Paul Stockton Speaks before a Congressional Committee on Pearl Harbor Day
Readers of Right Truth may have seen last month’s Congressional hearings involving terrorist attacks against US military personnel, particularly in the homeland. If not, it is on CSPAN. I felt compelled to write to several Congressmen because I was dissatisfied with the testimony. You may share my concerns about the inadequacy of the US military efforts to define the terrorist enemy. If so, you might like to write to you Congressman; they listen. This was my message:
I am a senior counterintelligence analyst in the Department of the Army and share your concerns about the Islamist threat to the Department of Defense (DoD). I have argued for years about the inadequacy of US Army/DoD efforts to inform the Force about the Islamist, or political Islamist, threat. Secretary Paul Stockton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, testified before the Congressional Committee on the Homeland Security and the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on December 7, 2011.1 Below are elements of his testimony in italics and my remarks, for your consideration:
“The terrorist threat to our military communities is serious, and will remain so for years to come.”
Secretary Stockton mentioned al Qaeda but did not address the ideology and passions that drive it. Does Islamic doctrine espoused by firebrand clerics and inculcated through Saudi-funded madrassas come into play? It is also significant and disappointing that Secretary Stockton did not address issues of hostile ideological subversion or infiltration in the DoD.
“When it comes to defining the enemy, this Administration wishes to avoid imprecise terminology that may cause confusion and may unjustifiably give credence to the falsehood –despite our best intentions – that we are waging a war on Islam.”
But the Secretary did not define the enemy, other than the al Qaeda franchise. Assuming terrorists are motivated by an ideology, why did he not precisely define the enemy, its ideology, its domestic support base, and its political agenda. Certainly, the US is not waging on war on Islam, but many Americans are concerned that elements of Islamism are waging war on the US homeland.
“ Every day, patriotic Muslim-Americans serve in our military, often providing linguistic and cultural competencies essential to disrupting and defeating our actual enemy: al Qaeda and its adherents and affiliates worldwide.”
True but irrelevant. There are patriotic Muslim Americans, but there are also unpatriotic Muslim Americans. Counterintelligence and security is not concerned with praising patriotic Americans. Its mission is to unmask and neutralize spies, saboteurs, subversives, and terrorists. He stated that the actual enemy was and is “al Qaeda and its adherents and affiliates worldwide.” But the Secretary did not identify its adherents’ and affiliates’ belief systems, mores, social norms, cultural characteristics, and world aspirations.
“In the last decade, a plurality of these domestic violent extremists chose to target the Department of Defense (DoD), making military communities the target of choice for homegrown terrorists. Fourteen of seventeen Americans killed in the homeland by domestic violent extremists have been DoD personnel.”
The 14 DoD personnel Secretary Stockton cited were killed by “domestic violent extremists.” True. But earlier in his testimony he called for “precision” in describing the enemy. Was the Secretary unaware of common ideological or common denominators among the killers? Why was he not more precise?
“After the tragic shooting at Fort Hood, then-Secretary Gates commissioned the DoD Independent Review related to Fort Hood to identify gaps and deficiencies in DoD's force protection programs, policies, and procedures.”
Fort Hood was not a tragedy; it was an atrocity. Tragic deaths in Texas come from rattlesnake bites, truck crashes, rodeo and NASCAR accidents, and barn fires. In the Army, tragedies come from training accidents and helicopter crashes. The mass slaughter of Army men and women by an Islamist in a US Army uniform was an atrocity. As for the DoD’s Independent Review of the Fort Hood murders, how well did the study define the ideological and political motivators of the perpetrator. The absence of candor is the dominant, and yes tragic, flaw in the study.
At no point in Secretary Stockton’s testimony did he mention a DoD- or service-wide, robust, Islamist-specific program of any consequence. Such a program would explain the ideological and doctrinal underpinnings of Islamism, as well as its origins and organizations such as the Islamic Brotherhood and it US affiliates. That program would explain, if only briefly, the significance of Hasan al Banna, Sayid Qutb, and Sayid al-Maududi and their subversive implications for servicemen and women. Takiyyaa, or doctrinally mandated lying, would be discussed, particularly from a counterintelligence and security perspective. An Islamist-indicator checklist would be established as security tool. But none of this exists because leaders in the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) have prevented their production. And the Director of the Army Counterintelligence Center Claude “Bud” Benner spiked counter-Islamist-specific briefings before and after the Fort Hood killings.
December 7, 2011 is not a day that will live in infamy. There was nothing horrific or grandiose about Secretary Stockton’s bland testimony. But for those who had hoped for candid testimony about Islamism in the DoD, it was a day of disappointment and for Paul Stockton an hour of shame. And this moment points to a dangerous tomorrow. There will be more atrocities committed by Islamists and no meaningful DoD or Army program to stop them. And if analysts in the Department of Army try to warn the Force about Islamism, Army intelligence leaders will try to fire them. I should know. But, we can help prevent that. May I talk to you or your staffers about the inadequacies of the Army counter-Islamist programs and of high-level efforts in US Army intelligence to silence those who are trying to protect the Force? You may be interested in my blog on Islamism and the US Army at http://righttruth.typepad.com/right_truth/mark-silinsky.
Yours, Mark Silinsky
Mark Silinsky is a senior counterintelligence analyst in the US Army. His views do not represent those of the US Army or Department of Defense…obviously.