Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jihad and U.S. Intelligence Resources

Jeffrey Imm

How could the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence authorize "the largest funding increase in the base Intelligence Budget in history", but refuse to include an amendment that calls for identifying the Jihadist enemy we fight? But that is precisely what happened on May 8. On May 8, Congressman Peter Hoekstra attempted to strike a blow for reason and sanity in the war against global jihadism, by making the rational and consistent definition of our enemy a priority in allocating budget resources for U.S. intelligence programs. Specifically, Congressman Hoekstra was seeking an amendment that "would prohibit the intelligence community from adopting speech codes that encumber accurately describing the radical jihadist terrorists that attacked America and continue to threaten the homeland."

A majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence disagreed, and Congressman Hoekstra's Intelligence budget amendment on this issue was rejected. To be specific, Congressman Hoekstra states that his amendment was "rejected by committee Democrats". Certainly those 12 members of this Committee should clarify their position. Is it true that the majority of Congressmen Reyes, Boswell, Cramer, Holt, Ruppersberger, Tierney, Thompson, Langevin, Murphy, Schiff, Congresswomen Eshoo and Schakowsky, are not concerned about defining the Jihadist enemy? This is a far more disturbing development than the recent DHS and NCTC memos themselves.

Clearly the American people need an accounting of who voted against this amendment. The members of this House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (of any party) who rejected this amendment have an obligation to inform the American people why they do not view defining the Jihadist enemy as a priority in authorizing funding for intelligence operations. American citizens have a responsibility to contact these members and get an explanation as to why the consistent understanding of the jihadist enemy is not a priority in our intelligence operations, according to House Committee members who voted against the Hoekstra amendment. Americans concerned about jihad should take action and register their concern to these Congressmen and Congresswomen.

Why the Intelligence Amendment on Jihadism Was So Important

The failure to clearly identify America's enemy is a symptom of the larger failure to develop an overall blueprint strategy to expand on the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) - and develop a definition of the enemy and comprehensive strategy to defeat them. While most of the focus in the media and political leadership remains on debating individual tactical operations, AP and UPI recently reported about efforts of National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) groups to redefine the enemy as anything but "jihadists", as well as telling U.S. government employees not to use any references to "jihad", "Islamic", "Islamist", "mujahadeen", "caliphate", etc. - when discussing the enemy. On April 24, AP reported that the U.S. State Department officially authorized these memoranda on terminology for distribution to U.S. government employees.

Since the initial AP report on this story, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has released a January 2008 DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties memorandum on terminology to use in defining the enemy based on recommendations from American Muslim "experts" and a March 2008 NCTC memorandum on guidance from NCTC's Extremist Messaging Branch as to terms to use in defining the enemy.

Since the initial reports, there have been numerous reports and commentary on the illogic of banning "jihad" from America's lexicon in describing the enemy. Just two days earlier on May 6 at the House Rayburn Building, Dr. Walid Phares was addressing this very issue on the "War of Ideas" and the vital need to effectively define the threat of Jihadism, which he has also addressed in his book "The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad".

On May 8, no doubt Congressman Hoekstra (like many of us) was wondering what on earth the Civil Rights department of DHS and the Extremist Messaging Branch of NCTC was doing in making war policy and redefining the enemy as something other than jihadists. Per Congressman Hoekstra: "Al-Qaeda knows point blank that they want to kill Americans. How sad is it that as we approach the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we are still debating how to define our enemy?" How sad and inexcusable, indeed.

The House Intelligence Committee's Decision

The Intelligence Bill being reviewed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was not any routine legislation. As described in the Committee's May 8 press release:
-- "the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence approved the Fiscal Year 2009 Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 5959), authorizing the largest funding increase in the base Intelligence Budget in history. The bill passed the Committee by voice vote and now goes to the full House for consideration."

While the majority of the Committee was unconcerned about defining the Jihadist enemy, it was concerned about other issues:
-- "funding to understand the impact of climate change on national and energy security"

How can the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence believe that "global warming" is more important to American taxpayer funding of intelligence operations than defining the Jihadist enemy? Has complacency about the Jihadist enemy gotten that severe, even among our elected representatives?

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman, Congressman Silvestre Reyes, will no doubt be remembered for his confusion about Al-Qaeda. It was Congressman Silvestre Reyes who demonstrated during an interview with Congressional Quarterly in December 2006, that he had no idea as to whether Al-Qaeda's ideology was based on Sunni or Shiite Islam. Per Chairman Reyes, Al-Qaeda is "[p]redominantly — probably Shiite", when it is Sunni-based. (Not surprisingly, Chairman Reyes didn't know what Islamic ideology Hezbollah was based on either.) Is it possible that the majority of Congressman Reyes' Intelligence Committee don't understand Jihad either?

Congressman Hoekstra's amendment was to ensure that intelligence program funding would reflect a coherent and consistent definition of the jihadist enemy. But apparently that was just too much common sense for the House Intelligence Committee. However, the larger issue is that if there are members of the House Intelligence Committee think that America is not at war with Jihadists, the American public needs to know who and why.

