Friday, December 17, 2010


Well, if he didn't just lap the competition to snag the award this year, blowhard New York congressman Peter King is certainly going to win it next year:

The Republican who will head the House committee that oversees domestic security is planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls "the radicalization" of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year.

Representative Peter T. King of New York, who will become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was responding to what he has described as frequent concerns raised by law enforcement officials that Muslim leaders have been uncooperative in terror investigations....

"When I meet with law enforcement, they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders," Mr. King said.

The move by Mr. King, who said he was planning to open a hearing on the matter beginning early next year, is the latest example of the new direction that the House will take under the incoming Republican majority....

Notice King's evidence: guys tell me this stuff. That's pretty much it. According to the article, he cites one specific case: a Muslim police informant's tipoff to Najibullah Zazi that Zazi was being investigated. (Zazi was arrested anyway.)

In contrast to this guys at the precinct house tell me stndard of evidence, we have this:

[A] report from the Congressional Research Service, sent to Congress with little fanfare on September 20, contends that soon after 9-11, American Muslims "recognized the need to define themselves as distinctly American communities who, like all Americans, desire to help prevent another terrorist attack" and explores how federal, state and local law enforcement organizations responded by tapping into American Muslims' language skills, contacts, information and cultural insights.

And this:

A November report by the Muslim Public Affairs Council said Muslim communities had helped law enforcement agencies foil almost 4 of every 10 Qaeda-related terrorism plots since the Sept. 11 attacks. The report is based on information the group draws from news media accounts, affidavits, academic studies and other sources.

"There is an enormous countertrend that has emerged within the last few years," said Alejandro Beutel, the author of the report. "People are saying: 'This is a serious issue, and we are dealing with this. We are not tolerating this.'"

Even as federal law enforcement officials have been criticized, they say their investigations have been strengthened by their outreach efforts and good relations with Muslims, including here in Oregon.

Leaders of mosques, including those attended by [Mohamed Osman] Mohamud [the suspect in an planned bombing of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony], regularly attend meetings with law enforcement officials. And Mr. Mohamud's father, Osman Barre, provided information before his son’s arrest about his increasing radicalization, officials have said.

And in a case in California, mosque attendees were intolerant of violent talk even by an FBI informant:

In the Irvine case, [Craig] Monteilh's mission as an informant backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.

And in the big city in Peter King's home state that is, y'know, by far the #1 target of violent jihadists, police commissioner Ray Kelly regularly recruits and promotes cops who speak languages useful to counterterrorism:

"We're always being tested," Maged, the detective from Egypt, said. "You know you passed the test when suddenly somebody gives you a password to a chat room you didn't know existed." He went on, "We're familiar with the tradition, the background, we speak the slang."

"Also, we're cops," Reza said. "We hear different things than the civilians the F.B.I. hires do. We got investigative backgrounds, looking for bad guys on the street. Sometimes it's not what they're saying, it's what they’re not saying. You see patterns, like news items from two months before that suddenly start recirculating."

Sometimes, Reza said, "You'll see an offer of a video-clip download. It might be a beheading, or training materials, or proof that someone actually did something."

Aly, the Egyptian-born sergeant, shook his head. "This is not Islam," he said.


Ah, but this is our future with the GOP: a future focused on active demonization, which is just going to send that many more on-the-fence Muslims over to the side of non-cooperation with the non-Muslim world -- and, in many cases, into the arms of terrorist groups.

Do I think the new Republicans do this because they don't really care about reducing the amount of terrorism we face? I'm not sure. I do know that, at the very least, that they wallow in the dehumanization of The Other; they can't quite believe that it could be bad when it feels so good. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it's their usual belief that the angriest, nastiest course must be the most effective course. I won't assume that they actually want to increase terrorist recruitment because they're treating this like drunks actively looking for a bar fight. But the outcome is the same. And it's extremely likely that the next Republican president will be very, very Peter King-like.

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