This is an excellent review of Patrick Poole’s important piece published last June,
FrontPage, by Arnold Ahlert on June 5, 2013
As the Obama administration seeks to move beyond a welter of scandals, a new report by investigative journalist Patrick Poole reveals that the frenzy isn’t quite over yet. On top of the IRS’s targeting of conservatives, the DOJ’s seizure of reporters’ phone records and the coverup surrounding the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, the White House’s years-long collaboration with supporters of terrorism is finally getting the scrutiny it deserves. Poole’s comprehensive GLORIA Center article, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Policy,” details the Obama administration’s extensive relationship with accomplices to terrorism and how these associations have shaped administration policy — and endangered the American public in the process. As Middle East expert Barry Rubin commented on the report, “[Y]ou may think that you know this story — but it is far more extensive than has ever before been revealed.”
The primary question at the heart of Poole’s report is simple:
Why has the U.S. government called certain Islamic groups supporters of terror in federal court, and then turned around and called these same organizations ‘moderates’ and embraced them as outreach partners?
Many of the individuals under active federal investigation for terrorist activities were simultaneously meeting with government officials to help formulate U.S. policy during the last three administrations. Under the Obama administration, these same Islamist organizations and their leaders have influenced vital policy measures, including a purge of counter-terrorism training that makes it virtually impossible for law enforcement officials “to connect the dots.”
For example, Poole cites the failure of the FBI to carry out an investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the Boston Marathon bombings, despite Russian warnings. He attributes a portion of that failure to
a full scale campaign of political correctness waged inside the bureau and throughout the U.S. government under the Obama administration against any attempt to link jihadi terrorism with anything remotely connected to Islam of any variety.
This regime of “political correctness” (to put it charitably) is no doubt a function of the Obama administration’s choice of Muslim “outreach partners,” which is rife with individuals like Shaykh Kifah Mustapha. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) extended an invitation to Mustapha to tour its top-secret facility in September 2010, as part of the FBI’s civilian training program, despite the fact that he was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. That trial represents the largest terrorist financing case in history. During the trial, an FBI agent testified that Mustapha undertook fundraising efforts for Hamas, glorified the terrorist group, and encouraged the slaughter of Jews. Furthermore, the visit also followed Mustapha’s previous removal as a chaplain for the Illinois State Police, due to media reports of his terrorist activities.
The same reckless discounting of radicalism and terror ties can be found at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where Janet Napolitano appointed Mohamed Elibiary to her Homeland Security Advisory Council in October 2010, despite his honoring Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini at a 2004 conference, and his open support for Islamist godfather Sayyid Qutb. In 2010, Mohamed Majid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was sitting a few feet from Obama at the annual White House Iftar dinner in August, commemorating the Muslim celebration of Ramadan. ISNA was also cited as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).
The terrorist connections of Muslim aid programs and their financiers have also been scrupulously ignored. The Obama administration continues to fund the Sunni Ittehad Council to combat Pakistani extremism, despite rallies it held celebrating the assassination of a Pakistani governor opposed to the nation’s use of blasphemy laws to punish religious minorities.
Poole also cites the disturbing number of “leaders of American Islamic organizations that partner with the U.S. government” who transition into officials for Muslim Brotherhood fronts. Louay Safi is one such individual. Safi, a former top advisor at the Pentagon, appeared at a 2011 press conference in Istanbul as one the leaders of the Syrian National Council, which seeks to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad and is associated with the Brotherhood. That appearance occurred only weeks after Safi met with top White House officials. Safi was yet another unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. According to Poole, Safi’s status at the Pentagon became an issue following the Fort Hood atrocity, “when 13 members of Congress sent a letter to Defense Secretary Gates complaining that not only was Safi endorsing Muslim chaplains for the Defense Department on behalf of ISNA [a Muslim Brotherhood front], but also teaching classes on the ‘Theology of Islam’ to troops departing for Afghanistan at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss under a subcontract with the Naval Postgraduate School.”
Five other men made a similar transformation. Ghassan Hitto, a Dallas businessman, former director of CAIR’s Texas branch, and a recent board member of the Muslim American Society that the FBI has identified as a North American “arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood, has become “the provision premier of the Syrian resistance.”
Muthanna al-Hanooti is a former CAIR director and a former federal prisoner convicted for doing business with Iraq as part of a plea deal that stemmed from a far more serious indictment accusing him of attempting to influence Congress on behalf of Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service (ISI). He is now regional director for the Detroit chapter of the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
Mahmoud Hussein is the current secretary general of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, recruited while studying at the University of Iowa. He was once president of a now defunct subsidiary of ISNA know as the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), which sponsored several conferences featuring terrorists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ishaq Farhan, a longtime board member of the Washington-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) now heads the the Islamic Action Front, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Jordan.
