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If It Walks Like an Influence Operation…

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The more we learn about the facts surrounding the events in Irving, Texas this week, the more it seems we’ve been bamboozled.

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The now-universal rendering of the story is that a student named Ahmed Mohamed was wrongly removed from his school in handcuffs for innocently bringing in a homemade “clock.”

The purported injustice of this story – laced with the implication that it all happened because Ahmed is a Muslim – has made him an instant celebrity, winning fawning treatment from MIT to Stephen Colbert to the White House.

The facts, however, suggest this may have been a provocation. For starters, building and bringing to school what sure looked like a trigger for an improvised briefcase bomb would predictably raise an alarm.

It appears, the “clock” Mohamed brought to school this week was not the first of his circuit boards to look ominously like an improvised explosive device trigger.  In fact, a photograph of one circulated by the Dallas Morning News was virtually indistinguishable from a circuit board used in a commercially available device used to train law enforcement and military personnel regarding how to identify IEDs.

There is, moreover, now growing evidence that these creations were not even those of the geeky freshman. See Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock and Ourselves on Artvoice.com and Thomas Talbot’s YouTube video.

When Ahmed’s miniature briefcase “clock” did precipitate such concerns, he refused to answer questions from school personnel and police about “his intentions and why he had brought the device to school.” Presumably, they were particularly interested in knowing whether he had brought anything else to school – perhaps to include the other part of such a bomb: the explosive component.

Under the circumstances and in accordance with protocols adopted in Irving – and in school districts across America to protect students and faculty from the sorts of attacks that have resulted in mass murders in several instances, Ahmed was taken into custody. The photograph of him in handcuffs that has gone viral, however, was not taken as he was escorted from the high school. Rather, it was staged after his father insisted at the police station that the cuffs remain on so his sister could take the picture.

In very short order, the family was under management by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization established – ironically, in a federal prosecution conducted in nearby Richardson, Texas – to be a Muslim Brotherhood-associated fundraising and political warfare arm for the designated terrorist group, Hamas. Ahmed lawyered up and he and his family were no-shows for scheduled meetings with school officials and with the police chief and Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne.

In fact, at the very hour the latter meeting was supposed to occur, the Mohameds and their Islamic supremacist handlers were instead holding a press conference. In the course of the presser, the family made clear that their beef wasn’t with the Irving school district or the police. It was with the city’s political leadership, starting with Mayor Van Duyne.

That message has subsequently become a staple of the Islamists. For example, local news on September 18th featured a quote from one, Khalid Hamadeh of the Islamic Association of North Texas, decrying “political leaders espousing inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and creating a climate of fear.”

Mayor Van Duyne has been a prime target of the Muslim grievance industry in Texas – a fixture of the Islamists’ large and aggressive operations in the state and elsewhere – ever since last spring when she opposed the establishment of an Islamic tribunal in her city. She did so out of a legitimate concern that such an entity would serve as its counterparts have elsewhere, notably in Britain – namely, as a vehicle for dispensing “justice” as defined, not by the laws of the land, but in accordance with the Islamic supremacist code called shariah.

Another data point: Attacks on Ms. Van Duyne in connection with the Ahmed Mohamed affair appear to have been pre-arranged and synchronized, rather than the sort of reaction that builds over time. Her Facebook and Twitter accounts, and those of the city government and school district, were suddenly and massively assaulted with vehement denunciations of the treatment of this student. Some were so vile, obscene and threatening that the Mayor has been compelled to accept police protection.

It is impossible to say for certain at this point whether the campaign to smear, silence and politically destroy Mayor Beth Van Duyne – a campaign pursued for months by the Islamists and greatly enabled by the Dallas Morning News and others – was actually a premeditated and skillfully executed provocation and influence operation. What is clear, however, is that in the aftermath of the predictable response to Ahmed’s actions, it has turned into an extraordinarily successful campaign of disinformation and political warfare against an American community and its courageous and honorable mayor, the Irving school district and local law enforcement.

Either way, this larger campaign must be recognized for what it certainly is, and repudiated, not applauded – not only by protective parents of school-age children, but by patriotic Americans across the country who are opposed to Islamic supremacism and the threat it poses to us all.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the President of the Center for Security Policy. He formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense in President Reagan’s administration.


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