The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that the more devout”an American Muslim is, the more likely they are to be violent, and that “those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed.” The technology magazine Wired has obtained dozens of pages of recent training material in which the agency portrays Islam as an inherently dangerous faith.
The FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia has been teaching agents that “any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law. “There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”
“The alleged connection between Islam and violence isn’t just stipulated. It’s literally graphed,” explains Spencer Ackerman, a senior reporter for Wired’s Danger Room blog that obtained the training materials. In the except below Ackerman explains the graph to the right and provides more details on one of the training sessions:
An FBI presentation titled “Militancy Considerations” measures the relationship between piety and violence among the texts of the three Abrahamic faiths. As time goes on, the followers of the Torah and the Bible move from “violent” to “non-violent.” Not so for devotees of the Koran, whose “moderating process has not happened.” The line representing violent behavior from devout Muslims flatlines and continues outward, from 610 A.D. to 2010. In other words, religious Muslims have been and always will be agents of aggression.
Training at Quantico isn’t designed for intellectual bull sessions or abstract theory, according to FBI veterans. The FBI conducts its training so that both seasoned agents and new recruits can sharpen their investigative skills.
In this case, the FBI’s Allen says, the counterterrorism agents who received these briefings have “spent two to three years on the job.” The briefings are written accordingly. The stated purpose of one, about allegedly religious-sanctioned lying, is to “identify the elements of verbal deception in Islam and their impacts on Law Enforcement.” Not “terrorism.” Not even “Islamist extremism.” Islam.
“A disclaimer accompanied the presentation stating that the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government,” FBI spokesman Christopher Allen told Danger Room. In this case, several of these briefings were the work of FBI intelligence analyst William Gawthrop.
In 2006, before he joined the Bureau, he gave an interview to the website WorldNetDaily, and discussed some of the themes that made it into his briefings, years later. The Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism,” Gawthrop told the website, which would later distinguish itself as a leader of the “birther” movement, a conspiracy theory that denies President Obama’s American citizenship.
It’s unclear what vetting process the FBI used to approve these briefings, but “the development of effective training is a constantly evolving process,” FBI spokesman Allen told Danger Room.