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Is The FBI Counter-terrorism Program Totally Broken?

In the wake of the Orlando Pulse gay nightclub massacre that took 50 lives, injuring 53 others, a number of questions have arisen about why the FBI investigations of the perpetrator, Omar Mateen, didn’t prevent him from carrying out his homicidal jihad. Moreover, after 9/11, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Garland, San Bernardino and now Orlando, questions have arisen about conduct of  Counter-terrorism programs of the DHS and especially the FBI, that abets willful blindness to the threat  posed by  radicalized domestic Muslims.

This is especially disturbing in the wake of the largest mass shooting in American history and the largest domestic toll in an Islamic terror attack since 9/11.

FBI-Academy-Sign-SMALLFBI Director James Comey after the attack said that in 2014 it had run operatives against him, conducted surveillance including electronic, yet it didn’t provide enough evidentiary material to bring charges. Perhaps they may have even spoken with fellow co-workers who now allege to the media that Mateen expressed violent views.  Dr. Sebastian Gorka, counter-terrorism expert and author of the acclaimed, Defeating Jihad; the winnable War, said on Hannity’s America:

I work with FBI agents. They are loyal patriotic Americans. But the problem is the politically correct matrix imposed by the Department of Justice on top of the FBI.

Watch the Fox News Hannity interview with Dr. Gorka.

Following the breaking news about Mateen’s jihad, the FBI disclosed it had conducted two investigations in 2013 and 2014 on Mateen’s alleged connections to al Qaeda   They also investigated  his relations with Moner Abu-Salha, the first American suicide bomber in Syria who attended the same Florida Mosque.  Abu-Salha fled Florida for Syria to join Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusrah. Mateen had allegedly listened to tapes by the American born leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Anwar al-Awlaki, and watched on-line videos of ISIS beheading or burning victims.

We now know that Mateen and his second wife Noor Salman had traveled to Orlando ostensibly on a trip to Disney World.  That may have allowed him to case the premises of the Pulse nightclub as well as Disney properties in Orlando. His wife knew of his purchases of the Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic carbine and Glock pistol with large capacity magazines. She alleges entreating him to desist from carrying out his jihad. But she didn’t notify the police and now she is the subject of a grand jury investigation that might bring possible charges of being an accomplice in her husband’s atrocities.

There are suggestions by his former wife that Mateen may have exhibited conflicted perceptions of his sexual identity that might have been a factor in his violence towards her that ended the four month marriage seven years earlier.  That might have been a motivating factor for his undertaking his jihad to cleanse this fault that under Islamic theology criminalizes homosexuality.

Dr. Michael Welner, noted forensic psychiatrist, Chairman of the Forensic Panel, expert witness for the prosecution in high profile mass killing and terrorist cases was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on  ABC’s Good Morning America, June 15, 2016 about his views on the Orlando Jihad by Mateen. Welner differentiated mass killings between ‘vanity’ spectacles done by an individual  versus ‘ideological’ ones that involved co-conspirators. Orlando fit the latter category, as Mateen’s wife Noor Salman was a co-conspirator who assisted her husband in casing locations. He notes that she easily could have stopped it by going to police, but didn’t.  This mass killing he suggested was an ideological driven spectacle mass killing  “targeting Americans, targeted America and was allied with  Islamic supremacists supporting destruction of America.”  Mateen knew that there were many defenseless people packed  in  the  Pulse gay nightclub that he could kill efficiently. As to his sexual orientation conflicts, Welner noted that jihad committed during Ramadan begets forgiveness under Islamic law. As to Mateen’s own sexual conflicts, Welner noted  that was prevalent in the male culture of Afghanistan.

Watch, Dr. Welner’s Good Morning America interview.

The Daily Mail disclosed that Omar Mateen sought to become a full time law enforcement officer only to be booted out of the Indian River State College Law Enforcement Academy program. This was in 2015 a year after the FBI closed out the second investigation for “lack of substantive” evidence and communicated that to his employer, the British owned global private security giant, G4S. G4S that had employed him as a private security guard after the requisite criminal records check and passing a standard psychological exam.

