAST ON THE DEEP STATE

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Brutal: Former Defense Secretaries Openly Slam ‘Inexperienced’ Obama White House War Micromanagement

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Town Hall, by Katie Pavlich, Apr 07, 2016:

For years the Obama administration has been accused of micromanaging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from inside the White House. Now in an astonishing report from Fox News anchor Bret Baier, three former Obama Defense Secretaries are openly slamming him for his distrust of the military, his failure to lead and they’re exposing his inexperienced and closest advisors for second guessing senior field commanders with phone calls to the battlefield.

“President Obama, he’s one of the youngest presidents we’ve ever had. One of the most inexperienced presidents we’ve ever had. He has a staff around him that is very inexperienced. I don’t think there’s one veteran on his senior staff at the White House. I don’t believe there’s one business person. I don’t believe there is one person who’s ever run anything. Other than Vice President Biden, none of them have ever been elected to anything. You must levin the loaf, levin your advisors where you get a lot of experience at difference things where he, the President himself, is so inexperienced,” Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. “I think he’s got to fundamentally understand and I’m not sure he ever did nor people around him, the tremendous responsibility the United States has. Not to be the world’s policemen, but to lead and we’re the only ones who can. The world becomes more dangerous, not less dangerous, when America gets less involved in the world. I don’t mean invading and occupying and imposing, but leading.”

“It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts of White House and NSC (National Security Council) staffers calling senior commanders out in the field and asking them questions, second guessing commanders,” Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who also served under President Bush, said. “When I I was Deputy National Security Advisor, if I would have tried to, even as deputy, if I had tried to call a field commander, going around Dick Cheney who was Secretary of Defense or Colin Powell who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I’d have had my head handed to me, probably personally by the President.”

“I told the combatant commanders and the field commanders, ‘If you get calls from the White House staff, if you get a call from the President that’s one thing, that’s totally okay, that’s the chain of command, but you get a call from some White House or National Security Council staffer, you tell them to call me instead and then tell them, oh by the way, go to hell and that’s directly from the Secretary of Defense,” Gates continued.

“I think what I’ve seen in these last four years is almost this cautiousness and over correction which makes it appear that the United States is hesitant to take action and that sends, I think, a message of weakness,” Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

As if inexperienced White House advisors micromanaging the battlefield wasn’t bad enough, late last year we learned from an exclusive in the Daily Beast intelligence reports were being scrubbed to fit the political narrative that terrorism around the world, including ISIS, was shrinking.

More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.

The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.

“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.

Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.

It should be noted that second guessing field commanders had severe and serious consequences in Afghanistan with 70 percent of U.S. troop casualties there occurring during President Obama’s time in the White House.

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Fox News Insider, 3/31/16

When Barack Obama took office, he inherited a professional, world-class, battle-toughened military. Seven years later, many experts and insiders see the U.S. armed forces as a tattered and demoralized organization.

Bret Baier looks at the hundreds of billions in cuts, the radical social change forced upon the troops and a foreign policy that breaks with decades of tradition and leaves us in a world more dangerous than ever.

The hour-long program includes interviews with Obama’s first three Secretaries of Defense – Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel – as well as numerous people on the ground, who work to keep America’s fighting forces battle ready.

Gates weighed in on Obama’s decision-making on the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The president ultimately pushed for Mubarak’s immediate removal, despite the military urging caution.

“Literally, the entire national security team recommended unanimously handling Mubarak differently than we did,” Gates said.

During the Libya uprising in 2011, Gates said he had reservations about information on military options going to the White House without his approval.

“You had concerns about that – running military operations out of the White House,” Baier noted.

“Yeah. The experience we had with that in Vietnam didn’t work so well,” Gates responded.

 

Jeanine Pirro discusses threats to the power grid with Tony Shaffer and Frank Gaffney

Gregory Hicks: Benghazi and the Smearing of Chris Stevens

345WSJ, By GREGORY N. HICKS:

Last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued its report on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The report concluded that the attack, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, was “preventable.” Some have been suggesting that the blame for this tragedy lies at least partly with Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. This is untrue: The blame lies entirely with Washington.

