Washington Monthly

Washington Monthly article leads to Senate inquiry

At the beginning of the month, Meg Stalcup and I published an article in the Washington Monthly. It analyzes the unregulated explosion of counterterrorism trainers in America. Building off sham qualifications and a very dubious knowledge of Islam, they capitalize on America's fear, and teach law enforcement tactics that will neither help them fight terrorism, nor build good relations with the Muslim community they should be serving. You can read the article here. The Nation Institute Investigative Fund, who funded our investigation, has a good round-up of the reaction to the story in the sidebar here.

Yesterday, Senators Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman started a Senate inquiry into counterterrorism training, quoting the article.

I never thought I would say this, but thank you Joe Lieberman.

A response to the Bail letter

After Meg Stalcup and I published an article in the Washington Monthly, criticizing badly regulated counterterrorism training for law enforcement in America, some of the trainers who we criticized responded, and a friend of theirs, Joseph M. Bail Jr, wrote a letter claiming to "rebut" our claims. His letter, which you can read in the side panel here, did no such thing. We responded to his letter, rebutting his claims. The response is below.
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Washington Monthly piece on Counterterrorism Training for Law Enforcement

(written with Meg Stalcup) On a bright January morning in 2010, at Broward College in Davie, Florida, about sixty police officers and other frontline law enforcement officials gathered in a lecture hall for a course on combating terrorism in the Sunshine State. Some in plain clothes, others in uniform, they drifted in clutching Styrofoam cups of coffee, greeting acquaintances from previous statewide training sessions. The instructor, Sam Kharoba, an olive-skinned man wearing rimless glasses and an ill-fitting white dress shirt, stood apart at the front of the hall reviewing PowerPoint slides on his laptop. As he got under way, Kharoba described how, over the next three days, he would teach his audience the fundamentals of Islam. “We constantly hear statements,” Kharoba began, “that Islam is a religion of peace, and we constantly hear of jihadists who are trying to kill as many non-Muslims as they can.” Kharoba’s course would establish for his students that one of these narratives speaks to a deep truth about Islam, and the other is a calculated lie. “How many terror attacks have there been since 9/11? Muslim terror attacks,” Kharoba asked the room. Silence. “Let’s start the bidding.” “Over a hundred,” someone volunteered. “I got a hundred,” Kharoba called back. Another audience member, louder now, suggested three hundred. “Three hundred!” Kharoba declared. “Over a thousand,” offered another voice in the audience. Kharoba stopped the bidding. “Over thirteen thousand,” he said. “Over thirteen thousand attacks.” He paused to let the statistic sink in.
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