Judicial Watch Pinch-Hitting for the FBI
Despite the growing menace and media savvy of the terrorist Islamic group ISIS, the FBI appears to be, once again, failing in its investigative and enforcement responsibilities. The agency that let us down with 9/11 and, afterward, reacted mainly in a flurry of political correctness and appeasement toward Muslims is now trying to reassure the American public that we have nothing to fear from ISIS on the North American continent.
This despite warnings from the nonprofit Judicial Watch of ISIS activism in Mexico, and recent ISIS-related arrests in Minnesota. More is needed from the nation's top domestic intelligence and security agency than this whistling in the dark if we are to be safe in our own country.
Official government estimates of ISIS recruits vary widely from 20,000 to 50,000. Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the federal National Counterterrorism Center, who places the number at more than 20,000, reports that fighters hail from 90 countries, with an estimated 3,400 from Western countries, including over 150 from the United States. Rasmussen admits that there is "likely more information out there that we have not yet been able to collect," and that there could also be "greater numbers of foreign fighters, and potentially even greater numbers of individuals from western countries and the United States who've traveled to the conflict zones."
Meanwhile, FBI assistant director for counterterrorism Michael Steinbach has reinforced the level of risk by admitting, "Certainly I would not be truthful if I told you we know about all the returnees."
This equivocation and uncertainty by government sources contrasts dramatically with the recent findings of Judicial Watch, a government watchdog with more than 20 years of investigations and litigation in pursuit of open and honest government. Last week, Judicial Watch revealed in anonymous accounts from a Mexican army officer and police inspector that two ISIS camps exist perilously close to the U.S. border west of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – one only eight miles from El Paso, Texas, and the other very close to Columbus and Deming, New Mexico.
According to Judicial Watch, Mexican army and law-enforcement personnel discovered Arabic and Urdu documents, layouts of a nearby U.S. military installation, and prayer rugs in an area controlled by a powerful Mexican cartel engaged in drug trafficking and human smuggling across the understaffed and poorly controlled U.S. border. Mexican intelligence sources reported to Judicial Watch that ISIS maintains a network of "spotters" in New Mexico's East Potrillo Mountains for terrorist border crossings and to monitor activities at nearby universities, government facilities, and power plants.
In September last year, Judicial Watch reported that ISIS operatives across the border were planning car bomb attacks in the United States and that U.S. agents were on alert to deal with "this imminent terrorist threat." Despite assurances by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that no credible threats had been identified, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (R-Glendale) said, "It is true that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez, or they were in the last few weeks."
Franks has long been accustomed to government inaction in the face of Islamic threats, having been one of five congressional signatories of the much derided and ignored 2012 report identifying Muslim Brotherhood operatives who had infiltrated the U.S. government at the highest levels of national security. But his 2014 border concerns were similar to those voiced independently by Texas governor Rick Perry, Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Penn.), Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas).
All these claims have been derided by Democrats as Republican hysteria related to Obama's executive amnesty program for illegal immigrants, even though, in August 2014, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a bulletin to law enforcement entitled "ISIS Interest on the U.S. Southwest Border." The bulletin referred to ISIS social media messaging about how to cross the U.S.-Mexico border to carry out "unspecified border operations."
Immediately following the recent Judicial Watch disclosure, FBI supervisors called a meeting with the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez. Based on information supplied to Judicial Watch by an anonymous "high level intelligence source," the goal of the meeting was to "devise a press strategy on the JW report as well as to uncover the identity of the informants."
According to a Facebook posting, Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) asked the FBI director, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and the secretary of homeland security if currently any terrorist threat exits on the U.S. southern border. O'Rourke posted that "[t]hey answered that there was not nor has there ever been any terrorist, terrorist plot or terrorist organization that was able to exploit our border with Mexico."
Yet, just this week, federal authorities arrested yet another group of individuals seeking to travel to Syria and fight alongside ISIS. Six Minnesota men were charged as part of an ISIS terror probe exposing a "peer-to-peer" network model of recruitment organized through social media and local contacts. This is becoming an increasingly common occurrence in the United States and Western societies as more young Muslims and new converts glorify the Islamic State and aspire to join its quest for a caliphate.
In light of JW disclosures, the question must be asked: how credible are FBI reports on the domestic ISIS threat, as well as Islamic terrorist threats in general?
The bureau has been embroiled in controversy for more than a decade for its obvious appeasement activities and policies toward Muslims. After missing the 9/11 plot, the FBI hired Arab-American Muslim translators recruited through Muslim Brotherhood sources. Those sources included the American Muslim Council, an organization founded in 1990 by Abduraman Alamoudi, a self-admitted supporter of Hamas and Hezb'allah who is currently serving a prison term for a 2003 assassination attempt on the late Saudi prince Abdullah. The FBI also turned to the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Hamas funding trial. As recounted in investigative journalist Paul Sperry's 2005 book, Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, the FBI employed several translators of questionable loyalties before completing background checks and approving required security clearances. Sperry revealed that former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmunds claimed that some Muslim translators celebrated the attacks in house, purposely mistranslated documents, and even notified targets of investigations.
Following the 9/11 attacks, then-FBI chief Robert Mueller required FBI agents and new recruits to attend Muslim sensitivity workshops led by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), another Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF Hamas funding trial. Taking a cue from the Muslim Brotherhood's "Strategic Plan for America," widely referred to as the "Explanatory Memorandum," the words "jihad," "Islam," and "Muslim Brotherhood" were purged from the FBI lexicon in 2007. In 2009, responding to the demands of CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America, the FBI purged all counterterrorism training materials deemed critical of Islam and "re-educated" FBI agents exposed to so-called "Islamophobic" training.
All of these measures are in line with the objectives presented in the Muslim Brotherhood's Explanatory Memorandum "to prevent the infidel from learning about Islam." Even FBI agents who taught directly from Muslim Brotherhood strategic documents and Islamic doctrinal tracts were disciplined and sidelined, even though their material had been previously approved by upper management.
Recently, the FBI assured Chicago police that no links exist between the North American Islam Trust (NAIT) and the Muslim Brotherhood, even though a federal judge ruled that "ample evidence" associated NAIT with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Hamas. Further, documents in the HLF financing case name NAIT as being part of the Muslim Brotherhood. But Chicago police chief James Kruger conveyed the FBI message, saying, "I can reassure the community that there is no threat to our community and that NAIT is a legitimate non-profit religious organization as filed with the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue."
It is indeed alarming that FBI actions and statements continue to be on the order of "nothing to see here, move along," even as the threat from radical Islamists grows worldwide and advances in America. Tragically, government inaction has reached the point where the work of an independent government watchdog organization has greater legitimacy than the federal agency charged with investigative and prosecutorial responsibilities necessary to keep Americans safe. Have we reached a point where the FBI is so politicized and compromised by outside influences that it can no longer do its job effectively?