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Arnold Ahlert / August 30, 2013

The FBI and the Muslim Brotherhood

Robert Mueller’s dance with the Islamists.

A recent report in Mother Jones magazine has given the lie to FBI Director Robert Mueller’s defense of his agency’s failure to take any action against Nidal Hasan, despite intercepting a series of emails between the mass murderer and terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, beginning as early as 2008. Appearing on CBS News last Thursday, Mueller was asked if his agency “dropped the ball." "No, I think, given the context of the discussions and the situation that the agents and the analysts were looking at, they took appropriate steps,” he responded.

Mueller’s statements are shocking in light of the mountain of evidence showing FBI dereliction of duty, which is now finally getting the media attention it deserves. On the other hand, Mueller’s remarks make perfect sense given the Obama administration’s long and disturbing track record of allowing Islamists to shape U.S. national security policy, including at the FBI. Mueller himself has been Obama’s point man in that effort.

Recall that in 2012, the FBI eliminated 876 pages and 392 presentations from its counterterrorism training manuals. At the time, FBI spokesman Christopher Allen said that the Bureau found some of the material to be inaccurate, too broad or, in some cases, offensive, because it allegedly characterized Muslims as prone to violence and/or terrorism. Four criteria were used in the purge, including the politically incorrect metrics of “poor taste” and “stereotyping.” Former Congressman Allen West (R-FL) made a stir at the time for characterizing the purge as “cultural suicide” that was influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood and its associated groups.

Unfortunately, West was exactly right. On February 16, 2012 the Washington Post revealed that the FBI met with a coalition of Muslim groups eight days earlier to consider a proposal that “a coalition of Muslim and interfaith groups … establish a committee of experts to review materials used in FBI anti-terrorism training.” Those meeting with Mueller included the Muslim Brotherhood front groups the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), despite its listing by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism-funding trial, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). MPAC’s president, Salam al-Marayati, had previously written an LA Times column threatening the FBI with non-cooperation from the Muslim community if the FBI didn’t apologize to Americans Muslims and establish a proper vetting process along with an inter-agency task force to conduct an independent review of the training material.

Despite these revelations, the Obama administration has stonewalled investigation into FBI “guidelines” on Islam curricula, forcing the government watchdog group Judicial Watch to sue both the FBI and the DOJ for their failure to honor Freedom of Information Act requests. But remarkably, the FBI has continued to push the envelope. In late 2012, the Bureau released a new document online called “Guiding Principles: Touchstone Document on Training.” The document contains a disturbing clause instructing agents that "mere association with organizations that demonstrate both legitimate (advocacy) and illicit (violent extremism) objectives should not automatically result in a determination that the associated individual is acting in furtherance of the organization’s illicit objective(s).“ In other words, even those who may be involved with a terrorist group’s "charity arm,” which many groups have as a funding mechanism and as a means of cover, cannot be assumed to be supporting terrorism and must be given the benefit of the doubt.

In June of 2013, investigative journalist Patrick Poole revealed how far the Obama administration has taken its warped philosophy. In "Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Policy,“ Poole extensively chronicles the administration’s effort to take some of the same groups it has called terrorists in federal court and turn them into "outreach partners."  Poole further cites the disturbing number of "leaders of American Islamic organizations that partner with the U.S. government” who later transitioned into officials for Muslim Brotherhood fronts.

Even many people under active federal investigation for terrorist activities were simultaneously meeting with government officials to help formulate U.S. policy (long before the Foot Hood massacre took place). According to Poole, this was part of “a full scale campaign of political correctness waged inside the [FBI] and throughout the U.S. government … against any attempt to link jihadi terrorism with anything remotely connected to Islam of any variety.”

The Nidal Hasan case is one disastrous result of this campaign. In 2009, when the agency first revealed that Hasan and al-Awlaki had communicated as many as 10 to 20 times, mostly by email, the Bureau claimed those communications were “benign and contained no threat,” and that they had insufficient information to commence a full investigation. "There was no indication that Maj. Hasan was planning an attack anywhere … or that he was directed to do anything,“ a senior investigative official said at the time. Still, the FBI vigorously suppressed publication of those emails.

However, in July 2012, an unclassified report conducted by a commission chaired by former FBI director William H. Webster was released. It contained the Hasan/al-Awlaki emails, but remained under the media’s radar until Mother Jones brought it to light. The 173-page document reveals that Nidal Hasan first "tripped the wire” with his contact with al-Awlaki in December 2008. Another email was sent in January. Both were intercepted by FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Diego, because they were tracking al-Awlaki. Yet the report reveals an inter-agency communication that comes to a remarkable conclusion: contact with the American-born terrorist, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011, “does not necessarily indicate participation in terrorist-related matters.”

Both bureaucratic inertia and the determination to cast Hasan’s communication with al-Awlaki as unthreatening caused a two-month delay in Hasan’s case being assigned to Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), a law enforcement agency that operates inside the Pentagon. The Washington-based official assigned to investigate Hasan shelved his inquiry for the 90 days because “no written FBI policy set a deadline for completing work on Routine leads” at that time. When the official did conduct his investigation, he searched a number of databases, and got Hasan’s personnel file from the Department of Defense. Six Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) “contained almost uniformly positive reports of Hasan by his superior officers.” Yet the report further notes the investigating official “did not have any files maintained locally by Hasan’s command.” As a result, he missed learning that Hasan’s program directors at his fellowship and residency program ranked him in “the bottom 25 percent,” that he was placed on “probation and remediation,” and that he “often failed to meet basic job expectations[.]”

Based on the information he did gather, the investigator concluded that Hasan’s communications with the terrorist mastermind “were relevant to his research on Islam and the military." Investigators declined to interview Hasan because they believed it would compromise their investigation of al-Awlaki and because it "would harm Hasan’s career." The Webster report further notes that a Washington Field Office Task Force Officer, who was eventually tasked with investigating Hasan, was reluctant to proceed because subject was "politically sensitive for the WFO.”

All the while, Hasan continued to email al-Awlaki. on June 16, 2009, Hasan sent his last email to al-Awlaki regarding the perils that would befall any Muslim who failed to listen to Allah. On July 15, 2009, he was transferred to Fort Hood.

On November 5, 2009 he committed his atrocity.

Immediately after the incident, generals rushed to the press to lecture the public about the horrors of letting “diversity” become an unnecessary “casualty” of the shooting. The military’s reaction to the carnage was every bit as PC-infused as the missteps that allowed the shooting to occur in the first place. This is no coincidence, but an expression of the culture of fear and insanity carefully nurtured by the Obama administration and its terrorist “outreach partners.” Diversity will not be the last casualty of this misguided program.

Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.

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