The Jihadist who Infiltrated the U.S. Army’s Officer Corps

by W. THOMAS SMITH, JR. November 10, 2009
In the wake of last week’s Jihadist terrorist attack against a U.S. Army base in North America –specifically the attack launched by sleeper-terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan, an unfortunately commissioned U.S. Army psychiatrist and devout Muslim who, following his faith’s teaching to the letter, murdered 13 of his infidel enemies and wounded scores more at Fort Hood, Texas – numerous experts are defying politically correct convention and reiterating to an ill-informed American public what they (the experts) have been trying to get across to us since before 9/11:
 
The Jihadists are at war with the West. They are coming after us with every means available to them. They are capitalizing on our free institutions to do so, using corrupt media and weak politicians to facilitate their freedom of movement and disinformation campaigns. And they have infiltrated our national defense structure, a fact known to many for years and proven to all on Thursday, November 5th, six days before Veterans Day.
 
Chief among the outspoken experts on Jihadist terrorism (in the first few hours and days after Nov. 5) is Dr. Walid Phares, who directs the Future of Terrorism Project for the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
 
According to Phares, Hasan was-and-is an indoctrinated Jihadist, who – lone wolf or not, linked to a specific Jihadist group or or not – acted with the intent to strike his enemy, America.

Responding indirectly to the current U.S. Administration's reluctance to consider Hasan’s attack an act of terrorism, Phares, writing for FOX News, says, What the world has witnessed this week in Texas cannot be described just as a ‘horrific outburst of violence’ directed at the American military, Instead it is part of a wider ideological war, generated by radicalization and inciting individuals to perform such acts. ‘Lone wolf’ or not, organized or not, fully self-aware perpetrator or not, influenced by overseas radicals or not, this massacre of servicemen has moved America from stage to another.”

Phares predicted the rise of the domestic Jihadist threat decades ago (clearly detailed in his book, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America). Discussing previous attempts to attack the U.S. military inside the confines of the U.S. homeland, he told Russia Today TV: “Jihadists targeting military on U.S. soil is strategic.” 
 
We spoke with Dr. Phares Monday.

W. THOMAS SMITH JR:  Some commentators are saying it’s difficult to know what happened to Hasan; what made him tick, was he boiling inside for a while? We’ve heard commentary about the so-called “need” to be careful in our analysis. Your thoughts?
 
DR. WALID PHARES: What made Maj. Hasan tick is ideology. What made him attack that day at that hour is to be investigated. If our analysts, especially within the government, can't figure out what makes a Jihadist – lone wolf or not – tick, we have a problem.
 
The U.S. government and many in the media are confused by the fact that he adhered to an ideology and used the narrative of that ideology for years, yet he was able to conceal it for so long. If the attack had taken place in Pakistan, Egypt, or even Saudi Arabia, with the same statements made by the perpetrator, neither authorities nor citizens would ask the question. It would be a given that it is Jihadi Salafist narrative. Officials would know immediately what they were dealing with. The “caution” we are told to follow here in the U.S. is political. It is not based on reason or any scientific logic.
 
U.S. leaders must be precise in identifying the ideology, explain it to the public and at the same time warn citizens as regards unfair and illegal backlashes. I am not sure decision-makers are getting the best advice. 

SMITH: Department of Homeland Security [DHS] Sec. Janet Napolitano says DHS officials are working with various groups around the country to thwart any possible anti-Muslim backlash following the shootings at Fort Hood. In your opinion, will there be a backlash, and is this DHS’s responsibility?
 
PHARES: Sec. Napolitano’s statement is shifting the debate from investigating an ideology responsible for the production of Jihadists, which is – or should be – the top national security consideration, to an unwarranted panic reaction about so-called backlashes. That's what we almost had after 9/11. Apologists for Jihadism were trying to advance the theme that a mass backlash was happening and that this should be America's top priority, shifting the debate from going after the Jihadists to fearing backlashes on the streets. The backlashes, as they were portrayed, never happened, because the American public by-and-large is mature, reasonable, and desires peace and civility.
 
Fact is, the more officials unwarrantedly talk about backlashes, as if they are imminent, the greater the risk of creating an environment which could make them happen. U.S. officials should instead be talking about Muslim resistance to the Jihadists. American leaders must call on all Americans, and especially Muslim-Americans to stand by their government as it uproots the Jihadi terror networks, and work on de-radicalization.
 
SMITH: Some media in the U.S. and the UK are linking the Fort Hood terrorist to the September 11th terrorists. Does that surprise you?
 
