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Who is Mohamed Elibiary — and why is he advising DHS?

Readers of my former blog may recall my run-ins with Mohamed Elibiary, a Muslim activist from North Texas with whom I frequently clashed. Elibiary had the mau-mau strategy down pat, being quick to accuse his opponents of anti-Muslim bigotry. This is his standard m.o., and he’s done pretty well by it. One of the last times I wrote about him at the Dallas Morning News was to blog about how incredibly foolish it was for Congress to rely on Elibiary for counterterrorism advice [1], considering that Elibiary publicly defended the late Muslim Brotherhood jihad ideologist Sayyid Qutb as a positive spiritual influence. Qutb, understand, called for global holy war to subjugate the planet — including dissenting Muslims — for radical Islam. As blogger Patrick Poole reminded us [2] last year, Elibiary also spoke at the infamous Dallas Muslim conference in honor of “the great Islamic visionary” the Ayatollah Khomeini. What occasioned Poole’s recollection? Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano’s appointing Elibiary to an exclusive Homeland Security Advisory Council. [3]

How, exactly, does the US government’s DHS choose to take advice from a man who publicly encouraged Americans to read the work of Qutb, whose teachings the 9/11 Commission cited as a prime motivator of Al Qaeda’s ideology, so that all may “see the potential for a strong spiritual rebirth that’s truly ecumenical allowing all faiths practiced in America to enrich us and motivate us to serve God better by serving our fellow man more”? It’s amazing. I have no idea if Elibiary is a bad guy or not, but at best this statement is truly crackpot. I find it hard to take Elibiary seriously as a sinister figure, as some on the right do, because to interact with him and to read his writing is to fail to be overwhelmed, or even whelmed, by his analytical capabilities. Based on my history with him, including dealing with him in editorial meetings, I wouldn’t trust the guy to give me straight advice about where to eat falafel, much less about Islamic terrorism. But that’s our government for you.

I had forgotten about Elibiary, who runs an outfit he calls the Freedom & Justice Foundation — or did run it; the website apparently no longer exists. (I’m sure it’s a total coincidence that Freedom & Justice [4]is the name the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood chose for the political party it founded this year.) Well, it was reported a few weeks back that Elibiary may have leaked sensitive intelligence information [5] to an unnamed media outlet in an alleged attempt to gin up negative coverage of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, on the grounds that Perry is “Islamophobic.” The media source told Poole it didn’t do a story because it found no evidence of Islamophobia in the documents Elibiary provided. From Poole’s report:

In light of these allegations, I spoke today with Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw. He confirmed that Elibiary has access to the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest [6] (HS SLIC) database, which contains hundreds of thousands of intelligence reports and products that are intended for intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies.

(Full disclosure: I gave a briefing in April 2010 to the TX DPS on historical terror incidents and terror connections to Texas. I’ve also been critical [2] of Elibiary’s involvement with DHS considering his past extremist statements and activities.)

I asked Director McCraw if he knew whether Elibiary had access to TX DPS reports on the HS SLIC, to which he replied:

“We know that he has accessed DPS documents and downloaded them.”

Elibiary did not respond to Poole’s request for comment.

If this is true, it’s a fairly significant story. Poole did not name his media source who claims Elibiary was shopping around this information. Poole later reported that McGraw of the Texas DPS requested a DHS investigation [7] into the Elibiary affair. Poole did a follow-up report [8]on November 28, saying that the DHS is still stonewalling on the Elibiary story. Excerpt:

Before publishing the original article, I spoke with DHS spokesman Chris Ortman. After grilling me about the nature of my source, he immediately terminated the conversation after I asked him how and when Elibiary got access to the HS SLIC system, telling me he would have to get back to me.

Needless to say, I’m still waiting for that return phone call, despite follow-up emails.

The questions I am looking to get answered:

1) When did Elibiary get access to the HS SLIC system, and who approved it?

2) Why was Elibiary the only member [9] of the Homeland Security Advisory Council — he is one of 26 members — to get access to that system?

3) What is the status of the investigation requested by TX DPS Director McCraw [7] into Elibiary’s leaking his agency’s documents to the media?

4) What other sensitive government databases did/does Elibiary still have access to, since he works with other agencies (e.g., FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence)?

5) Is there evidence that Elibiary leaked sensitive documents and reports to other media outlets?

