Though there were many strides in national security taken in the months and years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Obama Administration and much of Congress has seemingly forgotten the lessons taught on that tragic day.
Terrorists are among us and though ISIS and other terrorist factions promise more bloodshed to come, the Obama administration is infinitely more concerned about the appearance of racial profiling than they are with keeping Americans safe and helping to defeat terrorism.
One Department of Homeland Security whistleblower has emerged from the carnage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack to alert Americans to a sobering fact: his investigation could have stopped the San Bernardino terrorists before they began their jihad, but the operation was shut-down by the Obama administration out of a duty to political correctness, the leftist ideology that demands people disregard common sense out of politeness.
Philip Haney has, in recent weeks, made it his mission to alert Americans to what really enabled the San Bernardino terrorists. Last week, Haney appeared on Fox News to shine a light on how his superiors pulled the plug on his investigation and on Wednesday, Haney penned an op-ed for The Hill explaining further.
While working for the Department of Homeland Security for 13 years, I identified individuals affiliated with large, but less well-known groups such as Tablighi Jamaat and the larger Deobandi movement freely transiting the United States. At the National Targeting Center, one of the premier organizations formed to “connect the dots,” I played a major role in an investigation into this trans-national Islamist network. We created records of individuals, mosques, Islamic Centers and schools across the United States that were involved in this radicalization effort. The Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque in San Bernardino was affiliated with this network and we had identified a member of it in our investigation. Farook frequented that mosque and was well-known to the congregation and mosque leadership.
Another focus of my investigation was the Pakistani women’s Islamist group al-Huda, which counted Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, as a student. While the al-Huda International Welfare Foundation distanced themselves from the actions of their former pupil, Malik’s classmates told the Daily Mail she changed significantly while studying at al-Huda, gradually becoming “more serious and strict.” More ominously, the group’s presence in the U.S. and Canada is not without its other ties to ISIS and terrorism. In 2014, three recent former students at al-Huda’s affiliate school in Canada, aged 15 to 18, left their homes to join the Islamic State in Syria.
We had these two groups in our sights; if the investigation had continued and additional links been identified and dots connected, we might have given advance warning of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. The combination of Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque and Malik’s attendance at al-Huda would have indicated, at minimum, an urgent need for comprehensive screening. It could also have led to denial of Malik’s K-1 visa or possibly gotten Farook placed on the No Fly list.
But after more than six months of research and tracking; over 1,200 law enforcement actions and more than 300 terrorists identified; and a commendation for our efforts; DHS shut down the investigation at the request of the Department of State and DHS’ own Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division. They claimed that since the Islamist groups in question were not Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations (SDTOs) tracking individuals related to these groups was a violation of the travelers’ civil liberties. These were almost exclusively foreign nationals: When were they granted the civil rights and liberties of American citizens?
Worse still, the administration then went back and erased the dots we were diligently connecting. Even as DHS closed my investigation, I knew that data I was looking at could prove significant to future counterterror efforts and tried to prevent the information from being lost to law enforcement. In 2013, I met with the DHS Inspector General in coordination with several members of Congress to attempt to warn the American people’s elected representatives about the threat.
In retaliation, DHS and the Department of Justice subjected me to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same Inspector General. None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem. Earlier this year, I was finally able to honorably retire from government and I’m now taking my story to the American people as a warning.
Haney’s explanation is sobering. Could one imagine if this level of insane sensitivity were present in the perilous days of the Cold War? We would all be speaking Russian.
Our world is becoming more and more complex and dangerous and we must rely upon national security professionals to diligently monitor potential threats while still respecting the civil rights of American citizens.
The left posits that there exists some kind of human right to enjoy our constitutional liberties. American citizens enjoy these rights; those who seek to come here must be okay with some level of scrutiny. That the Obama administration would so willingly shutter their senses to the dangers of the world signals a shocking betrayal of the American people and illustrates precisely why we need real leadership that is rooted in commonsense, not an affinity for perverse interpretations of social justice.
Please watch the below video. Haney gives a great explanation of his work and why it’s so important.