Op/Ed: “Is Our Intelligence Community … Intelligent?”

By Diana West

Kifah Mustapha is a known Hamas operative and an unindicted co-conspirator in the landmark Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial, the most successful such prosecution of terrorism financing — in this case of Hamas — in U.S. history.

So how could U.S. officials, charged with securing the nation against the very terrorism Mustapha’s activities supported (as laid out in court documents filed by federal investigators), have possibly invited him into the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the FBI’s training center at Quantico during a six-week “Citizen’s Academy” in 2010?

“The plugs had to be pulled on our (watch) system” just to get Mustapha in the NCTC door, Patrick Poole wrote online at Big Peace, quoting a Department of Homeland Security official. After all, “the NCTC has Kifah Mustapha on the highest watch list we have.”


So who pulled those plugs? Wouldn’t it be great to get a bunch of national security pooh-bahs into one room to try to find out?

It would be — and so it was. In September 2010, at a conference in Washington on domestic intelligence, I took the opportunity to ask as many of them as possible this very question.

First up was James Clapper, director of National Intelligence. During a question-and-answer session, I asked him about FBI “outreach” to Mustapha.

“I think the FBI will be here later,” Clapper boldly punted (laughter in the room). Meanwhile, he continued, there is “great merit in outreach, to engage as much as possible with the Muslim community.” Subtext: It’s no big deal.

When later asked about the government policy of eliminating the terminology of Islamic jihad from intelligence analysis and collection, Clapper affirmed it to “acknowledge sensitivities” — a process begun under George W. Bush and recently extended by Obama Homeland Security adviser John Brennan. “There’s plenty of terminology out there (to convey) the meaning and the message that we need to.”

The director of national intelligence’s tag of choice: “homegrown violent extremism.”

Between panels, I spoke to panelist Sean Joyce of the FBI. What did the FBI executive assistant director for national security think about the Mustapha incident?

“We don’t comment on individuals,” he told me.

OK. How about commenting on a blanket policy regarding FBI secret tours for unindicted co-conspirators and terrorist group operatives?

“Again, we don’t comment on individuals.”

It’s not every day a former director of Central Intelligence Agency is standing by, so I asked Michael Hayden for his opinion of the speak-no-Islam issue. “People I trust” — uh-oh — “say to be careful not to use the term `jihadist’ because it does have a broader use across the Islamic world,” he said.

So what? That doesn’t affect its accuracy as a description of the enemy! However, he continued, not using the word ‘Islamic’ “obfuscates the issue (and) neuters our understanding” of Islamic terrorism — “however perverted it might be.” Hayden added: “This is in no way a comment on the Islamic faith.”

But it is in some way a comment on American intelligence. “Political correctness” stymies it.

Of course, NCTC Director Michael Leiter was quick to insist “there was no PC-ness” on his watch. “If someone is inspired by Islamic ideology” he began, then stopped. “Let me rephrase that: al-Qaida ideology …”

Poor baby.

Later, I had an opportunity to ask Leiter what he thought about the FBI bringing Mustapha into NCTC.

“Ask the FBI,” he suggested, helpfully. But isn’t NCTC your shop? I asked.

“Actually,” he explained, “the building isn’t owned by us. Three organizations have offices there. …”

When I pulled myself up off the floor, he was still talking: “It’s more complicated — talk to the FBI. They’ve got a lot more information than I do.”

The FBI better be good, right? After all, on taking my Mustapha question, FBI Director Robert Mueller, the conference’s final speaker, said he’d been briefed to expect it. “I’m not sure I agree with the predicate of your question,” he said, “and we’re not going to debate it here.”

He continued, discussing the Citizen’s Academy program, which he described as “exposing the FBI to a variety of communities.”

“Exposing” is right.

He, too, said he wouldn’t discuss individuals, but added, meaningfully: “We do look into the individuals that we invite into the Citizen’s Academies.”

I think the man who pulled the plugs had spoken.

Diana West, is featured in the upcoming GBTV documentary Rumors of War: Target U.S. She is a Universal Uclick syndicated columnist and the author of The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization, and the forthcoming book American Betrayal, both published by St. Martin’s Press. Learn more at www.dianawest.net


  • landofaahs

    They are smart enough to pull the wool over the liberals eyes.  Conservatives however see them for the modern massa’s of the Federal slavers and we the slaves.  How much do people have to see before they wake up?

  • landofaahs

    The bootjack obama says “your papers please”  Are you liberals feeling betrayed?  You should.  You are his little peasant subjects, not he, your public servant.

    • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

      Indeed, and soon enough all sides will hear Kaiser Obama declare “Ready, aim, shoot”

      • landofaahs

        LOL. How ’bout ready, aim, you’re fired. Get your butt down the road liberals.

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Remember we have with Kaiser Obama a radical ideologist in the White House, surrounded by other radicals; so while he is imposing communist – socialist idiocy down our collective throats why would anyone be suprised he would allow a known terrorist and radical extremist to attend an anti-terrorist meeting.

    No suprise at all.

  • landofaahs

    Fobama. LOL

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    I’m not a fan of any “Intelligence” Agency getting in my business, but I’m getting impatient with the dearth of quality on Glenn’s website of late, and feel to say that any piece of information coming out of any media outlet regardless of how that label it is an Op/Ed. 

  • landofaahs

    Jihadist’s are just misunderstood.  Obama knows that of course since he’s a trojan horse muslim himself.  But us evil Christian right-wingers, especially of the southern stripe,  well they are the terrorists threatening freedom huh. 

  • Anonymous

    OMG!  This isn’t an Abbott and Costello comedy bit, is it?   Dang that PC s—!   Why can’t they

    just say: people from the Middle East want to kill us (or cause us harm)?  Do they need to show

    or produce proof of a plan before that is said?   Are you sure this man, Mustapha, wasn’t vetted

    by the DOJ?   Or, perhaps, the LSM?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GQZBZSUM5RWTRR7EQOAI3KMP6A sobela

    I’m sorry but wow is all I can say after reading this and God help us all if those guys are watching our backs.
    I think I’d rather watch my own back and family’s from now on.
    Things are not going well and we all need to pull our heads out of the
    sand the time of a safe and happy America is over not that there ever really
    was a time like that I guess it just seemed that way to me when I was young.

    I was a military kid that had to watch my father go off to where ever to make it safe for me,mom and my brothers. Now I’m a military wife with 2 great kids of my own and a husband that has to go off to where ever to make it safe for me and our kids funny right.

  • Anonymous

    …they don’t own the building…that houses their brains.

  • Anonymous

    Political Correctness at its worst!!!  They’ve repeated it long enough it seems we all are infected with it.

    So who is to watch the watchmen?

    The TEA party needs to rise up en masse and expose such PC foolishness, and vote out all the PC-infected incumbents.

    I find it interesting there is no single visible leader as such, of the TEA party, but it is a manifestation of the uprising of common sense, which has been in such short supply until now.

    Laus Deo

  • Anonymous

    Glenn, in the military during the mid to late 1960s, we were told to “Know Your Enemies, Well.  Keep them Close”.  We were seeing dead bodies and captured Russian, Chinese and Cuban advisers along with an array of people of “unknown origin”, young, old and female.  I suspect that countries like China, N Korea and others use war to thin out their population of undesirables every now and then.  Just round them up, fill them full of opiates, promise them money, 100 virgins, …. etc., and ship them to the front of battle.  Their way of eliminating Poverty.  But we believed that, like Gen. Patton was reported to have said, something like “Being a hero isn’t dying for your country, it’s making the other B*****d die for his country”. 
    Down here in Texas, we don’t worry too much about being PC.  Never have, never will.  Tell it like it is.  But be careful when talking to your Mom, wife or girl friend (or boss).  GSR, Fort Worth, Texas.

  • Anonymous

    I would “almost” trust a Muslim before these crazies.  Maybe because they have become one in the same.  They appear to be “in the bag” – bought and paid for by Islamic duplicity.  Would these whores think and act the same without Obama at the helm?  I hate to say it, but probably.  Look at Romney who proclaims “Jihadisim is no part of Islam.”  It is creepy how the truth can be subverted so universally by our leaders.

  • Anonymous

    I would “almost” trust a Muslim before these crazies.  Maybe because they have become one in the same.  They appear to be “in the bag” – bought and paid for by Islamic duplicity.  Would these whores think and act the same without Obama at the helm?  I hate to say it, but probably.  Look at Romney who proclaims “Jihadisim is no part of Islam.”  It is creepy how the truth can be subverted so universally by our leaders.

  • w. Parker

    I believe our intelligence people are good, hard working and dedicated.  I believe one shouldn’t criticize too heavily as the agencies have been hi-jacked by a tyrant president.  They’ve kept us safe for over 10 years and i trust they’ll continue

  • Anonymous

    should all try to enjoy it after all it was the collective society that voted
    for what we are now getting. Change, socialism, higher prices, all promised and
    received. I only hope that the collective society has opened their eyes and
    will not vote him in again. Anyone has to be better.

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