Another terrorist attack in an American city: it now seems almost a weekly occurrence?
No wonder Donald Trump is exceeding expectations. The average citizen does not understand the details but knows political correctness is undermining an effective defense.
The case of Ahmad Khan Rahami really takes the cake. His own father reported his son as a terrorist and the FBI did not even interview Ahmad!
President Barack Obama responded in perfect PC: "At moments like this, I think it’s important to remember what terrorists and violent extremists are trying to do: they want to hurt innocent people, but also inspire fear in all of us" but "all of us have to make sure we don’t succumb to that fear," whatever that is.
The facts are astounding and one must give credit to Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post for interviewing the right officials and reporting the facts unadorned.
New Jersey police informed the FBI in August 2014 that a Mohammed Rahami told local police his son was associating with dangerous people after returning from Pakistan, saying that he was a “terrorist.” The FBI Newark office interviewed the father who moderated his complaints. In spite of finding the son Ahmad’s name on Custom and Border Protection’s screening list for having visited the radical city of Quetta, they did not interview the son!
Why did the FBI not interview him? You cannot make this up. Ahmed was in jail charged with domestic assault.
Not to be outdone in PC, when Ahmad twice returned from Pakistan, Customs was careful not to give offense, implementing the non-intrusive procedures set by their expert superiors. Ahmad was flagged both times by Custom’s national Targeting Center for visiting what one official called Quetta’s "stronghold of militants."
Under Customs bureau-speak, appearing on the list is confusingly labeled "primary questioning," even though no one questions anyone. Ahmad was not subjected to "secondary" questioning (which does not normally include real questioning either) because no further negative information was forthcoming by the flight back.
As far as anticipating terrorism, "We don’t have any 'pre-watchlist,'" a Customs official said. "Otherwise we’d be so gummed up with a backlog of reviews, it would be impossible to do our job. This is all risk-based modeling, and questioning by professionals, and you make your best judgment based on the information that you have."
Imagine: if Customs had enough information to frustrate terrorism they would be overwhelmed. The information they did have was he was a military-aged Arab male returning from a militant stronghold.
After Ahmed was apprehended and police searched his room, they found a journal praising Osama bin Laden, radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, and Islamic State Spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, including the statement from the latter telling adherents to "clearly attack the kuffar [non-Muslims] in their backyard."
It gets worse. The official said that even if Ahmed had the journal with these statements with him passing through Customs he would only "probably" have received further questioning!
And after all this, the FBI bragged about how quickly they apprehended Ahmed. Of course that was after he had planted bombs in Seaside Park, New Jersey, along a scheduled race route, in a dumpster and along the street in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, and finally at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Thirty-one people were injured in the Chelsea attack.
This is actually the second time The Washington Post scooped the government. In 2015, when the police identified one San Bernardino attacker as a "female terrorist," Tashfeen Malik, we learned, not from the FBI or president but from a single reporter who interviewed the female terrorist’s best friend Abida Rani in Pakistan, saying Malik became radicalized while going "nearly every day" to a madrassa school that "belongs to the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam."
At the time, President Obama responded by saying "an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities," without naming the Wahhabi ideology.
Obviously, the prime directive at the FBI, Customs, and the White House is offend no one, except scanning average elder citizens.
Donald Trump was cleverly incorrect after Ahmed’s arrest: "he'll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is." Hillary Clinton said: "We’re going after the bad guys, and we’re going to get them, but we’re not going after an entire religion."
Neither candidate aimed straight. There will always be bad guys but we can at least name their ideology and not be incompetent in monitoring it.
Customs and the FBI are so mired in political correctness that any halfway competent terrorist can avoid investigation beforehand. Much can be done administratively but in the meantime it is clear local police rely too much upon Washington experts. It is not a coincidence that Ahmed was apprehended not by the FBI but by local police in a small New Jersey town.
Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies, the author of "America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition and Constitution," and was Ronald Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during his first term. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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