Note these takeaways from the Daily Mail report:

  • Omar Mateen tried becoming a full-fledged police officer last summer at the police academy at Indian River State College.
  • He applied for an intensive six-month law enforcement academy in his hometown of Fort Pierce, Florida.
  • Officials at the Indian River State College’s Criminal Justice Institute were so concerned about his ‘deceptive’ behavior they rejected him.
  • He was reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State police
    ‘I believe he wanted to get hired by a police force to carry out whatever nefarious plan he had while in a uniform,’ said an informed insider.
  • A school higher-up called the FDLE to report Mateen as someone who should be watched.
  • The FDLE’s response: He was already on a watch list for potential terrorist affiliation.

What does that tell you about the sad state of affairs in FBI Counter-terrorism and ability of Florida local law enforcement to see through Mateen’s braggadocio to uncover his nefarious intent to commit homicidal jihad?

Is it time to take counter-terrorism out of the FBI and put it into an U.S. equivalent of Britain’s famed domestic intelligence agency, MI5?  That was a proposal made a decade ago by Federal Judge in the 7th Circuit of Appeals in Chicago, Hon. Richard A. Posner. See: “We Need our own MI5.”  Note what he wrote and think of how Mateen fell through the proverbial cracks of the FBI’s investigative process:

We do not have a counterpart to MI5. This is a serious gap in our defenses. Primary responsibility for national security intelligence has been given to the FBI. The bureau is a criminal investigation agency. Its orientation is toward arrest and prosecution rather than toward the patient gathering of intelligence with a view to understanding and penetrating a terrorist network.

The bureau’s tendency, consistent with its culture of arrest and prosecution, is to continue an investigation into a terrorist plot just long enough to obtain enough evidence to arrest and prosecute a respectable number of plotters. The British tend to wait and watch longer so that they can learn more before moving against plotters.

The FBI’s approach means that small fry are easily caught but that any big shots who might have been associated with them quickly scatter. The arrests and prosecutions warn terrorists concerning the methods and information of the FBI. Bureaucratic risk aversion also plays a part; prompt arrests ensure that members of the group won’t escape the FBI’s grasp and commit terrorist attacks. But without some risk-taking, the prospect of defeating terrorism is slight.

MI5, in contrast to the FBI (and to Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, with which MI5 works), has no arrest powers and no responsibilities for criminal investigation, and it has none of the institutional hang-ups that go with such responsibilities.

Couple Posner’s criticisms of the FBI criminal investigative approach with its obsessive political correctness and you are bound to have failures nailing jihadis out to do us harm.

Michael Leiter, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Center during the Bush and early Obama eras and Ali Soufan, former FBI supervisory special agent involved with investigating major international and domestic terrorist plots were interviewed, June 13, 2016 on the PBS News Hour about why it is increasingly difficult to identify likely jihadis. Note their responses:

Michael Leiter, former director National Counter Terrorism Center

After San Bernardino, after Paris. This is an incredibly hard fight.

And we really revolutionized how we did counter-terrorism post-9/11. And we have gotten so much better at working against complex plots overseas. But I think we’re approaching the point where we have to seriously consider how we revolutionize counter-terrorism now to optimize our ability to find these.

And it would require huge changes. It would require a lowering of the bar to do surveillance in certain operations. … It would require a huge increase in resources, both for the FBI and state and local law enforcement.

These are all big choices. And as tragic as this is, it still isn’t clear to me that we have the political will to go down that path.

Ali Soufan, former FBI supervisory special agent and head of his own security firm

Since 9/11, we have been very successful tactically in combating the threat. Unfortunately, when it comes to the ideology, we haven’t been that successful. We have been behind the eight-ball. We didn’t do much to counter the incubating factors that are leading into this. We haven’t been countering the ideology and countering the narrative as we should online.

I think we need to develop some kind of 21st century policing model where we can include the community inside the pipe, that they feel that they are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Back in 2007, I had the occasion with a colleague to meet and confer with two FBI supervisory agents at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They were on the faculty. They had been involved in uncovering and busting jihadis in California. One of them was among the five special agents who were Arabic speakers in the FBI at the time. We conferred about the status of the agency’s Counter-terrorism program and its emphasis on making arrests leading to prosecutions. I had just completed an expose on the translator scandal at both the FBI and contractors for the War in Iraq, revealing bias against qualified Arabic and Farsi speakers who were non Muslims, Jews and Christians.

After we discussed their views they asked what we thought of the FBI counter-terrorism program. I commented that it was flawed. They smiled and shook their heads knowingly.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Nat Sec Daily Brief.

