December 9, 2015

AUSTIN BAY: Finding The Assassin Dagger In The Haystack:

Six years ago, a retired FBI agent told me that some of the best sources for stopping a domestic terror attack are tips from citizens. American Muslims provide good tips on potential Islamist-inspired terrorists. They know their community. Counterterrorism isn’t cops on the beat, but there are similarities.

That made sense to me. In 2003, I had a cup of coffee with an Arab Muslim friend of mine. I asked him for an update on The Quest — his long pursuit of a permanent resident green card. He sighed and then said, softly, “There are 25,000 Arab Muslim men in my group (green card applicants), (and) 24,991 of them are like me, Austin. We know what it is like — to live in fear of terrorists, criminals, dictators. We left to come here … to get away from them. But the other nine? They are very dangerous people.” He paused and then added, with unmistakable resignation, “I guess that’s just my lot in life.”

I heard the resignation and told him I could vouch for him. No need. His attorney told him to continue to work hard and wait.

I asked him where he got the number “nine.” I knew he meant potential terrorists and spies. He thought for a moment and then replied: “Well … it seems about right. There are not many (violent Islamist extremists). … They’re crazy, you know.” We explored his gut estimate. If nine out of 25,000 is right, then we’ve got 90 in 250,000. Ninety heavily armed fanatics can seize a city. Yes, “very dangerous people.”

He eventually secured his green card. Then he went to Iraq as a translator. He is very proud of that service. A few weeks ago, he wrote me an email and said he expects to become a citizen at some time next year.

We need to do a better job vetting immigrants. That isn’t bigotry; that’s sanity. However, loyal, responsible immigrants strengthen America. Americans who happen to be Muslims are — like my friend — a key line of defense in stopping Islamic State-influenced terror attacks.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing much about this administration — or the Homeland Security administration generally — that inspires the necessary confidence.

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