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Orlando Massacre Can Be A Turning Point In The War On Terror

Published in Investors Business Daily

Within 24 hours of the nightclub massacre in Orlando committed by Islamist terrorist Omar Mateen, reports came out that the perpetrator had been a person of interest known by the FBI.

In 2013 Mateen was interviewed twice by the FBI after he had made inflammatory comments to workplace colleagues asserting his ties to ISIS.

In 2014 he was questioned again about a reported connection to Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, who attended Mateen’s radical mosque in Fort Pierce, Fla., and who had carried out a suicide bombing in the Syria conflict. The FBI says the bureau dropped Mateen from being a person of interest or being on a terrorist watch list because of insufficient and inconclusive evidence.

Daniel Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce police officer who was Mateen’s co-worker at security firm G4S says he complained multiple times to his superiors about Mateen being unhinged and talking about killing people.

Gilroy believes the lack of response and disciplinary action toward Mateen by G4S managers at that time was because it was politically incorrect to criticize or write up a Muslim.

Part of the tragedy of the Islamist terrorist attack in Orlando is that it could have been prevented. The Orlando terrorist strike is the 86th Islamist terror attack or plot in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, and actually the sixth Islamist domestic terror plot of 2016.

If similarities of warning signs in just a few of the successful domestic Islamist terrorist attacks during the two terms of the Obama administration had been recognized and acted on, the would-be Orlando terrorist would likely have been stopped.

Six months ago, the December 2015 ISIS-inspired San Bernardino massacre could have been prevented, but for the chilling effect of political correctness. A neighbor of the Islamist terrorist couple Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook revealed that in the weeks before the terrorist killing spree, there had been a flurry of warning signs — a multitude of package deliveries and Middle Eastern individuals coming and going at all hours.

Yet that neighbor chose not to alert the police for fear of being labeled racist or Islamophobic.

The 2013 Islamist Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a high-risk profile due to six months of travel to a known Islamist terrorist training area overseas.

But with the Obama administration having extended political correctness into law enforcement a few years earlier, requiring the systematic purge of FBI counterterrorism training manuals of some 900 pages that were considered offensive to Muslims, Boston-based law enforcement decided not to monitor Tsarnaev — enabling him to take his time and pick his target with relative ease.

When self-described “soldier of Allah” Nidal Hassan killed 13 in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting spree, the Defense Department recorded the incident as “workplace violence.” The DOD bureaucracy had almost no other choice as it was then in the midst of a politically driven purge at West Point and the Naval War College of all “vital references to Islamist ideology driving terrorism or conflating terrorism with Islam.”

The politically correct posture of providing protection for radical Muslims began in the first year of the Obama administration, according to Philip Haney, who helped establish the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after 9/11.

Haney’s DHS superiors appointed by Obama ordered him in November 2009 to scrub his database and delete hundreds of records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the Treasury Enforcement Communications System database.

These types of records are what Immigration Control and Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection officers use for “connecting the dots” and identifying individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations who might be entering or exiting the country.

We have all heard that the first step in solving a problem is being able to describe and understand it. When the country has just suffered its eighth and worst terrorist attack in the last 7 1/2 years — driven by radical Islamist ideology in Orlando — and the Commander-in-Chief cannot describe it as such, it is time for Congress to act.

The most direct way of ending the subordination of U.S. national security to political correctness is for Congress to formally declare war on ISIS and all other radical Islamist terrorist individuals and groups, whether outside or inside the United States.

Declaring war on ISIS and radical Islamist terrorism is the best first step in ending political correctness and its deadly consequences. It would empower Americans to use their eyes and ears to help the FBI and local law enforcement identify terrorists in the homeland.

Overseas, the U.S. would gain the respect of allies and be in a better position to lead a coalition of forces to defeat ISIS, once politically correct guidelines are replaced with best war-fighting practices in all our military and intelligence services.

Powell is senior fellow at Seattle-based Discovery Institute and managing partner at RemingtonRand. Reach him at scottp@discovery.org.

Originally published at Investor’s Business Daily.

Scott S. Powell

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Scott Powell has enjoyed a career split between theory and practice with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and rainmaker in several industries. He joins the Discovery Institute after having been a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution for six years and serving as a managing partner at a consulting firm, RemingtonRand. His research and writing has resulted in over 250 published articles on economics, business and regulation. Scott Powell graduated from the University of Chicago with honors (B.A. and M.A.) and received his Ph.D. in political and economic theory from Boston University in 1987, writing his dissertation on the determinants of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.