DHS Denies Grant to Islamic Radicalization Enabler MPAC

by John Rossomando
IPT News
June 23, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security has ruled that the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) will not receive the $393,800 Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant approved by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on Jan. 13, days before Johnson left office.

The DHS released its list of grant recipients on Friday. MPAC is not on it. The change came after “DHS utilized its discretion to consider other factors and information when reviewing applicants,” a spokeswoman said in an email to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “The Department considered whether applicants for CVE awards would partner with law enforcement, had a strong basis of prior experience in countering violent extremism, had a history of prior efforts to implement prevention programs targeting violent extremism, and were viable to continue after the end of the award period. These additional priorities were applied to the existing pool of applicants. Top scoring applications that were consistent with these priorities remained as awardees, while others did not.”

In a statement, MPAC acknowledged that working with law enforcement isn’t a priority: “Our position on this issue has consistently centered on community-led initiatives that improve mental health resources, access to counseling, and a host of other social services without the involvement or spectre of law enforcement.”

Still, it disputed the loss of the grant, saying it would consider “all legal options…”

“The exclusion of groups like MPAC point to a DHS that is ineffective in coordinating with communities and unconstitutional in its treatment of a religious minority,” the statement said. “MPAC will continue challenging the trajectory of the Trump administration’s efforts in this space by advocating for a holistic approach that empowers rather than sidelines communities, focuses on all forms of violent threats, and fosters a climate of trust over fear.”

MPAC pledged to use the money for targeted interventions under its Safe Spaces program for people at risk for radicalization. Created in 2014, Safe Spaces aims to improve relations between Muslim institutions and law enforcement.

MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati introduced the program as an alternative to law enforcement agencies using informants to infiltrate mosques. The roll out meeting included Johnson, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., and other Muslim community groups including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Al-Marayati vehemently objects to anything that involves mosques or informants in terror investigations.

“Counter-terrorism and counter-violence should be defined by us,” he said at 2005 Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conference in Dallas. “We should define how an effective counter-terrorism policy should be pursued in this country. So, No. 1, we reject any effort, notion, and suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another. Everywhere I go either somebody tells me that officials have met with them publicly or they tell me that they know who those folks are that are representing law enforcement. So we know they have communicated one way or the other with the Muslim community.

“The question is how do you deal with it in a healthy, open, transparent manner? That is why we are saying have them come in community forums, in open-dialogues, so they come through the front door and you prevent them having to come from the back door,” Al-Marayati said.

Government agencies preferred CVE programs, especially during the Obama administration. But there’s no way to measure whether they work, a Government Accountability Office report issued in April said. The GAO “was not able to determine if the United States is better off today than it was in 2011 as a result” of CVE programs.”

The House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management offered similar criticism during a hearing last September. The committee has “no way of gauging whether CVE efforts have been successful – or harmful – or if money is being spent wisely,” said U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

MPAC may have won the grant simply because it is “the most organized group,” said Heritage Foundation counterterrorism scholar Robin Simcox. But that “is going down the wrong path. Often this means giving it to some very, very divisive voices who will play into the Islamist narrative; they will play off grievances. They will encourage a feeling of segregation and otherness, and we are promoting other problems for the future.”

MPAC promotes a narrative that Muslims are victimized by a hostile non-Muslim society, Simcox said. That message helps breed terrorists.

“I think it creates an environment where these radical ideas are in the ether, and it’s no surprise to me that somebody then [would] take that final step into violence,” Simcox said.

Research backs up Simcox’s assertion.

Grievances “framed around victimhood against Western foreign policy and military intervention” are among “a kaleidoscope of factors” in fueling extremism, Swedish jihad researcher Magnus Ranstorp has found.

MPAC’s recent messaging has emphasized threats to Muslim Americans’ freedom and security, including promoting a conspiracy theory that internment camps could be revived for them. In February, MPAC posted an image of Star Trek actor George Takei, on its homepage, with the heading “Stand Up for Muslims in the U.S.” The image linked to a petition in which Takei described his experience during World War II: “When I was just 5, my family was rounded up at gunpoint from our home in Los Angeles into an internment camp. We were prisoners in our own country, held within barbed wire compounds, armed guards pointing guns down on us.”

