Whistleblowers say agency's anti-Islamic lesson plans are counterproductive.
One of al-Qaida’s goals is to convince mainstream Muslims that their faith requires them to violently oppose American interests. Apparently, the FBI agrees.
Citing documents leaked by FBI whistleblowers, Wired’s Danger Room blog reports that the agency has been teaching its counter terrorism agents that mainstream American Muslims are “likely to be terrorist sympathizers” and that the Islamic pillar of zakat, or almsgiving, is a “funding mechanism for combat.” Other gems from the Quantico lesson plans include a description of Mohammed as a “cult leader” and a pseudo-scientific graph showing that while Jews and Christians have become more peaceful over time, Muslims have always been violent.
Danger Room, which has exposed crude anti-Muslim FBI training materials in the past as well, writes that the FBI has dismissed some of those documents as “rudimentary” lesson plans that are no longer in use. But it finds that at least one of the newly uncovered briefings took place as recently as March 21.
As Mother Jones' Adam Serwer points out, that’s around the same time that Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding to know what standards the FBI uses to vet its counter terrorism trainers. The call followed a Washington Monthly investigation showing that some of those trainers were little more than Islamophobic cranks spewing jokes and anecdotes designed to promote an us-vs-them worldview.
In the latest Danger Room post, an FBI spokesman responds with the excuse that “a disclaimer accompanied the presentation stating that the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government.” Danger Room adds:
Several of these briefings were the work of a single author: an FBI intelligence analyst named William Gawthrop. In 2006, before he joined the Bureau, he gave an interview to the website WorldNetDaily, and discussed some of the themes that made it into his briefings, years later. The Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism,” Gawthrop told the website, which would later distinguish itself as a leader of the “birther” movement, a conspiracy theory that denies President Obama’s American citizenship.
Frustrated with Obama’s inaction on the issue, Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, and Collins, a Maine Republican, are now considering drafting legislation to address the problem, Talking Points Memo reported on Tuesday. In a letter to the president, the senators wrote:
"As we have previously stated in letters to this administration, we have serious concerns that improper training may not be isolated occurrences and could be detrimental to our efforts to confront homegrown terrorism. Since Muslim Americans are our main allies in the fight against violent Islamist extremism domestically, any training that implies otherwise is both inaccurate and counterproductive."
Full article can be found here.