Sparks flew between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, as Cruz continued his efforts to expose the Obama administration’s “willful blindness” to radical Islamic terrorism.
Cruz began his line of questioning by noting that DHS didn’t attend the hearing he held on Tuesday, “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts To Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism.”
He proceeded to fill Johnson in on what he missed, describing evidence and testimony that he said revealed a “systematic effort” to scrub all references of Islam in government documents.
“For example, in the 9/11 Commission report the word ‘jihad’ appears 126 times, the word Muslim appears in that report 145 times, the word Islam appears in that report 322 times,” Cruz said. “And yet since that 9/11 report, new policies have been put into effect and as a matter of systematic policy those terms are no longer allowed to be used in this administration. The FBI counter-terror lexicon uses the word jihad zero times. The national Intelligence Strategy of 2009 uses jihad zero times, the Strategic Implementation Plan to Prevent Violent Extremism of 2011 uses the word zero times. The National Intelligence Strategy of 2014 uses the word zero times.”
“We heard testimony from a former employee of the Department of Homeland Security, Phil Haney, that in October of 2009 more than 800 Customs and Border Patrol documents were ordered modified, scrubbed, or deleted to remove references to jihad or the Muslim Brotherhood, or other similar references,” Cruz said.
Cruz asked Johnson if Haney’s testimony was accurate.
“I have no idea,” the DHS chief answered dismissively. “I don’t know who Mr. Haney is. I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the room.”
Haney, of course, is the “DHS whistleblower” who made a huge splash in the news last December when he spilled the beans on what the Obama administration was doing to restrict law enforcement and intelligence efforts to combat Islamic extremism.
Having quit the department a few months earlier, the San Bernardino massacre prompted him to blow the whistle on the administration because he was convinced that his investigation (which was shut down by the Obama State Department) could have prevented the attack. In February of this year, Haney went public with his claim that DHS ordered him to scrub records of Muslims with terror ties.
He made several appearances on Fox News as well as several radio talk shows, and wrote at least one op-ed to bring attention to his concerns.
“The Obama administration is more concerned with the rights of non-citizens in known Islamist groups than with the safety and security of the American people,” Haney wrote in The Hill last December.
One wonders what kind of bubble the Homeland Security chief lives in to have missed all of that.
Next Page: “It makes no difference to me…”
Cruz continued to press the increasingly irritated Johnson, who kept saying, “Same answer, I have no idea, sir.”
Asked if he would be concerned if it were true, Johnson was again dismissive: “Senator, I find this whole debate to be very interesting,” — but — “it makes no difference to me in terms of who we need to go after…” He touted the administration’s PC line that the U.S. government shouldn’t be giving ISIS the credence that they want — which is to be referred to as part of Islam.
“We will get nowhere in our efforts to build bridges with Muslim communities — which we need to do — in this current environment right now that includes homegrown violent extremists,” Johnson said. “They all tell me that ‘ISIL has hijacked my religion,’ and it’s critical that we bring these people into our side to do this…”
Cruz stopped him right there. “You’re entitled to give speeches at other times,” he said. “My question was are you aware that the information has been scrubbed. I would note that the title of the hearing on Tuesday was ‘Willful Blindness’ and your testimony to this full committee now is that you have no idea and apparently have no intention of finding out whether DHS materials have been scrubbed.”
Johnson objected to that, but Cruz was on a roll. “When you erase references to radical jihad it impacts the behavior of law enforcement and national security to respond to red flags and to prevent terrorist attacks before they occur,” he argued.
“What concerns me, and I believe should concern the Department of Homeland Security, is that because of this effort – scrubbing your law enforcement materials of any acknowledgment of radical Islamic terrorism – when you see the red flags of radical Islamic terrorism, you do not follow up on them effectively. And we have terrorist attack, after terrorist attack, after terrorist attack that could have been prevented but for this Administration’s willful blindness.”
Watch the whole thing: