Cross posted from Bold Faith Type
I missed this last week during the King hearings, but Walid Zafar at Political Correction put together a great background piece on hearing witness Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-VA) history de-funding a promising FBI program to foster greater cooperation with the Muslim community.
According to the report, the Partnership for Prevention and Community Safety (PfP) was based on research by Deborah Ramirez, a professor at Northeastern School of Law and a former assistant U.S. attorney. The program enjoyed broad support and was moving towards implementation--until it caught the attention of noted anti-Islam profiteer Steve Emerson:
In mid-2005, Ramirez presented then-Deputy Director (and now TSA Administrator) John Pistole with an outline of the program. She notified Pistole that the program had received the approval of the FBI's training program, the counterterrorism unit and officials at the FBI Academy in Quantico. No one raised any objection, she says. Pistole approved the program after one of the FBI's budget people notified him that the agency had sufficient funds to support it.
By then, Steven Emerson, the anti-Muslim entrepreneur best known for claiming that the Oklahoma City bombing showed "a Middle Eastern trait," had heard of PfP. Emerson favored an FBI policy of "total disengagement" with the Muslim community, says Ramirez. As he saw it, the organizations that supported the PfP were Islamist in nature and could not be trusted. According to a former FBI agent who worked closely with the program, Emerson's objections were odd given that he was never briefed on the specifics of the program.
Emerson, determined to kill PfP, turned to his friend Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which controls the Justice Department's (and FBI's) purse strings.
Soon after, funding for the program was rescinded. According to FBI officials, the decision was partly due to a funding issue. The money, a paltry sum by the standards of counterterrorism, was no longer there. If the community wanted to go forward with the initiative, they would have to self-fund it.
A meeting with local Muslim leaders apparently failed to change the Congressman's mind either:
Wolf wouldn't budge and segued into a litany of complaints about being insufficiently appreciated by the Muslim community in his congressional district. Wolf cited his support for NATO intervention in Bosnia (a decade earlier) as proof of his support for the community. But, he complained, local Muslims had not sufficiently reciprocated with the campaign support to which he believed he was entitled.
Wolf's hissy fit is strikingly similar to that of Peter King, whose entire transformation from Muslim community ally to villain seems to revolve around a petty grudge.
But more importantly, the story is another example of the dangerous alliance between right-wing Islamaphobic organizations and some "mainstream" conservatives. While both King and Wolf may try to keep those alliances out of the public eye, the connections seem just below the surface.