A former employee with the Department of Homeland Security says the federal government shut down a program that could have tipped off authorities to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.
Philip Haney, a founding member of the DHS in 2003 who worked for the Customs and Border Protection’s Intelligence Review Unit and the National Targeting Center, said part of his job entailed monitoring individuals with potential ties to terror who wanted to come into the United States. He and his team honed in on a global Islamic group, Tablighi Jamaat, an offshoot of the Deobandi movement.
But Haney, in an interview Thursday night with the Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly, said that about a year into their investigation, the Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the State Department shut down his efforts for fear of profiling Muslims.
The kicker is this: The monitoring could have prevented the recent San Bernardino, California, terror attack committed by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, he said.
In addition to shuttering the program, Haney said feds destroyed 67 of his team’s records. He noted that a Southern California mosque that Farook attended is part of the movement his team was watching.
“[These records] may have thwarted last week’s attack,” Haney said told Kelly.
He went on: “Either Syed would have been put on the no-fly list because [of] association with the mosque, and/or the K-1 visa that his wife was given may have been denied because of his association with a known [terror-tied] organization.”
Haney said he tried to notify Congress and the inspector general of the details surrounding his shuttered program, but his bosses retaliated against his whistleblowing and pulled his security clearance.
Homeland Security issued a brief response to Haney’s claims, telling Fox News his story had holes while offering no details. Federal officials had previously awarded Haney a commendation letter for identifying 300 suspected terrorists.
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Marc Thiessen, a frequent Fox News pundit and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, called the episode an example of political correctness run amok.
“[The government] didn’t want to profile a Muslim group, this Muslim mosque … [and that shows] political correctness kills,” Thiessen said in the same Fox News segment.