Ahmed Yousef was the director of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), identified as early as 1993 as Hamas’s “political command” in America. According to the terror group’s charter, they consider themselves a “wing” of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. Yousef, who fled the U.S. in 2005 on terror-realted charges, is currently a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, and a senior political adviser to their terrorist leader, Ismail Haniyeh.
Poole notes that, because so many of the Islamic outreach partners affiliated with the government turned out to be fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, the government is making “extraordinary efforts” to ignore that reality. This self-orchestrated denial has led to an incredible policy implemented by the Obama administration, one that was formulated as a result of the FBI’s continued relationship with CAIR, despite its aforementioned status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case.
It began with the purge of hundreds of documents and presentations from counterterrorism manuals, leading to the creation of the FBI’s “Touchstone Document.” That document finally codified the Obama administration’s increasingly despicable approach to terror. It articulates a new policy that ought to enrage every American, even as it will undoubtedly endanger us all (emphasis added):
Training must clearly distinguish between constitutionally protected statements and activities designed to achieve political, social, or other objectives, and violent extremism, which is characterized by the use, threatened use, or advocacy of use of force or violence (when directed at and likely to incite imminent lawless activity) in violation of federal law to further a movement’s social or political ideologies. This distinction includes recognition of the corresponding principle 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, if a terrorist group performs any “advocacy” function, such as building a school or a day care center, the FBI cannot “jump to conclusions” about individuals associated with the group, even if it is also perpetrating mass murder. Thus, as Poole notes, the terror support of this administration’s Muslim outreach partners “is absolved with a rhetorical sleight-of-hand.”
The result? “This is why Mohamed Majid, who just a few years before was treated as a pariah by the Attorney General of the United States after federal prosecutors named his organization as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and a supporter of terrorism in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history, can just a few short years later not only be rehabilitated, but can regularly be found–much as al-Qa’ida fundraiser Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi who preceded him–a frequent visitor to the White House,” writes Poole.
Poole then goes on to reveal a parade of “rehabilitated” terrorists and their organizations that have been, and will continue to be, welcomed into the country by the Obama administration. These include people like Hani Nour Eldin, a known member of the U.S.-designated terrorist group Egyptian al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, who visited the White House in 2012 to demand the release of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Sudanese war criminal Nafie Ali Nafie, the architect of two genocides in that nation, also got the red carpet treatment, receiving an invitation to the State Department as part of a Sudanese delegation.
Poole further reveals that such monstrous accommodation begets an even more insidious downside. “No sooner had the White House’s new outreach policy been announced, when it became clear that one of the policy outcomes of this relationship was the administration’s enforcement of a blacklist of subject matter experts deemed ‘enemies’ by their Muslim partners,” he writes. Coupled with the “Islamophobic” purge of law enforcement training manuals, the Obama administration began fully embracing this Alice in Wonderland approach to terror, best described as one that allows enemies of the United States to help us decide who our enemies are — and who they aren’t.
Poole uses a quote by Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the Blind Sheikh, to encapsulate the insidiousness of this policy. “I marched into the courtroom every day for nine months and proved that there was an undeniable nexus between Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims…And when I demonstrated the straight-line, undeniable logic of the evidence–that scripture informed the Blind Sheikh’s directives; that those directives informed his terrorist subordinates; and that those subordinates then committed atrocities–the government gave me the Justice Department’s highest award,” McCarthy writes. “Today, I’d be ostracized. No longer is the government content to be willfully blind. Today, it is defiantly, coercively, extortionately blind.”
It is far worse than that. When five members of Congress led by the retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attempted to ascertain the level of Islamic infiltration into the government of the United States, members of both political parties, along with the media, excoriated their efforts to protect the American public. Their ire was further stoked by the group’s inquiry into Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s family, despite the reality that her mother, brother and deceased father are/were members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliate organization, the Muslim Sisterhood. Ironically, given the parameters of the Touchstone Document, it would now likely be irrelevant if Huma Abedin herself belonged to either branch of the organization.
Yet as this extensive investigation by Poole reveals, Bachmann, et al., have not only been vindicated, they may have underestimated the problem. It remains to be seen if Congress, already up to its necks in administration scandals, will be willing to take this one on as well. As the atrocity in Boston indicates, American lives literally depend on it.