It was Mueller who made sure that the U.S. government would ignore and deny the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat.
It has come to light that as director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, who is currently the special counsel looking for any dirt he can find on Donald Trump, presided over the 2012 removal of all counterterror training materials of any mention of Islam and jihad in connection with terrorism. Since then, our law enforcement and intelligence officials have been blundering along in self-imposed darkness about the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat. This, it turns out, was Mueller’s doing.
In February 2012, the Obama Administration purged more than one thousand documents and presentations from counter-terror training material for the FBI and other agencies. This material was discarded at the demand of Muslim groups, which had deemed it inaccurate or offensive to Muslims.
This purge was several years in the making, and I was – inadvertently – the one who touched it off. In August 2010, when I gave a talk on Islam and jihad to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — one of many such talks I gave to government agencies and military groups in those years. While some had counseled me to keep these talks quiet so as to avoid attracting the ire of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the possibility of that pressure seemed to me to make it all the more important to announce my appearances publicly, so as to show that the U.S. government was not going to take dictation from a group linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Those who had urged silence were proven correct, however, for the Obama administration was indeed disposed to take dictation from CAIR. CAIR sent a series of letters to Mueller and others demanding that I be dropped as a counter-terror trainer; the organization even started a “coalition” echoing this demand, and Jesse Jackson and other Leftist luminaries joined it.
At the FBI, Mueller made no public comment on CAIR’s demand, and so it initially appeared that CAIR’s effort had failed. But I was never again invited to provide counter-terror training for any government agency, after having done so fairly regularly for the previous five years. CAIR’s campaign to keep me from taking part in counter-terror training was, of course, not personal. They targeted me simply because I told the truth, just as they would target anyone else who dared do so.
Although Mueller was publicly silent, now we know that he was not unresponsive. And the Islamic supremacists and their Leftist allies didn’t give up. In the summer and fall of 2011, the online tech journal Wired published several “exposés” by far-Left journalist Spencer Ackerman, who took the FBI to task for training material that spoke forthrightly and truthfully about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat.
In a typical sally from one of these exposés, Ackerman condemned the training material for intimating that mainstream American Muslims were “likely to be terrorist sympathizers.” Certainly all the mainstream Muslim organizations condemn al-Qaeda and 9/11; however, as we have seen, some of the foremost of those organizations, such as ISNA, MAS, ICNA, the MSA, CAIR, and others, have links of various kinds to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. A mainstream Muslim spokesman in the U.S., Ground Zero Mosque Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, refused to condemn Hamas until it became too politically damaging for him not to do so; another, CAIR’s Nihad Awad, openly declared his support for Hamas in 1994. Other mainstream Muslim spokesmen in the U.S., such as Obama’s ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Rashad Hussain, and media gadfly Hussein Ibish, have praised and defended Sami al-Arian, the confessed leader of another jihad terror group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Do these men and organizations represent a tiny minority of extremists that actually does not express the opinions of the broad mainstream of Muslims in this country? Maybe, but there simply are no counterparts — no individuals of comparable influence or groups of comparable size — that have not expressed sympathy for some Islamic terror group.
Nonetheless, in the face of Ackerman’s reports, the FBI went into full retreat. In September 2011 it announced that it was dropping one of the programs that Ackerman had zeroed in on.
Then on October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates, who had complained for years about supposed Muslim profiling and entrapment, sent a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.”
It criticized “the FBI’s use of biased experts and training materials.” Khera complained that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a powerpoint presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; and that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia,” and “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”
These were supposed to be terrible things because I was bigoted and hateful. But many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were not actually bigoted and distorted at all, but simply accurate. What was distorted was Khera’s representation of them. For instance, Khera stated,
A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:
- “Wearing traditional Muslim attire”
- “Growing facial hair”
- “Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”
- “Travel to a Muslim country”
- “Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”
But the FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that converts to Islam were necessarily “on the path” to becoming “extremists” if they wore traditional Muslim attire, grew facial hair, and frequently attended a mosque; it simply included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators to “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Others included “travel without obvious source of funds’; “suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”; “large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”; and “formation of operational cells.” Khera selectively quoted and misrepresented the list to give the impression that the FBI was saying that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”
Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and more — to ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.
Brennan immediately complied. In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera, that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan promised that the government would “ensure that federal officials and state, local and tribal partners receive accurate, evidence-based information in these crucial areas.”
Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged — and the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate.
But it wasn’t just Brennan. Now we know that it was Mueller all along. Both Brennan and Mueller, of course, are part of the same Washington establishment that has wholeheartedly endorsed the idea that honest analysis of jihadis motives is “Islamophobia.” Find out why this view is so dangerous in my new book Confessions of an Islamophobe.