These are very good and important questions. The DHS website continues to list Elibiary as a member of its advisory council. One has to presume he is still in good standing with the agency. As Poole reports, Rep. Louie Gohmert asked Secretary Napolitano about the Elibiary situation in a Congressional hearing back in October [10]; she promised to get back to him.

Well? It’s scandalous enough that a guy with Elibiary’s background and public profile serves on a high-level DHS advisory council, and may have been given access to sensitive intelligence. But if he used that access to try to play partisan politics by smearing the Texas governor, that is a very serious situation that reflects terribly on the DHS’s judgment — especially because all you have to do is spend 10 minutes with Google to learn how squirrelly Elibiary’s opinions are.

Maybe Elibiary did nothing wrong, and is being smeared. But the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety is on record saying that Elibiary had access to these documents and downloaded them, and asking for a DHS investigation. At this point, the issue is not only about Elibiary, it’s about the security and the judgment of the Department of Homeland Security. Come on, media — especially Texas media — this is a story.

31 Comments (Open | Close)

31 Comments To "Who is Mohamed Elibiary — and why is he advising DHS?"

#1 Comment By Mike W On December 8, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

The blogger should take that Islamophobic crap back to the American Spectator or American Thinker. Plenty of other sites do it and this one has been relatively free of the idiocy that overtook us after 9/11.

#2 Comment By PeterK On December 9, 2011 @ 12:16 am

the media won’t touch it for fear of being labeled Islamophobic and being mau-maued by CAIR

#3 Comment By Mad Doc MacRae On December 9, 2011 @ 12:47 am

“Well? It’s scandalous enough that a guy with Elibiary’s background and public profile serves on a high-level DHS advisory council, and may have been given access to sensitive intelligence.”

No more scandalous than the existence of the DHS.

#4 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On December 9, 2011 @ 2:13 am

You can make a fetish of security or you can make a fetish of diversity, but you can’t do both.

#5 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 9, 2011 @ 8:23 am

Mike W.: The blogger should take that Islamophobic crap back to the American Spectator or American Thinker. Plenty of other sites do it and this one has been relatively free of the idiocy that overtook us after 9/11.

Wow, that was quick. This kind of brain-dead, knee-jerk political correctness is precisely why we don’t have a properly critical and comprehensive coverage of Islam in this country.

You didn’t read a thing about Elibiary, did you Mike? You didn’t click on any of the links to read what the man has actually advocated. You just saw criticism of a Muslim, and thought, “Aaaaugh! Bigotry! Must stop it now!” This is just as moronic a response as what you see from people who think everything Muslim is evil and terroristic.

#6 Comment By Tom S On December 9, 2011 @ 9:50 am

More people should read Qutb. “Know thine enemy,” and all that.

The sourcing of your story seems pretty dubious as well. PJ media, and a web site featuring Frank Gaffney (who fits the “people” in the last sentence of your response to a tee).

#7 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 9, 2011 @ 10:08 am

The sourcing of your story seems pretty dubious as well. PJ media, and a web site featuring Frank Gaffney (who fits the “people” in the last sentence of your response to a tee).

The thing to remember is that even a flawed messenger could be telling the truth. I don’t know that Poole’s conclusions are the truth. But I know enough about Elibiary’s modus operandi, from personal experience, and watching him operate for several years, to conclude that Poole is probably on to something. I want to see the mainstream media start asking these questions.

I can also tell you from extensive experience that digging into the background of Elibiary and people like him is NOT something the MSM wants to do. You see the response of Mike W. on this thread? That’s the MSM on this stuff. I wish the partisan press weren’t the only people looking at this, but that’s the way it is.

Note too that you have a Texas public safety official on the record saying that his agency knows Elibiary accessed and downloaded these sensitive documents. This official has also said he asked DHS to look into the matter. A Congressman also asked, in a public hearing, the DHS secretary to look into the matter. These are significant facts that merit follow-up by the media.

Even if Poole had never written a word about Elibiary, the fact that a man who spoke at a tribute to Ayatollah Khomeini, and who publicly praised the Muslim Brotherhood ideologist Sayyid Qutb as a fine example of spiritual progress from whom we could all learn, ought to have set off alarm bells in the government, re hiring a man like that as a security advisor. That it did not is shocking.

#8 Comment By Cynik On December 9, 2011 @ 11:33 am

And Buchanan’s once proud flagship continues its slide into the abyss of mediocrity. I can hardly wait for the first birther piece.

