By Spencer A. and Noah S. | Wired.com | Sept. 20, 2012 | [Original Article]
“And during that June presentation, the FBI’s William Gawthrop told his audience that the fight against al-Qaida is a “waste,” compared to the threat presented by the ideology of Islam itself...
...We waste a lot of analytic effort talking about the type of weapon, the timing, the tactics. All of that is irrelevant … if you have an Islamic motivation for actions,” Gawthrop said. Even taking down hostile states like Iran is futile, since “there are still internal forces that will seek to exert Islamic rule again..."
"...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….”
"Outside counterterrorists disagree — strongly — with Gawthrop’s take. “This is mind-numbingly stupid and dangerous,” says Aki Peritz, a former intelligence analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center, now with the Third Way think-tank in Washington. “If we were to follow his idea to a logical extension, that means we have individuals in every single government agency, at top levels, from CIA to the Defense Department to members of Congress, that are part of this cabal to destroy Western civilization. If you truly believe that, then this is McCarthyism on steroids…."
“The single worst thing we’ve done since 9/11, the one thing that’s harmed us the most in interrogations, is these types of stereotypes,” said Matthew Alexander, the pseudonymous former senior military interrogator who helped take down the leader al-Qaida in Iraq. “It’s harmed us more than anything else, because we end up skipping the first step of any interrogation, which is analysis.”
“Gawthrop’s talk is a total nightmare,” added Jarret Brachman, who closely monitors online Islamist radicalization. “This kind of vitriolic snake oil is not only wrong but it serves to inflame the relations between Muslims and law enforcement, making both communities more suspicious of one another’s real intentions. Gawthrop and others ironically undermine years of my own work to convince online Islamists that the kind of training being provided to the U.S. government is objective and not against Islam. Gawthrop’s approach to training is indefensible and makes my job trying to simmer a bunch of online hotheads down a lot harder.”