The report states that retired Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, twice offered to “sustain” the special forces security team in Tripoli and that Chris twice “declined.” Since Chris cannot speak, I want to explain the reasons and timing for his responses to Gen. Ham. As the deputy chief of mission, I was kept informed by Chris or was present throughout the process.

On Aug. 1, 2012, the day after I arrived in Tripoli, Chris invited me to a video conference with Africom to discuss changing the mission of the U.S. Special Forces from protecting the U.S. Embassy and its personnel to training Libyan forces. This change in mission would result in the transfer of authority over the unit in Tripoli from Chris to Gen. Ham. In other words, the special forces would report to the Defense Department, not State.

Chris wanted the decision postponed but could not say so directly. Chris had requested on July 9 by cable that Washington provide a minimum of 13 American security professionals for Libya over and above the diplomatic security complement of eight assigned to Tripoli and Benghazi. On July 11, the Defense Department, apparently in response to Chris’s request, offered to extend the special forces mission to protect the U.S. Embassy.

However, on July 13, State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy refused the Defense Department offer and thus Chris’s July 9 request. His rationale was that Libyan guards would be hired to take over this responsibility. Because of Mr. Kennedy’s refusal, Chris had to use diplomatic language at the video conference, such as expressing “reservations” about the transfer of authority.

Chris’s concern was significant. Transferring authority would immediately strip the special forces team of its diplomatic immunity. Moreover, the U.S. had no status of forces agreement with Libya. He explained to Rear Adm. Charles J. Leidig that if a member of the special forces team used weapons to protect U.S. facilities, personnel or themselves, he would be subject to Libyan law. The law would be administered by judges appointed to the bench by Moammar Gadhafi or, worse, tribal judges.

Chris described an incident in Pakistan in 2011 when an American security contractor killed Pakistani citizens in self-defense, precipitating a crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations. He also pointed out that four International Criminal Court staff, who had traveled to Libya in June 2012 to interview Gadhafi’s oldest son, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, were illegally detained by tribal authorities under suspicion of spying. This was another risk U.S. military personnel might face.

During that video conference, Chris stressed that the only way to mitigate the risk was to ensure that U.S. military personnel serving in Libya would have diplomatic immunity, which should be done prior to any change of authority.

Chris understood the importance of the special forces team to the security of our embassy personnel. He believed that by explaining his concerns, the Defense Department would postpone the decision so he could have time to work with the Libyan government and get diplomatic immunity for the special forces.

According to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Department needed Chris’s concurrence to change the special forces mission. But soon after the Aug. 1 meeting, and as a complete surprise to us at the embassy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order without Chris’s concurrence.

The SenateIntelligence Committee’s report accurately notes that on Aug. 6, after the transfer of authority, two special forces team members in a diplomatic vehicle were forced off the road in Tripoli and attacked. Only because of their courage, skills and training did they escape unharmed. But the incident highlighted the risks associated with having military personnel in Libya unprotected by diplomatic immunity or a status of forces agreement. As a result of this incident, Chris was forced to agree with Gen. Ham’s withdrawal of most of the special forces team from Tripoli until the Libyan government formally approved their new training mission and granted them diplomatic immunity.

Because Mr. Kennedy had refused to extend the special forces security mission, State Department protocol required Chris to decline Gen. Ham’s two offers to do so, which were made after Aug. 6. I have found the reporting of these so-called offers strange, since my recollection of events is that after the Aug. 6 incident, Gen. Ham wanted to withdraw the entire special forces team from Tripoli until they had Libyan government approval of their new mission and the diplomatic immunity necessary to perform their mission safely. However, Chris convinced Gen. Ham to leave six members of the team in Tripoli.

When I arrived in Tripoli on July 31, we had over 30 security personnel, from the State Department and the U.S. military, assigned to protect the diplomatic mission to Libya. All were under the ambassador’s authority. On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.

I was interviewed by the Select Committee and its staff, who were professional and thorough. I explained this sequence of events. For some reason, my explanation did not make it into the Senate report.

To sum up: Chris Stevens was not responsible for the reduction in security personnel. His requests for additional security were denied or ignored. Officials at the State and Defense Departments in Washington made the decisions that resulted in reduced security. Sen. Lindsey Graham stated on the Senate floor last week that Chris “was in Benghazi because that is where he was supposed to be doing what America wanted him to do: Try to hold Libya together.” He added, “Quit blaming the dead guy.”