“A Trump spokesperson recently stated the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II “sets a precedent” for Trump to do the same today,” Takei wrote. [Emphasis original]

But that spokesman, former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie, had no role in the Trump transition and only spoke for himself. No one in the administration has endorsed such a scheme.

But Takei’s statement, which MPAC embraced, claimed that “Trump continues to stand by his plans to establish a Muslim registry and ban immigrants from ‘certain’ Muslim countries from the U.S. It starts with a registry, with restrictions, with irrationally ascribed guilt, and with fear. But we never know where it might lead.”

Takei didn’t start the internment analogy. “Challenging patriotis (sic) of AmMuslims is un-American – what happened to Japanese Americans-loyalty test, confiscating their wealth #CruzHearing,” Al-Marayati wrote a year ago, in a Twitter post he later deleted.

Promoting the internment conspiracy theory destroys the credibility of “soft Islamist” organizations like MPAC that don’t engage in terrorist acts themselves, yet validate the jihadist narratives, Simcox said.

Al-Marayati has long promoted the narrative that the U.S. is waging “war on Islam,” one of the most potent terrorist recruitment tropes.

He called U.S. counterterrorism policies a “war on Islam” in a 2009 interview with Al-Watan Al-Arabi. Al-Marayati also engaged in “war on Islam” rhetoric when he chided U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz a year ago for using the term “radical Islam” during a hearing about the Obama administration’s avoidance of using the phrase “So @SenCruz, do you want to have a war with Islam rather than a war on terrorists?” he wrote in a tweet he later deleted.

MPAC Whitewashes Jihad

Al-Marayati appeared on C-Span in 2014, and balked when asked why Muslims weren’t speaking up against jihadism: “Well I think we’ll call this violent extremism. And one thing we have to be clear about, we should not be countering jihad,” Al-Marayati said. “Jihad to the violent extremists means holy war. But jihad in classical Islam means ‘struggle.’ So let us at least not use religious terminology in fighting groups like ISIS. It just plays into their hands. They want this to be a war on Islam, a war on religion.

“We should be at war on criminal behavior, war against terrorism.”

Al-Marayati again rejected the connection between jihad and violence during a Jan. 25 debate with American Islamic Forum for Democracy founder and President Zuhdi Jasser. Jihad is not holy war, he said, but a struggle against oneself.

“We must allow the Muslims to reclaim their faith and not let Islam be defined by the extremist distortions of Islam,” Al-Marayati said.

Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna disagreed, writing that jihad only had to do with fighting and argued that purely spiritual jihad was spurious. MPAC co-founder Maher Hathout described himself as an al-Banna disciple.

“Many Muslims today mistakenly believe that fighting the enemy is jihad asghar (a lesser jihad) and that fighting one’s ego is jihad akbar (a greater jihad),” al-Banna wrote in his tract On Jihad. “This narration is used by some to lessen the importance of fighting, to discourage any preparation for combat, and to deter any offering of jihad in Allah’s way. This narration is not a saheeh (sound) tradition.”

Jasser sees a dichotomy between Al-Marayati’s public rejection of violent jihad and his group’s embrace of Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi. MPAC hosted Ghannouchi at a 2011 dinner, and Al-Marayati flew to Paris in 2013 to attend a conference with Ghannouchi. The sheikh is a member of the International Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau.

Back in 1990, Ghannouchi spoke at a conference in Tehran, Iran where he called for the “destruction of the Jews” and invoked Ayatollah Khamenei’s “call to jihad” against America, “the Great Satan.” Ghannouchi aspired to wage “worldwide jihad,” a 1991 State Department cable said. Ghannouchi still favors violent jihad, 5 endorsing the Palestinian knife jihad against Israelis in 2015.

“The central problem with MPAC … is the schizophrenia with which they deal with American issues versus how they deal with global issues,” Jasser said. “The Islamists assume Americans are not very smart, so they are going to listen to their apologetics about jihad and then not connect it to what happens when the Ghannouchis of the world get into power.”

MPAC leaders have made their own pro-terrorist and anti-Israeli statements.

