Posted by on May 03, 2012 in Blog

Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert has yet again displayed his creative ability to completely flip an issue to reflect a viewpoint directly counter to conventional wisdom or reason. Yesterday, an article in The Washington Examiner gave us a glimpse of what Congressman Gohmert is likely to focus on when the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security – Gohmert is Vice Chair – hears testimony from FBI director Robert Mueller. As the article alluded, Gohmert will likely express concern that criticism in the wake of the months-long controversy involving the FBI’s use of bigoted anti-Muslim and anti-Arab training materials may be leading the FBI to overcompensate and appease critics , which Gohmert believes will compromise the FBI’s ability to effectively fight terrorism. In February, the FBI said an internal review of the training curriculum led to a purge of 700 documents used in 300 presentations to agents, the contents of which have not been disclosed. To our knowledge, no one but the FBI has been made privy to the specific parameters of the review process. 

Hence, it is interesting that Gohmert is taking this preemptive stance that the FBI is appeasing critics, when the FBI has not provided a single ounce of evidence that they have changed anything in their training curriculum. So whom does Gohmert think the FBI is appeasing? In the Examiner piece, Gohmert alleges that the Arab American and American Muslim community groups which met with the FBI in February may have had a hand in new counter-terrorism training. We can say quite definitely that this is obviously completely erroneous.

Here’s what Gohmert told the Examiner:  "Our thought is the reason they [the FBI] are reluctant to disclose who did the review and the cleansing is that these were people [referring to the Arab American/ American Muslim groups at the meeting] who cannot be trusted, who could not pass a security check."

Advocating racial profiling as an effective means of counter-terrorism strategy is not specific to Gohmert. But the Congressman is setting a precedent by applying this level of thinking to an issue with a sordidness is beyond contestation. But then again, Congressman Gohmert does have a history of making things up. In 2010, he blamed president Obama for supporting “illegal Palestinian Settlements,” a statement which could have caused Israeli settlers in even the most contested of outposts to do a double-take. The Washington Examiner piece suggests Gohmert is leading a concerned Capitol Hill contingent into next Wednesday. The thought that more than one Member of Congress could be so ill-informed is very concerning. However, to counter Gohmert’s flawed narrative, there are examples of members of Congress who have identified this issue as a civil rights one and not exclusively one of national security.  One such member is Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) who has called for Investigations into the NYPD’s surveillance program of American Muslims and Arab Americans, another issue we identify as part of a larger question surrounding law enforcement and the civil rights of community members. 

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