The Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated every one of our national security agencies, including our intelligence agencies, according to retired Navy admiral James “Ace” Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet. Adm. Lyons made this startling declaration Jan. 16, 2015 during a conference sponsored by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative Washington, D.C. think-tank.
In the two years since, no action has been taken to reverse this dangerous situation. Empowerment of individuals of questionable loyalties within our intelligence community continues unabated, as does a counterfactual view of Islam and thwarting of terrorist investigations. Our government routinely targets and cashiers productive, legitimate counter-terrorism experts and fails to label terrorist organizations as such. U.S. intelligence failures and feckless politicization have gone on for years, rendering our protections against terrorism ineffectual and putting our country at grave risk.
Post-9/11 Infiltration of the FBI
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 paradoxically led to major infiltration, according to Paul Sperry, author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. After 9/11, the FBI sought to rapidly hire more Arabic-speaking translators, Perry writes in his 2005 book. Arabic-speaking Jews applied, many of them retired linguists formerly with Israeli radio and the Israeli army, but only one was ever hired. Then-FBI director Robert Mueller, who had mandated Muslim sensitivity classes for agents, confirmed that the hires were blocked by misgivings over “dual loyalty” and concerns for Arab Muslims who might be offended to work with Jews.
Further, Mueller onerously screened Jewish applicants but expedited Arab Muslim candidates, hiring some without full background checks. One Pakistani woman earned a top-secret clearance despite a prior FBI investigation of her father’s Taliban and al-Qaeda ties. Once hired, she proselytized, led prayer groups, and lobbied for separate bathrooms for Muslim translators. Six months later, the FBI discovered its radio frequencies leaked to Pakistan. Even more astonishing, the woman’s sons were later hired to translate classified material.
Sperry’s book details how Mueller allowed thousands of potential terrorists to apply by seeking translators from CAIR, ISNA, and the American Muslim Council, an organization founded by convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi.
Indeed, some Arab Muslim translators who were hired went on to warn individuals under government investigation, failed to translate large sections of surveillance log conversations, and created a backlog by translating slowly. Translators also accepted gifts from foreign targets and had romantic ties to terrorists.
Sperry recounts Sibell Edmonds’s experience. A Turkish-American translator, Edmonds was shocked at 9/11 celebrations in the translators’ office on her first day of work. She was approached by a Turkish translator working for a Turkish spy and for Turkish groups under surveillance. Another translator, also from Turkey, tried to engage her in espionage. She reported her encounters and conferred with her supervisor; no action was taken. After reporting the incidents to upper management, she was fired.
Destruction and Ignoring of Able Danger Data
Destruction of crucial data also puts the U.S. at risk. In 1999, Able Danger, a data-mining program, was created to provide the military with links to al-Qaeda-associated individuals. It identified five al-Qaeda cells, including the “Brooklyn cell” of 9/11 hijacker leader Mohamed Atta and 9/11 hijackers Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawal Alhazmi.
In April 2000, Able Danger contractor James Smith was fired, despite having done much of the data-mining and analysis on al-Qaeda and discovering a link between Atta and Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the first World Trade Center bomber. Further, Pentagon official Major Eric Kleinsmith, who said Able Danger’s extensive data could map al-Qaeda’s worldwide threat, was ordered to destroy all 2.5 terabytes of program data, equivalent to 25% of the Library of Congress’s print materials.
Philip Zelikow, 9/11 Commission executive director, did receive a detailed account of the program from Able Danger intelligence officers, but commission members later said they were never informed that Able Danger had identified Atta and other hijackers. Records were destroyed that identified Atta and three hijackers more than a year before the attacks and the information not utilized or mentioned in the final 9/11 Commission Report. Further, security clearance for Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Able Danger intelligence operations officer, was revoked when he tried to testify before the commission.
Shutting Down Operation Green Quest
After 9/11, scores of federal agents led by the U.S. Customs Service raided more than 100 homes, businesses, charities, and think-tanks in Herndon, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. Codenamed Operation Green Quest, the multi-agency unit netted seven trucks of files and computers seized from the Safa Group, also called the SAAR network, after Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, a Saudi banker and billionaire. Sulaiman was close to the Saudi royal family and part of the Golden Chain, early 1988-1989 al-Qaeda supporters. He was also connected to Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadih El-Hage, who was convicted of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.
Federal investigators were particularly interested in connections between the SAAR network and Al Taqwa Bank, a Swiss bank closed after 9/11 for suspected ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. officials tracked $20 million flowing from the SAAR network through Al Taqwa Bank, as well as ties to Muslim Brotherhood leaders, according to a report by author Douglas Farrah.
