On February 15, 2002, The New York Post ran a story with the headline, "GOV'T STEPS UP PROBE OF 'TERROR' SECT". This story ran amidst the coverage of the kidnapping of WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl. Sheikh Gilani had been the man Pearl was going to see and he had been briefly arrested on suspicion of his involvement.
The Post story is brief, just 219 words, but it contained this information.
Federal officials have intensified their investigation of possible terrorist ties of a sect of black Muslims in upstate New York and three other states, it was reported yesterday.Fast forward to 2005. Another article, this time appearing in the New York Times on March 31, 2005. Headline: Homeland Report Says Threat From Terror-List Nations Is Declining."
...The Justice and Treasury departments have begin a comprehensive review of Muslims of America.
The story mentions a secret Homeland Security Department document, outlining current threats and intended to guide department funding.
This is the first time the two-year-old department has prepared what will now be an annual Integrated Planning Guidance Report, a document that is listed as ''sensitive'' but not classified, meaning it was not intended to be released publicly.So, it seems that the investigation launched in 2002 might have contributed to the Homeland Security report's assessment. It further confirms to me the seriousness of this group's presence. Reading this gave me some additional confidence that our government is aware of this group and is watching them.
The goal, said Brian Roehrkasse, a department spokesman, is to better focus the department's $40 billion in annual spending toward the most serious threats.
Al Qaeda, not unexpectedly, tops a list of adversaries in the report, although the authors question if the group can still pull off attacks similar in scale to those of Sept. 11, 2001.
Other predicted possible sponsors of attacks include Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani-based group that has been linked to Muslims of America; Jamaat al Tabligh, an Islamic missionary organization that has a presence in the United States; and the American Dar Al Islam Movement.
That doesn't mean that they know everything and for all we know, the investigation is ongoing. I still believe it is imperative that we, as citizens, do all we can to find out more ourselves, so that we are aware and if we can help roll these groups up, all the better. I can tell you, we are bringing attention this group.
There has been some discussion as of late about the potential value of blogs to intelligence professionals. I plan to post more on this subject this week.