The federal government deliberately downplayed the threat posed by Islamic terrorism immediately before the recent spate of Islamist terror attacks, ignoring Muslim extremists in favor of hyping the threat posed by radical right-wingers.
In the years leading up to the Boston bombings, the Garland shooting, the Chattanooga attack and the San Bernardino massacre, the FBI, Homeland Security and the Obama White House emphasized the narrative that white supremacists and anti-government Americans were of more concern than Muslim jihadists.
A policy that prohibited Homeland Security officials from checking the social media accounts of foreign visa applicants, while concurrently keeping tags on the social media profiles of American citizens, directly contributed to San Bernardino terrorists Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook going undetected.
As Chuck Ross writes, “Malik, a Pakistani citizen, reportedly posted pro-jihad messages on her Facebook account while living overseas. But the posts were not discovered even though Malik underwent three separate screening procedures before being granted her green card.”
This failure to check Malik’s social media accounts was justified on the premise that it could be “viewed negatively” from a privacy and civil liberties perspective. However, a DHS directive published in 2011 encouraged agents to “compile reports” on the social media accounts of American citizens which contained discussion of “policy directives, debates and implementations related to DHS.”
In a similar vein, the FBI’s August 2014 national terror threat assessment list completely omitted Islamic terrorists, instead focusing on sovereign citizens and the militia movement.
The University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) also said that sovereign citizens were the “top concern of law enforcement.”
In 2012 that same department released a study which characterized Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
The study, which was funded by the DHS to the tune of $12 million dollars, largely ignored Islamic extremism and instead focused on Americans who hold beliefs shared by the vast majority of conservatives and libertarians and put them in the context of radical extremism.
Last year, it also emerged that the Department of Homeland Security maintains a “hands off” list of individuals with terrorist ties, allowing them unfettered entrance to the United States. In a related story, Muslim Brotherhood members with ties to terrorism traveling through Minneapolis Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Dulles Airport in April 2012 were handed “port courtesies,” with the State Department telling the DHS to ensure the men “not be pulled into secondary upon arrival at a point of entry.”
In August last year, over 12 months after the Boston bombings, the Department of Homeland Security listed sovereign citizens as a more deadly potential terror threat than Islamic extremists, placing sovereign citizens number one on the list despite the fact that individuals who identify as such have only been involved in minor and sporadic attacks.
PSA’s for the Department of Homeland Security’s See Something, Say Something program also routinely failed to portray terrorists as Muslims on numerous occasions, preferring instead to depict the bad guys as white middle class Americans.
In pursuing the political narrative that right-wing American citizens posed a greater terror threat than Islamic extremists, the federal government has made it significantly easier for Muslim jihadists to coordinate and plan attacks, while a climate of political correctness that led to neighbors of Malik and Farook refusing to report their suspicious activity for fear of appearing racist has also fed into the dangerous delusion that radical Islam doesn’t represent a problem that needs to be urgently addressed.
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