But the Mueller-compromised FBI demanded control of Green Quest and got it from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002. DHS would later accuse the bureau of sabotaging Green Quest and other terror-financing investigations implicating Saudis. In particular, Ptech, a Boston-area software developer, was reported to the FBI by a Ptech whistleblower who cited government contracts with a major Saudi investor identified as a terrorist financier. After the bureau allegedly failed to act, the National Security Council supported a raid of Ptech offices by other Green Quest federal agents.
But in 2003, following extensive internal government battles and rumors of Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood indignation over the raid, Green Quest was permanently shut down. Charges were dropped against Ptech, which continued to operate under a different name.
The 9/11 Commission Report never mentioned Ptech, Al Taqwa Bank, the Muslim Brotherhood, or any entities in the SAAR network. Instead, the report “largely exonerated” the Saudi government of any involvement in the financing of al-Qaeda terrorists.
Presenting Counterfactual Views of Islam
Another continuing government misstep puts a benign face on Islam. President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Herbert McMaster and his counter-terrorism adviser, Sebastian Gorka, both espouse a counterfactual understanding of Islam, according to former FBI analyst and Muslim Brotherhood expert John Guandolo. Guandolo says the two believe that the “terrorist threat America faces has nothing to do with ‘true’ Islam.”
McMaster told the National Security Council that the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is not helpful to characterize terrorism, Guandolo recalled. Further, McMaster said being a terrorist is “un-Islamic” and that ISIS uses a “perverted interpretation of religion to justify violence.”
However, Guandolo asserts that Islamic doctrine mandates jihad, or warfare, against non-Muslims. Thus, the more intensely Muslims study Islam, the more likely it is that they will support and wage jihad. Further, he says Gorka falsely claims that 99.9% of Muslims do not support terrorism, despite substantial polling data proving this untrue.
Sabotaging Experts on Islam
The U.S. fight against terrorism is also weakened when individuals are removed from intelligence functions and military positions because of their views on Islamic ideology and threat doctrine. Two examples stand out.
In 2008, attorney Stephen Coughlin, a decorated intelligence officer and recognized specialist on the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic doctrine, was cashiered from the Pentagon. Hesham Islam, who worked on the Pentagon’s outreach program to Muslims and was suspected of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, successfully sought Coughlin’s dismissal. According to Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Islam was “an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent who brought groups into the Pentagon who were unindicted co-conspirators.”
In 2009, Philip Haney, a DHS specialist on Islam, was ordered to delete or modify hundreds of records tied to individuals, schools, mosques, and Islamic centers that would have established links to thwart terrorist attacks. Haney was reprimanded repeatedly, left the agency, and wrote a book, See Something Say Nothing, documenting his experience. He maintains that if his work had continued, he might have identified San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook and prevented the attack that killed 14 Americans and wounded 22. Instead, he said DHS conceded to the demands of the Obama State Department, with its overt political alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, and shut down his work.
Failing to Designate Terrorist Entities
Despite copious information on subversive activities obtained from research, investigations, surveillance, undercover operations, and open-source documents, two major terrorist entities are still not on the State Department’s designated terrorist group list.
Jamaat ul-Fuqra, or Muslims of America, maintains several dozen paramilitary camps in the U.S. It has committed attacks and robberies, has acquired contraband weapons and recruits, and attracts followers within U.S. prisons. Founded by Sheik Gilani in 1980, members participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A 2007 report by the Center for Policing Terrorism called Jamaat ul-Fuqra the “best positioned group to launch an attack on the United States, or, more likely, help Al Qaeda to do so.”
Meanwhile, for several decades, one of the world’s largest sponsors of terrorism, the Muslim Brotherhood, has developed an extensive network of front groups across the United States, infiltrating our government and national security agencies. Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood supports extremist Islamic ideology and has direct ties to Hamas, al-Qaeda, and other jihadist groups. Its terrorism fundraising web of entities in the United States was exposed during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in our nation’s history.
Yet Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders have been to the White House during the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to place the group on the terrorist entity list, but it remains a back-burner issue.
Not everyone has ignored the threats from Islamic infiltration. As vice chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought access to the documents supplied to terrorist defendants during the Holy Land Foundation trial. He and four other Republican members of Congress have documented Muslim Brotherhood infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. national security apparatus, only to have their calls for investigations ignored.
Meanwhile, Judicial Watch recently obtained documents revealing that the FBI under director Robert Mueller purged hundreds of pages of training curricula related to Islamic terrorism at the behest of Muslim Brotherhood front groups who were unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case.
This sampling of past national security fiascos and cover-ups and the more recent documentation of Islamic penetration and sabotage may be only a fraction of what is actually occurring. It is abundantly clear that many of those pledged to protect Americans have engaged in national security malfeasance. James Lyons’s assertion about infiltration of our intelligence community must be heeded and investigated. For our nation to be protected against Islam’s virulent threat, we need an immediate course correction and removal of those in Washington who have long ignored the threat. As Trump rightly says, “the swamp must be drained.”