Wrong: Muslim Migrants are not like Jewish Holocaust Survivors

Dr. Michael Welner has spoken out against the complicit calumny of American Rabbis and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, one the voluntary agencies that stands to gain from the influx of Syrian Refugees, who compare the their plight with those Jews who survived the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust or Shoah.

Dr michael welner

Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel.

His Algemeiner article, We Cannot Allow Comparisons of Mideast Refugees to Holocaust Survivors is a veritable Jeremiad  from this renowned Forensic Psychiatrist, Founder of the Manhattan – based The Forensic Panel,  expert witness at many high profile cases of mass shootings and developer of an evidence based standard for measuring depravity and evil.  He is also the son of Holocaust survivors. We have written about his remarkable mother Barbara who has a deep, abiding reality based assessment of the heinous barbaric treatment of Jews from her own experience during the Shoah and those evident in the extremism of radical Islam.

See our April 2015 Iconoclast post, “On the Eve of Yom Ha Shoah a Courageous Survivor Speaks of the Islamist Threat Facing Israel and Jews”. Dr.  Welner makes several valid points about why the comparison of the Jewish Holocaust survivors’ experiences versus those of the Syrian and other Muslim refugees is at best myopic.  Among these are:

  1. Jewish refugees were not warring with anyone, and were no threat to anyone. Refugees attributed to Syria are fleeing a war within their own land in which they are on one side or another.
  2. Jewish refugees were hunted down to be killed wherever they were. This is not happening to all (or most) Muslims of Syria and neighboring countries who seek emigration.
  3. Jewish refugees were literally fleeing for their lives with nowhere in their countries to go. Syrian refugees are fleeing a country with degraded infrastructure for a safer and more normal existence. They also have the option of traveling to neighboring Arab countries — something Jews of the Holocaust did not have.
  4. Jewish refugees had no conflict or grievance with the West. The Arab world is in the midst of an open conflict with the West. The United States has been sponsoring some of the fighters operating in Syria. There is no way of knowing whether refugees have allegiance to one faction or another.
  5. Jewish refugees were not accompanied by any terrorist problem in America. Islamist terrorism has already expressed itself through those who have immigrated here legally and illegally.
  6. Jewish refugee traffic was never exploited to embed people who were simply taking advantage of chaos to slip across borders with criminal or terrorist motivation. That has already been demonstratively the case with the Syrian-Turkish Muslim migration.
  7. Jewish refugees had no Jewish homeland to go to. They were stateless people who were unsafe everywhere. The “Syrian” refugee problem overlooks that there are areas all over the Muslim world which could accommodate them culturally, but many of those countries have refused them.

Welner takes particular scorn of a HIAS letter signed by 139 Rabbis endeavoring to comparison the plight of the 900 Jewish souls on board the SS St. Louis who were denied sanctuary by anti-Semitic elements in the FDR State Department in  the late 1930’s, only to have one third ultimately perish in Nazi concentration and death camps during the Shoah. He writes:

This letter overlooks is that the very source of the current American controversy is that, by admission of even trusted intelligence persons in the Obama administration, the United States indeed cannot tell the difference between the enemy and the victims of the enemy. That is the source of our current national security problem. To compare this real dilemma to a climate of 1939 that was nothing more than just visceral hatred for Jews for nothing more than their religion is obscene. That many rabbis are willing to abet such misunderstanding demonstrates, once again, a deep failure of those rabbis to take responsibility for teaching and protecting the fidelity of Jewish history. The horrors of the Holocaust remain unthinkable, even as memories fade with the dying off of elderly survivors. So why is it that rabbis, so designated as leaders of Jewish thought, could display such derelict idiocy in making comparisons of Holocaust refugees to migrants from the Arab world?

He cites the twisting pathology of Taken Olam that is behind Jewish compassion towards Muslim refugees that defiles the memories of Shoah survivors:

In my professional opinion, these behaviors actually reflect on the sickening pathology among Jews of even the most highly educated pedigrees to feel the need, even by resorting to the grotesque, to display their non-denominational compassion. Tikkun Olam, to many, reflects upon the Jewish imperative to help the world beyond those who are Jewish. Others interpret that phrase differently. But it cannot be disputed by anyone that Jewish non-discriminatory philanthropy and with no strings attached is unmatched among religions. We need not prove that we are kind. And for those who feel that Jews need to do a better job of demonstrating this to the Muslim world, consider how much Jewish charity has been offered to Iran and Turkey after natural disasters, only to be refused in order to preserve narratives that demonize Jews. Jews are pilloried not for lack of charity, but because Muslim Arab intolerance is extreme, implacable, and emanates from countries that control their media and can control their peoples by creating fictions of Jewish bogeymen. The purveyors and consumers of said fictions couldn’t care less about the bill boarding of Jewish advocacy for Muslims.

