Sen. Cruz Questions DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson About Administration’s Willful Blindness to Radical Islamic Terrorism
Highlights Obama administration’s dangerous practice of scrubbing anti-terror materials
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) continued pushing back against the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism in a Judiciary Committee oversight hearing today.
While questioning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, Sen. Cruz said, “What concerns me, and I believe should concern the Department of Homeland Security, is that because of this effort – scrubbing your law enforcement materials of any acknowledgment of radical Islamic terrorism – when you see the red flags of radical Islamic terrorism, you do not follow up on them effectively. And we have terrorist attack, after terrorist attack, after terrorist attack that could have been prevented but for this Administration’s willful blindness.”
Maybe some one should check the records and see if Dick Durbin and Jeh Johnson have dinner together often. Why?
BizPac: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has now admitted he was the one who ordered the FBI to remove words he deemed “offensive” to Muslims that were found in the Bureau’s training documents all at the behest of Muslim advocacy groups claiming to be offended by words such as “jihad” and other words linked to incessant Muslim terrorism.
Senator Durbin, the Democrats’ Senate Minority Whip, admitted he ordered the purge of nearly 900 pages of FBI training manuals because they contained the “offensive” words.
“I asked for it, because there were provisions in the training manual which were flat-out wrong and embarrassing and they didn’t characterize the threat to America properly and after the FBI re-visited the manual, they changed it and I’m glad they did,” Durbin told The Daily Caller.
Durbin also lambasted Texas Senator Ted Cruz for “badgering” a witness for what Cruz said was the government’s “lack of emphasis of radical Islam in combating terrorism.” The witness was testifying recently at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing.
Cruz maintained that the training document purge of words offensive to Muslims made America weaker by gutting the real-world reasons for terrorism in FBI terror training. But Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, disagreed saying that using “inflammatory” words in FBI training documents “makes us less safe.”
“Our organization’s position is that training materials as well as intelligence products that were produced by the FBI are not only offensive, inflammatory and alienating Muslims and American Muslims, but, more importantly, they make us less safe,” Khera said at the hearing.
Durbin also insisted Muslims have no problem informing on other Muslims when they are suspicious of terrorist activities.
The Illinois Senator next claimed that Orlando nightclub terrorist Omar Mateen wasn’t acting as a Muslim and said the claim that the killer was acting in the name of ISIS was nothing but “baloney.”
Durbin’s dismissal, though, flies in the face of Mateen’s own claims on 9-1-1 calls that he was acting in the name of ISIS. It is also hard to reconcile since the FBI had already been investigating the killer under suspicion of having ties to ISIS.
Does Dick really have this kind of power and influence all by himself? Not likely.
Politico: Ted Cruz and Jeh Johnson clashed Thursday during a Senate Judiciary oversight hearing, with the Texas senator and former Republican presidential candidate grilling the Homeland Security secretary on whether he had investigated the “systematic scrubbing” of law enforcement materials to remove references to terms like “jihad,” “Muslim” and “Islam.”
Cruz began his line of questioning by noting that the same committee conducted a hearing on Tuesday that explored the consequences of President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to use words like “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe threats facing the homeland.
Among those who testified was former Homeland Security officer Philip Haney — who, Cruz recalled, said that “in October 2009, more than 800 Customs and Border Patrol documents were ordered, modified, scrubbed or deleted to remove references to jihad or the Muslim Brotherhood or other similar references.”
“Was Mr. Haney’s testimony that the Department of Homeland Security had ordered over 800 documents altered or deleted in CBB, was that testimony accurate?” Cruz inquired.
Johnson responded, “I have no idea. I don’t know who Mr. Hanen is. I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the room,” he added, mispronouncing his name on multiple occasions.
“So you have not investigated whether your department ordered documents to be modified in 2009 to remove references to jihad, radical Islamic terrorism, the Muslim Brotherhood, you have not investigated that question?” Cruz followed up.
“No I have not taken the time to investigate what Mr. Hanen says, no,” Johnson answered.
Cruz then asked, after noting that the department did not participate in Tuesday’s hearing, whether Johnson or anyone in his staff had looked into those issues.