Sources and Related Documents:

May 8, 2008 - Hoekstra Effort to Strip Earmarks from Intelligence Bill Successful - Bill Still Fails to Close Terrorist Loophole
May 8, 2008 - House Intelligence Committee Approves Funding for Intelligence Operations and Critical Oversight
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Members Web Page
Online Petition to the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence - regarding Congressman Hoekstra's Amendment
December 8, 2006 - Congressional Quarterly - Democrats' New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda -- by Jeff Stein
"War of Ideas" Sources on the Debate over the Identity of the Jihadist Enemy
May 8, 2008 - It's Islamic Jihad, Not Extremism, Uncle Sam -- by Diana West
May 6, 2008 - UPI: U.S. officials urged to avoid linking Islam, jihad with terrorism
May 2, 2008 - Investigative Project Releases Gov't Memos Curtailing Speech in War on Terror - by Steven Emerson
April 30, 2008 - The Continuing Debate Over "Jihadists" As The Enemy -- by Jeffrey Imm
April 24, 2008 - Who is America Fighting - Jihadists or Extremists? -- by Jeffrey Imm
April 24, 2008 - AP: Terms to use and avoid when talking about terrorism
April 24, 2008 - AP: 'Jihadist' booted from government lexicon
April 22, 2008 - New State Department lexicon forbids use of the words "jihad" or "jihadist"
March 14, 2008 - National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) - Counter Terror Communications Center (CTCC) Memorandum, Volume 2, Issue 10 - "Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide to Counterterrorism Communication"
January 2008 - Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties - Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims
July 18, 2007 - Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad - by Dr. Walid Phares
Dr. Walid Phares - The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad
September 18, 2001 -Authorization for Use of Military Force (Enrolled Bill)

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Members Contact Information:

List of Committee Members and Contact Information

1. Silvestre Reyes, Chairman - Democrat, Texas
1.1. Congressman Reyes Email Web Page
1.2. Congressman Reyes Address and Telephone:
2433 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4831
Fax: (202) 225-2016

2. Leonard L. Boswell - Democrat, Iowa
2.1. Congressman Boswell Email Web Page
2.2. Congressman Boswell Address and Telephone:
1427 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3806
Fax: (202) 225-5608

3. Robert E. (Bud) Cramer, Jr - Democrat, Alabama
3.1. Congressman Cramer Email Web Page
3.2. Congressman Cramer Address and Telephone:
2184 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4801
Fax: (202) 225-4392

4. Anna G. Eshoo - Democrat, California
4.1. Congresswoman Eshoo Email Web Page
4.2. Congresswoman Eshoo Address and Telephone:
205 Cannon Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Telephone: (202) 225-8104
Fax: (202) 225-8890

5. Rush D. Holt - Democrat, New Jersey
5.1. Congressman Holt Email Web Page
5.2. Congressman Holt Address and Telephone:
1019 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202-225-6025 (fax)

6. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger - Democrat, Maryland
6.1. Congressman Ruppersberger Email Web Page
6.2. Congressman Ruppersberger Address and Telephone:
1730 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2002
Phone: 202-225-3061
Fax: 202-225-3094

7. John Tierney, Democrat - Massachusetts
7.1. Congressman Tierney Email Web Page
7.2. Congressman Tierney Address and Telephone:
2238 Rayburn House
Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8020
Fax: (202) 225-5915

8. Mike Thompson - Democrat, California
8.1. Congressman Thompson Email Web Page
8.2. Congressman Thompson Address and Telephone:
231 Cannon Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3311
Fax: (202) 225-4335

9. Jan Schakowsky - Democrat, Illinois
9.1. Congresswoman Schakowsky Email Web Page
9.2. Congresswoman Schakowsky Address and Telephone:
1027 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2111
Fax: (202) 226-6890

10. Jim Langevin - Democrat, Rhode Island
10.1. Congressman Langevin Email Web Page
10.2. Congressman Langevin Address and Telephone:
109 Cannon House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
(202) 225-2735
fax: (202) 225-5976

11. Patrick Murphy - Democrat, Pennsylvania
11.1. Congressman Murphy Email Web Page - 19007
11.2. Congressman Murphy Address and Telephone:
1007 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4276
Fax: (202) 225-9511

12. Adam Schiff - Democrat, California
12.1. Congressman Schiff Email Web Page
12.2. Congressman Schiff Address and Telephone:
326 Cannon HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4176
Facsimile: (202) 225-5828

13. Peter Hoekstra, Ranking Member - Republican, Michigan
13.1. Congressman Hoekstra Email Web Page
13.2. Congressman Hoekstra Address and Telephone:
2234 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-4401
Fax: (202) 226-0779

14. Terry Everett - Republican, Alabama
14.1. Congressman Everett Email Web Page
14.2. Congressman Everett Address and Telephone:
2312 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone (202) 225-2901
Fax (202) 225-8913

15. Elton Gallegly - Republican, California
15.1. Congressman Gallegly Email Web Page - 91361-3018
15.2. Congressman Gallegly Address and Telephone:
2309 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0523
Phone: (202) 225-5811
FAX: (202) 225-1100

16. Heather Wilson - Republican, New Mexico
16.1. Congresswoman Wilson Email Web Page
16.2. Congresswoman Wilson Address and Telephone:
442 Cannon House
Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202-225-6316 Phone
202-225-4975 Fax

17. Mac Thornberry - Republican, Texas
17.1. Congressman Thornberry Email Web Page - 79101
17.2. Congressman Thornberry Address and Telephone:
2457 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3706
Fax: (202) 225-3486

18. John McHugh - Republican, New York
18.1. Congressman McHugh Email Web Page - 13601-3370
18.2. Congressman McHugh Address and Telephone:
2366 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3223
PHONE (202) 225-4611
FAX (202) 226-0621

19. Todd Tiahrt - Republican, Kansas
19.1. Congressman Tiahrt Email Web Page
19.2. Congressman Tiahrt Address and Telephone:
2441 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202.225.6216
Fax: 202.225.3489

20. Mike Rogers - Republican, Michigan
20.1. Congressman Rogers Email Web Page
20.2. Congressman Rogers Address and Telephone:
133 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4872
Fax: (202) 225-5820

21. Darrell Issa - Republican, California
21.1. Congressman Issa Email Web Page
21.2. Congressman Issa Address and Telephone:
211 Cannon House
Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
phone: 202-225-3906
fax: 202-225-3303

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