The FBI Director takes swipe at Portland for its failure to fully embrace the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The head of the FBI Director James Comey says, as the top counterterrorism cop in America, two things concern him:
The first is the phenomenon of ‘the traveler’ from the United States and Western Europe especially to conflict zones where the progeny of Al Qaeda have flourished in lightly governe or ungoverned spaces in North Africa, throughout the Gulf, the Horn of Africa–especially today in Syria and Iraq. We’ve seen the blossoming of a couple of the Al Qaeda progeny, one you know well, ISIL, the other group called Al Nusra Front.
The other, he said, was home grown radicalization. An example of that kind of terrorist is the case of the Christmas Tree bomber, Mohamed Mohamud, who has just been sent to federal prison for 30 years for the plot that was, thank God, intercepted by the FBI.
There a couple of interesting things about Comey’s comments at a Portland news conference last Wednesday (HT The Zero for the video below). For one thing, he mentioned the need for local cops to participate in JTTFs because they’re likely the first to become aware of bad actors. This was either a swipe at or a plea to Portland’s leaders to fully embrace the JTTF, notwithstanding that yet ANOTHER Portland mayor, Charlie Hales, doesn’t qualify for a top secret clearance.
Portland’s on again, off again relationship with the JTTF is a running joke. The City Council is worried about civil rights violations, an understandable concern, but, in a town that has produced more home grown terrorists than any other so far (Can you think of another one? Minneapolis, maybe?) you’d think they’d at least want to be a full partner on the task force to keep track of these bad guys so, oh, I don’t know, they’d STOP HIRING terrorists! No wonder author John Trudel calls Portland a Soft Target in one of his recent spy thrillers.
On “at least one case of suspected domestic terrorism.”
Oh, is that all? Why is this not front page news? Oh, that’s right. It’s Portland. Just keeping it weird.
Back to the FBI Chief. In his recitation of “Al Qaeda progeny”, Comey didn’t mention The Khorasan Group. This is quite interesting to me. The president made up the name so as not have to admit he hasn’t “decimated” “destroyed” “core” Al Qaeda. You read that right. That group? Made up. They’re all Zawahiri’s buddies who are there to help their friends in the Al Nusra Front. Remember Zawahiri? “Core” Al Qaeda.
The Obama administration portrayed the abruptly emergent “Khorasan Group” as if it were a standalone terrorist organization — a jihadist-combat entity targeting the United States. In reality, the threat the administration was talking about was from al-Qaeda. The administration does not like to admit that al-Qaeda is still a formidable enemy because President Obama has made a habit of falsely claiming to have defeated it. That is why we are hearing about the “Khorasan Group.”
Why did Comey not name them as an Al Qaeda group? Is he peddling the fiction this group isn’t Al Qaeda? We look to these people to keep us safe, not safe from the truth.
Perhaps the more important question is why Comey didn’t announce them as a threat. Remember, they were supposedly plotting an “imminent attack” against the west–us!–which was why we had to bomb them…or something. Comey mentioned two groups, ISIL and Al Nusra Front, but not The Khorasan Group.
Andy McCarthy observes,
As Mr. [Eli] Lake points out, “U.S. officials have walked back claims in the last week that the strikes on the Khorasan Group were an attempt to disrupt an imminent threat.” Moreover, I have contended that the administration had a motive to exaggerate the threats as “imminent.” A president is not required to seek congressional authorization in order to respond militarily to threats of imminent attack. Obama did not want to ask Congress’s approval. Doing so would have launched a potentially embarrassing examination of (a) the president’s claims to have defeated al-Qaeda, and (b) the fact that the “moderate rebels” Obama proposes to aid in Syria work arm-in-arm with al-Qaeda.
So how did a group the Administration insisted over and over was an imminent threat not get mentioned by the FBI Chief?
Politics–local and national–dictates how safe we are. Here we go again. Gown up.