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Jewish World Review
Feb. 26, 2008
/ 20 Adar I 5768
Should government employ terrorist sympathizers?
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Imagine trying to fight a war without a clue as to what
motivates your enemy or governs his strategy for your destruction.
Actually, you don't have to work too hard to get your head around such
an insane idea; it is the current practice of the United States
This is not, of course, the way it is supposed to be.
According, for example, to the Pentagon's own guidelines as reflected in
the Army's Field Manual 34-130 dealing with Intelligence Preparation of
the Battlefield (IPB), one of the first tasks in any conflict is to
"Evaluate the threat." This job requires military personnel to "update
or create threat models: convert threat doctrine or patterns of
operation to graphics (doctrinal templates); describe in words the
threat's tactics and options; [and] identify high value targets."
Such guidance is eminently sensible and needed, not only at
the tactical or battlefield level, but also at the strategic level. In
fact, most national security practitioners would find it, well,
unimaginable to try to do otherwise.
Yet, Stephen Coughlin, one of the very few people working
for the U.S. government who has rigorously studied the current "threat
doctrine" - the wellspring in the traditions, practices and Shariah Law
of today's totalitarian ideology known as Islamofascism - is, as of this
writing, still being cashiered at the end of next month.
Worse yet, the individual who seems to be most responsible for shutting
down Mr. Coughlin's essential doctrinal analysis and training by driving
him out of the Pentagon - one Hesham Islam - seems to be staying in a
sensitive position working for the Defense Department's Deputy
Secretary, Gordon England. This notwithstanding serious questions
raised about Mr. Islam's public biography, conduct in relation to Muslim
outreach, the Coughlin affair and his top secret security clearance.
To recap: Coughlin is the author of an impressive 330-page master's
thesis on the subject which was recently accepted by the Defense
Intelligence University. He currently works under contract to the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, a job for which he is well suited as an Army Reserve
Major, trained strategic intelligence analyst and attorney. His thesis
brilliantly argues that jihad, or Islamic warfare, is rooted in the
Islamists' Shariah Law. According to the Army doctrine, it is the
enemy's conception of his doctrine that is the basis for developing
threat templates and the threat model - not our uncritical assumptions
about what "root causes" inspires him. As Maj. Coughlin observes, we are
not at war with a "theory of terrorism."
Maj. Coughlin has developed an intimate understanding not only of the
"enemy threat doctrine." He has also analyzed its "order of battle"
including, notably, the various front organizations operated in America
by the Muslim Brotherhood. Documents entered into evidence last year by
the Department of Justice in the course of the Holy Land Foundation
terrorism conspiracy trial offered insights into the stated objective of
the Brotherhood - namely, the destruction of the United States from
within. The Justice Department has also named names, identifying among
many others, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as a Muslim
Unfortunately, thanks to Hesham Islam, ISNA has been of late the
preeminent vehicle for Pentagon "outreach" efforts to the American
Muslim community. When Mr. Coughlin warned the Pentagon leadership of
the error of such contacts, he was pressed by Mr. Islam to desist.
Shortly after the former refused to do so, his contract with the Joint
Chiefs of Staff was not renewed because, as one unnamed officer told the
Washington Times' Bill Gertz, it had "gotten too hot" to keep Mr.
Coughlin on the job.
Some in Congress who have taken an interest in the Coughlin affair have
been led to believe that Mr. Coughlin's contract was not re-upped for
reasons having nothing to do with his altercation with Mr. Islam, that
he was getting a job in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and that
Mr. Islam was going to be leaving the Pentagon. It appears they have
As of now, the Defense Department's best hope for understanding - and
drawing the appropriate insights from - the Islamofascist threat
doctrine will be separated from the government at the end of March. An
appointment that would allow Maj. Coughlin to continue his vital work in
a position within the Office of the Secretary of Defense is reportedly
being blocked by Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman or one of his
Meanwhile, serious questions about not only Mr. Islam's
possible ties to the Muslim Brotherhood organization but his
truthfulness in describing his personal history seem to have gone
unanswered. One of America's most accomplished investigative reporters,
Claudia Rosett, was unable to confirm various colorful claims made by
this Egyptian expatriate on a Pentagon website. The Department's
response to date has been to remove the page from that site. Mr. Islam
evidently remains what Deputy Secretary England has called him: "a close
personal confidante." In the counter-intelligence heyday of the Cold
War, would outreach to suspected Soviet front organizations have been so
In the current War for the Free World, it is nothing less
than a scandal that America is still trying to win it with so much
confusion about the doctrine of our enemies, to say nothing of having
some fact-based hypothesis and understanding of those who may seek to
replace our constitutional order with a Shariah Law-based one. As Maj.
Coughlin argues, "If we fail to align the enemy to his doctrine," then
our strategies and comprehension of the threat will likewise be
Steve Coughlin's insights and capabilities are needed today more than
ever. Effective congressional intervention, including hearings, may be
required to ensure that the services of those who understand the threat
posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk are retained. No less
importantly, individuals who express sympathy for or otherwise abet the
purposes of one of our enemies' most insidious and successful
instruments, the Muslim Brotherhood, have no place in the United States
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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