WaPo Notes “Self-Described Experts” Advising Law Enforcement on Islam

The Washington Post has just published a lengthy investigation by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin into the “vast domestic intelligence apparatus” which has sprung up since 9/11. It includes a section on the various outside “experts” who are consulted by law enforcement agencies, and there’s an interesting quote from Charles Allen, described as “a longtime senior CIA official who then led the DHS’s intelligence office until 2009”:

“The CIA used to train analysts forever before they graduated to be a real analyst… Today we take former law enforcement officers and we call them intelligence officers, and that’s not right, because they have not received any training on intelligence analysis.”

Priest and Arkin add:

In their desire to learn more about terrorism, many departments are hiring their own trainers. Some are self-described experts whose extremist views are considered inaccurate and harmful by the FBI and others in the intelligence community.

In particular, the authors note the recent Shariah: The Threat to America report produced by the Center for Security Policy:

The book’s co-authors include such notables as former CIA director R. James Woolsey and former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, along with the center’s director, a longtime activist. They write that most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists and that Muslims who practice sharia law seek to impose it in this country.

Frank Gaffney Jr., director of the center, said his team has spoken widely, including to many law enforcement forums.

“Members of our team have been involved in training programs for several years now, many of which have been focused on local law enforcement intelligence, homeland security, state police, National Guard units and the like,” Gaffney said. “We’re seeing a considerable ramping-up of interest in getting this kind of training.”

Government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center’s book inaccurate and counterproductive. They say the DHS should increase its training of local police, using teachers who have evidence-based viewpoints.

Also mentioned by Priest and Arkin are a certain Ramon Montijo and a certain Lacy Craig; however, another figure discussed is well-known to this blog:

Walid Shoebat, a onetime Muslim who converted to Christianity, also lectures to local police. He too believes that most Muslims seek to impose sharia law in the United States. To prevent this, he said in an interview, he warns officers that “you need to look at the entire pool of Muslims in a community.”

When Shoebat spoke to the first annual South Dakota Fusion Center Conference in Sioux Falls this June, he told them to monitor Muslim student groups and local mosques and, if possible, tap their phones. “You can find out a lot of information that way,” he said.

(State Fusion Centers, Priest and Arkin explain, “bring together and analyze information from various agencies within a state”)

The use of Shoebat in particular should ring alarm bells. By his own account, he was raised in an Islamist household in the West Bank in the 1970s and he once planted a bomb at a bank for the PLO; there are a number of question-marks around his story, but even if it were true it would not make him an expert on Islam or on terrorism. As I’ve blogged previously, Shoebat claims that Obama is a Muslim, trained in extremism in a madrassa in Indonesia, and – in presentations to churches – that the Bible predicts the rise of a Muslim Anti-Christ. Boykin similarly mixes uncompromising antipathy to Islam with apocalyptic Christian beliefs, as I blogged here.

Chip Berlet has some more background to Shoebat’s involvement in this kind of training:

“Kill them…including the children.”

That’s how to solve the threat of militant Muslims?

This quote is from what one official involved in homeland security said was the theme of a speech by Walid Shoebat at an anti-terrorism training in Las Vegas in October 2010.

…George D. Little, Director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS) at Texas State University, in San Marcos, TX, also attended the Shoebat speech at the Las Vegas training. When first contacted by e-mail after the ICTOA conference, Little responded “I believe there are good Muslims like there are bad ones just like there are good Christians and bad ones.” Little, however, dodged repeated question about what he specifically thought of the content of Shoebat’s speech, and now refuses to comment altogether.

Shoebat is popular in Texas, having helped organize an anti-Islamic event near Fort Hood; spoken at an evangelical church; and conducted a statewide law enforcement training, “Preparing Law Enforcement Executives for the Future, co-sponsored by the state’s Attorney General, Greg Abbott. Shoebat is also periodically interviewed as an expert on Islam on Fox News and is extensively quoted by the right-wing conspiracy website, World Net Daily.

Another Las Vegas conference attendee, Edwin Uries [sic – actually “Edwin Urie“, or “Ed Urie”] praised Mr. Shoebat’s ICTOA speech. “From my perspective, Mr. Shoebat’s presentation was so much on the mark, so specific, and so correct that I was concerned that he would be the target of those about whom he spoke. Maybe the objections are merely a part of that,” wrote Uries in an e-mail. Uries is an adjunct professor at Henley-Putnam University and a specialist in counterrorism.

…Shoebat’s speech in Las Vegas was sponsored by the International Counter Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA). Michael Riker, president of the ICTOA, said that “Numerous public safety personnel along with military personnel heard from Walid Shoebat” at the event.

As Chip notes, I have also written on this: I blogged on Shoebat and  the ICTOA here, and I’ve done posts on on various other strange “private intelligence” organisations: the Griffith Colson Intelligence Service, which has links with the ICTOA (see here and here); Security Solutions International (which provides the ICTOA’s official magazine); and an organisation called IC-HUMINT, the director of which is linked with Veteran Defenders of America.

In turn, the IC-HUMINT used to be linked to the now-defunct VIGIL Network, which was run from south London by Dominic Wightman. Wightman does not share the uncompromising anti-Islam views of some of his US counterparts, but he is a mountebank: a formerly bankrupted businessman whom I know from personal experience to lack personal integrity, and whose idea of research and activism is manipulation and the creation of bogus documents. Wightman and VIGIL got access to police in the UK, thanks to help from an attention-seeking MP named Patrick Mercer; Mercer now knows the truth about him, but is keeping a low profile on the subject.