“No, but you have me right here, right now, to ask questions of, so here I am,” Johnson shot back.
Cruz responded, “Your answer is you don’t know. I am asking you. In 2009 and again in 2012, Mr. Haney testified there were two “purges,” and that was the word he used, “purge” at the Department of Homeland Security to remove references to radical Islamic terrorism. Is it accurate that the records were changed—”
“Same answer I gave you before. I have no idea, sir,” Johnson said.
“You have no knowledge of any records being changed at the Department of Homeland Security?” Cruz asked, and Johnson repeated that he had “no idea.”
Asked if he would be concerned if Haney’s account was accurate, Johnson got defensive about Cruz’s line of questioning.
“Senator, I find this whole debate to be very interesting, but I have to tell you, when I was at the Department of Defense giving the legal signoff on a lot of drone strikes, I didn’t particularly care whether the baseball card said Islamic extremist or violent extremist,” Johnson said.
“I think this is very interesting,” he went on. “But it makes no difference to me in terms of who we need to go after, who is determined to attack our homeland. The other point I’d like to make, sir, is that, and I have to think in practical terms in Homeland Security. I think this is all very interesting, makes for good political debate. But in practical terms, if we in our efforts here in the homeland start giving the Islamic State the credence that they want to be referred to as part of Islam or some form of Islam, we will get nowhere in our efforts to build bridges with Muslim communities, which we need to do in this current environment right now that includes homegrown violent extremists.”
As Cruz noted that his time was running short, Johnson snapped, “Hold on just a second please,” adding that Muslims “all tell me that ISIL has hijacked my religion, and it’s critical that we bring these people to our side to do this.”
“You’re entitled to give speeches other times. My question was if you were aware the information has been scrubbed,” Cruz retorted. “I would note the title of the hearing Tuesday was ‘Willful Blindness,’ and your testimony to this full committee now is that you have no idea and apparently have no intention of finding out whether DHS materials had been scrubbed.”
Johnson remarked as Cruz spoke, “That’s not what I said.”
“And you suggested just a moment ago that it’s essentially a semantic difference,” Cruz said. “Well I don’t believe it is a semantic difference that when you erase references to radical jihad, it impacts the behavior of law enforcement and national security to respond to red flags and prevent terrorist attacks before they occur.”
Cruz then offered two separate examples of what he said were intelligence failures under Obama’s watch, in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood and in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
“I disagree with your factual predicate,” Johnson said after Cruz broached the Fort Hood example. When asked to qualify, Johnson remarked, “in one minute, I couldn’t possibly answer your question.”
Asked point blank whether the “Obama administration” knew the shooter Nidal Malik Hassan was communicating with terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, Johnson asked how Cruz was defining the term “administration.”
Cruz responded, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
“The entire Federal Bureau of Investigation? I can’t answer that question sitting here,” Johnson said.
“OK, the answer is yes, and it is in public record, sir,” Cruz remarked.
On the Boston Marathon bombing, Johnson remarked that as a result of lessons learned, the intelligence community is “doing a better job of connecting all the right dots.”
Cruz noted that the pattern of failing to connect the dots “keeps occurring over and over and over again,” bringing up what he said were lapses before attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando Florida.
“First of all, virtually every day I read about the good work of our law enforcement personnel, our Homeland Security personnel and our intelligence community connecting the dots to identify potential terrorist plots, terrorist plots on our homeland, irrespective of the label you want to put on it,” Johnson responded. “I think our people are smart enough to identify somebody who is a violent extremist, who is self-radicalizing, who is moving toward violence when there are some warning signs, like somebody who see somebody buying a gun or training or buying weapons of explosive material. Every day I see people connecting the dots across our law enforcement, Homeland Security intelligence communities.”
“Are there lessons learned? Could we do a better job? The answer is probably yes,” the secretary continued. “But every day I see this happening, and I think we are doing a better job, and I think that our people are smart enough to identify potential terrorist behavior whether you call it Islamic or extremist or anything else. I think the labels, frankly, are less important except where we need to build bridges to American Muslim communities and not vilify them so that they will help us help them. That is my answer to your question, sir.”