Dr. Sebastian Gorka: OSU Attacker a Disciple of Anwar Al-Awlaki, Who Is More Dangerous Today Than Bin Laden

AFP PHOTO / SITE INTELLIGENCE GROUP

AFP PHOTO / SITE INTELLIGENCE GROUP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, November 30, 2016:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Wednesday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily to discuss security issues around the world.

The conversation began with Kassam asking Dr. Gorka for his take on CIA Director John Brennan, saying that if President-elect Donald Trump keeps his campaign promise to exit from the Iran nuclear deal, it would be “the height of folly.”

“John Brennan, to be honest, was a man who was an intelligence analyst, worked through the system, tried his hand at being an operator, failed abysmally, was a very unsatisfactory chief of station, and then under the Obama administration became the wingman for the President, promoting his disastrous policies around the world,” Gorka replied.

Kassam next brought up the terrorist attack on Ohio State University by Somali-born refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan and the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility.

“We have to look at the forensics of that claim,” Gorka advised. “We have to look at what he was posting on social media, his connections on the Internet. The rapidity with which the claim was made is very interesting. So I’d give it a 50-50 chance that this is a serious claim of responsibility for the attack.”

Kassam noted that all of these “lone wolf jihad” stories seem to circle back to one person, whom Gorka was able to name immediately: Anwar al-Awlaki. He agreed with Kassam’s comment that Awlaki seems to have a more enduring legacy as an inspiration for terrorism than even Osama bin Laden.

“There is one man who, from beyond the grave, is perhaps the most dangerous jihadi today. It is Anwar al-Awlaki,” Gorka declared. “Any significant case, whether it’s the Boston bombing case, whether it’s this case, sooner or later, you find that the individuals who executed that attack were consuming Anwar al-Awlaki’s audio lectures, were reading his materials. He is more significant than bin Laden today, by a long shot.”

“The key thing about Anwar al-Awlaki is that this is a man who was socialized in both worlds that are essential to successful jihadi operations,” Gorka explained. “Coming, as his family did, from Yemen, yet growing up from a young age in America, means that he straddles both cultures. He can quote the hadith. He can quote the Koran. He can talk about the need for jihadism to cleanse Islam of the influence, the undermining corruption of the West. But at the same time, he knows how to do it in English. He knows how to do it using the cultural themes of the West. And as a result, he is all the more dangerous, because he isn’t like bin Laden: a man who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, spent his formative years in Afghanistan. This is a man who operated in both worlds, and that is why he is so deadly.”

Gorka noted there has been no effort to delegitimize Awlaki as a religious authority, the way Osama bin Laden was diminished after his decidedly unheroic death because “we’d have to talk about religion, and we’re not allowed to do that, at least under the current administration.”

“If we have the censorship, the political correctness that we do here in Washington – and to be honest, in the UK, as well – you can’t talk about the credibility of individual jihadi strategists without talking about religion, without talking about Islam, without talking about the religious texts they’re quoting. So if you deny that, if you say that’s prohibited territory, then all you have is the killing part of it, the whack-a-mole that we call it here in the United States. And as a result, you miss the broader picture, which is the ideology of why people become terrorists.”

“At least here in America, I don’t know about the UK, that’s all going to change on January 20th,” Gorka predicted, referencing the date of President Trump’s inauguration.

Kassam asked if the appointment of Mitt Romney as secretary of state would represent the kind of change for which Gorka was hoping.

“That would depend wholly upon the agreement that he came to with Mr. Trump,” Gorka replied. “The thing that people don’t understand is that Mr. Trump is different. You can’t judge him by the expectations of former politicians and former presidents-elect. This guy has his own rule book.”

“He’s not my favorite candidate, I’ll be honest, but the decision is up to Mr. Trump. And if he can come to a deal – well, he is the dealmaker par excellence,” Gorka added. “I’d like to see somebody like Ambassador Bolton, a hardcore individual who knows where the skeletons are buried at the State Department. But at the end of the day, the American people chose Donald J. Trump, and he will choose his own cabinet.”

