By Robert Eno at Conservative Review
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson faced roughly ten minutes of questioning from Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX (A, 97%). During the testimony, Johnson repeated the administration’s line that it doesn’t matter what the terrorists are called, especially if it’s the word “Islamic.” Cruz tried to get Johnson on record answering the question of whether or not DHS purposely scrubbed Islamic from documents. The most shocking part of Johnson’s testimony, however, was near the end. Johnson blatantly lied about what the administration knew regarding the Fort Hood Jihadist, and when it knew it.
Cruz: One, is it true or false that the administration knew before the attack that Nidal Hasan was communicating with Anwar al Awlaki?
Johnson: How are you defining the “Obama administration” sir?
Cruz: The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Johnson: The entire Federal Bureau of Investigation? I can’t answer that question sitting here. [unintelligible]
Cruz: The answer is yes, and it is in public record.
Senator Cruz is absolutely correct. Not only did the Obama administration know about Hasan’s communications, they shut down an investigation field agents wanted to conduct into Hasan’s behavior.
In The United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, which I recently reviewed, Peter Bergen details in painstaking fashion what the Obama administration knew and when it learned that information. His information came from the public record.
They Obama administration did in fact know beforehand about the communications, as The New York Times reported shortly after the attacks.
Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between the military psychiatrist accused of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings.
But the federal authorities dropped an inquiry into the matter after deciding that the messages from the psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, did not suggest any threat of violence and concluding that no further action was warranted, government officials said Monday.
Major Hasan’s 10 to 20 messages to Anwar al-Awlaki, once a spiritual leader at a mosque in suburban Virginia where Major Hasan worshiped, indicate that the troubled military psychiatrist came to the attention of the authorities long before last Thursday’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but that the authorities left him in his post.
The Times report goes on to say that “authorities” thought the questions were consistent with a report Hasan was preparing on PTSD. Bergen reports that much of Hasan’s work did not deal with PTSD but with whether or not the United States armed forces should be allowed to fight in Muslim lands.
As Cruz asked earlier in the questioning, Hasan did in fact ask if it was permissible to commit Jihad against military forces in the United States. Even the very liberal Mother Jones reported on how the Obama administration missed the Hasan warning signs. Mother Jones went through the entirety of what happened. After describing how FBI agents, stationed in San Diego, tried to warn their Washington superiors that something was going on with Hasan, Mother Jones detailed the frantic month or so leading up to the attack.
At this point, SD-Agent asked the DCIS investigator on his team to press his Washington counterpart to dig deeper, after which the San Diego DCIS agent sent Washington an email asking why the investigation was so “slim.” In a follow-up phone call, he explained that San Diego would have at least interviewed Hasan. According to the Webster Commission, the Washington DCIS agent dismissed these concerns, saying the Washington field office “doesn’t go out and interview every Muslim guy who visits extremist websites” and stressing that the subject was “politically sensitive.” (The Webster report notes that the quotes are not verbatim).
According to the FBI’s policy for resolving interoffice investigative disputes, at this point the San Diego field office should have communicated its concerns up the chain of command. But that didn’t happen. What’s more, none of the FBI agents involved thought to query the bureau’s database of intercepted electronic communications. Had they done so, the Webster Commission found, they would have uncovered other emails that “undermined the assumption” that Hasan had contacted Awlaki “simply to research Islam.”
Within days of the mid-June confrontation between San Diego and Washington, Hasan was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, where he counseled soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He also bought a FN Herstal Five-seveN semiautomatic pistol and 5.7×28 mm bullets, a combination know for its armor-piercing capabilities.* That October, he received word that he would be deploying to Afghanistan, but that never happened. On November 5, Hasan marched into a deployment processing center at Fort Hood and opened fire, killing 13 people—including a pregnant soldier, who curled up on the floor and pled, “My baby! My baby!”—before the Army psychiatrist was shot and paralyzed. According to the congressional investigation, SD-Agent immediately pegged Hasan as the culprit. “You know who that is?” he asked one of his analysts. “That’s our boy.” [emphasis added]
“That’s our boy.” San Diego FBI agents did their job. They tried to get the Obama administration, via FBI headquarters, to listen to their concerns. They were met with stone cold disapproval.
Bergen further went through how even Hasan’s coworkers, during his military medical training, were raising red flags. As Senator Cruz said, all of this is in the public record.
It is disconcerting that the person charged with protecting the homeland from terrorism seemingly does not know the history. Worse yet, maybe he does know and doesn’t want to take it into account. The obfuscation that the Obama administration continues to engage in, is putting this country at further risk.
At another point in the hearing, Johnson told Cruz that it doesn’t matter what you call the jihadists as long as we’re killing them. Johnson further said:
The other point I’d like to make, and I need to think in practical terms in homeland security. I think this is all very interesting, it makes for good political debate. But in practical terms, if we in our efforts here in the homeland start giving the Islamic State the credence that they want to be referred to as part of Islam, or some form of Islam we will get nowhere with our efforts to build bridges with Muslim communities, which we need to do …
So in one breath Johnson says ISIS isn’t Islamic, in the other breath he says if we call ISIS Islamic adherents of Islam will be seduced by the Islamic nature of it.
Watch the whole hearing (10 minutes):
After Orlando, Al Qaeda gave new guidelines to jihadis. The group told sympathizers to only attack white Christians so that their motives would not be questioned by the Obama administration.
The Obama administration seems to have, at its core, a need to protect the religion of Islam from anyone who seeks to attack what they deem it to be. It has penetrated all levels of the administration, and is putting American lives at risk. That is why Senator Cruz has continued to ask the tough questions, and why the administration continues to ignore and obfuscate them.
… and now, in closing: