The terms of the settlement of a recent discrimination lawsuit brought by Muslim activists against the New York Police Department has set a dangerous precedent that makes it even harder for law enforcement in the United States to prevent attacks like the coordinated bombings Tuesday in Brussels that killed at least 31 people and injured more than 180, contends a newly retired Department of Homeland Security officer.
Philip Haney, a former Customs and Border Protection officer who previously worked in the Middle East, explained to WND that as part of the settlement reached in U.S. District Court in January, the NYPD was forced to purge a study of terror attacks that helped law enforcement detect potential threats.
Haney, the author of an upcoming book published by WND Books about his experience as a DHS whistleblower titled “See Something, Say Nothing,” warned that the case against the NYPD is helping foster “a subtly coercive, politically based policy that will lead to what we’re seeing in Europe.”
“We’re not immune to it,” he said of the recent mass attacks on civilians in Paris and now Brussels. “If there is no intervention, no response to that intrusion into the law enforcement arena, we will see the same thing happen here.”
ISIS claimed credit for the attacks at Zaventem Airport and a Metro station near European Union headquarters Tuesday. Police later raided homes throughout Belgium in a hunt for a third suspect believed to have survived. Nine Americans were among the injured, including one U.S. service member and five members of his family. The bombings came four days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the primary remaining suspect from the Paris attack in November that killed 130 people and wounded another 368.
‘Inflammatory and discriminatory’
Haney, who worked for the Customs and Border Protection’s Intelligence Review Unit and the National Targeting Center, described the NYPD’s study, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” as “simply an analysis of actual attacks, but it was “characterized as flawed, inaccurate, inflammatory and discriminatory.”
NYPD officers, he noted, are specifically barred now from referring to the study.
“Of course, the danger of that precedent is that anybody in a small-town police force in the middle of Nebraska right up to Washington, D.C., will now by prohibited from using fact-based, trend analysis to develop cases,” he said. “It will be seen as discriminatory against a particular community. In this case, the Islamic community.”
Similarly, as WND reported in December, Haney revealed in an interview with the Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that the federal government, including the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, shut down an investigative initiative he helped launch that could have tipped off authorities to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.
Asked how he would advise President Obama in the wake of the Brussels attacks, he first established that the skilled personnel needed in federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to analyze and reduce the threat are already in place.
The problem, he said, is that the Obama administration, beginning with President Obama himself, is not taking what Islamic terrorists say “at face value.”
“They clearly state their intentions,” he said. “We need to begin by giving the people in America a better understanding of exactly what it is their stated goals and purposes are.
“Don’t whitewash them. Don’t apologize for them, and don’t reinterpret them,” he urged.
Haney noted that Obama gave a revealing interview to The Atlantic magazine published in the current April 2016 issue.
A source told writer Jeffrey Goldberg that Obama is very aware of the ideology and motivations of violent Islamic jihadists throughout the world.
Goldberg wrote that Obama “modulates his discussion of terrorism,” believing that “a misplaced word, or a frightened look, or an ill-considered hyperbolic claim, could tip the country into panic.”
“The sort of panic he worries about most is the type that would manifest itself in anti-Muslim xenophobia or in a challenge to American openness and to the constitutional order,” Goldberg wrote.
Those who “speak with Obama about jihadist thought,” the writer continued, “say that he possesses a no-illusions understanding of the forces that drive apocalyptic violence among radical Muslims, but he has been careful about articulating that publicly, out of concern that he will exacerbate anti-Muslim xenophobia.”
Haney commented that the kind of reaction Obama apparently is trying to avoid is expressed in Quran 2:191, which says fitnah, the Arabic word that can mean “sedition, unrest and chaos,” is worse than slaughter.
Fitnah also can be understood as a refusal to accept Islam, or resistance to Islam, which means, according to the Quran, that the crime of refusing to accept Islam is morally worse than the slaughter or plunder of non-Muslims for their unbelief.
“It would be Fitnah to point out and honestly discuss the apocalyptic violence among radical Muslims,” Haney said.
“In other words, our president tells us he is less concerned about honestly addressing the threat of jihad than he is about exacerbating any simmering anti-Muslim xenophobia.”
As a founding member of the DHS in 2003, Haney witnessed a shift in the law enforcement community from “addressing the true nature of the threat to reassuring the immigrant Muslim community that [the government is] diligently guarding against any repercussions.”
“So we’re constantly adjusting our emphasis rather than focusing on the ideological, you might say theological, forces that are motivating individuals to do attacks like in Belgium today,” he said.
Administration officials, he said, are “changing the conversation to emphasize concerns about civil rights and civil liberties within the communities where these attacks originate.”
“There’s nothing wrong with emphasizing civil rights and civil liberties and reassuring an immigrant community, Muslim or otherwise, that they are going to be carefully guarding and protecting their rights and freedoms,” Haney said.
“But not at the expense of addressing in a law enforcement-based manner the true nature of the threat that we face.”