Al-Marayati didn’t seem to have a problem with Hizballah calling its terror campaign against Israel “jihad” in a November 1999 interview with PBS’s Jim Lehrer.

“If the Lebanese people are resisting Israeli intransigence on Lebanese soil, then that is the right of resistance and they have the right to target Israeli soldiers in this conflict. That is not terrorism. That is a legitimate resistance. That could be called liberation movement, that could be called anything, but it’s not terrorism,” Al-Marayati said.

Similarly, MPAC Public Affairs Consultant Edina Lekovic served as managing editor of Al-Talib, the defunct newspaper of UCLA’s Muslim Student Association, when it published an editorial saying Osama bin Laden was not a terrorist in its July 1999 issue.

“When we hear someone refer to the great Mujahid (someone who struggles in Allah’s cause) Osama bin Laden a ‘terrorist,’ we should defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter; someone who has forsaken wealth and power to fight in Allah’s cause and speak out against oppressors,” the unsigned editorial said.

MPAC Defends Al-Qaida and Hamas Financiers

Another hit against MPAC’s credibility is its history of apologism for terrorist financiers.

Just after 9/11, Al-Marayati painted Muslims as victims after the federal government shut down the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) on suspicion it provided material support to al-Qaida. Its leader, Enaam Arnaout, had close ties with Osama Bin Laden, court documents show.

He had similar reactions after Treasury Department asset freezes in December 2001 targeted the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), which illegally routed charity money to Hamas, and the Global Relief Foundation, which provided assistance to Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida.

“Selective justice is injustice – it does not help us in the war on terror and continues to project the image that the U.S. is anti-Islam,” Al-Marayati wrote in July 2002 press release posted on MPAC’s website defending all three charities.

Closing these terror-linked charities could send the message to Muslims abroad that America is intolerant of religious minorities, Al-Marayati said that October in a New York Times op-ed.

When the Treasury Department shut down the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA) in 2004, saying it “provided direct financial support for” Osama bin Laden, Al-Marayati described it as “a bit disturbing that the announcement of shutting down another charity… [took] place just before the month of Ramadan in the peak of the election season.”

Arnaout pleaded guilty to violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and acknowledged that his group hid the fact it used a portion of its donations to fund terrorists overseas.

HLF’s leaders were convicted of providing material support to Hamas in 2008.

MPAC’s magazine, The Minaret, cast these charity closures in an anti-Semitic light in a political cartoon it published in its March 2002 issue. It shows President George W. Bush doing the bidding of Israel and the Anti-Defamation League knocking down a building with a foundation labeled “Islamic Foundations (Holy Land, Global Relief, etc.” The top of the building being knocked down says, “Relief for Muslim Orphans” and “Support for U.S. Muslim Free Speech.”

This was not an isolated incident. A January 2000 Minaret cartoon showed “The West” apologizing for the Holocaust and handing over money to an old woman holding a cane with the label “Jewish holocaust.” At the same time, an Arab wearing a keffiyeh labeled “Palestine” says, “Ahem ‘scuse me” followed by a person with a crutch and bandaged foot labeled “Indian genocide” and a black person emblazoned with “African slavery.”

During the 2006 Israeli war with Hizballah in Lebanon Al-Marayati similarly diminished the Holocaust.

“And as far as the Holocaust is concerned, we’ve come out very clearly saying that the Holocaust is the worst genocide, war crime, in the 20th century. We’re against Holocaust denial, but we’re also against people who exploit that as a way of shoving this kind of war propaganda and dehumanization of the Arab peoples and the Muslim peoples as if they have to pay the price for what Nazi Germany did to the Jews back in the 20th century,” Al-Marayati said in an interview.

“MPAC’s default position is that the government is on a witch hunt against Muslims, and that any identification of organizations or non-profits doing quote end quote humanitarian work must be anti-Muslim if they are identified as a terror group,” Jasser said. “And if they are found to support terror, they say they are not the rule; they are the exception.”

MPAC’s statements and actions suggest that DHS’s decision to rescind Johnson’s decision to award the CVE grant was the right thing to do.