Finally, Kassam mentioned the shocking story of a German intelligence officer who was arrested for helping to plot an Islamist terror attack on his own organization’s headquarters. “Do you think this is a sole operator, or do you think there is a wider attempt to infiltrate these organizations?” he asked.

“I’ve always said, for years now, there is no such thing as ‘lone wolf terrorism,’” Gorka answered. “That is a phrase invented to make the average voter stupid. We never, ever have seen a significant plot of an individual sitting in his basement, getting online, and suddenly becoming a jihadi. Sooner or later, there are links to other individuals, to networks, to people who provide training, logistical support. So if this is a serious arrest, if this was a serious plot, I expect there to be a broader conspiracy.”

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Gorka on Trump: ‘Jan 20th Will Be When Common Sense Reenters the US Gov’t’

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Brigitte Gabriel traces the path of Abdul Razak Ali Artan from Pakistan to a Kenyan refugee camp to Pakistan for 7 years and finally to the United States. 

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Ohio State Attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan Bought Knife in Washington

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Filmmaker Ami Horowitz on his interview with Somalis in Minnesota.

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Insight from Tom Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and senior editor of Long War Journal

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Terror mosque link to Ohio State attack?

Also see:

Phares on Benghazi hearings: “Did Washington consider the Salafi militias allies or foes?”

By Walid Phares
Zawahiri and Benghazi

Commenting on the US Congressional hearings on Benghazi, particularly the hearing sessions with Secretary Hilary Clinton, Dr Walid Phares said the central question that would determine the answers to most important issues in this hearing was and will continue to be ‘how did the Administration perceive the Salafi militias operating in Benghazi, and in Libya in general.”
Phares, a congressional advisor and the author of ‘The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East’ told ‘Mideast Newswire’ “If Washington considered the Salafist militias, and Ansar al Sharia was one of them, as partners in the fight against Gaddafi, then the readiness US missions had towards these militias would have been low. But if the Administration considered these militias, many of which had ties to al Qaeda, as a threat to the US, then the level of readiness was poor.” Phares, who advised Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney on the Middle East, said “tactical and local security considerations can be understood and analyzed only in the context of a larger threat situation.
There is a disconnect that has not been addressed still: The Administration worked with these Jihadi militias in one form or another. These forces were not on the map as a threat to US national security because of a political determination that they were on the right side of history, and they were perceived as in transition to integration. I think Congress and special investigation committees ought to focus on this central issue first. Once this stance is explained, then one can understand the rest of the questions.”

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The Foreign Policy Case Against Barack Obama

Credit: Flickr/Wikimedia Commons.

By Walid Phares:

As Governor Romney and President Obama continue to debate foreign policy and national security, voters would be wise to evaluate the “Obama doctrine” against the current combustible state of affairs that it has led to in the Greater Middle East. In less than four years, the Obama administration’s policies have transformed the region into a powder keg with a hairpin detonator that could be set off by the slightest diplomatic misstep, engulfing the region and the world in war. And, as if an economy on the brink wasn’t daunting enough, the current administration’s feckless diplomacy in the Arab world have begotten a near-impossible foreign policy conundrum that Mitt Romney will be forced to attend to from the moment he is sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States.

In order to help voters see clearly where unfolding events in the region are headed, I have summarized the salient facts and provided a brief analysis below.

President Obama’s denial of various forms of Islamist radicalism have amplified the jihadist threat and altered American foreign policy in the Middle East. In his Cairo speech in 2009, Mr. Obama affirmed the misperception that America had been on the wrong side in wars “against the Muslim world” by announcing his new expiative approach to U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world. Since then his and the State Department’s actions in the region have been characterized by retreat, abandonment of civil democratic reform movements, and partnership with Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The administration’s freedom-antagonistic policies coupled with a desire to find common ground with the Iranian regime, have effectively quashed hopes for true democratic reform while Obama remains in the White House. The Obama doctrine has dangerously impacted U.S. national security.

