At this point, does anyone not find this allegation believable?
Philip Haney, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security, has blown the whistle more than once in the last couple of months. After the San Bernardino terror attack in December 2015, he came forward to tell America that – in 2012 – a tracking effort targeting extremist Deobandi Sunnis (and other, similar groups) was shut down, one that would probably have flagged both of the perpetrators.
Haney argued strongly against that tracking effort being shut down, and became himself a target of retaliation within DHS. In media interviews in December, he suggested that Islamic influence groups in the U.S. – e.g., CAIR – “play a role in controlling the narrative” of law enforcement’s approach to terrorism.
Now Haney has a new op-ed out at The Hill, in which he recounts his experience with databases maintained on the suspect ties of some Muslims in the U.S.
According to Haney, when he was working at DHS in November 2009, the department ordered analysts to literally purge the records of hundreds of people with ties to designated Islamic terror organizations. It was especially galling, says Haney, that this order came down only weeks before the failed “underwear bombing” attempt on Christmas Day, 2009 – after which Obama criticized the very same analysts for failing to “integrate and understand the intelligence we already had” on such potential bombers.
Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.” Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database
A few weeks later, in my office at the Port of Atlanta, the television hummed with the inevitable Congressional hearings that follow any terrorist attack. While members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding why their subordinates were still failing to understand the intelligence they had gathered, I was being forced to delete and scrub the records. And I was well aware that, as a result, it was going to be vastly more difficult to “connect the dots” in the future—especially before an attack occurs.
Speaking of CBP officers: one of their top agents – Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council – testified in Congress this week that agents are now being told by their superiors to release illegals into the U.S. with no follow-up. A year ago, such illegals were at least being issued “notices to appear” before an immigration judge. Most of them didn’t make their court dates, but the formality still ensured that some did.
Now CBP agents are being told not to enforce that formality at all. DHS officials, queried on this, haven’t responded directly to Judd’s assertions. They merely say that they’re doing everything they can to keep the border secure.
These are just some of the ways in which law-breakers and people with genuinely dangerous connections are now being treated better by the federal government than law-abiding citizens are.
Consider, for example, Haney’s claim: that the Obama administration forced analysts like him to delete and stop collecting information on the Islamic terrorism ties of people living in the U.S. This in spite of the fact that some aspects of those connections – such as providing material support to the terror groups – are felonies.
But now the same administration wants to crack down on “domestic extremism,” by making it a felony to have similar connections to “extremist” groups the Obama administration has suspicions about. Never mind that the administration will not actually name the organizations that would be affected, or give identifiable examples of the public danger posed by them. The Obama DHS wants to criminalize connections it won’t even specify, while refusing to notice connections to Islamic terror groups that are already criminal.
Consider, as well, the point that the Obama administration says it’s just fine for law enforcement agencies to monitor the social media accounts of Americans. But the Obama DHS doesn’t check the social media accounts of foreign visa applicants. In fact, officials within the department urged the leadership in early 2014 to start doing that, and the top brass decided not to. Why? They feared “bad optics.” In other words, they feared that foreigners might think badly of them for making such checks.
In light of this administration’s record, Philip Haney’s latest disclosure is the most believable thing in the room.