MEF Sues DHS for Hiding Information on Its Funding of Islamists

News from the Middle East Forum, May 1, 2017:

Philadelphia – May 1, 2017 – The Middle East Forum has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure the release of documents related to the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant program.

The grant program, which began last year, is intended to assist “efforts at the community level to counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization to violence,” but MEF was concerned about U.S. Islamist groups – themselves radicals – receiving CVE funds. Indeed, grant recipients have included the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and a long history of sanitizing Islamist terrorism.

On January 10, MEF filed a detailed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with DHS seeking documents about the selection criteria and specific decisions in awarding CVE grants. The request indicated that the documents are mostly located at the DHS Office for Community Partnerships (OCP), headed by George Selim.

Having failed to receive even a response to its request within the 20-day period mandated by law, MEF contacted DHS. Finally, on March 23, DHS FOIA officer Ebony Livingston informed us that the request had been routed to the Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA), which found no pertinent records.

On April 26, MEF filed a lawsuit alleging that DHS violated the law by not only failing to produce the documents, but failing even to conduct a search for the documents.

The complaint, prepared by attorney Matt Hardin, a specialist in FOIA litigation, seeks injunctive relief compelling DHS “to search for and produce all records in its possession responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request.”

“We filed a detailed FOIA request, specifying the documents we were looking for and where they likely were,” said MEF Director Gregg Roman. “DHS not only failed to produce the documents, it failed even to conduct a search and closed our case without bothering to tell us. This is not just unacceptable but illegal.”

The case has been assigned to Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It bears noting that Judge Lamberth previously handled FOIA litigation concerning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“The CVE program should be canceled altogether,” said Sam Westrop, director of MEF’s Islamist Watch project. “And guidelines should be put in place to make sure that extremist groups like MPAC never receive taxpayer money to counter extremism.”


The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, is dedicated to defining American interests in the Middle East and protecting America from Islamist threats. It achieves its goals through intellectual, activist, and philanthropic efforts.

Illegal immigrant border crossings reach highest number in two years

Border Patrol agent Eduardo Olmos walks near the secondary fence separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego. (Associated Press)

Border Patrol agent Eduardo Olmos walks near the secondary fence separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego. (Associated Press)

Washington Times, by 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Thursday said agents are seeing a renewed surge of people attempting to sneak into the U.S. through the southwestern border over the past few months, with more than 46,000 caught in October alone.

It’s the highest tally since the surge of illegal immigrant children in the summer of 2014.

The numbers were released two days after the presidential election that culminated a campaign in which the porous condition of the southwest border was a heated topic.

Mr. Johnson said he is scrambling resources to try to contain the situation, including putting more illegal immigrants into detention and urging other countries to expedite the process of taking back their citizens.

“Our borders cannot be open to illegal migration. We must, therefore, enforce the immigration laws consistent with our priorities,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement announcing the numbers.

Republicans say the administration invited the surge through its lenient policies.

In a letter last week to Mr. Johnson, the House and Senate chairmen who oversee immigration policy said it appeared that illegal immigrants were trying to get into the U.S. ahead of the presidential election.

“The numbers are staggering,” the Republican lawmakers said.

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said Mr. Johnson is acknowledging the problem only after its exposure by whistleblowers at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She said the secretary’s declaration that the border isn’t open to illegal immigrants “is thoroughly insincere and meaningless.”

“If he wanted to put a stop to it, he could, but he has made it obvious that the administration is not interested in doing so, only in putting on a show of enforcement,” she said. “His robotic repetition of the administration’s enforcement priorities make it clear that the policy is for only the most egregious ‘worst of the worst’ criminal aliens to be removed, and no effort will be made to prevent other new arrivals from taking their place.”

President-elect Donald Trump ran his campaign on promises of cracking down on illegal immigrants and on beefing up border security. He reiterated that border security pledge on Thursday as he met with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, saying it was a top priority for his early days in office.

Rosemary Jenks, government relations director at NumbersUSA, which lobbies for stricter immigration controls, said Mr. Trump can end the surge by changing the tone from the top of government.

