WIRED's Spencer Ackerman broke a story yesterday on the anti-Muslim training materials the FBI used to train intelligence units. According to the FBI, the agency has pulled the training.
The FBI on Thursday said it had stopped a training session that called the Prophet Muhammad a “cult leader,” said mainstream Muslims were likely to support violent extremism and described the Islamic principal of charity as a “funding mechanism for combat.”
The content of the training session set off a wave of concern among Muslims across the nation who had been trying to help authorities battle homegrown terrorism.
An FBI spokesman confirmed on Thursday that the agency did host one training session six months ago that described Muslims as more likely to be violent as they increased in devotion to their faith. Slides from the training session, confirmed as accurate by the FBI and posted online by Wired magazine, show a graph illustrating how followers of other Abrahamic faiths have become more nonviolent since their inceptions, but Muslims have not.[...]
Asked why it was included in the training in the first place, FBI spokesman Allen said it was part of the plan for the two-week course.
“The instructor who conducted that training block no longer provides training on behalf of the FBI,” the agency said in a statement. “Policy changes have been under way to better ensure that all training is consistent with FBI standards. These changes will help develop appropriate training content for new agent training and continuing education for all employees, as well as introduce a robust consultative element from experts outside the FBI.”
In what is likely the most admirable statement ever made or ever to be made by Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, he blasted the FBI.
“There is no room in America for the lies, propagated by al-Qaida, that the U.S. is at war with Islam, or the lie propagated by others that all Muslims support terrorism,” Sen. Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, told Danger Room.
Lieberman is one of the most consistently hawkish members of Congress. Not coincidentally, he’s been disturbed at recent reports that “inaccurate or even bigoted” anti-Islamic sentiment—his words—is substituting for diligent, responsible counterterrorism. In a letter this week to John Brennan, the president’s assistant on homeland security, Lieberman called for "meaningful standards" on law enforcement counterterrorism training, a point he reiterated to Danger Room.
Lieberman is joined by Sen. Ron Wyden on the Intelligence Committee, in "look[ing] forward to hearing from administration officials," though Wyden's committee chair Dianne Feinstein has not commented. Hopefully Lieberman and other senators will also take an active role in the oversight of the CIA's investigation of the CIA/NYPD "Demographics Unit," targeting Muslim communities and houses of worship in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.