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Pro-Brotherhood DHS advisor creates lawfare blind spot

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Ryan Mauro
National Security Analyst, Clarion Project

Under revised Department of Homeland Security guidelines, crafted with the input of senior adviser Mohamed Elibiary, counter-terrorism personnel will be left uneducated about a favorite non-violent tactic of the Islamists: lawfare.

Mohamed Elibiary is the subject of a new 37-page report by the Center for Security Policy and Institute on Religion and Democracy. Consisting mostly of an interview I conducted with Elibiary, this senior Department of Homeland Security adviser’s pro-Islamist sentiment is laid out for all to see. The Clarion Project has a list of 15 unsettling facts from the report, which include: personal connections to and praise of the Muslim Brotherhood; associations with the Assembly of Muslim Jurists, a “hardline Islamist group” that calls for the establishment of sharia law in America, marital rape, and jihad against Israel; admission to actively helping U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups avoid prosecution; accusations that the West “routinely insults Muslim dignity.” Elibiary has also voiced support for Shukri Abu Baker, CEO of the now defunct Holy Land Foundation, who was convicted in the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history.

As a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee, Elibiary is in a position to impact policy with his beliefs. He was promoted last month to Senior Fellow. He was a member of the DHS Working Group on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), the subject of Elibiary’s focus.

Elibiary says he was instrumental in crafting the DHS policy on CVE.

“The area that has earned me the most amount of anti-Islamist media criticism has been my role assisting DHS and the broader administration craft a framework and later a strategy for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). I helped write parts of the initial [CVE] document President Barack Hussein Obama was briefed on in the Oval Office,” Elibiary said in our interview.

In 2011, the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties released a document titled, “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training Do’s and Don’ts.” Produced by the DHS and the National Counterterrorism Center, it contains a list of specific recommendations for federal, state and local government officials “organizing CVE, cultural awareness, counter-radicalization or counter-terrorism training.” In other words, the “Do’s and Don’ts” targets anyone involved in learning about militant Islam.

The guidelines aim to prevent instruction about non-violent Islamists and their tactics, right in line with the policies advocated by Elibiary in our interview.

One of the suggested regulations is to prohibit training about “lawfare,” the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends. Lawfare is particularly manifested in the United States in the form of frivolous lawsuits filed to intimidate members of the counter-terrorism community with the threat of bankruptcy and vilification for exercising their free speech rights to educate Americans on issues of national security and public concern, such as the imminent threat of Islamist terrorism.

The DHS guidelines instruct agencies to stay away from “training premised on theories with little or no evidence to support them. One theory the DHS wants discarded posits that “Muslim Americans are using democratic processes, like litigation and free speech, to subvert democracy and install Sharia law.”

Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project, says, “There is a plethora of evidence indicating lawfare as the newest, most visible and increasingly emergent form of asymmetric warfare, which must be countered both tactically and strategically. It is undeniable that Muslim Brotherhood front groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations have filed lawsuits aimed at silencing and punishing anyone who expose their connections to designated terrorist organizations or say things that are ‘offensive’ to Islam. DHS guidelines that not only delegitimize this very real threat but also deny its existence leave American counterterrorism personnel open to attack by, amongst other things, failing to brief them on legitimate ways to protect themselves and undermining those in the counterterrorism and legal communities who are working to protect this country.”