“There has to be a very clear public statement from the White House, Jan. 20 or Jan. 21, saying from this day forward we intend to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws,” she said. “I think that alone will make a huge difference at the border. I think the numbers will almost immediately start to slow down.”

She said the message needs to include a warning that the U.S. will no longer allow migrants to show up at the border and demand asylum.

California ports of entry are being overwhelmed by Haitians who fled their country for South America in 2010 and are now making their way to the U.S. to take advantage of lax immigration policies. They pay thousands of dollars to be smuggled to the border, often with the cooperation of Mexican authorities, and then queue up to enter and claim asylum.

Mr. Johnson acknowledged the spike in asylum-seekers but didn’t list any steps he has taken to combat the problem.

He said he has increased detention capacity to hold adult illegal immigrants traveling alone. Authorities are detaining 41,000 people, up from the daily average of the low 30,000s.

But that will not do much to solve the surge of children and families, who make up a large part of the increased flow, and whom the Obama administration has struggled to contain. Under the current interpretation of federal law, the children are quickly processed and sent to live with sponsors in the U.S. — oftentimes parents who are in the country without permission — while they go through a yearslong deportation process.

As for families, during the initial 2014 surge Mr. Johnson boosted bed space and committed to hold families until they could be deported — making it more likely that they would be kicked out. But after an outcry by immigrant rights advocates, the department relented and now tries to process and release families as quickly as possible.

All told, the 46,195 illegal immigrants nabbed at the border in October was the highest number since June 2014, at the peak of the surge of unaccompanied minors.

Border Patrol officials believe that for each illegal immigrant caught, a corresponding number get through. A spike in apprehensions likely means a spike in successful attempts as well.

Mr. Johnson urged parents considering making the perilous journey north with their children to instead apply for one of the special humanitarian programs the administration has created for migrants to enter the U.S. with permission.

The surge has been a political problem for the Obama administration for years.

In 2014, it helped derail chances for an immigration deal in Congress by exposing the continued holes in border security and the chaotic U.S. enforcement policy that takes years to deport determined illegal immigrants.

The number of illegal immigrant minors dipped in 2015 but spiked again in fiscal year 2016. The number of people traveling together as families hit an all-time high in past 12 months.

DHS Chief: ‘Vilifying Muslims’ Risks ‘Driving Them to a Place’ Terror Groups Want

(Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler)

(Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler)


PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, Sept.30, 2016:

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the Washington Ideas Forum this week that he’s “very concerned” about the “prospect of terrorist-inspired plots because of terrorist organizations’ effective use of the Internet, where somebody could self-radicalize at home, in their garage, in their basement, online without us knowing about it.”

Johnson said “the prospect of a homegrown violent extremist self-radicalized, you know, one or two individuals, who could commit an act of violence in a public place or a public gathering” is “the thing that keeps me up at night.”

“We have, since 9/11, gone a long way in addressing the vulnerabilities that existed then,” he noted. “The way I put it is our government has become pretty good at detecting threats to the homeland from overseas, plotting terrorist-directed plots at their earliest stages.”

The DHS chief said that requires “a whole of government approach” with a strong “role for the public — public vigilance, public awareness and, something that I’ve been very focused on in my time as secretary, building bridges to communities, particularly American-Muslim communities, to encourage them to help us in our efforts.”

Johnson was asked about his recent speech to the Islamic Society of North America, in which he said, “It is frustrating to listen to those who foment fear, suspicion and intolerance, who don’t know the mistakes of history, and are in the midst of repeating them.”

“I had nobody particular in mind,” the secretary insisted to the Ideas Forum.

“The other thing I said in that speech was something that I have done from time to time, which is you have an opportunity to look at a room full of American Muslims. And you tend to view the group solely through a security lens, a Homeland Security lens,” he continued. “And we spent a lot of time talking to young American Muslims about what they should not become. And I decided in that address, which was to thousands of American Muslims, it’s the largest gathering every year of American Muslims, to talk about what you can become in this great country.”

Johnson emphasized that “those of us who are students of history can learn from it.”

“And those of us who don’t know the mistakes of history are going to repeat them. And I do worry about a lot of the rhetoric, which has the effect of vilifying — vilifying American Muslim communities here, which drives them in the exact opposite direction of where we want them to go in this country,” he said. “I’m not referring to anything presidential candidates say. But I have before called it out when I hear it.”