#9 Comment By eep On December 9, 2011 @ 11:46 am

It doesn’t surprise me. The US is in bed with the Islamist. It has an insane immigration policy. We have all these tribes of people vying for political power. Some that harm the whole country. Elibiary born here, immigrated? Where is he and his people from? Is he a Sunni, Shi’ite, or confused?

I can only conclude that the US government does not believe that Islamist are an existential threat but a tool. The US would rather have the Muslim Brotherhood be in control of Syria than a more secular government that has ties with Iran. Libyan fighters cut their teeth by shedding the blood of coalition forces, Iraqis and Libyans. They will happily kill Syrians too. The Saudis must be grinning ear to ear at all the recent developments (in Libya, Egypt, Syria) in their favor.

#10 Pingback By The American Conservative » Daily Round-up: Drone Wars, Rand vs. Rubio, Israel’s Lobby On December 9, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

[…] Rod Dreher says it’s deeply disconcerting that Mohamed Elibiary is advising the DHS on counter-ter…. Elibiary, he writes, is a Muslim activist who has publicly praised the Ayatollah Khomeini, and other figures of radical Islam. How, exactly, does the US government’s DHS choose to take advice from a man who publicly encouraged Americans to read the work of Qutb, whose teachings the 9/11 Commission cited as a prime motivator of Al Qaeda’s ideology, so that all may “see the potential for a strong spiritual rebirth that’s truly ecumenical allowing all faiths practiced in America to enrich us and motivate us to serve God better by serving our fellow man more”? It’s amazing. […]

#11 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 9, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

And Buchanan’s once proud flagship continues its slide into the abyss of mediocrity. I can hardly wait for the first birther piece.

As with the left, any mention that there might be something wrong with Islamic radical sympathizers influencing public policy brings out the jerking knees. Yawn.

#12 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 9, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

I’ve followed you on this since you wrote about it on That Previous Blog (the one before the one before this one), Rod, and I find nothing to fault you for, even your biases. They are, if anything, honest and clear.

As for DHS, while agreeing with Mad Doc (even if I have a similar online handle), there is another explanation that passes the Occam’s Razor test: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Just a thought.

#13 Comment By Mr. Patrick On December 9, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

Mr. Elibiary’s value as a counterterrorism adviser seems questionable. Rather than jerking knees, the appropriate response is a deluge of questions as to the exact value of his service and the extent to which he has been entrusted with information, which I’m sure would be answered with all the thoroughness and patience one would expect from the Official Fan Club of “24”, and with all the sense of responsibility common to governmental bureaucracy.

#14 Comment By Mike On December 9, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

I think the problem for someone new to this information is that your main source here appears to be a crackpot. There’s no reason–beyond your attesting you jibes with your experience–to take anything Poole writes or says seriously. He is an anti-jihadi crackpot, akin to the birthers. Life is too short to pay attention to crackpots and conspiracy theorists.

While your reputation may be more serious on this issue, the fact you are indulging someone like Poole and running with it with pants onfire ruins your own credibility on the topic.

#15 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 9, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

Ah, let me see if I follow you. A writer whose opinions you dislike manages to get a state official on the record saying that the agency has proof that Elibiary downloaded and printed out sensitive documents, and saying that this is so troubling that he’s asked the DHS for an investigation. You also have, again on the record, Elibiary’s correspondence with me, in which he praises a jihadi lunatic as a wonderful guide for all of us. And you have — again, on the record — Elibiary’s participation in a tribute to Ayatollah Khomeini.

Now, I’m quite clear that I have no idea if Elibiary is guilty, only that given the man’s record and the DPS statement, this bears investigation. Yet because you dislike the politics of the reporter who got the on the record quote, you have decided that none of this can be true, and that nothing I say about this henceforth can be believed because I take the Texas official’s on the record quote seriously.

Truly, I am brokenhearted to have lost your confidence, Mike.

There are some people who are epistemologically incapable of believing any bad thing about any American Muslim, ever — especially if the person bringing it up is someone that they consider to be an Enemy. Similarly, from the Right, there are people epistemologically incapable of believing that any good thing can ever come from or be said by an American Muslim. This is not thinking; it’s emoting.

