60 Minutes ran a feature Sunday night about the FBI curious role in the May 2015 Garland jihad attack at a free speech event co-organized by Pamela Geller and me. It was, predictably enough, viciously biased, sloppy, and incomplete, but it was nonetheless illuminating in raising a hard and unanswerable question: did the FBI want Pamela Geller and me dead?
Despite the fact that the jihad attack took place at our event, neither Geller nor I appear, except in one still photo, in the 60 Minutes piece. All they say is that “a self-described free speech advocate named Pamela Geller was holding a provocative contest.”
The contempt fairly leapt from the screen. “A self-described free speech advocate”? Did 60 Minutes mean that Pamela Geller didn’t have the requisite degree in free speech advocacy? Or that she wasn’t really a free speech advocate? What they really mean, of course, is that she is not on the Left, and so cannot be celebrated as a free speech advocate the way the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, who were all Leftists, can be.
60 Minutes also gave a nod to Sharia blasphemy laws by describing the contest as “provocative.” It was an art exhibit, featuring historical and modern images of Muhammad, some created by Muslims. It was only provocative to Muslims who believe in Islam’s death penalty for blasphemy (and brainwashed dhimmis). Was 60 Minutes implying endorsement of that death penalty? Why, yes. If our event was provocative, the shooters were justifiably provoked.
Meanwhile, CBS gave a lot of space to Usama Shami, the imam of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, from which the jihadis came, allowing him to exonerate the mosque of any responsibility for “radicalizing” the jihad attackers. 60 Minutes didn’t mention what Simpson’s friend Courtney Lonergan told the Arizona Republic: “Simpson would never waver from the teachings he picked up in the mosque and elsewhere….He was one of those guys who would sleep at the mosque. The fact that he felt personally insulted by somebody drawing a picture had to come from the ideological rhetoric coming out of the mosque.”
60 Minutes also doesn’t challenge Shami on his lies right after the attack, when he said that the jihadis were not regular members of the mosque.
Despite all the predictable politically correct whitewashing and appeasement, CBS did a good job of highlighting a curious and still unexplained aspect of the attack: the FBI clearly knew the attack was coming (although it didn’t bother to inform us or our security team), as the FBI agent was right there, following behind the jihadis, whom he had encouraged to “tear up Texas.” But even though they knew the attack was coming, they didn’t have a team in place to stop the jihadis. They had one man there, and one man only. The jihadis were not stopped by FBI agents, but by our own security team. If the jihadis had gotten through our team, they would have killed Pamela Geller and me, and many others. (They would no doubt have loved to kill Geert Wilders, but he left before they arrived.)
The Daily Beast wrote in August 2016 about how this undercover FBI agent encouraged the jihadis. The Beast’s Katie Zavadski wrote: “Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent. ‘Tear up Texas,’ the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit (pdf) filed in federal court Thursday.”
This was not entrapment. Simpson and Soofi were determined jihadis who had scouted out other targets. Simpson, along with Soofi and Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, who supplied weapons to the pair and helped them train, sought information about pipe bombs and plotted to attack the Super Bowl, and planned to go to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS), long before anyone told him to “tear up Texas.”
But what was the FBI’s game in telling them to do that? Why didn’t they have a phalanx of agents in place, ready to stop the attack? Or did they want the attack to succeed, so that Barack Obama’s vow that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” would be vividly illustrated, and intimidate any other Americans who might be contemplating defending the freedom of speech into silence?
We twice asked the FBI for an investigation into this matter. They have ignored us. Of course. After all, it isn’t as if this happened to someone important, like Linda Sarsour.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.