Barack Obama’s ill-advised pre-election commitment to bilateral negotiations with the ayatollahs was put to the test in June 2009 when millions of mostly young Iranians took to the streets of Tehran in what almost became an “Iranian Spring.” With the Iranian regime teetering on the brink of collapse, the administration turned a deaf ear to demonstrators’ cries for America’s help as evidenced by the president’s silence on their plight and stubborn insistence on seeking understanding with the Khomeinist regime. But instead of obtaining concessions on Iran’s nukes, the ayatollahs multiplied uranium enrichment efforts and produced large numbers of long-range missiles to deliver apocalypse to Israel and the “Great Satan.” Hoping to keep his grandiose illusion of U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks alive, Obama imposed belated, near-symbolic economic sanctions on Iran with predictable negligible effect. In return, the Iranian regime expanded their destabilizing efforts in the Middle East, inciting Shia in eastern Arabia, Bahrain and North Yemen to penetrate legitimate social movements and overthrow their U.S.-friendly governments.

Mitt Romney’s position on Iran is radically different and infinitely more sensible than Barack Obama’s. Sanctions should be tightened and all-encompassing to force the regime abandon its nuclear ambitions, not induce negotiations toward a partial solution. Furthermore, Governor Romney’s policy on Iran would include partnering with the forces of civil democratic reform in their efforts to replace the current extremist regime once and for all.

Obama’s miscalculation on Iran led to other regional catastrophes. As soon as the administration withdrew American forces from Iraq abruptly in December of 2011, Iranian influence penetrated Iraq. By not supporting Iran’s popular movement, Obama left Iran unrestrained. By failing to reach an agreement with Iraq before U.S. withdrawal, Obama allowed Iran to infiltrate its neighbor, further threatening Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and reaching Syria’s borders. Romney would have contained the Iranian regime first, and then consolidated a pro-Western government in Iraq.

Similar strategic mistakes were made by the administration on the Arab Spring as a consequence of its misguided apology doctrine. Instead of working with the initial forces of change in Egypt — youth, women, middle class, workers and minorities — the administration chose to partner exclusively with the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama’s team and the Islamists worked to put the Brotherhood and their Salafi allies in power, first by sidelining the secular reformers with the help of the army, then the army with the help of secular youth, before they rose to power and marginalized all other players. Under Morsi, Egypt is quickly morphing into an Islamist state, threatening the Camp David Accords, as well as seculars, women, and Copts. A similar scenario unfolded in Tunisia where Washington partnered with the Islamist Nahda at the expense of seculars, women, and reformers. Romney would pursue partnership with civil societies, particularly with women and seculars, and tie U.S. financial aid to performance by governments.

In Libya, the Obama administration again sought partnership with the Islamists and neglected working with government and secular groups to disarm the militias and after Gaddafi’s downfall, sowed the seeds of al Qaeda’s growth, and opened a path for attacks against U.S. targets, the most recent being a terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and embassy staffers. A Romney administration would first seek the disarming of the militias and, above all, provide better security for American lives in installations in countries where jihadists operate.

Barack Obama’s worst and most dramatic failure has obviously been in Syria. One year late to respond, Obama’s team was unable to create a coalition to bring down Assad. Out of Iraq by 2012, the U.S. was unable to encircle Assad and prevent Iranian support from getting to the brutal regime. Thirty thousand civilians were massacred while the U.S. administration was incapable of obtaining a UN resolution for action against Assad, despite its so-called “reset button” with Moscow. Iran is now connected to Assad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and has reached the sea by land. Furthermore, al Qaeda is now operating in Syria and Iraq.

After Osama bin Laden was killed, the Obama administration began claiming that al Qaeda was in decline, a claim proven false as al Qaeda jihadists continue to conquer villages and towns in Yemen, fight in Somalia, are back in the Levant from Lebanon to Iraq, operating in the Sahel and Libya, with allies in Nigeria, and having established a solid base in northern Mali. Osama is dead, but al Qaeda is alive and flourishing.

