John Guandolo is the former FBI agent who broke the story that Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan, converted to Islam while in Saudi Arabia — which would explain why he is so hospitable to the Muslim Brotherhood. Last Wednesday on my ABN show, I interviewed John Guandolo. The video is above.
“Senate Confirms John Brennan as CIA Director,” by Z. Byron Wolf for ABC News, March 7:
Senator Rand Paul’s nearly 13 hour filibuster may have started a conversation about U.S. drone policy, but it didn’t stop John Brennan from becoming CIA director.
Senators voted to 63 – 34 to elevate President Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser at the White House to lead the Central Intelligence Agency after Paul, R-Ky., dropped his opposition to a vote Thursday afternoon.
Paul had mounted the filibuster because he wanted assurances that the government would not target a non-combatant American citizen in the U.S. under the secret legal justification it uses to kill suspected terrorists overseas with armed drone strikes.
Those assurances came from Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday in the form of a one line letter.
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?'” wrote Holder. “The answer to that question is no.”…
We’ll see. Meanwhile, this is why the Brennan appointment is a disaster: “Obama CIA Nominee John Brennan Wrong for the Job,” by Steven Emerson and John Rossomando for IPT News, February 5:
…Brennan’s complacency regarding the jihad threat was made clear in May 2010, when he expressed a desire to encourage “moderate elements” of Hizballah, which is a State Department-designated terrorist organization.
“There is certainly the elements of Hizballah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements,” a Reuters report quoted Brennan saying.
He did not explain where such elements could be found, how they could be identified, or what separated them from the Hizballah “extremists.”…
During his time as a White House advisor, Brennan displayed a disturbing tendency to engage with Islamist groups which often are hostile to American anti-terrorism policies at home and abroad. Those meetings confer legitimacy upon the groups as representatives of all Muslim Americans, despite research indicating that the community is far too diverse to have anyone represent its concerns.
A Feb. 13, 2010 speech Brennan gave at the New York University School of Law serves as an example.
Organized by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the talk became an outlet for Brennan’s argument that terrorists benefit from being identified by religious terms, including “jihadist.” In doing so, Brennan waded into theological revisionism by denying the Quranic foundation exists, even though jihadists routinely cite chapter and verse.
“As Muslims you have seen a small fringe of fanatics who cloak themselves in religion, try to distort your faith, though they are clearly ignorant of the most fundamental teachings of Islam. Instead of creating, they destroy — bombing mosques, schools and hospitals. They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said. “We’re trying to be very careful and precise in our use of language, because I think the language we use and the images we project really do have resonance. It’s the reason why I don’t use the term jihadist to refer to terrorists. It gives them the religious legitimacy they so desperately seek, but I ain’t gonna give it to them.”
Like his positions on Iran and Hizballah, Brennan’s views about using religious references like “jihad” have been uttered repeatedly and consistently. “President Obama [does not] see this challenge as a fight against jihadists. Describing terrorists in this way, using the legitimate term ‘jihad,’ which means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal, risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve,” Brennan said in an Aug. 6, 2009 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
He returned to the narrative in a May 26, 2010 speech, also at CSIS.
“Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan said.
Brennan’s interpretation of jihad stands in stark contrast with how the term has been consistently understood, especially by the intellectual founders of the global Islamist movement.
Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, whose ideas have influenced all subsequent Islamic extremists including Hamas and Al-Qaida, rejected the definition of jihad that Brennan suggests is correct.
In a pamphlet titled “Jihad,” al-Banna wrote: “Many Muslims today mistakenly believe that fighting the enemy is jihad asghar (a lesser jihad) and that fighting one’s ego is jihad akbar (a greater jihad). The following narration [athar] is quoted as proof: ‘We have returned from the lesser jihad to embark on the greater jihad.’ They said: ‘What is the greater jihad?’ He said: ‘The jihad of the heart, or the jihad against one’s ego. This narration is used by some to lessen the importance of fighting, to discourage any preparation for combat, and to deter any offering of jihad in Allah’s way. This narration is not a saheeh (sound) tradition “¦”
Sayyid Qutb, al-Banna’s successor in defining Islamist thought, clearly endorsed the idea of violent jihad, suggesting that it should not be fought merely in a defensive manner.
