In a refrain that has become remarkably familiar in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, a neighbor of Khalid Masood — the 52-year-old Muslim who ran over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge then killed a police officer at the Parliament building Wednesday — described him as a “normal calm and kind family man, always with a smile on his face.”
The same was said of Syed Farook, who with his Saudi wife murdered 14 people at a San Bernardino, California, office Christmas party in December 2015.
And like Farook and numerous other perpetrators of Islamic terror attacks on Western soil — including Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan, Boston Marathon murders Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Chattanooga killer Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez and Orlando killer Omar Mateen — law enforcement at one point or another had them on their radar but apparently decided they were not a threat.
Detectives at Scotland Yard said Thursday there had been no prior intelligence about Masood’s intent to mount a terrorist attack, but they acknowledged he was once “investigated in relation to concerns about violent extremism.”
While a profile of Khalid Masood is only beginning to emerge, Philip Haney, a former Islam subject matter expert for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immediately began to point out indicators that Masood was an observant Salafi Muslim, meaning he strove to emulate the lifestyle of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.
Haney, as he watched TV coverage of the aftermath of the attack, noted Masood’s Shariah-compliant beard, trimmed in a distinct way, with no mustache, was visible as the assailant lay on a gurney in front of the Parliament building, where he had stabbed a police officer to death.
Meanwhile, a neighbor of Masood in Birmingham, England, told a London Guardian reporter Masood regularly wore traditional white Islamic robes.
Haney explained that while a person’s appearance certainly isn’t itself an indicator of a threat, when combined with other information, a profile could emerge of a conversion to belief in the authority of Shariah, or Islamic law, over “man-made” laws and the obligation to spread it.
Haney wants to know: “What is the law-enforcement standard that Masood didn’t meet that caused his case to go dark?”
The difficulty of anticipating and preventing attacks by people such as Masood who apparently operate on their own and use a car and a machete as weapons underscores the importance of understanding the religious dimension to the threat Western Civilization faces, Haney contends.
“Our criteria are off,” he told WND. “We can’t keep saying he didn’t meet the criteria. It’s obvious that what we’re doing now isn’t working effectively.”
The West, he said, has “a blind spot” when it comes to the threat of Islamic jihad.
He experienced firsthand as a Department of Homeland Security officer who worked with one of the National Targeting Center’s advanced units, which provides information in real time to officers at ports of entry. Haney helped develop a case in 2011 on a worldwide Islamic movement known as Tablighi Jamaat. Within a few months, the case drew the “concern” of the State Department and the DHS’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office because the Obama administration believed it unfairly singled out Muslims. The case effectively was shut down, even though the intelligence had been used to connect members of the movement to several terrorist organizations and financing at the highest levels, including for Hamas and al-Qaida.
Only a few years later, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were found to have been tied to Tablighi Jamaat, meaning if the case had been allowed to continue, the attack might have been prevented. Later, Haney also found the Orlando killer Mateen had a link to the case.
Haney has said that if he had been given the opportunity to question San Bernardino killer Farook upon his return to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in 2014, he would have asked him about the fact that he had grown a Shariah-compliant beard and was wearing an Islamic headdress while his passport photo showed him bareheaded and clean-shaven.
“We need to adjust and improve our ability to observe and address this tactical blind spot,” Haney said.
“You can still do it without violating our civil rights and civil liberties.”
When he worked for DHS, he and his colleagues collected information on visitors to the U.S. that included their travel patterns.
“Through law enforcement tools, we got to a place where had a functional database with derogatory information on 1,600 individuals that enabled us to take law enforcement actions based on observable trends,” he explained.
It didn’t mean, he pointed out, that all of those people were immediately barred from entry or arrested if they were in the country.
“We didn’t just go in there wholesale and shut them down, but in the process of monitoring them we would have noticed if all of sudden there was an outbreak of x, y and z events happening near, let’s say, LaGuardia Airport, that would indicate possible terrorist or criminal activity.
“You have to be able to establish criteria and have the legal authority to continue gathering information,” he said.
“That’s what’s called connecting the dots. It’s basic,” Haney emphasized.
“But if your government tells you you can’t use your authority to connect the dots, you find yourself where we are.”
‘Inappropriate and intrusive questions’
WND reported in January the pressure put on the federal government by Islamic groups funded from abroad to remove religious indicators from law enforcement practices and policies.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations — a U.S. front for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to FBI evidence — filed complaints in January with CBP, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department “reporting the systematic targeting of American-Muslim citizens for enhanced screening by CBP.”
CAIR’s true objective are unveiled in “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” by former DHS officer Philip Haney and WND Editor Art Moore. Get it now at the WND Superstore!
CAIR’s Florida branch further complained that CBP has asked American Muslims “inappropriate and intrusive questions” at secondary inspection and has “passed that information on to the FBI to maintain a registry of information on American Muslims.”
Among the questions the group finds objectionable are:
- Are you a devout Muslim?
- How many times a day do you pray?
- What school of thought do you follow?
- What Muslim scholars do you listen to?
- What do they preach in your mosque?”
Included in CAIR-Florida’s complaints to the CBP were questions asked of a Canadian Muslim citizen who was denied entry to the U.S.
Among them was, “Why did you shave your beard?”