June 15, 2016
It’s hardly a big secret that President Obama from the moment he arrived at the White House put the kibosh on any discussion of radical Islam as a security problem, even in classified channels. In 2009, the administration banned politically loaded words like “jihad” even in classified Intelligence Community assessments discussing terrorism – a message that was received loud and clear in the counterterrorism community. Missing the next 9/11 could be survived, career-wise, while accusations of Islamophobia would not be with Barack Obama in the White House.
During Mr. Obama’s first term, there was a thorough purge of personnel in the Intelligence Community and the Defense Department who were unwilling to follow the new party line. People were mysteriously reassigned, contracts were suddenly cancelled, meetings were delayed never to be rescheduled. The message was obvious to counterterrorism professionals. As someone who has tried for years to walk a fine line on jihadism—we must be able to discuss political Islam and terrorism without stigmatizing all Muslims—I witnessed this happen, and it was tragically clear what the long-term consequences of this institutionalized unreality would be.
Now the much-feared mass-casualty jihadist attack on American soil, by a native-born American Muslim no less, has happened. President Obama, who is deeply invested in the unreality he has foisted on our security services, cannot be expected to reassess his errors in the last months of his second term.
He’s never been much for reassessing his views. He knows it all already.