The Boston Marathon bombings were unmistakably a jihadist act, says former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. But the Obama administration has disbanded the CIA interrogation group charged with investigating these plots, leaving America more vulnerable than ever to future threats.
Those who feel the only threat from brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been eliminated now that one is dead and the other is in custody for the rest of his life can rest easy, Mukasey writes in an op-ed piece published in The Wall Street Journal Sunday.
“But if your concern is over the larger threat that inheres in who the Tsarnaev brothers were and are, what they did, and what they represent, then worry — a lot.”
One big worry, Mukasey notes, is how the High-Value Interrogation Group (HIG) will even do its job.
The group was formed by the FBI after the so-called “underwear bomber” was Mirandized in 2009. President Barack Obama had disbanded the CIA interrogation program that might have run the interrogation of the bomber. The two programs aren’t even remotely similar in their tactics and goals, suggests Mukasey, who served in the Bush administration from 2007 to 2009.
The FBI has “bowdlerized” its training materials at the request of such Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations (the very controversial CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America, writes Mukasey. They no longer even mention references to militant Islamism.
“Does this delicacy infect the FBI’s interrogation group as well?” he asks in the op-ed, entitled “Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad.”
“Will we see another performance like the Army’s after-action report following Maj. Nidal Hasan‘s rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009, preceded by his shout ‘allahu akhbar’ — a report that spoke nothing of militant Islam but referred to the incident as ‘workplace violence’?
“If tone is set at the top, recall that the Army chief of staff at the time said the most tragic result of Fort Hood would be if it interfered with the Army’s diversity program,” Mukasey writes.
Mukasey wonders whether the probe will look into the FBI’s own previous questioning of Tamerlan, which was made after questions were raised by a foreign government, presumably Russia, about radical leanings.
“Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the fifth person since 9/11 who has participated in terror attacks after questioning by the FBI,” Mukasey writes.
Another worry: The Tsarnaevs obviously were conducting a suicide operation, Mukasey says, though not the type in which one blows himself up along with his intended victims. Rather, the brothers went about it “in the way of someone who conducts a spree, holding the stage for as long as possible, before he is cut down in a blaze of what he believes is glory.”
It had been widely accepted that such attacks were unlikely on American soil since organizers would find it hard to find enough spiritual support to keep would-be suicide attackers focused.
“That analysis went out the window when the Tsarnaevs followed up the bombing of the marathon by murdering a police officer in his car — an act certain to precipitate the violent confrontation that followed,” Mukasey writes.
Smaller, less complicated crimes have been attempted since 9/11 because the United States has stepped up its defenses. Mukasey points to the Times Square attempted bomber. These smaller events are still intended to send a message of terror.
But that message may be lost on a president who seems preoccupied with Islamic sensibilities, Mukasey suggests, and not American security.
“There is also cause for concern in the president’s reluctance, soon after the Boston bombing, even to use the ‘t’ word—terrorism—and in his vague musing on Friday about some unspecified agenda of the perpetrators, when by then there was no mystery: the agenda was jihad.”
For five years there have been claims that Americans need to learn how to change the Muslim world’s perception of the United States. Few have focused on a more important question: why we are hated, Mukasey writes.
The ideology of hatred extends at least to the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the early part of the 20th century, according to Mukasey.
“The ideology has regarded the United States as its principal adversary since the late 1940s, when a Brotherhood principal, Sayid Qutb, visited this country and was aghast at what he saw as its decadence.”
Qutb was especially shocked by the freedom that women had at the Colorado college he attended. One of the most influential Muslim thinkers of the last 100 years, his inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians and intellectuals in Egypt and other countries. Many of his writings were required reading in the curricula of the Arab world’s finest universities.
The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, U.S. embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, and the 9/11 attacks were all fueled by hatred of American values that has its roots in Qutb’s writings, Mukasey writes.
Despite this, no outreach is extended to critical Muslim organizations in the United States, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, that speak out against the totalitarian Islamic ideology, he points out.
“There are Muslim organizations in this country, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, headed by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, that speak out bravely against that totalitarian ideology. They receive no shout-out at presidential speeches; no outreach is extended to them,” he adds.
“One of the Tsarnaev brothers is dead; the other might as well be. But if that is the limit of our concern, there will be others,” he concludes.
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