In Human Events this morning, I discuss some recent jihad plots and then examine DHS policies in light of them:
...Instead, the Obama Administration has succumbed to pressure from Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in the United States and has promised to scrub all training materials for the FBI and other agencies of any reference to Islam or jihad in connection with Islamic terrorism. That means that law enforcement officials are now effectively forbidden to study the motives and goals of the Alabama shooter, the Florida and North Carolina plotters, the former military man, and so many others like them, for to do so would necessarily involve study and discussion of the texts and tenets of Islam.
It cannot be said, however, that the Obama Department of Homeland Security is lying down on the job. Recently it has come to light that for over a year, DHS agents have been monitoring a large number of websites. The purpose of this monitoring, according to a DHS report, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”
Situational awareness? A common operating picture? It’s hard to tell whether this wretched English is intended to obfuscate deliberately, or if it was simply written by someone whose thoughts barely rise above the level of incoherence. Either way, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But this bureaucratic gobbledygook apparently means that the DHS is watching the sites in question in order to become aware of situations involving terror plotting, and that DHS agents will share this information with other agencies so that they won’t be working at cross purposes.
So far so good -- if the DHS were monitoring jihadist websites, which proliferate on the internet. But it isn’t. Instead, it is watching sites where it is extremely unlikely ever to encounter a jihad plotter saying anything to indicate that he is up to no good. To be sure, the monitored sites are all over the map ideologically: they include Live Leak, Vimeo, Youtube, and Flickr, as well as the Huffington Post, Newsweek Blogs and the New York Times Lede Blog -- along with the Middle East Media Research Institute, the global intelligence site Stratfor, and many, many others, including my own website, Jihad Watch. Nonetheless, given the Obama DHS’s stated emphasis on “right-wing extremism,” it is much more likely that when they visit Jihad Watch and other counterterror sites, agents are on the hunt for dangerous conservatives, not hoping to learn anything about jihadist beliefs, motives or activities.
The plots and attacks of the past week illustrate how foolish that is, as well as ominous for loyal citizens who oppose the administration and its policies, and are being watched despite having no intention of ever engaging in any illegal activity whatsoever. The DHS’s slumber will not come without a cost -- for as administration officials continue to make good on their promise to embrace willful ignorance about the Islamic jihad threat, agents will grow ever less equipped to spot and to stop plots such as the one uncovered last week in Florida. To do so will be inexcusably “Islamophobic,” DHS agents will tell each other, as they sip coffee and monitor those crazy right-wingers at Jihad Watch.