Annals of outreach

Patrick Poole recently reported that a known Hamas operative and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history – Kifah Mustapha – was recently escorted into the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center and other secure government facilities, including the FBI’s training center at Quantico, during a six-week “Citizen’s Academy” hosted by the FBI as part of its “outreach” to the Muslim Community. The group was accompanied by reporter Ben Bradley of WLS-Chicago (ABC), who filed a report on the trip. Poole quoted Bradley:

Sheik Kifah Mustapha, who runs the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, asked some of the most pointed questions during the six week FBI Citizens’ Academy and trip to Washington. He pushed agents to fully explain everything from the bureau’s use of deadly force policy to racial and ethnic profiling. “I saw a very interesting side of what the FBI does and I wanted to know more,” Sheik Mustapha explained after returning from D.C. He hopes the FBI’s outreach runs deeper than positive public relations.

Poole drily commented: “Yes, I bet he wanted to know everything about the FBI’s policies.” Poole adds: “Curiously, Bradley’s report on the Citizen’s Academy fails to make note Mustapha’s extensive terrorist ties and support for Hamas…”
Now comes Andrew McCarthy to explore “The trouble with Islamic outreach.” Mustapha is McCarthy’s Exhibit A. McCarthy updates Poole’s report with this:

Mustapha’s participation in the Citizen’s Academy so soon after his identification as an unindicted co-conspirator has been a source of supreme embarrassment to the FBI. At first, outraged citizens who called the Bureau’s Washington headquarters to complain were told that reports of Mustapha’s inclusion in a sensitive-access FBI program were false — and even that a picture showing Mustapha with other participants (see Pat Poole’s Big Peace report) must have been photo-shopped. Alas, that story had a couple of holes: The class picture was an official Bureau photo and the class had been covered by a local ABC correspondent who remembered the sheikh quite well.
Thus came explanation number two: Yes, Mustapha was there, and yeah, maybe that means we took a Hamas supporter through a few top-secret locations, but don’t look at us — blame Chicago. Headquarters thus started referring irate callers to the Chicago field office, where {FBI Chicago flack] Mr. [Ross] Rice now labors through explanation number three: Sheikh Mustapha is our guy.
Come again? Rice dutifully explains that if the Feebs had really thought the unindicted Hamas coconspirator “was a security risk, we wouldn’t have included him.” But he was included because “he is a very influential leader of the Palestinian community here and imam of the largest mosque and was a welcome addition.”

Hatem Abudayyeh is McCarthy’s Exhibit B. Abudayyeh is at the center of the federal grand-jury investigation in Chicago that resulted in raids on several domiciles in the Twin Cities. One might guess that Abudayyeh has previously been the recipient of “outreach,” and one would be right. Citing Josh Gerstein’s report, McCarthy writes:

He’s been through White House Muslim outreach. As Josh Gerstein explains, Abudayyeh was among a select group invited to the White House in April for a briefing by the Office of Public Engagement on what the Obama administration says involved issues of “concern” for the Arab American community.
Clearly, Abudayyeh is very concerned about such matters. That’s why, for example, he strenuously objected in a 2006 interview to the American description of “Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations as ‘terrorists.'” Instead, “the real terrorists are the governments and military forces of the U.S. and Israel.”

What is the trouble with “outreach”? Andy doesn’t say exactly what it is in this column, but the trouble with it is staring us in the face.

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