Ex DHS Employee: Obama Administration Policy Helps Terrorists

Whistleblower: Admin stopped probe that could have prevented San Bernardino

Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook / AP
December 16, 2015

A former employee at the Department of Homeland Security claimed that the Obama administration stopped an investigation that could have prevented the terror attack in San Bernardino, California.

Philip Haney, who worked at the Department of Homeland Security for 13 years until he recently retired, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill that terrorists have gained legal access to the United States because of "restrictions" put in place on federal law enforcement agencies by the Obama administration.

He said specifically that the San Bernardino attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, may have "benefited" from the White House’s decision to close a probe into Islamist groups to which he contributed.

Haney further wrote of his career at DHS:

I identified individuals affiliated with large, but less well-known groups such as Tablighi Jamaat and the larger Deobandi movement freely transiting the United States. At the National Targeting Center, one of the premier organizations formed to "connect the dots," I played a major role in an investigation into this trans-national Islamist network. We created records of individuals, mosques, Islamic Centers, and schools across the United States that were involved in this radicalization effort. The Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque in San Bernardino was affiliated with this network and we had identified a member of it in our investigation.  Farook frequented that mosque and was well-known to the congregation and mosque leadership. Another focus of my investigation was the Pakistani women’s Islamist group al-Huda, which counted Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, as a student. While the al-Huda International Welfare Foundation distanced themselves from the actions of their former pupil, Malik’s classmates told the Daily Mail she changed significantly while studying at al-Huda, gradually becoming "more serious and strict." More ominously, the group’s presence in the U.S. and Canada is not without its other ties to ISIS and terrorism. In 2014, three recent former students at al-Huda’s affiliate school in Canada, aged 15 to 18, left their homes to join the Islamic State in Syria.

According to Haney, the investigation was shut down six months in after the State Department and the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division of DHS claimed that tracking individuals, most of them foreign nationals, connected to these Islamist groups violated their civil liberties.

Haney alleged that, had the Obama administration not shuttered the investigation, DHS may have gained knowledge of the planned attack in San Bernardino before it occurred. He surmised that the investigation could have resulted in the denial of Malik’s K-1 fiancée visa or landed Farook on the "No Fly" list.

Further, Haney accused DHS and the Department of Justice of retaliating against him for trying to warn Congress about the information and connections produced by the investigation before it was stopped.

"DHS and the Department of Justice subjected me to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same inspector general. None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem," Haney wrote. "Earlier this year, I was finally able to honorably retire from government and I’m now taking my story to the American people as a warning."

Haney concluded by suggesting that the Obama administration is "more concerned" about the civil rights of non-U.S. citizens than the safety of American citizens.

Republican lawmakers have scrutinized DHS following reports that immigration officials missed Malik’s expression of support for violent jihad on social media. Malik, a Pakistani national who met Farook online, traveled to the U.S. on a K-1 visa last summer and eventually obtained a green card.

This week, two Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson demanding he provide them with all documents related to Malik.

Published under: Barack Obama , Terrorism