- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2013

Before the Boston Marathon bombings, the Obama administration argued for years that there is a big difference between terrorists and the tenets of Islam.

A senior White House aide in 2009 publicly urged Washington to cease using the term “jihadist” — asserting that terrorists are simply extremists. Two years later, the White House ordered a cleansing of training materials that Islamic groups deemed offensive.

Now, some analysts are asking whether the 2009 edict and others that followed have dampened law enforcement’s appetite to thoroughly investigate terrorism suspects for fear of offending higher-ups or the American Muslim lobby.


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It is not just the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a radicalized jihadist whom the FBI questioned in 2011 and cleared of terrorism links. At least five Muslims have attempted mass destruction in the U.S. since 2009, undetected beforehand by law enforcement and the intelligence community:

• Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opened fire at a military recruiting office in Little Rock, Ark., in June 2009, killing one soldier.

• Najibullah Zazi, who said he was a member of al Qaeda, tried to detonate bombs in New York City’s subway in September 2009.


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• Army Maj. Nadal Malik Hassan opened fire at a soldier processing center at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13.

• Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to explode a bomb hidden in his underwear onboard a flight to Detroit in December 2009.

• Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in May 2010.

Steven Emerson runs the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which monitors a network of Islamic groups with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose stated goal is to impose Shariah, or Islamic law, on the world.

“Numerous experts on Islamic terrorism like myself and I had given 143 lectures at the FBI, CIA were banned from speaking to any U.S. government counterterrorism conferences,” Mr. Emerson told The Washington Times. “Instead, these agencies were ordered to invite Muslim Brotherhood front groups.”

The biggest White House push to tone down training on jihadists emerged in 2011, the same year the Russian government warned the U.S. about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose parents hailed from Chechnya, a hotbed of radical Islamists. Tamerlan and younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are accused of placing the two bombs that killed three and wounded more than 260 at the Boston Marathon.

Islamic backlash

In October 2011, 57 Islamic groups wrote a letter to John O. Brennan, now CIA director, but then President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser.

Citing news reports, the groups complained of “biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam” inside the federal government’s instructional halls.

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