- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s a terrifying look in the new issue of the Washington Monthly, one of America’s great magazines, at the world of counter-terrorism instructors and the nonsense they peddle to beat cops sent to classes on terrorism. It sounds like Glenn Beck-ism run amok, which I know is a redundant phrase.
"When I look at the life of Muhammad, I get a very nasty image," they quote one instructor, Sam Kharoba, as saying to a class of Florida police officers. "I am talking about a pedophile, a serial killer, a rapist."
He also advises that, "The best way to handle these people is what I call legal harassment." The article reports later that Kharoba told the class that there are two types of Muslims in America: "honest ones who Americanize their names, and those who use long Arabic names as a smokescreen. ‘If I pull someone over at a traffic stop,’ said Kharoba, ‘I’ll ask for a couple of IDs. And if I see different spellings of a name, my Christmas tree is lit up. That’s probable cause to take them in.’"
One TSA employee loved all this: "Olga Gonzalez, who is a TSA officer in Miami, told us she had taken several of Kharoba’s courses. ‘This guy is brilliant,’ she said. ‘I can’t believe it: just like gang affiliations, you can distinguish between secular and jihadist Muslims.’"
There’s also a lot of flat-out fear-mongering. Here’s another instructor: "They want to make this world Islamic. The Islamic flag will fly over the White House — not on my watch!" He explains, "My job is to wake up the public, and first, the first responders."
The article strongly insinuates that a lot of these guys are Gordon Liddy-wannabes who may not be entirely on the up and up in stories about their backgrounds:
John Giduck was a practicing lawyer in the 1980s. Then, he says, during the late Gorbachev era, the American Bar Foundation dispatched him to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), where he met the head of the KGB for Leningrad. ("Putin’s boss," he says.) They became fast friends, and Giduck began traveling frequently to Russia. He claims to have trained with multiple Russian special forces units, and to be certified by the "Vityaz Special Forces Anti-Terror School." In 2004, Giduck traveled to Russia immediately after the Beslan school massacre and wrote a book called Terror at Beslan. It was published in 2005, and it raised Giduck’s profile, earning him a guest appearance on the Glenn Beck show in the fall of 2007. Among the book’s most sensational allegations is that the terrorists at Beslan systematically raped their hostages, a claim that no other primary source account has made. In the meantime, Giduck has also become an in-demand counterterrorism trainer.
The instructors they profile have taught tens of thousands of police officers in recent years, they say. I wonder how many millions of our tax dollars have been wasted in paying these counterterror instructors to spew nonsense.
The Washington Monthly article is hereby awarded the Best Defense distinguished journalism prize, "The Silver Bullet," for revealing a really bad situation that needs to be cleaned up.