With the growth of jihadism and radical Islamism, the secular forces of the Arab Spring are being pushed back. More dramatically Christian and other ethnic minorities across the region, in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, and in Sudan, are under attack. Everywhere in the region reformers, women and minorities are suppressed and pushed back, while the Islamists and jihadists up and running and expanding their reach. Iran is arming and genocide is looming from Syria to Sudan.

The Obama policies in the Middle East led to the rise of radicals and weakening of civil societies. A Romney alternative for the region is a must, not only on the basis of human rights and democracy, but also regarding U.S. national security and the security of its allies.

Published at George Mason University’s History News Network

Walid Phares is senior advisor on foreign policy and national security to presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a co-chair of the Romney Working Group on the Middle East and North Africa MENA. He is the author of the “Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East” the only book that predicted the Arab Spring before it begins

Related :

Libyan Leaks: More Secret Documents Reveal Obama’s failure in Libya

By :

Exclusive Walid Shoebat Bombshell

Barack Obama’s claim to election fame – that Al-Qaeda has been destroyed – needs a reality check, according to a group of anti-Al Qaeda Libyans in exile. “We beg to differ,” they exclaimed. “Obama gift-wrapped Libya, handed it over to Al-Qaeda, and we can prove it.”

The group stated they have come into possession of some highly classified documents that in their view, “will bring the Obama Administration down.” They were not bluffing; they provided the first installments of official classified documents which we provided in some of our previous reporting. “The rest,” they say, “will be provided when Mitt Romney is in office. His election is our only hope for humanity,” they said.

These documents include evidence of highly sophisticated weaponry provided to jihadists which leads them to doubt that any solutions will take place under what they called “The Obama regime”.

We have come into the possession of an array of records obtained from top-level sources inside the Libyan government. They include passports of Al-Qaeda operatives and identifications of terrorists from many nations—Chad, Egypt and Pakistan to name a few—which are now all camped in Libya as they enter by crossing borders guarded and managed officially by what they called “government appointed Al-Qaeda leaders.”

This explains why the drafts of two letters on September 11th expressing worry that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was under ‘troubling’ surveillance and that the Libyan government failed to fulfill requests for additional security. “It wasn’t failure,” these pro-U.S. agents said, “but the Libyan government’s mafia-like system, subordinate to Al-Qaeda and installed with the blessings of the Obama administration that is responsible for the deaths of Americans in Benghazi,” they said.

The wealth of intelligence includes countless documents, which we will soon turn over to the National Center For Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism. They show evidence of bribes [see image to left] by the government to top-officials, weapons dealing, and bank siphoning by al-Qaeda operatives, to include copies of bank transactions that illustrate the subordination of the newly established Libyan government to Al-Qaeda. These included Bin Laden’s personal driver Sufyan Gammou and Abdul Wahhab Hassan Qayed, the brother of the recently assassinated Abu Yahya al-Libi. Qayed was officially put in charge of Libyan border control. This arrangement is responsible for the passage of large amounts of Al-Qaeda operatives into Libya.

In one classified document (see image to right) it stated that, “…it was commissioned that Fadlallah Haran Musa is to head the centers of the National Security Fares in Barqa [east of Libya] and to also commission Khalid Atiyeh to be his assistant.” These two, according to our sources, are “Islamist operatives connected to Al-Qaeda.”

Sufyan Gammu of Ansar Al-Sharia in Darnah (white cap and long beard) is one of the most wanted men from Al-Qaeda. He used to be the special driver for Usama Bin Laden and is now roaming free in Libya, protected by the government.

Salem Al-Barrani Dirbi of Al-Qaeda is now the leader of Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, which was kept in check by the previous regime, spoke openly in this video (wearing blue), telling his story about how he is now free from the previous regime after having lived in hiding in the mountains since 1996; he boasts about living freely in Benghazi today.

Also noteworthy is Abdul Baset Azzouz. Known for his vicious and cunning abilities, he was the first adviser to Ayman Al-Zawahiri and became the leader of Al-Qaeda in Darnah, Libya. He can be seen in this video, giving his testimony from Libya (wearing yellow). Azzouz can even be seen recruiting entire communities in Libya to join the jihadists.