“Anyone who understands this particular character of this religion will also understand the place of Jihaad bis saif (striving through fighting), which is to clear the way for striving through preaching in the application of the Islamic movement. He will understand that Islam is not a ‘defensive movement’ in the narrow sense which today is technically called a ‘defensive war.’ This narrow meaning is ascribed to it by those who are under the pressure of circumstances and are defeated by the wily attacks of the orientalists, who distort the concept of Islamic Jihaad,” Qutb wrote in his book Milestones. “It was a movement to wipe out tyranny and to introduce true freedom to mankind, using resources according to the actual human situation, and it had definite stages, for each of which it utilized new methods.”
Even Brennan’s NYU host advocated violent jihad. A December 1986 article appearing in ISNA’s official magazine Islamic Horizons notes that “jihad of the sword is the actual taking up of arms against the evil situation with the intention of changing it,” that “anyone killed in jihad is rewarded with Paradise,” and that “a believer who participates in jihad is superior to a believer who does not.”
Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the senior Muslim Brotherhood imam who the Obama administration reportedly has used in its negotiations with the Taliban, connects jihad with fighting in his book Fiqh of Jihad. In it, he says that Muslims may engage in violent jihad in the event Muslim lands are threatened by or occupied by non-Muslims as he contends is the case with Israel.
These Brotherhood treatises are relevant because Brennan’s host, ISNA, was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States, some of whom remain active with the organization. And, although it denied any Brotherhood connection in 2007, exhibits in evidence in a Hamas-support trial show ISNA’s “intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.” In addition, the federal judge in the case found “ample evidence” connecting ISNA to Muslim Brotherhood operations known as the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine and Hamas.
ISNA has sought to publicly moderate its image, yet it has kept radicals such as Jamal Badawi on its board of directors and granted a 2008 community-service award to Jamal Barzinji, a founding father of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, as well as a former ISNA board member.
Badawi has defended violent jihad including suicide bombings and has suggested that Islam is superior to secular democracy. Barzinji was named in a federal affidavit as being closely associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
Barzinji’s name appears in a global phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members recovered by Italian and Swiss authorities in November 2001 from the home of Al-Taqwa Bank of Lugano founder Youssef Nada, one of the leaders of the international Muslim Brotherhood and an al-Qaida financier.
At the NYU event, Brennan was introduced by then-ISNA President Ingrid Mattson, who made Qutb’s writings required reading in a course she taught. Mattson has advocated against using terms like “Islamic terrorism” since the earliest days after 9/11. During his speech, Brennan praised Mattson as “an academic whose research continues the rich tradition of Islamic scholarship and as the President of the Islamic Society of North America, where you have been a voice for the tolerance and diversity that defines Islam.”
Brennan met privately around the time of the NYU speech with another advocate of ignoring the Islamic motivation driving many terrorists. Both Salam al-Marayati and his organization, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) have long records of defending suspected terrorists and terror supporters and of arguing the terrorist threat in America is exaggerated.
During a 2005 ISNA conference, al-Marayati blasted the idea that Muslims would be used as informants to thwart possible terrorist plots. “Counter-terrorism and counter-violence should be defined by us. We should define how an effective counter-terrorism policy should be pursued in this country,” he said. “So, number one, we reject any effort, notion, suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another.”
The White House invited al-Marayati to attend the NYU speech despite his prior comments suggesting Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, condemning the FBI’s use of informants in counter-terror investigations, and his argument that Hizballah engages in “legitimate resistance.”
After the meeting, MPAC claimed credit for the administration’s policy of sugar-coating terrorist motives. “Mr. Brennan made two important points in his address that signified the importance of MPAC’s government engagement over the last 15 years in Washington,” an MPAC statement said. Among them, “He rejected the label of ‘jihadist’ to describe terrorists, because it legitimates violent extremism with religious validation, a point MPAC made in its 2003 policy paper on counterterrorism.”
While Brennan and his associates like Mattson and al-Marayati may wish to disconnect terrorism from religion, this strategy has proven meaningless among those who plot attacks against Americans. Many describe acting out of a belief that America is at war with Islam. Asserting that religious motivation doesn’t exist does nothing to lessen the threat.
