The FBI’s investigation of over 100 suspected Islamists serving within the US military highlights the growing threat these undercover jihadists pose to American troops, their families and their military communities.
That growing Islamist danger, according to the FBI, comes from an array of active and reserve military personnel as well as individuals who have work or dependent access to military facilities, such as family members and civilian employees.
Moreover, of the 100 investigative cases, the FBI disclosed that a dozen of them are grave enough to be deemed “insider threats,” which it defines as someone planning a terrorist attack on a military base or is in contact with outside individuals who are exhorting them to wage jihad.
The news of the FBI investigations, which has only now become public, was first revealed in a closed session of a House-Senate Committee hearing in December 2011, a hearing that centered on investigating possible threats to military communities inside the United States.
While civilian targets may provide an easier objective for jihadists, military targets provide them an equally palatable choice.
As Republican Representative Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has said, military service members are “symbols of America’s power, symbols of America’s might. And if they (military personnel) can be killed, then that is a great propaganda victory for al-Qaeda.”
While some may dismiss the number of potential jihadists being investigated by the FBI as a miniscule percentage of the millions serving in the military, others, like Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, note, “the reality is it only took one man, Nidal Hasan, to kill 13 people at Fort Hood and injure a lot more.”
Unfortunately, since the shooting spree launched by Major Hasan in November 2009 on soldiers in Fort Hood’s processing center — an act which many consider the most serious terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 — the number of terrorist plots by homegrown Islamists targeting the military has grown significantly.
Those plots include the June 2011 arrest by the FBI of Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh at a warehouse garage where both men were in the process of picking up machine guns and grenades to use in an attack on a Seattle area military recruiting station.
After his arrest Mujahidh admitted that he was planning on carrying out the assault at the Military Entrance Processing Station — a facility that employs nearly 1,000 service people — for the express purpose of killing United States military personnel in order “to prevent them from going to Islamic lands and killing Muslims.”
In July 2011 Private Naser Abdo was arrested and charged with planning to detonate a bomb in a Chinese restaurant popular with Fort Hood soldiers and finish the job by shooting any surviving victims. Abdo, who was AWOL from Fort Campbell in Kentucky at the time of the planned attack, confessed to his mother in a recorded jailhouse conversation that his motive to kill the soldiers was simply “religion, mom. There is no other reason.”
Finally, in November 2011 Jose Pimentel was arrested and charged with plotting to build and detonate bombs in New York City in order to kill US servicemen returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular Marines and Army personnel.
Now, the revelation of the FBI’s investigation of the Islamist threat comes as a report on Muslim radicalization by the House Homeland Security Committee has found the danger posed to US military communities both grave and growing, one that has a “potentially devastating development” for the security of troops and their families.
Unfortunately, the House report also noted that the response to this Islamist threat had been undermined by “political correctness” within the United States toward Islam, an attitude which it states has “prevented many from sufficiently acknowledging and tackling this dangerous problem.”
Not surprisingly, one of those unable to adequately grasp the lethal problem posed by these budding jihadists is the Obama administration, which has openly refused to even use the term “Islamic extremists” lest it offend the sensibilities of the broader Muslim world.
That viewpoint was most egregiously on display in the case of Major Nidal Hasan, when the Defense Department officially declared the former Army psychiatrist’s murderous spree was not terror-related but rather a simple case of “workplace violence.”
That pronouncement came despite the fact Hasan was shouting “Allahu Akhbar” as he killed his victims; possessed private business cards that identified him as a “Soldier of Allah, Glory to God”; and professed drawing inspiration for his barbarous actions from Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical US-born cleric and operational leader al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Yet, even though some Army officials at Fort Hood had raised concerns about Hasan’s behavior, even referring to him as “a ticking time bomb,” the Army’s institutional fear of being subject to accusations of racial profiling led them to ignore the problem.
That Pentagon fealty to PC dogma was disturbingly expressed in the days shortly after the Fort Hood shooting when General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the Army, said, “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, it is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
Of course, there are others who think Truth trumps Diversity.
That belief was voiced by Darius Long, whose son, Army Private William Andrew Long, in June 2009 was shot and killed in a shooting attack on a US Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, by Carlos Bledsoe, a US-born Muslim convert who had become radicalized from his travels to Yemen to live with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Yet, while Bledsoe claimed he specifically targeted the US military to avenge the mistreatment of Muslims, the evidence of his terrorist ties did not prevent him from being tried in a civilian state court rather than under federal terrorism charges.
That decision led Darius Long in testimony before a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee in December 2011 to say, “My faith in government is diminished. It invents euphemisms … Little Rock is a drive by and Fort Hood is just workplace violence. The truth is denied.”
Hopefully, it won’t take another Fort Hood to finally reveal that truth and expose the real dangers faced by America’s military personnel and their families from jihadists safely ensconced inside their ranks.
Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the upcoming book, Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks (Tate Publishing). You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, http://www.politicallyunbalanced.com.
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