#16 Comment By EH On December 9, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

When I see stories like this about the DHS or the FBI getting to cozy with suspicious Muslim organizations I sometimes wonder if there is a “hold your enemies even closer” principle in operation. Drawing in characters like Elibiary into these programs does provide government representatives to associate with him and perhaps even do some recruiting; maybe even pass on some fabricated “sensitive” documents.

I’m not saying this is likely. It sound a little too much like a Hollywood movie (well, maybe not a Hollywood movie). But I wonder.

#17 Comment By Mike CAIR On December 9, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

Mike is Matt Duss in disguise.

#18 Comment By Monterey On December 9, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

thanks, Rod, for highlighting all this. Not everyone would. But truth is still more important than political correctness.

#19 Comment By JonF On December 9, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

I have never actually read Qutb, though by hearsay it does seem he was the Islamic equivalent of a 17th century Calvinist dumped in modern times. However is it really fair to impute the crimes of later self-declared disciples to people who are already dead? Hitler cited Nietzsche, and Lenin most certainly cited Marx, but should we not reference either of those men because of the later evils done ostensibly from their works?

#20 Comment By TTT On December 9, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

Perhaps they wanted him to be their “go-to” man in the Islamist community. Like how Bo Gritz is the FBI’s “go-to” militia man. They hate him, but figured they could trust him to talk down the guys who were even worse.

It’s a possibility.

#21 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On December 9, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

Recently it was reveled, by me of all people, that in response to Homeland Security’s request for intelligence, the state of Pennsylvania farmed out its intelligence collection to an Israeli security firm. So it’s Garbage in garbage out as usual.

#22 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On December 10, 2011 @ 12:49 am

Ooops! …Revealed.

#23 Comment By Mike On December 10, 2011 @ 10:04 am

Rod, I think people need to evaluate information and sources critically. Conspiracies involving Muslim radicals is your Sarah Pakin isn’t Trig’s mom. Just as Sullivan is actually quite convincing and provides solid circumstantial evidence that Palin didn’t give birth to Trig or at least should be more forthcoming, it’s all pretty hard to believe given the zealousness and willingness to connect dots from questionable sources.

You are like this with your Jihadi conspiracies. You have good information and lots of anecdotal, circumstantial evidence, but your willingness to rely on crackpots and completely dismiss any criticism makes you Sullivan-like on this topic. You are willing to beleve anything or make any inference given your disdain for Muslims and your conviction they are dangerous. Muslims are your Sarah Palin.

This is not about an unwillingness to hear criticism of Muslims—a lazy accusation that distracts– but being suspicious of buying into a hysteria on the word of a crackpot at Pajamasmedia who can’t be trusted to be telling anything true as interpreted by a commentator who has a weakness for being a little unhinged on the topic. I feel the same way about anything Sullivan says about Palin. Interesting, but suspect.

#24 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 10, 2011 @ 10:55 am

Mike, your post is evidence that you simply do not know what you’re talking about, and responding emotionally.

I have barely written at all on Islamic radicalism in the US on this new TAC blog, and most of my work on the old Beliefnet blog is no longer available, for some reason. But I am absolutely sure that everything I said I documented. The connections between the Muslim Brotherhood and US mainstream Muslim groups are no fiction. Most recently, on this site, I linked to a presentation by the just-resigned Pakistani ambassador to the US, a religion scholar and observant Muslim, who laid the connections out.

I don’t “completely dismiss any criticism.” I dismiss criticism from people who offer no grounds for it, other than they don’t like what I say. Why do I say this? In part because you repeat the calumny that I have “disdain for Muslims” and hold a “conviction they are dangerous.” That’s not true, and I have often taken pains to say that I’m not talking about *all* Muslims, but only Islamists and those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. I figure you choose to overlook that because you don’t like the message I bring you, so you attack the messenger. You are by no means alone in this.

On the Pajamas Media thing, I’ve never heard of Patrick Poole before this, and I am fully aware of the ideological nature of Pajamas Media. He has raised some interesting questions with this reporting, and given my own familiarity with Mohamed Elibiary and his modus operandi, I know that what Poole reports is at least plausible. I can’t take it all as true — for example, he doesn’t name his media source who claims that Elibiary shopped around these documents attempting to discredit Rick Perry — but the comments on the record from the Texas DPS official, combined with my personal knowledge of how Elibiary works, makes me think this story has something to it. I would like to know more.

If a left-wing partisan site reports something that has substance to it, one must be skeptical, but one must not dismiss it simply because one doesn’t like the source.

