The Washington Free Beacon revealed Friday that “the FBI’s most recent national threat assessment for domestic terrorism makes no reference to Islamist terror threats, despite last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and the 2009 Fort Hood shooting—both carried out by radical Muslim Americans.” Instead, the threat assessment focused on eight types of groups: “anti-government militia groups and white supremacy extremists, along with ‘sovereign citizen’ nationalists, and anarchists,” along with “violent animal rights and environmentalist extremists, black separatists, anti- and pro-abortion activists, and Puerto Rican nationalists.”
The FBI focus on “anti-government militia groups and white supremacy extremists, along with ‘sovereign citizen’ nationalists, and anarchists” is ominous, for while there are indeed such people, the Obama Administration has already shown a disturbing tendency to lump all of its opponents into such categories, with scant concern for accuracy, and to be willing to use the IRS and the courts effectively to criminalize opposition to its agenda. Some such groups may indeed be violent and dangerous, but they’re nothing compared to the global character of jihad terrorism – and yet jihad terrorism didn’t even make the FBI list.
Meanwhile, it is comforting to know that the FBI is on watch against Puerto Rican nationalists: tonight at the Blair House, President Truman can rest easy. But meanwhile, this latest national threat assessment shows that the Obama Administration’s fog of denial and willful ignorance about the jihad threat is thicker than ever. To be warning about Puerto Rican nationalists while Islamic jihadists are increasingly aggressive, assertive and violent around the world is tantamount to warning about slow waiters on the Titanic.
Just look at some recent events: Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas beefed up security for the Labor Day weekend in response to credible threats from Puerto Rican nationalists to enter the country from Mexico and stage a terror attack here. In Chicago, a man who had a Puerto Rican flag on his car threatened police with a bomb. Puerto Rican nationalists tweeted: “we are in your state/ we are in your cities / we are in your streets. You are our goals anywhere,” and “we are here #america near our #target sooooooooooooon.” Just before beheading an American journalist, Puerto Rican nationalists sent a message to his family containing more threats: “Government and citizens alike!…We will not stop untill [sic] we quench our thirst for your blood.”
None of that, of course, was actually done by Puerto Rican nationalists. The attempt to assassinate Truman in 1950 and their shooting of five congressmen at the House of Representatives in 1954 were the Puerto Rican nationalists’ high-water marks as far as terrorism is concerned. These threats all really came from the Islamic State – the foremost present exponent of the threat that the FBI doesn’t deem to be important enough to include in its national threat assessment for domestic terrorism.
As I detail in my book Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In, this willful ignorance at the highest levels has endangered Americans more than once, making for murderous attacks that could have and should have been prevented. The most notorious of these are the Boston Marathon bombing and the Fort Hood massacre.
Two years before the Boston bombing, Russian intelligence agents told the FBI that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a “follower of radical Islam” and a “strong believer” who had tried to join “underground groups” in Dagestan. That is tantamount to saying that Tsarnaev was an Islamic jihadist, which should have been enough for the FBI to keep him under constant or at least regular surveillance. It did not – and not coincidentally, right around the time the Russians gave the feds this information, the Obama administration (under pressure from Muslim groups with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood) mandated the scrubbing of counter-terror training materials of all mention of Islam and jihad (and the dismissal of FBI trainers who spoke about the motives and goals of jihad terrorists, including me).
Agents who still knew how to evaluate the Russian intel were probably afraid that to do so, in the prevailing politically correct climate, would have been career suicide. In any case, after a cursory investigation, Tamerlan Tsarnarev slipped off the FBI radar screen, and didn’t even catch their attention when three Jews who were close acquaintances of his were found with their throats slit. It would have been “Islamophobic” for the FBI to note that the Qur’an’s virulent anti-Semitism (amid much vituperation, it designates Jews as the worst enemies of the Muslims (5:82)) and to consider the possibility that the devout Tsarnaev could be worth questioning about the murders.
Those murders could have been prevented, and the Boston Marathon jihad massacre could have been headed off as well, if the FBI had taken seriously the information it received from the Russians. But to have done so would have required acknowledging that there was indeed a threat from a “strong believer” in “radical Islam,” and as the FBI’s new national threat assessment for domestic terrorism shows, the agency was not disposed to admit that – and still isn’t.
And so while Barack Obama and James Comey keep their eyes peeled for the spiritual children of Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, Islamic State jihadists plot ways to murder as many Americans as they possibly can. But not to worry: maybe the Islamic State will convert a few Puerto Rican nationalists to Islam, and set them up to mount the next large-scale jihad terror attack in the U.S. – and we’ll all catch a break.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In, is now available.
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