By Mark Silinsky
As resources for the Department of Defense face sharp and sustained cuts, US Army counterintelligence will probably face lean times.1 There is no easy answer for meeting burgeoning counterintelligence challenges with declining resources.2 But there is an aspect of counterintelligence that is less reliant on funding than it is on observation, persistence, honesty and risk taking. US Army counterintelligence and force protection personnel must be more active and competent at meeting the threat of Islamist subversion and murder in the US Army.
Islamism, or political Islam, is a danger in the US Army that has not been adequately addressed by Army leaders despite the multiple shootings, near misses, and arrests of Muslim subversives involved in the US military chaplaincy.3 At a minimum, US Army personnel could brief personnel on indicators of Islamist behavior and solicit reports from personnel who witness Islamist behavior inconsistent with Army security practices and with Army values. US Army counterintelligence doctrine allows for, even requires, that this be done.
US Army intelligence has a mission, both stated in doctrine and implicit in that doctrine 4, to brief Army personnel on terrorist and espionage threats. Army regulations require that behavioral indicators of terrorism are to be identified and briefed to soldiers. In addition, a collection effort to identify and report on those whose behavior is threatening to US Army interests is required. Some of those behavioral indicators are as follows:
a. Suggesting allegiance to a state or to a nation, such as an Islamic nation, rather than to the United States. There were many instances in which American Muslims declared that they would not or should not be deployed to fight against Muslims. Had American Christians declared they would not fight German or Italian Christians in 1942, GEN Marshall could not have fielded an Army.
b. Promoting an Islamist cultural or political agenda that clashes with the values or regulations of the US Army. There were many instances when Muslims made comments that the American values were base and its culture hateful. They claimed that US policies in the Middle East were unjust US Army soldiers engaged in those wars were legitimate targets for attack.
c. Belonging to or being regularly affiliated with organizations with ties to Islamist organizations. These organizations include affiliates or outgrowths of the Islamic Brotherhood, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, both of which are unindicted co-conspirators in a federal terrorism case. Works by Anwar al-Awlaki, a contemporary Islamist, and Said Qutb, the leading theoretician of the early Islamic Brotherhood, are also seditious.
d. Advocating literature that promotes the hatred of the West, democracy, Christianity, Judaism, and the United States. Several of the US Army Islamists, such as SGT Ali Mohammad, MAJ Hassan, and PFC Abdo were very vocal with their anger at the United States and active on Islamist websites.
e. Sharp outbursts of anger at victories of US Army troops against enemy forces who are Muslims, as in Iraq or Afghanistan. Expressing sympathy with the enemy who are Muslim. Wouldn’t loyal soldiers celebrate US military victories and mourn the loss of fellow American soldiers?
These are just several of the behavioral indicators that should have alerted US Army security and counterintelligence personnel to the dangers of Islamism within the ranks in the past and could do so in the future. It is and has been within the mission of the US Army to protect and inform soldiers about threats to their safety. And there is no reason apparent to this author why US Army troops have not been briefed on these indicators.5 In a time of declining resources for US Army counterintelligence personnel and a simultaneous increase in the threat of Islamism, a robust briefing on the Islamist threat to the ranks is as necessary as it is cost free. By being more honest about the threat and becoming more aggressive at identifying and challenging the Islamist enemy, US Army counterintelligence can and must do more with less. America’s soldiers and Army civilians deserve it.
Mark Silinsky is a senior counterintelligence analyst for the US Army. His views do not represent those of the US Army. He is very interested in hearing from service members or national security personnel who share his concerns of Islamism in the military or US government. He can be reached at Silinsky@yahoo.com.
1 Counterintelligence (CI). Information gathered and activities conducted to identify, deceive, exploit, disrupt, or protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted for or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations or persons, or their agents, or international terrorist organizations or activities. Source: Executive Order 12333, as amended 30 July 2008 and JP 2-01.2, CI & HUMINT in Joint Operations, 11 Mar 2011
2 This is because the intelligence collection threat from high-technology hungry growing powers, such as China and India, is not likely to wane. As these and other countries step-up their collection efforts and begin to mine new sources of technology, more demands will be placed on US Army project managers, facility security personnel, and counterintelligence analysts.
3 The US Army Regulation 301.12 “Army Threat Awareness and Reporting” has given the commander of the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) the mandate to protect US Army personnel through a number of programs and platforms.
4 The DA personnel should report, in accordance with the instructions in chapter 4, information regarding DA personnel who exhibit any of the behaviors that may be associated with a potential espionage or international terrorist threat and those associated with extremist activity that may pose a threat to the Army, or DOD, or disrupt U.S. military operations as described in the tables 3–1, 3–2, and 3–3, below.
5 There have been briefings that included one or two slides on the Hasan or Akbar killings. But these treatments only superficially address the Islamist threat. Had troops at Fort Hood been given adequate briefings on Islamism – and this author made briefings available to senior leaders in US Army intelligence years before the murders – would MAJ Hasan have been cashiered before he killed?