PHARES: I read the Telegraph's report about Hasan’s link to Jihadists. Well, the fingerprints of Jihadism are all over the place. Whether-or-not Hasan met or conspired with any known terrorist or radical Jihadist, is not the point. He himself was indoctrinated, and he made the decision to wage war or terror against unarmed U.S. military personnel on U.S. soil. That is enough to understand the essence of this case.
 
If the investigation reveals more physical links to terrorism, that should be examined thoroughly. In my analysis, any mass murder with Jihadi commitment is terrorism by all international convention. Problem is, the Administration is not likely to admit the ideological link. For if they do, it might collapse the expressed expertise of their advisors regarding “Arab and Muslim-world affairs.” The latter have pressed the Administration to abandon the ideological identification of the terrorists.
 
That said, I don't think this policy will last too long for the simple fact that the Jihadists are not shy, and aren’t secretive about their doctrines. They have and will let us know very openly about their commitment through their actions immersed in doctrinal statements. On the other hand, it is unfortunate, that many in the blogosphere are not focusing on the ideology, but on religion. This is actually helping the apologists – and behind them Islamist lobbies – win the day.
 
SMITH: Sen. Joe Lieberman announced a Senate investigation into the Fort Hood attack. Lieberman, who of course chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, says there were “strong warning signs” that Hasan was an “Islamist extremist.” Your thoughts?

PHARES: Sen. Lieberman's call for an investigation of homegrown Jihadism is the only statement from the U.S. government that has made any sense so far. While the Administration is in denial and its opposition is in chaos, Lieberman's clear statement is where the response to this terrorist attack must begin.

SMITH: It’s been reported that Hasan snapped because of his imminent deployment overseas. Others have said, he was angered by racist slurs.

PHARES:  Such reports are equivalent to hallucinations, not sound analysis. That’s like suggesting there is a justification for Hasan’s snapping. He doesn’t like a decision made by a superior, so he goes and shoots that superior? If he snaps because of racial slurs, he would shoot the persons who allegedly insulted him? Hasan has been making Jihadi statements for years. In the modus operandi of Jihadists, they use any prevalent politically charged issue to build on it and incite for hatred.
 
What made me ponder – in addition to the fact that he clearly acted within the Jihadist model – is the fact that he was cold-blooded and very focused.
 
I was given a document that shows Hasan applied to attend a Homeland Security Conference set at the George Washington University this year under the title, “Thinking Anew – Security Priorities for the Next Administration – Proceedings Report on the HSPI Presidential Transition Task Force (April 2008-January 2009).” He signed-on as being affiliated with the Uniformed Services University of Health Services. For someone who simply “snapped,” it is highly unlikely that he would have thoroughly researched sophisticated events like these, which were attended by an elite group within Homeland Security. In short, he could have perpetrated his Jihadi terror there. Any expert analyst will tell you that his drive was far more complex than his bloody act. All the arguments about anger, tension, and foreign policy not only do not hold water, but they are close to hallucinations. A man who participates in a high-level conference on Homeland Security of this kind, who has been active in the Jihadi ideological realm, and who massacres scores of American military personnel, is a Jihadi terrorist in fact.

SMITH: What do you make of the statements by Jihadists online, and on Facebook, etc., in support of Hasan?
 
PHARES: 
Well, that's the easiest part: This is prologue-evidence to the nature of his mission. You will see more of this with time. But going beyond this, the real questions to address are the following:
 
Who was he in contact with – in terms of these activities – over the past years? 
 
Who indoctrinated him? This is inescapable and has to be discovered?
 
Are there other similar cases like Hasan’s that we need to be attentive to?
 
I hope Sen. Lieberman's initiative to investigate the matter in the Senate will be a first step. I hope we do it expeditiously before we are surprised again, dramatically by future Jihadi terrorists on U.S. soil.
 
SMITH: Reports describe Hasan as not exactly a conservative Muslim. Some in the media argue that “Hasan's presence at the [strip] club paints a starkly different portrait of the alleged killer from that offered by his imam and family members, who have described him as a devout Muslim, and one who had difficulty finding a wife who would wear a head scarf and would pray five times a day.”
 
PHARES: In fact, it is just the opposite. If anything, his visits to such a club fit perfectly the psychological sphere he was floating in as a Jihadist. It has been established that indoctrinated Jihadists often visit places they deem evil to fill themselves with a deeper hatred for the society they are at war with. We must try to understand the differences between a devout religious person and a totalitarian zombie. I will address this issue in the near future.


FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine infantry leader and shipboard counterterrorism instructor, who writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. Visit his website at uswriter.com.
 

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