Go to Shoebat.com for the rest of this explosive report

 

 

The Islamist Threat Isn’t Going Away

Michael J. Totten:

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney wrapped up their trilogy of presidential debates on Monday this week and spent most of the evening arguing foreign policy. Each demonstrated a reasonable grasp of how the world works and only sharply disagreed with his opponent on the margins and in the details. But they both seem to think, 11 years after 9/11, that calibrating just the right policy recipe will reduce Islamist extremism and anti-Americanism in the Middle East. They’re wrong.

Mr. Romney said it first, early in the debate: “We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam . . . reject this violent extremism.” Later Mr. Obama spoke as though this objective is already on its way to being accomplished: “When Tunisians began to protest,” he said, “this nation, me, my administration, stood with them earlier than just about any other country. In Egypt, we stood on the side of democracy. In Libya, we stood on the side of the people. And as a consequence, there is no doubt that attitudes about Americans have changed.”

The Middle East desperately needs economic development, better education, the rule of law and gender equality, as Mr. Romney says. And Mr. Obama was right to take the side of citizens against dictators—especially in Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi ran one of the most thoroughly repressive police states in the world, and in Syria, where Bashar Assad has turned the country he inherited into a prison spattered with blood. But both presidential candidates are kidding themselves if they think anti-Americanism and the appeal of radical Islam will vanish any time soon.

First, it’s simply not true that attitudes toward Americans have changed in the region. I’ve spent a lot of time in Tunisia and Egypt, both before and after the revolutions, and have yet to meet or interview a single person whose opinion of Americans has changed an iota.

Second, pace Mr. Romney, promoting better education, the rule of law and gender equality won’t reduce the appeal of radical Islam. Egyptians voted for Islamist parties by a two-to-one margin. Two-thirds of those votes went to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the other third went to the totalitarian Salafists, the ideological brethren of Osama bin Laden. These people are not even remotely interested in the rule of law, better education or gender equality. They want Islamic law, Islamic education and gender apartheid. They will resist Mr. Romney’s pressure for a more liberal alternative and denounce him as a meddling imperialist just for bringing it up.

Anti-Americanism has been a default political position in the Arab world for decades. Radical Islam is the principal vehicle through which it’s expressed at the moment, but anti-Americanism specifically, and anti-Western “imperialism” generally, likewise lie at the molten core of secular Arab nationalism of every variety. The Islamists hate the U.S. because it’s liberal and decadent. (The riots in September over a ludicrous Internet video ought to make that abundantly clear.) And both Islamists and secularists hate the U.S. because it’s a superpower.

Everything the United States does is viewed with suspicion across the political spectrum. Gamal Abdel Gawad Soltan, the director of Egypt’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, admitted as much to me in Cairo last summer when I asked him about NATO’s war against Gadhafi in Libya. “There is a general sympathy with the Libyan people,” he said, “but also concern about the NATO intervention. The fact that the rebels in Libya are supported by NATO is why many people here are somewhat restrained from voicing support for the rebels.” When I asked him what Egyptians would think if the U.S. sat the war out, he said, “They would criticize NATO for not helping. It’s a lose-lose situation for you.”

So we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. And not just on Libya. An enormous swath of the Arab world supported the Iraqi insurgency after an American-led coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein. Thousands of non-Iraqi Arabs even showed up to fight. Yet today the U.S. is roundly criticized all over the region for not taking Assad out in Syria.

Read more at World Affairs Journal

Mr. Totten is a contributing editor at World Affairs and City Journal, and is the prize-winning author of Where the West Ends (Belmont Estate, 2012) and The Road to Fatima Gate (Encounter, 2011).

Romney tags jihadists as enemy, marking shift from Obama, Bush

By Neil Munro at Daily Caller:

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney identified “jihadists” as the  enemy facing the United States in the Middle East, marking a sharp rhetorical  contrast with U.S. defense policy in place since 2001.