#25 Comment By MIke On December 10, 2011 @ 11:30 am

Mike, your post is evidence that you simply do not know what you’re talking about, and responding emotionally.

And your response is evidence that you are responding emotionally and unwilling to listen to criticism.

You have written extensively about your suspicions about Muslim radicals and attempts to mainstream them. Lots of talk about unindicted co-conspirators in flawed federal prosecutions and a lot more talk about how mean Muslims are to you when you ask questions.

I believe there is a connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and mainstream U.S. Muslim groups and I’ve read your evidence. I just don’t find it as all that convincing of a grand conspiracy to radicalize American Muslims and that anyone who at anytime said something nice about the Brotherhood is automatically suspect. That’s the tone of your analysis.

It’s not that I “don’t like” the source you rely on, it’s that they are not reliable and credible and real journalists and analysts shouldn’t be using them to bolster their arguments. But it fits your narrative, so you just run with it.

I figure you choose to overlook that because you don’t like the message I bring you, so you attack the messenger.

I don’t overlook it, although I’m not sure your rhetoric is as measured as your think it is. You’ve said variously that you’d have a hard time voting for a Muslim and you are dismissive of anyone who suggests that there is a very serious case of Anti-Islam thinking in right wing circles.

I realize it’s comforting to play the martyred “how do you call me an Islamophobe” card and you have many tales of allegedly being attacked for speaking the truth about Muslims (and Catholics and gays). But at some point, you begin to sound like Andrew Sullivan defending his Trig conspiracies. As you’ve acknowledged, he’s a giant thinker and great writer but his Trig/Palin obsession is disconcerting for its often lack of coherence. Relying on anti-Jihadi crackpots to bolster your argument is a step down that same road.

#26 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 10, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

Mike, I don’t retract a single thing I’ve said. Your conclusions are silly, and your line nothing but ad hominem vituperation. I’m used to it on this topic, from people who don’t like what’s being said, and can’t think of any decent counterargument, so they just honk, “Bigotry!” Nothing new here, and nothing worth seriously considering either. This thread is moving on.

#27 Comment By Velma On December 10, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

Rod,

Are you stating that you only write about “only Islamists and those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood” or that “only Islamists and those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood” are dangerous?

#28 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 10, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

I’m saying that the only Muslims in America who concern me from a national security perspective are those who are Islamists (that is, who want Islamic law to be the basis for society) and those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a powerful international Islamist organization, as well as the parent organization of most large mainstream Muslim organizations in the US.

#29 Comment By Tracy On October 20, 2013 @ 9:28 am

Their is a old saying “Know your enemy ” Having Elibiary on your side where you can watch him is better than not seeing what he is up to..

#30 Comment By jay jandal On November 4, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

everyone have been granted a security clearance will be able to access to classified document. downloaded this document is not allowed the computer should be confiscated and jail punishment for long term will be apply that is the law.
Sayyid Qutb Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 60s. In 1966 he was convicted of plotting the assassination of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and was executed by hanging. Ma’alim fi al-Tariq, also Ma’alim fi’l-tareeq, (Arabic: معالم في الطريق) or Milestones, first published in 1964, is a short (12 chapters, 160 pages) book by Egyptian Islamist author Sayyid Qutb in which he lays out a plan and makes a call to action to re-create the Muslim world on strictly Qur’anic grounds, casting off what Qutb calls Jahiliyyah, the pre-Islamic ignorance that the world has lapsed into.
Ma’alim fi al-Tariq has been called “one of the most influential works in Arabic of the last half century”. It is probably Qutb’s most famous and influential work and one of the most influential Islamist tracts written. It has also become a manifesto for the ideology of “Qutbism”. Commentators have both praised Milestones as a ground-breaking, inspirational work by a hero and a martyr, and reviled it as a prime example of unreasoning entitlement, self-pity, paranoia, and hatred that has been a major influence on Islamist terrorism.
English translations of the book are usually entitled simply “Milestones,” the book is also sometimes referred to as “Signposts.” The title Ma’alim fi al-Tariq translates into English as “Milestones Along the Way”, “Signposts on the Road”, or different combinations thereof.his idea all the constitutions made by human are bad and to raplace them by the Islamic sari’a law

#31 Comment By Larry On September 7, 2014 @ 11:35 pm

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

-Don Vito Corleone