Even as fears grow that ISIS terrorists are secreted inside America’s Muslim community, dozens of American Muslim groups have fired off a letter to President Obama demanding he cut off federal funding for sheriffs and other local police receiving anti-jihadist training from a former FBI agent.
Veteran FBI Special Agent John Guandolo, formerly of the bureau’s Washington field office, has been training local law enforcement officials and federal agents in tactics for identifying and ferreting out Islamic terrorists and their supporters inside U.S. cities.
But more than 75 Islamic and leftist groups upset with his focus on the religious motivation of terrorists last month sent a five-page letter to the White House complaining of a “biased” training program.
Led by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in a major federal terrorism case, the coalition demanded the president implement a “mandatory retraining program” for “all federal, state and local law enforcement officials” who have been trained by Guandolo.
It also called for “disciplinary action” against federal agents and local police officials who participate in training with “discriminatory” counter-terrorism materials.
Moreover, the coalition’s White House demands include requiring “federal agencies that provide law enforcement and homeland security funding to state and local governments to condition such funding on carrying out training or otherwise using federal funds in a manner that upholds our nation’s commitment to equal treatment and equal justice under the law and barring the use of trainers or materials that exhibit bias against any race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.”
Previously, CAIR has tried to block Guandolo’s training of sheriff’s offices in Culpeper County, Virginia; Rutherford County, Tennessee; and Franklin County, Ohio. The Islamic group currently is pressuring law enforcement officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, to cancel Guandolo’s scheduled Sept. 19 briefing with some 300 prosecutors and police.
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This week, CAIR tried unsuccessfully to force Colorado Christian University to disinvite Guandolo from speaking before its Centennial Institute about the threat from, as Guandolo put it, “the massive jihadi network that exists in the U.S.” CAIR’s complaints against Guandolo got unusually personal and shrill, with CAIR official Corey Saylor comparing Guandolo to “white supremacists” in a letter to university officials.
Training ties CAIR to jihadi network
Why is the counter-terrorism training performed by Guandolo, which is singled out by name in the letter, so threatening to pro-jihad groups?
For one, Guandolo lays out the radical Muslim Brotherhood’s extensive jihadi network in America, and federal prosecutors have identified CAIR as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in America. He advises that CAIR’s branch offices located in major cities across the U.S. should be aggressively investigated.
In his intensive three-day training program, Guandolo gives a detailed understanding of Shariah and how understanding it and the Muslim Brotherhood network necessarily changes how traffic stops, interviews and homicide investigations are conducted, among other things.
He explains that local law enforcement is key to neutralizing the jihadist threat. New federal investigative guidelines issued by Attorney General Eric Holder have overly restrained federal agents’ ability to effectively root out bad guys in local mosques and the Muslim community.
“A sheriff is the most powerful law enforcement officer in the nation,” Guandolo explained. “Sheriffs can make life very difficult for jihadis once they understand how they operate and where to look for them.”
Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany of Massachusetts agrees.
“Local police play an important role in the war on terror,” he said in the wake of news a key ISIS leader, Ahmad Abousamra, is an American citizen who grew up in Stoughton, a suburb of Boston.
“This underscores the need for police departments to work with the government, law enforcement agencies and the Joint Terrorism Task Force to keep our lines of information open,” Shastany said. “You just never know.”
A sheriff in Midland County, Texas, moreover, says he recently received a federal bulletin that ISIS cells have infiltrated along the Texas border and may try to carry out attacks in Texas cities.
Among other things, Guandolo advises local sheriff’s deputies and detectives to apply extra scrutiny to young Muslim men who suddenly grow a long beard or force their wives or girlfriends to wear garments fully covering their bodies and heads, among other outward signs of Islamic radicalization.
Muslim converts who take names such as “Sharia,” “Jihad,” “Mujtahid,” “Saif u Islam,” “Mujahadeen” or “Osama” are also a concern, he says.
Greater the devotion, greater the threat
Guandolo says evidence exists to demonstrate that a greater level of adherence to Islamic law correlates to a greater likelihood of violence.
In his local police briefings, he also identifies outward warning signs of suicide bombers, or “Islamic martyrs,” preparing for final days of operation. The former agent also identifies intelligence collection platforms used by jihadists to conduct surveillance of terrorism targets and perform counter-surveillance on police.
In his briefings, Guandolo advises law enforcement officers to treat mosques as they would any other place of investigation and avoid submitting to demands of mosque leaders to show undue religious deference to the property. He says acquiescing to mosque leaders’ demands to remove their shoes in an Islamic center, for example, is both dangerous and unprofessional.
Guandolo also warns that jihadists are trained to dissemble when speaking with non-Muslim authorities; so in questioning terrorist suspects, he says police should take care to frame questions carefully, avoiding Westernized terms like “terrorist” or “terrorism,” or “suicide bomber” or “suicidal operation.”
Technically, jihadists do not consider these to be valid tactics in Islam, he explains. On the other hand, they do believe violent “jihad” and “martyrdom” are legitimately sanctioned Islamic methods for fighting in the cause of Allah. So semantics, he stresses, matter in the course of interrogating Muslim suspects and witnesses.