‘Intelligence analyst’ tells FBI agents to go after Islam

Over at Danger Room, which broke the story about the FBI teaching its agents that “mainstream” Muslims are linked to terrorism, Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman have a video of a lecture by FBI intelligence analyst William Gawthrop from June this year – which rather undermines the FBI’s claim that the notorious counterterrorism course was a “one time only” event that took place in April and was “quickly discontinued”. Ackerman and Shachtman write:

The best strategy for undermining militants, Gawthrop suggested, is to go after Islam itself. To undermine the validity of key Islamic scriptures and key Muslim leaders.

“If you remember Star Wars, that ventilation shaft that goes down to into the depths of the Death Star, they shot a torpedo down there. That’s a critical vulnerability,” Gawthrop told his audience. Then he waved a laser pointer at his projected PowerPoint slide, calling attention to the words “Holy Texts” and “Clerics”.

“We should be looking at, should be aiming at, these,” Gawthrop said.

There is some background information on Gawthrop in the original Danger Room report:

In 2006, before he joined the Bureau, he gave an interview to the website WorldNetDaily, and discussed some of the themes that made it into his briefings, years later. The Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism”, Gawthrop told the website, which would later distinguish itself as a leader of the “birther” movement, a conspiracy theory that denies President Obama’s American citizenship.

At the time, Gawthrop’s major suggestion for waging the war on terrorism was to attack what he called “soft spots” in Islamic faith that might “induce a deteriorating cascade effect upon the target”. That is, to discredit Islam itself and cause Muslims to abandon their religion. “Critical vulnerabilities of the Koran, for example, are that it was uttered by a mortal,” he said. Alas, he lamented, he faced the bureaucratic obstacle of official Washington’s “political taboo of linking Islamic violence to the religion of Islam,” according to the website.

For more on Gawthrop see Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion.