A few days ago, under the headline, “The Department of Homeland Security Takes on President Trump,” Virgil took note of a leak from the department, observing that the Deep State is “Always doing something . . . to undermine the Trump administration.”
Now, thanks to another leak from DHS, it’s time for an update: On March 2, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had a scoop—paid for, of course, by American taxpayers. Media Matters for America, the lefty outfit founded by David Brock, wrote up the segment under the headline, “Rachel Maddow Exclusive Debunks ‘Extreme Vetting’ Propaganda Of Muslim Ban.”
Maddow begins by saying, “Now tonight, we have got this, this is another leaked report.” It was a document dated March 1, apparently written by DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Maddow pointed to a graphic of the document, highlighting the words “for official use only.” In other words, the viewer was getting the good stuff. Further describing the paper, she added:
It was coordinated with Customs and Border Protection, State Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement—ICE, National Counterterrorism Center, and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The immediate question that comes to mind, of course, is: Is the paper for real? Could it be a fake? Maddow said it was genuine:
I’m not going to tell you how we got it, but the Department of Homeland Security has tonight confirmed to us that this is authentic, that this is real.
Here Virgil might pause to make a point: He finds it curious that DHS would be in such a hurry to confirm the document’s authenticity. Did the public-affairs people, having been contacted by Maddow, demand to see the original so that they could study it, word for word? After all, it’s possible to imagine that it could have been a hybrid document—that is, part real, part fake, with, maybe, some sneaky interpolations aimed at making an anti-Trump point.
Moreover, a close look at the actual document, including watermarks or metadata, might have helped authorities to identify the leaker. And why, in any case, was DHS in such a hurry to help out MSNBC? Why confirm it on a deadline? Is that the Trump administration policy— to serve, in effect, as a content-provider for the MSM? To facilitate the work of leakers, and “leakees”? Did anyone think about saying to MSNBC, “No comment”? Or even, “The possession of a such a document, by anyone outside of the Department, is a violation. So you’ll soon be hearing from law enforcement wondering how you got it”?
Given that none of that seems to have happened, is Virgil too paranoid if he suspects that maybe at least some among the DHS public-affairs staff are happy to see items leaking out?
Now of course, Virgil presumes that the leaking, and/or confirming, was the work of Deep Statists—that is, career staffers, as opposed to Trump appointees. And in fairness to the new Trump people, they haven’t had a whole lot of time to put their own operation together. Still, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly was confirmed to his post on January 20, six weeks ago. And he spent more than four decades in the Marines, including time at the Pentagon—so he knows his way around a bureaucracy.
So Virgil might ask: When does Team Trump plan on getting control of the DHS career staff? Today? Tomorrow? Never?
Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look at the document in question. It was entitled, “Most Foreign-Born US-Based Violent Extremists Radicalized After Entering Homeland.” And then Maddow got to her meat:
Oh, and what’s the key finding here? What’s the key judgment here? This is it, “We assess that most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry into the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”
And then to Maddow’s conclusion: Since the radicalization of foreign-born newcomers couldn’t be judged or predicted, there was no point in even trying—just let ‘em all in. As Maddow put it:
Oh, right, so much for extreme vetting, right? The whole justification, the whole explanation from this administration for the Muslim ban was to stop people coming into this country, at least for a while, right? At least for a while, it’s a temporary travel ban so we can get the extreme vetting,
In other words, Maddow seems to be saying, if we’re operating from ignorance, as to who’s a potential threat, then the best thing to do is operate from even more ignorance.
We can observe: Not everyone agrees with the DHS leakers that it’s hopeless to assess danger and who could be dangerous. In fact, lots of good cops would say otherwise, and common sense says the same thing.
Meanwhile, even if Maddow, relying on that DHS paper, is correct about present-day “unknown knowns.” There’s still such a thing as retrospective analysis—that is, examining the data, whatever it might be, after the fact, in order to identify correlations and patterns. That sort of analysis can then be used to build better predictive models. But of course, first you have to have the data; hence the value of data-collection at every opportunity—including at the entrance door.
Of course, Maddow’s mission the other night was something much different: She wanted to put yet another knife into “extreme vetting” and what she called “the Muslim ban”:
I look at this, and you know what I think? I think the Muslim ban is dead.