“We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy  to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism,” Romney said, highlighting the link between Islam and  terrorism.

“We can’t kill our way out of this mess … The right course for us is to make  sure that we go after the — the people who are leaders of these various  anti-American groups and these — these jihadists, but also help the Muslim  world,” Romney said.

In contrast, former President George W. Bush labelled the 9/11 attackers “terrorists,” which downplayed their specific connection to a violent Islamic extremist ideology. For the rest of his term, Bush described the U.S.  counterattack as a “war on terrorism.”

In 2009, President Barack Obama changed the rhetoric to label the attackers “violent extremists.” Conservative critics of the president said this shift in  language further downplayed the role of fundamentalist Islamic preachers and  militia commanders in spurring the attacks on U.S. soldiers and diplomats in  countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Obama’s focus on “violent extremism” has been applauded by U.S.-based Islamic  advocacy groups, such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic  Society of North America. These groups argue that terror attacks are not  motivated by Islam, even though many terrorists say their attacks are motivated  by Islam’s doctrine of jihad. Many Muslims believe jihad to be an inner  spiritual struggle, while some extremists insist that it the doctrine requires  the waging of war against non-believers.

But the White House’s “Countering Violent Extremism” strategy has also  spurred opposition from within the FBI and federal agencies.

Some officials say the “CVE strategy” hinders their efforts to recognize and  counter domestic and international Islamic messages that spur terror attacks,  and also empowers Islamic groups that seek to isolate and lead Muslim  communities in the United States.

 

When Romney Met Kenny: Mitt’s Islamist Gamble

Islamist Watch:

by David J. Rusin

Mitt Romney’s embrace of Kenny Gamble, an operator of Philadelphia charter schools who doubles as a prominent suit-and-tie Islamist calling himself Luqman Abdul Haqq, raises questions about a potential Romney administration’s readiness to identify and steer clear of smooth-talking radicals. The Republican candidate should treat this blunder as a learning opportunity. The lesson: never make the mistake of promoting a Muslim leader without properly vetting him first.The story begins on May 24, when Romney’s desire to push his education policies and reach out to urban voters prompted a visit to West Philadelphia’s Universal Bluford Charter School, one of several managed by Gamble’s conglomerate, Universal Companies. According to an ABC News report, Romney “had heard about Universal … and asked for an invitation.” Gamble claimed as much in a radio interview.

Seated beside Gamble, Romney joined other local figures for a roundtable (video here) in which he discussed ideas for attracting good teachers, involving parents, and boosting achievement. Romney generously praised Gamble, at one point turning to him and saying, “I’d like to get your experience from the front lines and first salute you for the investment you’ve made, financial and personal, in establishing a pathway for hundreds, thousands of young people to have changed lives.” Gamble led Romney on a tour of the facilities as well.

No less disconcerting, the Romney campaign appears not to have done any serious follow-up on Gamble despite drawing criticism from bloggers for the trip to an “Islamist-owned charter school.” Thus, Romney compounded the previous error by eagerly dropping Gamble’s name multiple times during NBC’s Education Nation summit in New York on September 25.

“I saw a school in the inner city of Philadelphia,” Romney explained. “And I understand that the school was closed down, that 90 percent of the kids in that school were not reading at grade level. … A guy named Kenny Gamble … put in place a charter school.” After recounting his surprise at the art, music, and computer instructors there, Romney touted how Gamble runs it “like a business.” He continued: “As I recall, almost 90 percent of the students there now are reading at grade level. And it’s the same students.” (Note, however, that Universal’s education record is very much a mixed bag.)

Wherever Romney originally heard about Gamble and Universal, it probably was not from the websites of Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, Islamist Watch, or Militant Islam Monitor, which for years have documented Gamble’s troubling agenda — a history that should make him toxic to any politician knowledgeable about stealth jihad.