Johnson was asked about the TIME magainze op-ed earlier this month of Matt Olsen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who wrote that “this year, ISIS isn’t simply a passive observer of American politics,” but is rooting for Donald Trump.

“I think we should be concerned about rhetoric that have the effect of isolating the American Muslim communities here, vilifying Muslims and driving them to a place that our enemies would like them to be to make them more susceptible to the recruitment effort,” Johnson said.

Otherwise, the DHS chief said, “I’m not going to comment on what the candidates say specifically because I’m not supposed to.”

Johnson acknowledged “sometimes that gets hard.”

“I will say that when we hear rhetoric that is inflammatory, that strikes fear, that vilifies American Muslim communities, that is counter to our to our homeland security, national security efforts in the environment we’re in, where we have to be concerned about homegrown violent extremists, that some of whom may find the appeals of the Islamic State to be something that they are drawn to,” he added. “And so when we vilify American Muslims and we say you’re different from all the rest of us, that’s exactly what terrorist organizations want them to hear.”

***

Bombings in N.J., N.Y. not linked to larger terror cell, FBI director says

(Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

(Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

NJ.com, By The Associated Press, Sept. 27, 2016:

The investigation into bombings in New Jersey and New York by Ahmad Khan Rahami earlier this month do not point to a larger terror cell, FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday.

Comey was testifying alongside Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, at a hearing examining threats to national security 15 years after the 9/11 attacks.

Republican senators pressed Comey about whether anything more could have been done to prevent the bombings and other violent incidents including the Orlando nightclub massacre.

Comey said the FBI is fallible and transparent about its mistakes, but he did not concede that anything should have been done differently or that any red flags were missed.

The questions arose because the FBI has said it investigated Orlando gunman Omar Mateen a few years before the June shooting and interviewed him multiple times. The FBI in 2014 also looked into Rahami, the Afghan-born U.S. citizen accused in the explosion, but found nothing that tied him to terrorism.

Two senators, in particular, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Kelly Ayotte, said they were alarmed that both individuals had at one point been on the FBI’s radar but were not intercepted.

“What more do we need to do? What are the lessons learned, and if you need additional support, we need to know about it very quickly,” Ayotte said at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Paul, one of the Senate’s leading civil liberties champions, said he was troubled that the FBI appeared to often seek new tools but didn’t seem to adequately use the ones they had.

Comey pushed back against the criticism, telling Paul that he had his facts wrong in characterizing the FBI’s investigations into both Mateen and Rahami. He said he had commissioned a review into the FBI’s past interactions with Mateen, who killed 49 people inside a gay nightclub, and would be doing the same with Rahami.

“We’re going to go back and look very carefully about the way we encountered him,” he said.

The FBI opened an assessment on Rahami in 2014 following a domestic incident. His father has said he warned the FBI that his son was drawn to terrorism, though law enforcement officials say he never discussed his son’s apparent radicalization.

Separately, Comey said the U.S. remains extremely concerned that violent extremists will eventually flow out of Syria and Iraq and into other countries in hopes of committing attacks.

The number of Americans traveling to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State group has slowed to a trickle in the last year, but as the so-called caliphate becomes “crushed,” many militants from Western nations who are already there will stream out of the region and create new security threats.

“There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before,” Comey said.

The hearing took place just over a week after bombings in New York and New Jersey and a separate stabbing attack at a Minnesota mall.

Rasmussen said that in addition to the Islamic State militants, U.S. government officials are concerned about the capabilities and ambitions of al-Qaida and its affiliates.

Johnson said terrorist threats have evolved, moving from terrorist-directed attacks “to a world that also includes the threat of terrorist-inspired attacks” in which individuals who live in the U.S. are “self-radicalized” to attack their own country.

Johnson says that by their nature, terrorist-inspired attacks and terrorist-enabled attacks are difficult to detect by intelligence and law enforcement communities, can occur with little or no notice and in general make for a more complex homeland security challenge.