How is it then, that the signatory rabbis degrade the special history of their own people? Because flaunting public perception of their sensitivity to others enables them to make personal political statements, massage their vanities for being part of letters published in full page ads, and announce their own bona fides. But while those public personas are their own, no rabbi owns Jewish history such that they have the right to reinvent it.

It would be far more responsible for such rabbis and other prominent Jews to feed their self-interests without resorting to defiling the Holocaust by diluting it or by distorting any of its searing lessons. How pathetic it is that in this day and age, we truly have many Christians who have a greater sensitivity for the legacy of baseless hatred towards Jews than certain rabbis themselves. President Obama can hardly be blamed for insulting the legacy of the Holocaust when so many rabbis utterly fail to respect their own Shoah.

Welner concludes:

If Holocaust denial bothers you, this crass misuse is not something to overlook without strong response. Like the BDS movement, silence only enables greater latitude. Assertions by Jews that dilute and therefore desecrate the Holocaust must stop. Holocaust trivializing should be limited to Iran and the other visceral haters, rather than daily parlance of the educated in America. The teaching of accurate Jewish history must remain, across all denominations, a litmus test for suitability to minister to others as would be expected from any religion.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. troops with giving water to a Holocaust survivor.

Minneapolis the U.S. Hub for Islamic State Recruitment?

Abi Nur  on Right in Syria Abdullah Yusuf left -stopped _ Twitter from American w Islamic State

Abdi Nur, right, posted a photo online from Syria. A friend, Abdullah Yusuf, left, was stopped as he tried to depart. Top, an image of Western passports put up by a Twitter user who says she is an American with the Islamic State. Source; New York Times

The Sunday New York Times had a front page story on the chronicle of a pair Somali émigré youths in the Twin Cities, one of whom successfully traveled to Syria to join ISIS, while his friend was stopped before he could board a flight  to join his fellow mujaheddin, “From Minneapolis to ISIS: An American’s Path to Jihad”.   

Abdi Nur was the 20 year old community college attendee who originally wanted to become a lawyer, instead opting for becoming a Jihadist recruit for the Islamic State Caliphate in Raqaa, Syria.  His unlucky comrade, 18 year old, Abdullah Yusuf didn’t make it and finds himself sentenced by the court to the equivalent of a re-education program by a federal judge. Both boys may have been recruited by a youth leader at a Bloomington, Minnesota Al Farooq Mosque.

The article covers the story we wrote about last September concerning  the death of Abdirahmaan Muhumed an ISIS jihadi, a 29 year old  Somali Emigre from Minneapolis, who had airport security access while working as a airline cleaner.  The article attempts to explain what attracted Somali émigré youths and other American Muslims to the Salafist Jihadist Takfir doctrine. Why they were motivated to pick up stakes, abandon their families, cruise IS social media, eventually downloading a veritable Fodor –type guide for Hijrah (immigration) to the Islamic State and obtain free plane tickets to travel to the Caliphate. The Times authors focus on federal investigations and local community intervention and re-education programs that appear to offer few if any relevant answers.

This is the latest story of how  the U.S. humanitarian refugee program, controlled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, flooded this major Midwestern community with 100,000 East Africa Muslims.  Many of them failed to assimilate into American culture with radical Mosques recruiting dozens of native born jihadists to fight and die for first al Shabaab in Somalia and now for ISIS in Syria. We have written about this repeatedly since 2008. The Times article didn’t delve into how the Somali refugees came to the Twin cities with the assistance of voluntary agencies  paid by the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to process them, provide cash assistance, Medicaid and receive a green card to  eventually citizens. All while many of these Muslim émigrés rejected American values, instead seeking to impose their Sharia law on the host non-Muslim community.

