Yesterday was a red letter day – or perhaps it should be called an Islamic green letter one – for U.S. intelligence. For the first time I can recall, the top legislator on a congressional oversight committee has actually made clear what motivates our enemies in what used to be called euphemistically the “War on Terror,” and that Team Obama now dubs even more opaquely as the effort to “counter violent extremism.”
This breakthrough came in the course of a joint appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” by the chairpersons of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), respectively. The media seized on the ostensibly big news out of their remarks: bipartisan agreement that the United States is at greater risk of terrorist attack today than two years ago.
But important, ominous and accurate as that assessment is, it wasn’t the most important point made by these two respected lawmakers. Instead, it was Sen. Feinstein’s observation in response to a question about what causes the “hatred” that makes our situation more perilous:
“There is a real displaced aggression in this very fundamentalist jihadist Islamic community, and that is that the West is responsible for everything that goes wrong and that the only thing that’s going to solve this is Islamic shariah law.”
What makes this incontrovertible statement so noteworthy? It is the fact that the intelligence community is not allowed to say what Sen. Feinstein did. Under Obama administration guidelines, for intelligence officers – and for that matter, law enforcement, Homeland Security and military personnel – to talk about Islamic jihadism and shariah as the motivation for terrorism can be a career-ending offense.
For example, on May 10, 2012, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, used a press conference to denounce a highly decorated and up-and-coming Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, for teaching an elective course at the Joint Forces Staff College using an approved curriculum. According to Gen. Dempsey, what prompted this extraordinary action was that a student – who it turns out had not actually been enrolled in Col. Dooley’s class – “was concerned that the course was objectionable and that it was counter to our values…our appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness. And the young man who brought it to my attention was absolutely right. It’s totally objectionable.”
At the core of what was so “totally objectionable” is the fact that students were exposed to information that made plain the gravity of the threat of which Sen. Feinstein warned: the supremacist, totalitarian Islamic doctrine of shariah and the jihad or holy war it obliges adherents to perform. Col. Dooley’s promising career was cut short and the files of his institution and that of the rest of the national security community have been purged of all such information deemed by unidentified subject matters experts engaged for the purpose to be “counter to our values.”
Sen. Feinstein’s forthright declaration is particularly gratifying as I had an opportunity to discuss the danger posed by shariah with her in the course of testimony I provided the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 24, 2013 at the invitation of her colleague, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). In the course of making the case for keeping the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open, I observed:
“We have been obliged to go to war because it was thrust upon us. And, if we are to prevail in this conflict, we must understand the nature of the enemies with whom we are at war. They are shariah-adherent jihadists who believe, in accordance with that doctrine, that it is God’s will that they destroy our way of life and subjugate us to theirs.”
At the time, Sen. Feinstein strongly disagreed with my view that shariah’s dictates make it impossible safely to release its adherents from Gitmo or, alternatively, to incarcerate them instead in this country – where they might exploit rights foolishly conferred upon them to secure their freedom and wage jihad here. I hope that the clarity she expressed Sunday about the inexorable nature of the shariah doctrine and the supremacist hatred it impels will cause the senior senator from California both to insist that such insights are once again inculcated in those responsible for our security and to reconsider her support for closing Guantanamo Bay.