The panel’s chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said the threat of “militant Islamic terrorist attacks to the United States remains significant,” citing the Sept. 17 attacks in the New York region and Minnesota, as well as deadly attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida.

“In all, Islamic extremist terrorist have killed 63 people on U.S. soil since our committee last held its annual hearing to consider threats to the homeland,” the chairman said in a prepared statement.

Two years after President Barack Obama stated a goal of defeating the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, “we have made little progress,” said the senator, who is not related to the Homeland Security chief.

Rahami, the main suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings, faces federal terrorism charges after a shootout with police.

Prosecutors say Rahami, 28, planned the explosions for months as he bought components for his bombs online and set off a backyard blast. They say he wrote a journal that praised Osama bin Laden and other Muslim extremists, fumed about what he saw as the U.S. government’s killing of Muslim holy warriors and declared “death to your oppression.”

***

Also see:

Pay for Play: Where did DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Get Five Hundred Grand to Donate to the DNC?

dhs-secretary-jeh-johnson-1

A career civil servant with that kind of money ought to be surprising, especially in lieu [light] of his subsequent outreach efforts to proven Muslim Brotherhood outfits.

CounterJihad, Sept. 15, 2016:

UPDATE:  During the years when Republicans controlled the levers of power, Johnson worked for a law firm that represented the Guantanamo Bay detainees — very vigorously.  Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison attorneys went so far as to smuggle in materials to the detainees.  “If I’d gotten caught passing war news to detainees,” one former DOD official said, “my security clearance would have been pulled.”

This week has seen the release of many incriminating documents from the Democratic National Convention (DNC), via Wikileaks’ so-called “Guccifer 2.0.”  The authenticity of these documents is in some question, as they passed through the hands of an outfit which has alleged Russian ties.  Hackers are in the business of violating people’s expectations of privacy in unethical ways, and the interests of foreign powers are not necessarily aligned with the interests of the United States.  We cannot be sure that the hackers are ethical enough to pass the documents on unaltered, in other words, nor that the release of the documents is not chiefly aimed at some hostile foreign nation’s ends.  Thus, we have to analyze all of these documents with some care.

By the same token, however, it is worth analyzing these documents with that care.  America was founded with a system of checks and balances intended to prevent one branch of government from becoming too powerful.  That was true both within the Federal government, where the three branches are balanced against each other, and between the Federal government and the states.  Those systems of checks and balances have become increasingly compromised by unethical behavior within the Federal government, such as the IRS scandal.  It has been further compromised by the increased centralization of power that has tipped the balance away from the states and toward the central, Federal, government.  We are less likely to see our own system performing adequately to check centralized power, and thus might consider external checks such as that provided by a foreign power with opposing interests to our administration’s.

Likewise, credibility is the currency of “special war” — including information warfare of the type the Russians are using here.  If their outlets are not credible, they will be less effective.  We must always check to see whether they are trying to slip one past us, of course.  On the other hand, they have an interest in providing damaging information that is accurate and that will be found credible on investigation.  We can’t skip the investigation, but there is a prima facie reason to take the charges seriously pending an investigation.

In terms of the Counterjihad movement, the corruption of the American administration creates several problems.  If high posts are for sale, they might not be occupied by the best people.  Worse, though, they might be bought by the wrong people.  The sale of high offices allows a means of influence on our government that is not accountable to the people, especially given that it was handled secretly — and by a political party, not a formal branch of government.

For example, consider the case of Department of Homeland Security czar Jeh Johnson.  Johnson is a career public servant.  Yet he was able to come up with over half a million dollars in cash to donate to the DNC — and then “feigned disbelief” when he got the job of leading the Homeland Security agency.

How has he used this post?  Oddly enough, we were just talking about that the other day.  Johnson decided to appear at the conference of a known Muslim Brotherhood front organization, while “fully aware” of its terrorist ties.

As CJ first reported Sunday, ISNA had been considered off-limits to such high-level appearances since the U.S. Justice Department in 2008 designated the group as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist financing case in U.S. history and a front organization for the radical Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood.

Johnson’s spokesman Neema Hakim told CJ that, despite ISNA’s terrorist ties and radical background, Johnson agreed to appear at the event because he considered it an “opportunity” to conduct outreach with the American Muslim community.