Mr. Hicks served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from July 31 to Dec. 7, 2012.

LYONS: Forcing our all-volunteer force to fail

Islamic political correctness compromises safety

Illustration Islam by John Camejo for The Washington Times

By Adm. James A. Lyons

Concerns raised by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and four of her colleagues on the proper vetting of Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, provoke larger questions about Muslim Brotherhood penetration and influence in our government agencies, particularly the Department of Defense (DOD). Recently, we witnessed Pentagon Islamic adviser Louay Safi’s reappearance as the political head of the Syrian National Council, a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated group. Among his many other activities, he is also the director of leadership development for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which is the largest Muslim Brotherhood group in the United States.

The president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Magid serves as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. He is a close adviser to the National Security Council as well as to President Obama. He continues to have access to not only the State and Treasury departments but has been used frequently by DOD to formulate responses to incidents that Islamists consider offensive. How comforting. Let’s not forget that the ISNA is an unindicated co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008 for providing funding to the terrorist group Hamas.

An open question is what role Imam Magid played in influencing DHS to cancel a conference on homegrown radical extremism at CIA headquarters in August 2011. We know that the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded that the training conference featuring a presentation by Stephen Coughlin, among others, be canceled. It should be recalled that CAIR is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. CAIR was also successful in getting West Point’s chaplain to cancel a prayer breakfast in early February by Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a West Point graduate and former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, because of his views on Islam. So much for the First Amendment.

Based on his position at the ISNA, Mr. Safi has been designated as only one of two “ecclesiastical agents” to act as unpaid consultants to DOD for selecting Muslim chaplains. It should be remembered that Abdurahman Alamoudi, as a result of his close connections to the Clinton White House, had the lead role in establishing the Muslim chaplain programs. He not only nominated but approved which Muslims could serve as chaplains in the U.S. military. For the record, Mr. Alamoudi currently is serving a 23-year sentence in federal prison for his conviction on terrorism-related charges and was proved to be a senior al Qaeda financier as well as a strong supporter of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

Mr. Safi has cast a wide net in DOD. He was also responsible for teaching Islam to U.S. Army military personnel at various bases, including Fort Hood, so that they would be more sensitive to Islamic customs and traditions. This sensitivity training is all done under the guise of our counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy to win the hearts and minds of Muslims first in Iraq and now in Afghanistan. Actually, what’s important in the Middle East is “street respect.” Once it is established, hearts and minds will follow.

As part of his credentials, Mr. Safi was also named “unindicated co-conspirator No. 4” in the trial of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami Al-Arian. Nonetheless, he continues to have access to both DOD and the FBI.

On Oct. 19, 2011, a letter signed by an array of Muslim groups, including CAIR and ISNA, both Muslim Brotherhood organizations, was sent to Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan complaining about the government’s use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam. Much of the material utilized by U.S. trainers that the groups complained about was extracted from the Koran and Shariah law.

They demanded that all training material be purged of “biased materials.” Furthermore, they demanded that personnel reviews be conducted on all trainers and government employees who promoted biased training and materials and that they be “properly disciplined.” Their audacity has no limits.

Yes, our trainers are biased. They took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This is their bias, one that every American should be proud to support. Instead of vetting our trainers and training materials used for countering violent extremism, the Muslim Brotherhood front organizations that signed the Oct. 19 letter as well as a Wired magazine article used as a primary reference to justify the complaints, should be vetted and their agenda exposed. Their objectives are clear: To silence those Americans who understand the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its strategy to impose Shariah in place of our Constitution using our “own miserable hands.”

Read more at Washington Times

Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

Denying Islamists Federal Security Clearances

by David J. Rusin

Federal departments and agencies tasked with safeguarding the U.S. must first safeguard themselves against Islamist infiltration. Recent news items about Muslims having security clearances rejected or revoked suggest that at least some government entities are forgoing political correctness and taking this problem seriously. More need to follow suit, but the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is determined to make life difficult for them.

