When the name of the terrorist group that the San Bernardino extremists — Sayed Farook and Tashfeen Malif — were affiliated with became public, a retired Department of Homeland Security employee, whose work was shut down out of fear of offending Muslims, sat up straight in his chair.
“That’s my case,” he exclaimed, hearing al-Huda and Tablighi Jamaat — both movements a part of the Deobandi movement within Islam.
Trained as an entomologist, retired DHS employee Philip Haney used his skills of observation and attention to detail at the Customs and Border Protection agency to keep Americans safe from violent jihadists. Haney says it all comes down to “follow the trail, find the nest.”
But under pressure from the Department of State, which received letters like this one from external civil liberties groups that advocate for less scrutiny of Muslim groups, Haney’s superiors closed down his work on the Deobandi movement and many other potential terrorist groups.
“The administration was more concerns about the civil rights and liberties of foreign Islamic groups with terrorist ties than the safety and security of Americans,” Haney says.
A colleague supporting Haney’s whistleblowing told him, “’All I can think about are the peoples’ families in San Bernardino because our job was to stop things like that, and there’s an irrefutable direct connection because it was part of the case,’” Haney recounts in this 23-minute exclusive video interview for The Daily Caller News Foundation. “When these records were deleted, the dots were deleted. The plausible possibility was eradicated.”
Challenging these policy changes up his DHS chain of command, and then to the Department’s Inspector General, Haney’s courage and tenacity to protect Americans only ended up putting a target on his own back. Of Haney’s records, 67 were deleted. He faced discipline and retaliation, until he finally retired in July of this year after enduring significant personal and professional “trauma and difficulty.”
With nowhere else to turn, he went to Congress to see if they would listen. He became a “whistleblower” facing further consequences and investigations. Consequences he promises to tell later. He is optimistic that investigations in the House and Senate appear poised to be launched, and he stands ready to help in any way he can to protect this nation, and take the handcuffs off law enforcement.
Asked whether the motivation to stop his work was political correctness or something more nefarious, Haney said:
I think the players are pretty obvious at this point. Islamic-based influence groups definitely play a role in controlling the narrative. The administration side definitely plays a role in submitting to that narrative. And combined together they create a potent force that has shattered our ability to do our job.
The procedure the government uses to vet people is “inadequate,” Haney says. Last week, the retired DHS employee issued an open letter to Congress explaining the inadequacy of government vetting, saying, “the Obama administration had a deadly blind spot when it comes to Islamic terrorism,” while calling on Congress to step in to ensure better protection of Americans with improved vetting.
A June 2012 commendation letter to Haney from the National Targeting Center, one of many, for identifying over 300 terrorists has been released:
When asked to connect the dots to other efforts at handcuffing government vetting, Haney said these policies neutralized officials throughout government from thoroughly addressing the nature of the threat we face. Every component of government from the Department of Defense to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, law enforcement or threat detection programs are impacted. “This whole corrosion of law enforcement … the intrusion into the law enforcement arena started in 2006 and began to escalate,” he says.
Judicial Watch exposed the pressure put on the FBI to purge their training documents of material that may offend Islam.
As polls document the growing distrust of Obama’s governance since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the president has been on a PR tour through defense and counter terrorism facilities, trying to stop the decline in his popularity.
For more on Phil Haney, see his recent op-ed in The Hill.
This report, by Ginni Thomas, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.