An African-American music and real estate mogul, Gamble has long been listed — under his alternate name, Luqman Abdul Haqq — as part of the governing council of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), which is among the most radical U.S. Muslim groups. Its formation was inspired by Jamil al-Amin, a convicted cop killer and Islamic separatist who dreams of a Shari’a-run state; he enjoys MANA’s support to this day and even has phoned into MANA meetings from prison. Gamble’s other MANA colleagues have included Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who preached jihad against the U.S. and was shot to death after initiating a gunfight with federal agents in 2009, and Siraj Wahhaj, one of the “unindicted personswho may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Just as several MANA leaders have championed the building of closed Islamic communities, Gamble outlined his own “model” for them during an interview on Saudi television. Worse, he is suspected of actually using his enormous South Philadelphia real estate holdings to assemble what has been dubbed a “black Muslim enclave.” Confronted in 2007, Gamble responded with a rant portraying segregation as natural. “It’s like cats,” he insisted. “They’re all cats. But you don’t see the lion with the tiger. You don’t see the tiger with the panther.” Equally alarming are Gamble’s intimate ties to the Jawala Scouts (photos here), aptly described as an “Islamic paramilitary boys group” featuring “hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and survival tactics.”

Additional background is available in an Islamist Watch article from 2008, published after Gamble left his fingerprints on that year’s election by hosting an Obama office. Alternatively, a simple online search yields plentiful data.

What makes the Romney-Gamble flirtation so unsettling is the apparent lack of due diligence in determining who does and does not get endorsed by the man who could be the next leader of the free world. Ten minutes on Google should suffice to raise red flags, but did anyone from the campaign bother to look? More disturbing is the possibility that uncomfortable facts turned up but were dismissed as tangential to Gamble’s work in education.

“Saluting” somebody like Gamble for one facet of his life while ignoring the rest imparts an aura of respectability to the individual as a whole, easing the path for his less savory projects. This seems to be understood for every group except Muslims. Imagine, for example, a senior figure in a radical Christian organization whose luminaries have been linked to violence and terrorism, a man who has shrugged off charges of constructing a “white Christian enclave” and been involved with a youth movement whose participants march in fatigues and brandish weapons. Regardless of his other accomplishments, would this person be asked to share camera time with a presidential hopeful? The question answers itself.

The role of the media is significant here. Though they would hammer any candidate who bolstered the analogous Christian radical, mainstream news sources that covered Romney’s Bluford visit made no mention of the skeletons in Gamble’s closet, illustrating that their see-no-evil mentality vis-à-vis Islamism trumps even their instinct to shame Republicans. Indeed, the obvious hypersensitivity and double standards protecting Islamists can foster complacency among politicians of both parties, who assume that they will not be held accountable for palling around with them.

This certainly has been the case in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael Nutter has suffered no ill effects from having Gamble on his inaugural committee, personally presenting the sign to rename a block in Gamble’s honor, and headlining the dedication ceremony for a taxpayer-supported mural that lauds him. Such legitimization has paved the way for Gamble to build his Islamist-tinged empire through massive government assistance, including dirt-cheap property from the city, sweetheart deals with the School Reform Commission when it was chaired by a onetime Universal board member, and regular feedings at public troughs that span the municipal, state, and federal levels.

Rather than provide a “they do it too” excuse for politicians caught befriending Islamists, the Philadelphia establishment’s cozy relations with Gamble only underscore the importance of a critical eye and the will to act on it — in other words, real leadership. As radical Muslims aggressively seek similar openings to win undeserved respect and influence governments both nationally and internationally, a president capable of recognizing and shunning them is more vital than ever. Washington’s colossal and bipartisan failures in Muslim outreach — most recently seen in the mind-boggling selection of an Islamist to represent the U.S. at a conference on human rights — have done enough damage already.

Islamists have grown adept at hiding in plain sight, so great care must be taken when choosing which Muslims to engage and extol. With luck, airing the embarrassing facts behind his unfortunate promotion of Kenny Gamble / Luqman Abdul Haqq will be the wake-up call that Mitt Romney needs to learn this lesson now and, should he prevail on November 6, be in a better position to succeed where past presidents have faltered.

David J. Rusin is a research fellow at Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.