The disclosures began last June when the Investigative Newsource (IN), then called the Watchdog Institute, published a report in the Orange County Register describing how a multiagency probe had led the Department of Defense (DoD) one year earlier to remove the secret-level clearance of Rahim Sabadia, president of Sabtech Industries, a California-based company that manufactures electronics and computer systems for military use. This kept his firm from completing work on a classified contract for the U.S. Navy. Apparently the Pentagon had expressed concerns about Sabadia’s “charitable contributions.”

IN’s findings indicate that Sabadia, through his family foundation, “is a frequent donor to Muslim and international charities.” Only one Islamic beneficiary is identified: CAIR has received upwards of a million dollars from Sabadia over the past decade. The IN researchers also note that Omar Zaki, the former executive vice president of Sabtech, has sat on CAIR’s national board. In addition, Sabadia is linked to the Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPAA), which often teams up with CAIR and other Islamist groups on various initiatives, events, and letters, though the IN piece does not mention any financial backing of it by Sabadia.

As is typical, the government has provided few specifics about why Sabadia lost his clearance. It is conceivable that his COPAA affiliation could have been viewed as placing him too close to Pakistan, but the defense contractor’s generous funding of CAIR is particularly intriguing as a potential cause. Surely it should have raised red flags for the DoD, given CAIR’s well-documented radicalism and its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), whose bankrolling of Hamas resulted in 108 guilty verdicts. This prompted the FBI to cut off contact with CAIR. A judge later ruled that “the government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR … with Hamas.”

Hussam Ayloush, head of CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter (CAIR-LA), played the victim card in response to Sabadia’s woes. “It would be very unusual if it has anything to do with CAIR,” he insisted, because “you’re talking about the Muslim community’s NAACP.” Denying CAIR’s connections to Hamas, Ayloush opined that “the whole situation we’re dealing with is part of an attempt to smear the American Muslim community by targeting its organizations and business leaders.”

One important aspect of the Sabtech case — and another example of how Islamists walk through doors opened for them — is the role of Congressman Gary Miller, a Republican from California. Miller, who has collected significant campaign contributions from Sabadia and his employees, “set aside $9.6 million in defense contract earmarks exclusively for Sabtech” since 2008, according to the IN article. Miller pleaded ignorance about any charitable donations that could have led to Sabadia’s clearance troubles, adding, “If Sabtech was taken off that list, shame on them.”

Yet it is unlikely that Sabadia’s massive support of CAIR would have perturbed Miller, given his own record of friendly relations with the group. Not only has Miller attended at least one CAIR-LA banquet, in 2004. He also dispatched a sugary letter to the 2008 event, extolling CAIR-LA for its supposed ability to help “ensure that our great country continues to be the world’s beacon of freedom and democracy” and for “playing a vital role in the integration of the Muslim community into American society in an effort to promote patriotism and pride in their home country.” To this day, CAIR’s national website carries a quote from Miller’s encomium.

The 2008 CAIR-LA banquet took place more than a year after CAIR’s designation in the HLF case. Additionally, CAIR-LA is quite problematic itself, due to the radical views of Ayloush, its executive director. Readers who wish to ask Miller if he stands by his earmarks for Sabtech and praise for CAIR-LA may reach his office here.

Another revocation of a Muslim’s security clearance — one previously spotlighted by Islamist Watch — emerged several months ago in a federal lawsuit filed against the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Though budget analyst Mahmoud M. Hegab’s legal complaint argues that the loss of his credentials amounts to religious discrimination, the real issue appears to have been the Islamist links of his new wife, Bushra Nusairat, whom he married after passing his original screening but before starting work in January 2010.

Nusairat’s past — including her leadership position with the radical Students for Justice in Palestine during college and her prior graduation from Virginia’s Islamic Saudi Academy, which has a history of using violent, bigoted textbooks and whose 1999 valedictorian conspired with al-Qaeda to assassinate President George W. Bush — drew the NGA’s attention as it reevaluated Hegab. However, his complaint indicates that the deal breaker for his clearance was Nusairat’s “current affiliation with one or more organizations which consist of groups who are organized largely around their non-United States origin.”