“DHS and the secretary are fully aware of past evidence and allegations concerning ISNA and carefully considered them before accepting ISNA’s invitation,” Hakim said.

While there, he shared a stage with a Holocaust denier and a known leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nor was this the only occasion on which he has made moves amenable to the Brotherhood. In June, he testified before Congress admitting that his agency had scrubbed references to Islam from counter-terror materials that they produced.  He claimed to have “no idea” how that happened.

Earlier in June, Johnson downplayed the role of a radical Islamist community in the Pulse nightclub shootings.  He said that shooter Omar Mateen “was ‘self-radicalized’ without any religious, ideological or operational support from friends, family or others in the Muslim community.”  Yet it turned out that Mateen had ties to a known radical imam, one who had served as a bodyguard for the “blind sheikh” who carried out the first World Trade Center attacks.  Perhaps it was worth considering that Mateen might have targeted the gay nightclub in part because of the harsh language his mentor used towards “f****ts” in America, and Islam’s duty towards them?

To be clear, we at CounterJihad have no idea where Jeh Johnson got all that money.  We have no evidence establishing a causal relationship between the inexplicably large donation from a career public servant and his subsequent support of Brotherhood outlets, or the Brotherhood’s agenda.  We cannot even be certain that the documents establishing the donation are themselves fully genuine.  We have to be suspicious of them at first face, given that they passed through the hands of pro-Russian actors.

Nevertheless, we do have questions.  Those questions seem like important questions to us.  We would like answers.  And in a free society, for now, we still have the right to ask those questions and to demand some answers.

Throwback Thursday: 2004 – MB Archives Discovered 10 Minutes from Nation’s Capital

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Sept. 15, 2016:

On August 20, 2004, Ismail Elbarasse and his family were traveling on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland.  A law enforcement officer driving on the Bay Bridge at the time drove passed Elbarasse and noticed the middle eastern female passenger filming the support structures of the bridge.  She pulled the camera down quickly when she noticed the police officers vehicle, and resumed filming as he drove by.

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Upon stopping the vehicle and identifying the passengers, the police identified the driver as Elbarasse, who was wanted on a Material Witness Warrant in a Hamas case in Chicago.

The FBI case agent would later write in the search warrant affidavit for Elbarasse’s residence that it was his assessment Elbarasse was filming the bridge in support of a possible Al Qaeda operation to destroy the bridge.

The affidavit states:  “On the basis of the foregoing I have reason to believe that Elbarasse and his wife have been engaged in violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B in that they were providing material support, to wit reconnaissance and surveillance, to a foreign terrorist organization.”

As it turns out, Elbarasse was a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and a senior Hamas official in the United States.  He worked directly with Musa abu Marzook, the leader of the U.S. Palestine Committee, which is Hamas America.  Numerous financial transactions tie Elbarasse to Hamas and monies going to fund Hamas overseas.

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Hamas is an inherent part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

When agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office raided Elbarasse’s Annandale, Virginia home (10 minutes from the nation’s capital) they uncovered a treasure trove of documents, financial records, photographs, lists of Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood leaders, MB strategic documents, Palestine Committee (Hamas) by-laws and records, audio and video recordings and much more.

Elbarasse fled the country and his whereabouts are not known.

A large amount of the evidence found at the Elbarasse residence was entered as evidence in the US v Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development trial (Dallas, 2008) – the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial ever successfully prosecuted in American history.

The totality of the evidence in the HLF trial, including the Elbarasse evidence as well as testimony and a large amount of other evidence from this fifteen (15) year FBI investigation, revealed there is a massive Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States comprised of the most prominent Islamic organizations here.  The objective of this Movement is to wage Civilization Jihad until the United States is an Islamic State under Sharia.

Sadly, besides the Holy Land Foundation, all of the other organizations identified as Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas organizations from this evidence, like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and so many others are still in operation.

As a matter of fact they are being defended by our Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the President of the United States.

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DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks at the ISNA Conference with a host of jihadis in September 2016.  ISNA is the largest MB organization in North America which raises money for Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.