Thursday, January 23, 2020

Saudi’s Terrorist Massacre at Florida Naval Base Highlights the Weakness of U.S. Vetting

Tom Brenner/Reuters
Though the shooter acted alone, the U.S. is expelling 21 Saudi trainees for newly uncovered jihadist social-media content and contact with child pornography.
The Justice Department has concluded that the deadly mass-shooting attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola in early December, carried out by a Saudi Air Force trainee, was an act of terrorism. Though Lieutenant Mohamed Saeed al-Shamrani, who was killed during the attack, was determined to have acted alone, the United States is expelling 21 other Saudi military trainees after the FBI’s investigation uncovered jihadist rhetoric and child pornography on their social-media accounts.
Attorney General Bill Barr announced the terrorism finding and the expulsions at a Justice Department press conference on Monday afternoon. The attorney general’s remarks demonstrate that longstanding national-security challenges continue to vex U.S. law-enforcement officials. Most significant is the problem of vetting foreigners, including the thousands of foreigners enrolled in training programs run by our armed forces, for anti-American ideology.
Such an ideology is sharia supremacism, commonly distinguished from Islam, the religious creed adhered to by over 1.5 billion people globally, through the use of “radical Islam,” “political Islam,” and similar labels. The ideology’s goal is the imposition of a fundamentalist construction of Islamic law (sharia). Though it is derived from Islam, sharia supremacism is far from the only way of interpreting Islam. In the West, it is not a majority interpretation of Islam, though it has influential backers. The most extreme form of sharia supremacism is jihadism, which advocates the use of force when necessary to establish and further the imposition of sharia, as well as to “defend” Islam when it is deemed to be under attack (which, in the view of jihadists, is more or less always).
It is thus inevitable that a certain unknown percentage of Muslims are or will become sharia supremacists, and a certain unknown but smaller percentage of sharia supremacists are or will become jihadists.
Consequently, it has long been known that our capacity to protect America from jihadist attacks hinges on our ability to discourage the infiltration of the political ideology that fuels them, which would necessitate vetting for sharia supremacism and jihadism when foreign Muslims seek to enter the United States. Nevertheless, though the Constitution would not prevent such vetting (there being no constitutional right for an alien to enter the U.S.), our laws, guidelines, and political conditions have made it practically impossible to bar foreigners from entering the United States on ideological grounds. Instead, we draw the line at violence: If it can be shown that an alien has ties to a known terrorist group, or has engaged in terrorist activities, that alien may be denied entry.
Read the rest from Andrew C. McCarthy HERE.

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