“We have testimony that there was a ‘purge’ of law enforcement and intelligence material, to remove references to radical Islamic terrorism. That should concern anybody troubled by censorship, anybody concerned about keeping our country safe from terrorism.” – Ted Cruz, June 28 2016
“On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz chaired an investigative hearing to determine whether law enforcement agencies are deemphasizing radical Islam while investigating terrorism in the United States. Its purpose, according to Cruz’s website, was to “investigate how the federal government has not only refused to appropriately identify the specific threat of radical Islam, but has sought to undermine the people and information who have sought to highlight the threat.”
Provocatively titled “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts to Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism,” the hearing comes just weeks after Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people in an Orlando night club and injured dozens more. In his opening remarks, Cruz said, “the consequence of the willful blindness of a policy, that is a matter of administration policy, that refuses to acknowledge the threat, means over and over again this administration has allowed the threats to go forward.”
“Several Democratic senators tried to make analogies to the KKK and Christianity, arguing that just like we don’t call white-supremacist groups “radical Christians” neither should we call individuals and groups who perpetrate terrorist acts in the name of Islam “radical Muslims.” Meanwhile, Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, spent much of his time discussing how the focus on Islamic terrorism in the last 15 years has blinded us to the serious problems in our country with radical right-wing terrorists.”
“While the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks laced its report with references to Islam, he said, this year alone the Obama administration has purged references to radical Islam twice. One involved remarks from French President Francois Hollande after the Paris attacks. The other involved the 911 call from Omar Mateen, the shooter in the recent Orlando gay nightclub massacre, in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Such efforts to erase such references and motives, Cruz said, amount to “an Orwellian doublethink that … is counterproductive to keeping this nation safe.”
The hearing opened with a bit of political theater. Before Cruz arrived, a CodePink activist called out to the audience: “Is there anyone here who suffers from Islamophobia?” She offered a pack of gum disguised as a remedy called “Islamophobin,” whose label promises to treat “blind intolerance, unthinking bigotry” and “election year scapegoating.”