A former Department of Homeland Security agent says that an investigation he was conducting into a fundamentalist Islamic group operating in the U.S. may have helped stop San Bernardino jihadi Syed Farook had the government not shut down his probe.
During an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on Thursday, Philip Haney said that in 2012 as an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, he opened an investigation into a Sunni Islamic group called, Tablighi Jamaat, a subset of the fundamentalist Deobandi movement.
But Haney said that just a year into the investigation it was shut down by the State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
The reason the investigation was quashed? Because the federal government did not want to profile Islamic groups, Haney told Kelly.
In the process of shutting down Haney’s inquiry, the feds also deleted his files, which included information on an organization with ties to Farook’s mosque, San Bernardino’s Deobandi movement-affiliated Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamia.
And Farook’s wife and accomplice, Tashfeen Malik, went to school at Pakistan’s al-Huda, which also has ties to the Deobandi movement.
As the global intelligence group Stratfor has reported, Talighi Jamaat has been linked to a number of attempted terrorist attacks targeting the U.S.
Members of the sect were tied to the Oct. 2002 Portland Seven case and the Sept. 2002 Lackawanna Six case. Members were also involved in an Aug. 2006 plot to bomb airliners en route from London to the U.S. and attempted bombings in London and Glasgow, Scotland in July 2007. Stratfor also reported that Talighi Jamaat affiliates were involved in the July 7, 2005 bombings. That attack left 52 dead and more than 700 injured.