Posted: 22 Dec 2015 03:37 PM PST
On Sunday, I posted a letter from former DHS employee Phillip Haney to members of Congress. Haney’s letter alleged that, under pressure from the Department of State, his superiors closed down his work on terrorist outfits with which the San Bernardino murderers were affiliated.
In addition, DHS deleted the records of Haney’s work on these groups from the shared DHS database. This, Haney says, precluded the government from realizing the urgent need for comprehensive screening of members of these groups which, in turn, enabled the female terrorist to avoid serious vetting upon entering the United States on a fiancé visa.
Why did the government shut down Haney’s investigation in 2012? In an interview with Ginni Thomas, Haney says that officials from the Department of State (then run by Hillary Clinton) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division (CRCL) found Haney’s work objectionable.
Haney attributed their concern at least in part to complaints lodged by “Islamic-based influence group.” These groups “definitely play a role in controlling the narrative” to which the Obama administration “submit[s],” Haney said. He concluded that this dynamic “create[s] a potent force that has shattered our ability to do our job.”
Haney’s claim that Islamic-based influence groups help shape U.S. anti-terrorism policy is alarming. And it is confirmed by statements from the DHS itself.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has issued a lengthy document called Federal Civil Rights Engagement with Arab and Muslim American Communities. I am indebted to Jim Scanlan for calling it to my attention.
The entire document is of interest (see, for example, the discussion at page 135 of the video that Hillary Clinton blamed for the Benghazi attacks). However, I want to focus on the statement of David Gersten, Director of CRCL, the same office within DHS that Haney says shut down his investigation (along with the State Department).
Gersten states (at page 199) that a purpose of his office is to incorporate “community ideas and issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties into the [DHS] policymaking process.” The primary communities with which DHS engages are “Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities.”
At page 200, Gersten suggests that Muslims are shaping how the government characterizes terror. He states:
Haney appears to be right. Islamic-based influence groups are pushing a narrative and the DHS seems to be buying it.
That’s bad enough when the issue is terminology. It’s even worse when the issue is whom should DHS probe. Just ask the survivors of the San Bernardino attack by terrorists whose groups Haney wasn’t allowed to investigate.
posted by Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg