A veteran official with the Department of Homeland Security claims he and other staff were ordered to destroy records on a federal database that showed links between possible jihadists and Islamic terrorist groups.
In an explosive column that was published late Friday on The Hill, the former employee, Patrick Haney, alleges that the Obama administration has been “engaged in a bureaucratic effort” to destroy the raw material and intelligence the Department of Homeland Security has been collecting for years, leaving the United States open to mass-casualty attacks.
Haney, who worked at DHS for 15 years, explained how in 2009, a 23-year-old Nigerian Muslim, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253, with explosives packed in his underwear and the hopes of slaughtering 290 travelers flying on Christmas Day from the Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan.
However, passengers subdued the jihadist and he was arrested, thwarting the plot.
After the attempt, Haney claims President Obama “threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to ‘connect the dots,’ saying that it was not a failure to collect the intelligence that could have stopped the attack, but rather “‘a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.'”
Many Americans were infuriated “because we knew his administration had been engaged in a bureaucratic effort to destroy the raw material — the actual intelligence we had collected for years, and erase those dots. The dots constitute the intelligence needed to keep Americans safe, and the Obama administration was ordering they be wiped away.”
Just one month before the attempted attack, Haney said, his DHS supervisors ordered him to either delete or modify the records for several hundred people tied to Islamist terror organizations, including Hamas, from the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, the federal database.
Those records give DHS the ability to “connect dots,” explained Haney, and every day, the agency’s Custom and Border Protection officials use the database while watching people who are associated with known terrorist affiliations seeking patterns that could indicate a pending attack.
“Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that,” said Haney.
And even weeks after the attempted Christmas Day attack, Haney said, he was still being ordered to delete and scrub terrorists’ records, making it more difficult to connect future dots.
The number of attempted and successful Islamic terrorist attacks have increased, notes Haney, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez’ shooting of two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee last year.
Haney believes it is “very plausible” that one or more of those homeland incidents could have been prevented, if DHS subject matter experts had been allowed to keep doing their jobs.
“It is demoralizing — and infuriating — that today, those elusive dots are even harder to find, and harder to connect, than they were during the winter of 2009,” Haney concluded.