26 Responses

  1. Thx for this I am sharing

  2. The wapo is an islamist rag. It is a mouthpiece for wahabbism and certain Arab interests.

    I can’t understand why you don’t appraoch them and ask them for a job. that way you could get paid big-time for doing what you’re already doing for free!

  3. I am interested in why these companies are considered bigoted because they focus on Islamic terrorism? The FBI’s own terrorism page is made up all Islamic terror suspects, save one. Have you ever thought of asking why terrorism is so predominant among the Muslim faith? We don’t see news clips of Jews, Christians, Hindus or using suicide bombs to propagate their message. You take bits and pieces of internet sources and weave it into a con job you pass off as journalism. I have watched to cite one blog when it serves you and then you are a critic of that same blog when it serves you. If you hold these companies to account for being bigoted and Islamophobic, you would have to ask yourself why the FBI’s own website is filled with Muslims. You area shameful apologist and laughable.

  4. To the writer of this blog…Just from 1968 until 2004 the list of Islamic terror attacks around the world are staggering. If you were fair, you would see that Islamic has waited far too long to address the connection between Islam and terrorism. Your blog blurs the facts, highlighting training three PRIVATE COMPANIES as bigoted when, in fact, as the last post indicates, the FBI Terrorism page is packed with nothing but Muslims. CAIR, for whatever one thinks about them, has a dubious history. You have clearly drawn your conclusions based upon your own bias. It is as clear as the facts about Islamic terror.

    Islamic Terrorist Attacks 1968 – 2004

    [Yes, you know how to cut and paste. Big deal. The list you’ve pasted is well-known, I’ve snipped it -RB]

  5. You could have left a link R.B. I’m shocked it is so well known a list since I’ve never witnessed you mention it in your blog. BTW, to pre judge a person or group is the basis of prejudice. The evidence is sorta stacked against Islam on this. I have Muslim friends who have issues with the Muslim community because they aren’t doing enough to educate and reach out against the extremists. Hope they do more. I am happy we have the private sector involved in security. Would you really want to leave that job up to government only?

    • Would you really want to leave that job up to government only?

      No, I’d much rather have Walid Shoebat explaining to police about how Obama is a secret Muslim working on behalf of the Islamic anti-Christ.

  6. Richard, in response to Mr. Shoebat’s suggestion that President Obama is a secret Muslim, I would say that it is of no moment. The faith of any President is personal and not where his first loyalty rests. case in point: Furor over President Kennedy born Catholic caused a stir in the 1960’s The fear that President Kennedy would answer to the Vatican proved baseless. The question of whether or not President Obama is Muslim or not is simply not alright to be addressed. The President’s personal faith has never, in our history, dictated the discharge of his duties. Nor will it affect President Obama’s policies in this case. Mr, Shoebat’s suggestion that it does have merit is wrong.

    Equally wrong is your approach to men like Michael Riker and Henry Morgenstern. These men are as qualified as any to provide the training and services they provide. They do not do their work based on religion nor do they discriminate against anyone of faith, Muslim or otherwise. The focus of these men and their work has been on extremism and because it has specific focus on Islamic extremism they are being painted as bigots by you and a handful who adhere to your perception. There is a clear and present Islamic extremist threat. To deny that shows that your attempt at advocacy becomes conjecture and half truths. The reputation of these men stand on their own merits.
    By twisting the facts you attempt to deride these men for services they provide in a collective relationship between private sector business and government. That is what America is all about Richard. Government always seeks the efforts of private enterprise because the private sector does it more efficiently. Do you really think it is by the good graces of radical Islam that there has not been another attack on U.S. soil since 911? It is the efforts of the private sector and the intelligence agencies and law enforcement personnel who lay their lives on the line everyday to do their jobs collectively.

    Your focus is irresponsible and erodes your talent for writing. For any “journalist” to cite CAIR as a credible source only proves your lack of journalistic integrity. You do that routinely. You quote sources from your travels on the Internet and inject your perceptions as fact. If I were a Muslim American worried about bigotry, I sure wouldn’t want you to be my spokesman. You defend one faith by deriding another. You, Mr. Bartholomew are the bigot. You’re just to much the coward to say so in your bio.

  7. I didn’t “cite CAIR as a credible source” – I reused an opinion quote from a CAIR spokesman, because I wanted to give the context for a comment that was made in response. I do the same with all sorts of people. Neither did I “deny” the dangers of Islamic extremism, “defend” Islam or “deride” Christianity. Looks to me that someone is scared of a bit of critical scrutiny, and is throwing around low abuse and silly accusations in an attempt to change the subject.

  8. If you hold these companies to account for being bigoted and Islamophobic, you would have to ask yourself why the FBI’s own website is filled with Muslims. You are a shameful apologist and laughable

    Exactly. FBI wanted lists are chock-full of Muslims, so therefore the law enforecement authorities must all be bigots.

    Gov’t officials are utterly clueless as to what’s going on.

    18 ‘youths’ in Toronto were recently sentenced to years (decades actually) behind bars because they were planning to invade parliament and murder the politicians.

    That would’ve sounded outrageous and laughable only a fews back, except that it’s already been tried in India.

    I guess that when western politicians start getting kidnapped and beheaded, we’ll finally see some serious action.

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