ISIS-ExposedErick Stakelbeck on Tuesday, March 17th, aired his version of this story on CBN’s The Watchman“Minneapolis- the U.S. Capital of ISIS” – a prelude for his latest book, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Realities of Radical Islam, by Regenery Publishing.  We are rapidly ploughing through it and will review it for the April NER; hopefully along with a short interview with Stakelbeck about ISIS and the failure of U.S. policy.  Stakelbeck’s latest book, like his previous books on The Brotherhood; America’s Next Great Enemy and Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat reads like a thriller, but with a very important message. Stakelbeck knows the Somali émigré terror recruit story and how our humanitarian refugee program played a major role in creating the radical Muslim environment in these communities that indoctrinated and recruited these youths. He visits the areas that have the look and feel of Mogadishu in Minnesota. He speaks with frustrated Somali community and former law enforcement officials about the futility of trying to divert these youths from a likely dead end that have befallen dozens who preceded them.  He also delves into what attracts these young American Somali and other Muslim émigrés and converts to follow this delusional self destruction jihadist cause.

Watch Stakelbeck CBN ISIS program.

Last Monday, March 16th, Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel was interviewed on Bill Bennett’s Morning America program about what attracts Western and other foreign Muslims, to join the barbaric cause of the Islamic State. Welner provided insights as to what attracts Islamic State recruits that raise serious questions about the social media messaging initiatives of the Obama Administration. Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner explains the root of ISIS’s appeal and why people continue to join its cause. Listen to this informative YouTube interview with Dr. Welner by Bill Bennett:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

The Other Muslim Oklahoma Beheading Suspect: Jacob Mugami Muriithi from Kenya

Alton Alexander Nolen, a.k.a. Jah’Keem Yisrael was  not the only Muslim arrested for  threatening a barbaric murder the beheading a fellow employee.

Nolen, according to a report from his home town newspaper in McCurtain, Oklahoma may have been fired for misogynist arguments with female workers about stoning women under Islamic Sharia.  On Friday, September 26th,  Jacob Mugami Muriithi, a Kenyan Muslim immigrant,  was arrested  for  threatening  a fellow Oklahoma City nursing  home worker on September 19th with beheading. Muriithi was arrested with bail set at $1 million on  a terrorism compliant and currently is being investigated.

Jacob Mugami Muriithi

Jacob Mugami Muriithi, Muslim immigrant from Kenya and Oklahoma City Nursing home worker. Source: The Oklahoman.

The Oklahoman published the details in a report on Sunday, September 28th, “Fired Oklahoma City nursing home worker threatened beheading, police say”:

In a bizarre coincidence, a fired Oklahoma City nursing home employee was arrested Friday after a co-worker reported he threatened to cut her head off. The arrest came on the same day police in Moore revealed fired Vaughan Foods worker Alton Alexander Nolen beheaded a co-worker after he was fired Thursday. Nolen is a Muslim convert.

Murithi was identified as a native of Kenya who is living in Oklahoma City. He worked at Bellevue Nursing Home in northwest Oklahoma City, police reported.

The co-worker reported Muriithi threatened her while they were both working at the nursing home Sept. 19, a police detective wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit.

The woman was not identified.

She said Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim and said he “represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians,” the detective told a judge in the affidavit. The two had not worked together before.

The woman said she asked him why they kill Christians and he replied, “This is just what we do,” the detective reported.

“The victim said Jacob asked her what time she got off work and she replied by asking him in a joking manner if he was going to kill her,’ the detective wrote. “Jacob told the victim, ‘Yes,’ he was going to cut her head off. The victim asked Jacob what he was going to cut her head off with and he said, ‘A blade,’ then told her after he did it he was going to post it on Facebook.

“The victim said Jacob was serious when speaking and never made any statements that he was joking or playing around.”

The woman reported Muriithi repeated the threat as she left work, saying in front of another employee that he was going to use a blade, the detective reported.

Nolen may have been a jailhouse convert to Islam, while Muriithi was a Muslim immigrant. Both appeared to have been motivated by the graphic portrayal of beheadings of American victims, journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well British aid worker, David Haines.  They may have been entreated to follow the Qur’anic imperative in Sura 47:4:

 Yusuf Ali: Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah, – He will never let their deeds be lost.

We know that Nolen’s social media was redolent of such hatred and support of ISIS’ barbarity.  We await further details on the investigation of the beheading threat by Muriithi to determine if he was similarly influenced by social media or by the preaching of radical local Imams among the 18 Mosques in Metro Oklahoma  City serving the estimated 18,000 Muslims in the Sooner State.  With Muriithi’s arrest, the beheading murder by Nolen appears not to be an isolated workplace violence incident.  We will be shortly publishing an interview in the October NER with Dr. Michael Welner, noted  forensic psychiatrist and expert witness in major criminal and terrorism cases.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.