When Army Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo’s mother asked her son what would drive him to plot a bombing and shooting attack on a restaurant that serves personnel at Fort Hood, Tex., his answer was succinct.
“The reason is religion, Mom,” he said.
Similarly, would-be bombers Faisal Shahzad and Farooque Ahmed justified their attempts to blow people up in New York and Washington as part of a war, a jihad, they felt compelled to join.
“This time it’s the war against people who believe in the book of Allah and follow the commandments, so this is a war against Allah,” Shahzad said at his October 2010 sentencing for trying to detonate a car-bomb in Times Square. “So let’s see how you can defeat your Creator, which you can never do. Therefore, the defeat of U.S. is imminent and will happen in the near future, inshallah [God willing], which will only give rise to much awaited Muslim caliphate, which is the only true world order.”
Ahmed, who scouted subway stations along the Washington, D.C. Metro line in hopes of aiding a bombing plot, acted in response to “an incessant message that is delivered by radical followers of Islam,” his lawyer said at Ahmed’s April 2011 sentencing, “that one cannot be true to the faith unless they take action, including violent action, most especially violent action “¦ that is a message that can unfortunately take root in individuals who feel like if they don’t do something, that they literally will not find salvation under their faith.”
Brennan grew prickly when challenged on this view of jihad. The Washington Times editorial board pressed him about the role of armed jihad in history during an Aug. 23, 2010 interview. After acknowledging that history — “Absolutely it has” happened — Brennan tried to deflect the question, saying “I’m not going to go into this sort of history discussion here.”
He cut the interview short and walked out after the editorial board pressed the point, asking Brennan to distinguish between those historical armed jihads and al-Qaida’s current jihad.
Brennan further displayed his eagerness to kowtow to Islamist demands in the fall of 2011. After a small number of materials in FBI training manuals and libraries were found to be excessively negative in describing Islam as a religion and Muslims as a people, Islamist groups demanded a purge of anything they considered offensive.
An Oct. 19, 2011 letter to Brennan written by Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera and signed by 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations demanded that Brennan create “an interagency task force, led by the White House,” that would, among other things, review all counterterror trainers, so as to purge those that the Muslim organizations, which included many with Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood ties, found unacceptable. The task force would also “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and more to ensure that only the message about Islam and jihad preferred by the signatories would get through to intelligence and law enforcement agents.
Brennan readily agreed, promising in a November 3, 2011 response to Khera written on White House stationery obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, that such an interagency task force was indeed “necessary,” and agreeing to purge training programs of all materials that the Muslim groups found objectionable.
To this day, officials have declined to identify those with whom they consulted in identifying the material to be removed. During an April 2012 talk at the New York Police Department, Brennan refused to answer when asked specifically whether Muslim Advocates was among those consulted.
“Now I’m not going to, you know, take on any individuals or claim or charge on this. But I just want to underscore that at least from the national government perspective and all my discussions with Commissioner Kelly and others, there is a real interest in trying to make sure that all of the different communities of different religious backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, political affiliations, have an opportunity to express themselves, so that we are able to do this,” he said. “When we talk about, you mentioned about, you know, Muslim Advocates “¦ obviously al-Qaeda, which is, purports to be an Islamic organization, is anything but; it’s a murderous organization. They certainly misrepresent what they stand for. But we need to make sure that we’re able to talk with the Muslim community here in the United States. The Muslim community is as much a part of the United States as any other community of any religious background. The Muslim community is part of the solution on terrorism, not part of the problem. We need to make sure that we have all the expertise, the representation and the perspective, so that we can bring it to bear.”
But in his letter to Khera, Brennan acquiesced to virtually every demand.
“We share your sense of concern over these recent unfortunate incidents, and are moving forward to ensure problems are addressed with a keen sense of urgency,” he wrote. “They do not reflect the vision that the President has put forward, nor do they represent the kind of approach that builds the partnerships that are necessary to counter violent extremism, and to protect our young people and our homeland. American’s greatest strength is its values, and we are committed to pursuing policies and approaches that draw strength from our values and our people irrespective of their race, religion or ethnic background.
While much work remains, I am confident that concrete actions are being taken to address the valid concerns you raised. Thank you again for your letter and for your leadership in addressing an isue [sic] that is crticial [sic] to ensuring the security of the United States.”