This passage likely refers to her job with Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), the country’s most prominent Muslim charity. While IRUSA collaborates with federal bodies on humanitarian projects, it also distributes millions of dollars per year to an international partner immersed in jihad, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). A NEFA Foundation analysis states that IRW helped launch the Union of Good, designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for being a Hamas-financing coalition. In 2006, the Israeli government announced the arrest of an operative of “IRW’s Gaza branch” who had “worked to transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations”; on his computer were photos of “senior Nazi German officials” and Osama bin Laden. Furthermore, several IRW leaders have been tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hegab, who ultimately was placed on unpaid leave, may be the first to have lost a federal clearance due to a spouse’s Islamist connections. The lawsuit is pending.

A third controversy involving Muslims and clearances came to light in a heavily redacted letter to the DoD from Amara Chaudhry, civil rights director of CAIR’s Philadelphia office (CAIR-PA). Dated November 30, 2011, it is written on behalf of a client “in response to your agency’s tentative denial of his eligibility for access to classified information based upon your concerns regarding his susceptibility to ‘foreign influence.'” A summary on the CAIR-PA website describes him as “a federal employee with over three decades of service” who “was offered a merit-based promotion which required a top-level security clearance.” It states that “his recent pilgrimage to Mecca caused him to have ‘contacts with persons in places in the Middle East,'” thus sparking the rejection. CAIR-PA’s claims cannot be independently verified at this time.

At the core of the dispute is Guideline B of the U.S. government’s Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information, which declares that “foreign contacts and interests may be a security concern if the individual has divided loyalties or foreign financial interests, may be manipulated or induced to help a foreign person, group, organization, or government in a way that is not in U.S. interests, or is vulnerable to pressure or coercion by any foreign interest.” An important consideration is whether the foreign country in question “is known to target United States citizens to obtain protected information and/or is associated with a risk of terrorism.”

Chaudhry uses an accompanying blog post to lament that “in practice, the contacts which create such a ‘heightened risk’ are contacts in Muslim-majority countries” — no surprise, given the radicalism and terror being exported by many of them. She goes on to reason that due to their “disproportionate negative impact on American Muslims,” the provisions of Guideline B are “motivated, in whole or in part, by anti-Muslim bias and enacted with discriminatory intent.” Warning of a potential lawsuit, Chaudhry’s letter demands not only that the DoD grant her client his clearance and promotion, but also that the government water down Guideline B.

Denying federal clearances based on support for suspect organizations, a spouse’s dealings with these groups, or contacts in nations of concern is nothing new; it was a common occurrence during the Cold War. Without a doubt, an employee’s links to those who back the jihad should worry the U.S. government no less than did links to communist fronts half a century ago. After all, both Islamism and communism are totalitarian, utopian ideologies that seek to build their “paradises” on the ashes of Western liberal democracy — and both utilize stealth and subversion to advance their goals.

Read the rest at Islamist Watch

Recommended reading: Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives have Penetrated Washington by Paul Sperry

 

 

White House Review Threatens Counter-Terrorism Operations


USA Flag and SWATThe White House has initiated a secretive review of all federal law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training.  This process has already blacklisted several recognized authorities and is expected to forbid future use of terms such as “jihad” or “Islamist terrorism.”  Counter-terrorism experts and federal agents are critical of the initiative, which appears to be driven more by concerns about offending Muslims – and Muslim lobbying organizations – than by concern for American national security.  Sources in the FBI and other agencies assert that this political intrusion into the professional training system will undermine the operational capacity of government agents to fight domestic terrorism.This initiative to censor counter-terrorism training is the culmination of the Obama administration’s twin policies of identifying America’s enemy with the amorphous title “violent extremism,” and designating “community outreach” as the primary strategy for addressing terrorism domestically.  Key national security documents have already excised all terminology that associates terrorism with Islam or Islamic concepts such as jihad.  This initiative seems designed to now do the same with training, which directly counters the recommendations of the Special Report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack.  The report states:

“DoD has conducted an extensive internal review of lessons from the Fort Hood attack but needs to strengthen policies and training to identify the threat of violent Islamist extremism, which includes the radicalization process, and to prevent radicalization of service members to violent Islamist extremism.”

