On Wednesday Dzhohkar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 counts in the Boston Marathon bombings and jury selection began in the case of U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, accused of murdering 13 at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. The Hasan and Tsarnaev cases emerged the same day in testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, where the first witness, Rudy Giuliani, said that political correctness hinders efforts to stop terrorists before they strike.
Guiliani, mayor of New York during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, told the committee “You can’t fight an enemy you don’t acknowledge.” To confront the terrorist threat effectively, “we have to purge ourselves of the practice of political correctness when it goes so far that it interferes with our rational and intellectually honest analysis of the identifying characteristics that help a discover these killers in advance.”
Giuliani said that a reluctance to identify violent Islamic extremists could have played a role in the FBI’s failure to track Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhohkar’s older brother, who last year returned to Dagestan for six months. “There would have been a much greater chance of preventing Fort Hood, and possibly — and this I emphasize is possibly — the Boston bombing,” Giuliani said, “if the relevant bureaucracies had been less reluctant to identify the eventual killers as potential Islamic extremist terrorists.”
In the 2009 Ford Hood case, Major Nidal Hasan is charged with killing 13, more deaths than in the first attack on the World Trade center in 1993, a year before Giuliani became major of New York.
“The elevation of political correctness over sound investigative judgment certainly explains the failure to identify Maj. Hasan as a terrorist,” Giuliani told the committee. “That political correctness has been extended so far that the current administration describes his act as ‘workplace violence.’ This isn’t just preposterous. What we fail to realize is, this is dangerous.”
The next witness, Michael Leiter, former head of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, denied that political correctness was hindering U.S. efforts against terrorism. Such a claim, he testified, “is simply beyond me.” No member of the committee asked Leiter to explain what dynamic might lurk behind the “workplace violence” explanation. Committee members did explore cases where government agencies had failed to communicate, particularly with local law enforcement.
The hearing was called to examine intelligence breakdowns in the Boston Marathon bombings, but any threat from Islamic extremism failed to emerge in the statement of ranking member Bennie Thompson. He cited the Southern Poverty Law Center about a growing domestic threat from right-wing groups.
That theme emerged in Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Far-Right, a recent report from the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy. The report links white supremacists, Aryan Nations, skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan and such with those who “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. The groups also support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self-government.” As Mark Tapson noted, “that pretty much describes every conservative I know.”
Meanwhile, a military judge on Wednesday entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of Nidal Hasan, whose court martial trial is set to begin August 6. Also on Wednesday the New York Times reported mounting evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar’s older brother, participated in a gruesome 2011 triple murder in Boston. The bodies were discovered on September 12, 2001, a day after the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Victims Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken were Jews and some Jewish publications consider the murders a hate crime.
According to the Times reporters, some law enforcement authorities “contend that if the local murder investigation had been more vigorous it could have led to his [Tamerlan’s] apprehension well before the bombings left 3 dead and more than 260 wounded — in short, that the bombings might never have happened.”
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