Maddow is referring, of course, to Trump’s January 27 Executive Order, the one that has been clobbered by the MSM and waylaid by the courts. That order was never a “Muslim ban” but, rather, an attempt to restrict entry from seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Indeed, the word “Muslim” doesn’t even appear in Trump’s document; the phrase “Muslim ban” was applied by opponents, not proponents.
To be sure, the idea of some sort of restriction on potentially dangerous people was a key element of Trump’s campaign. As candidate Trump said back in December 2015:
Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.
That is to say, it’s part of the reason why he is now the 45th President. And in fact, Trump’s instincts about homeland security have ample justification, even if the Deep State doesn’t agree.
According to the Pew Center, for example, public opinion in the Muslim world shows considerable support for Sharia law and other radical ideas, including terroristic violence. Indeed, our friend common sense tells us that the experience of traveling to the US from a village, in say, Yemen, can be, to put it mildly, psychologically disorienting.
In fact, a recent news-item illustrating this culture-clash has gone viral. It shows two people on the subway: on the left, a woman in a niqab—that is, a full-body veil, including the face—and on the right, a drag queen, glammed up to the max, with flaming red hair, dressed in short shorts, long legs akimbo. The woman in the niqab seemed placid enough as she sits next to the drag queen, but one can only guess the impact on, for instance, a hormonal young man from a repressed culture.
Actually, we can do more than guess as to what can happen. We can review recent history, which is littered with cases of younger Muslims, mostly male, acting violently in America:
- The Tsarnaev brothers set off two bombs, killing three and injuring hundreds of others—including 16 who lost limbs—at the Boston Marathon in 2013.
- Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez used an AK-47, a shotgun, and a pistol to kill five military recruiters in Chattanooga in 2015.
- Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, pulled out guns and killed 14, wounding 22 more, in San Bernardino, CA, also in 2015.
- Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured another 53 when he machine-gunned a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016.
We can note that each incident was slightly different. The Tsarnaevs were born in the former Soviet Union and spent their lives within the US welfare system before plotting mass-murder. Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait before moving to the US; he had a job. And of the two San Bernardino shooters, Farook—who worked for the same county government that he then massacred—was born in the US of Pakistani parents, while Malik was born in Pakistan, having gained lawful permanent residence in the US not long before she started killing Americans. And Mateen, the Orlando shooter, born in New York, was of Afghan heritage.
So we can see: Some were born in the US, some not. Some seemed to have issues of mental illness, alcohol- and drug abuse, and confusion over sexual identity. Some were single, some were married, and some were married with children.
About the only thing that unites the four cases is that the perpetrators were Muslim. So at the risk of being un-politically correct, that fact would seem to suggest the general area where the search for greater public safety could begin.
Yet, of course, Maddow and her allies on the left don’t concur; they insist on seeing the issue only through the lens of their own PC. And to preserve the plausibility of their increasingly stressed PC worldview, lefties are willing to play word-games—or, some might say, twist the truth. This verbal gamesmanship from the left-wingers at Vox, trashing Trump’s January 27 order, is typical:
None of the perpetrators of the major US terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam in the past 15 years have come from the nations on that list. [emphasis added]
Yes, we can pause over that slyly insinuated word, “major.” Because in fact, at least two attacks in the last decade, in North Carolina and in Ohio, were carried out by individuals from the targeted countries. But evidently, homicidalists’ plowing vehicles into pedestrians counts only as “minor.”
Speaking of word-games, we can return to that DHS document, the one on Maddow’s program, asserting that dangerous radicalism often emerges only after an immigrant had lived here for a while, thus “limiting” the value of vetting, extreme or otherwise.
So we must ask: If we aren’t sure who, precisely, could be dangerous, doesn’t that suggest a general strategy of caution? Mightn’t we look, for example, at the fate of Europe—where there have been tens of thousands of murders, and other serious crimes, at the hands of foreign-born terrorists—and start drawing some obvious conclusions?
With that thought in mind, perhaps the Department of Homeland Security could contact Rachel Maddow and volunteer to go on her show with just that message: Better safe than sorry. Maybe the DHS public-affairs team could actually seize an opportunity to advance the Trump agenda.
But would Maddow even agree to such a booking? That’s an unknown. All we know for sure is that the Deep Statists at DHS, and their friends at MSNBC, know exactly how to connect with each other.