Although law enforcement was lauded for quickly identifying and neutralizing both suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing last weekend, the FBI has much explaining to do over why now-deceased Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects, managed to slip through the FBI’s fingers after two warnings from Russian intelligence two years ago that Tsarnaev was tied to “radical Islam.”
Of particular concern is that around the same time the FBI was informed about Tsarnaev, the Obama administration’s policies handling terrorism relating in any way to Islamic extremists changed.
PJ Media’s Patrick Poole noted in May, 2012 that the FBI training manual’s counter-terrorism lexicon made no mention of terrorism in regards to al Qaeda, Hamas, jihad, Islam, or the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The fact is religion has been expunged from counterterrorism training,” said counterterrorism specialist with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Sebastian Gorka to the Washington Times. He added, “The FBI can’t talk about Islam and they can’t talk about jihad.”
In October of 2011, an organization called “Muslim Advocates,” a group composed of fifty-seven Muslim advocacy groups from across the country, signed and sent a letter to high level Obama administration officials. They urged the administration to enact a widespread purge within law enforcement departments and agencies of any materials that could be deemed biased or discriminatory against Muslims.
The letter was sent to then-Counterterrorism and Deputy National Security Advisor (now CIA Director) John Brennan, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.
Naming specific books and documents they considered “offensive about Muslims and Islam” they wanted banned from federal law enforcement use, the organizations demanded:
1. Review all trainers and training materials at government agencies, including all FBI intelligence products used such as the FBI intranet, FBI library and JTTF training programs; US Attorney training programs; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Defense, and US military intranet, libraries and training materials, resources and experts;
2. Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials;
3. 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;
4. Ensure that personnel reviews are conducted and all trainers and other government employees who promoted biased trainers and training materials are effectively disciplined;
5. Implement quality control processes to ensure that bigoted trainers and biased materials are not developed or utilized in the future; and
6. Issue guidance clearly stating that religious practice and political advocacy are protected activities under the First Amendment, not indicators of violence, and shall not be the basis for surveillance or investigation.
By November 3, 2011, Brennan responded to the 57 Muslim advocacy organizations.
In his letter, Brennan wrote, “I am aware of the recent unfortunate incidents that have highlighted examples of the substandard and offensive training that some United States Government elements have either sponsored or delivered.”
Brennan informed the advocacy groups that the Obama administration agreed that creation of a “interagency task force to address this problem” was needed, so he “tasked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to form an interagency Working Group on Training to catalogue, review, and improve (Countering Violent Extremism) CVE-related instruction across all levels of government.”
Brennan shared with the 57 Muslim advocacy organizations the plan the White House had going forward, stating, “Departments and Agencies are taking aggressive steps to create broader review processes and build rigorous CVE curriculum standards.” These included:
Collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims; (2) establishing a process, in construction with subject matter experts, to ensure that such materials comply with core American values, professional standards, and the United States Constitution; and (3) writing guidance for CVE training which will be shared with components, field offices, and external partners. Moreover, we are committed to engaging in a sustained dialogue with all relevant stakeholders on these issues as we move forward.
Congressman Tom Cotton (R–AR) took notice of the administration’s failure to recognize and fight radical Islamic terrorism. On Wednesday, he noted that since President Barack Obama has been in office, five jihadist attacks occurred on American soil.
Counterterrorism is often shrouded in secrecy, as it should be, so let us judge by the results. In barely four years in office, five jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack Obama: the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square Bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and in my own state—the Little Rock recruiting office shooter. In the over seven years after 9/11 under George W. Bush, how many terrorists reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask, ‘Why is the Obama Administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it reaches its targets in the United States?’
The FBI must now explain why Tsarnaev flew beneath the radar, given his own ties to radical Islam. He was listed on the government’s classified central database of individuals it sees as potential threats, sources tell Reuters. At the same time, while US Customs reportedly knew Tsarnaev left for Russia in 2012, they did not know he returned to the US. Afterwards, he began uploading jihadist videos to his You Tube account.
The full Senate is scheduled to receive its own briefing on the Boston bombing investigation on Thursday.