An unclassified memorandum from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, dated October 14, 2011, states that as a result of recent media attention on the FBI’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) training, the National Security Staff has requested all departments and agencies of the Department of Defense to provide their screening process for CVE trainers and speakers.  The only supporting documentation provided with the memorandum is a copy of an article by left-wing blogger Spencer Ackerman, whose series of articles on FBI trainers helped spark this politicaly motivated censorship program.  One has to wonder when did the Department of Defense begin taking its marching orders from 20-something bloggers?  Or, more to the point, since when does blogging in itself count as expertise?  And why is the National Security Staff more concerned about who is providing counter-terrorism training to our law enforcement and military than they are about the fact that a mole inside the FBI is leaking information to a blogger about material being taught to federal agents, texts held at the FBI library, and slides used at closed FBI trainings?

It is too soon to tell what the full impact of this review process will be, but the concern is that it will result in more events such as the Ft. Hood shooting.  If counter-terrorism professionals are not allowed to acknowledge that a person motivated by jihadist ideology, or by such Islamist ideologues as Sayyid Qutb or Abu’l-A’la Mawdudi, may be inclined towards acts of violence against Americans, how will they be able to identify and deter potential attackers?

In the immediate term, this review process should be sending up alarm bells:  it lacks all transparency; the identity of the reviewers has been kept secret; a number of trainers have been blacklisted already and the list of their names is secret; and there is no appeal process for those who have been blacklisted. The Obama Administration is right to assert that America is not at war with Islam, but to deny that a violent strain of Islam is inspiring a wave of terrorist attacks against Americans and American targets is to invite disaster.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-NC), who Chairs the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis and Counterintelligence, has drafted a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. expressing her concern that “the political nature of these reviews might inadvertently weaken our law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training programs by censoring certain language that is used to objectively identify the asymmetrical threats that are present in today’s world.”  Myrick, and other members of Congress who sign onto the letter, are asking DOJ and DOD to reveal their plans for the review process, but most importantly, they are asking for substantiation on how the changes will improve the current model of counter-terrorism training.

The recent FBI arrest of Jose Pimentel for planning to bomb police and military targets suggests that attackers motivated by Islamist ideology, and instructed by Islamist propaganda, remain a grave threat to American citizens.   It is critical that any changes to training on that threat be well scrutinized and justified and not secretly implemented merely as a way to gain political favor with one constituency or pressure group.

Letter to DOJ and DOD regarding changes to their law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training programs
From: The Honorable Sue Wilkins Myrick
Date: 11/18/2011

Dear Colleague:

It has come to my attention that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Defense (DOD) are initiating reviews of all federal law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training and education programs – specifically regarding the cultural-awareness of such programs. This is in response to media attention on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Countering Violent Extremism training.

I am concerned that the political nature of these investigations might inadvertently weaken our law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training programs by censoring language that is used to objectively identify enemies of the United States.

As members of Congress, we have the right to request that these agencies provide us information on their investigations and to evaluate any changes that are made to existing counter-terrorism instruction programs.

Below is the text of my letter. Please contact Clark Fonda in my office if you wish to sign on, or if you need any additional information. He can be reached at 202-225-1974 or at clark.fonda@mail.house.gov.

Text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Panetta and Attorney General Holder:

Recent reports indicate that your departments have initiated reviews of all federal law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training and educational programs – specifically regarding the cultural-awareness of such programs. We understand this is in response to media attention on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Countering Violent Extremism training.

We are concerned that the political nature of these reviews might inadvertently weaken our law enforcement and military counter-terrorism training programs by censoring certain language that is used to objectively identify the asymmetrical threats that are present in today’s world. As you well know, accurately defining the threat is an important step in creating and enforcing successful counter-terrorism doctrines.

In a February 2011 report issued by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the committee articulated a number of improvements that the government can make to strengthen its counter-terrorism doctrine. Amongst the suggested improvements, the committee recommended that the Department of Defense, “update its policies on extremism and religious accommodation to ensure that violent Islamist extremism is not tolerated. DOD should also train servicemembers on violent Islamist extremism and how it differs from Islamic religious belief and practices.” We caution that the results of your department’s reviews do not directly counter this recommendation.

As members of Congress, we respectfully request that you provide us additional information about your counter-terrorism training review processes. We would like to know the following:

·   What entities are conducting the review processes?

·   What are the objectives of the training reviews?

·   What changes are you planning to implement?

·   How will the changes improve the current model of counter-terrorism training?

We thank you for your prompt response to our questions.